Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Photos of the day: Maiden flight of the J-31

As a side note, the J-31 was chased by a pair of J-11BS during its maiden flight

J-31 fighter roars off on maiden flight
Global Times | 2012-11-1 0:05:08
By Xu Tianran

China's second stealth fighter, dubbed J-31, makes its maiden flight Wednesday in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Photo: Pan Bin
China's second stealth fighter, dubbed J-31, makes its maiden flight Wednesday in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Photo: Pan Bin

China's second stealth fighter made its maiden flight on Wednesday, with experts hailing this as a milestone for the country's military aviation industry, especially in design and manufacturing.

Coinciding with its provisional designation J-31 and serial number 31001, the fighter took off at 10:32 am on Wednesday and landed 11 minutes later on the runway of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), Liaoning Province, one witness told the Global Times.

Major military news websites such as the Netease and immediately confirmed the maiden flight after witnesses uploaded photos and described the event on defense forums.

Compared with the heavy fighter J-20, the J-31 is a middle sized fighter using Russian middle-thrust engines, although it will later be equipped with Chinese-made WS-13 engines, UK-based Combat Aircraft Monthly has reported.

"Just like the US F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters, the J-20 and J-31 will complement each other during future operations," Bai Wei, former deputy editor of the Aviation World weekly, told the Global Times.

"The J-31 is almost certainly designed with the intention to have the potential of operating on aircraft carriers, judging from its enhanced double-wheel nose landing gear and two big tail wings, which help increase vertical stability," Bai said. He added the J-31 might replace or supplement China's first land-based fighter, the J-15, which was also developed by SAC.

The spokesman of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But according to its official website, Lin Zuoming, president of AVIC, and Li Yuhai, its vice general manager, arrived at the SAC facility on Tuesday, inspected the aircraft development center and thanked the staff for their "important contributions."

Similarly to the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, the Shenyang J-31 was first revealed to coincide with a visit of the US Defense Secretary in mid-September.

The two stealth fighters have made China, after the US, the second country to develop two fifth-generation fighters. "China needs both heavy fighters and cheaper, smaller ones to defend its vast airspace," said Bai, adding that the J-31 might also aim for export market.

"It is encouraging that AVIC developed the two fighters simultaneously. There was a nine-year gap between the maiden flights of the American F-22 and F-35," he added.

Bill Sweetman, editor for the US-based Aviation Week magazine, wrote on his blog that the J-31 is a JSF (F-35) without the constraints imposed by the requirements of the F-35's Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant, which effectively limited the weapon bay volume and shape of all F-35 models.

"It looks as if the engines are to the rear of the bulkhead that carries the main landing gear…the designers have been able to install long weapon bays," he commented on the J-31.

"If you ever wondered what a JSF (F-35) might look without those constraints, we now have a live, physical example. Unfortunately…it is Chinese," Sweetman wrote.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Here comes the PLA in Australia

Chinese troops depart for tri-nation drill in Australia

(Source: Xinhua)   2012-10-27

  CHONGQING, Oct. 26, (Xinhua) -- Nearly 30 Chinese military personnel, mostly medical professionals, departed Chongqing Friday for a tri-nation exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in Australia.

  Codenamed "Exercise Cooperation Spirit 2012," the drill will be held by Chinese, Australian and New Zealand armies in the Australian coastal city of Brisbane from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.

  It is the first joint exercise to be held by the three nations' military forces in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

  The exercise will focus on humanitarian rescue and medical assistance during floods and involve exchanging experience and field training.

  Members of the Chinese contingent are mostly from the Third Military Medical University, with others from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and the General Hospital of Jinan Military Area Command.

New Zealand, China, Australia hold first joint drill on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

(Source: Xinhua)   2012-10-30

  WELLINGTON, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- For the first time, New Zealand Defence Force health personnel were joining their counterparts from the People's Liberation Army of China and the Australian Defence Force to build linkages around humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

  Seven New Zealand Defence Force personnel were participating in Exercise Cooperation Spirit 2012, which is being hosted by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in the Australian coastal city of Brisbane and Enoggera Barracks. It aims to further develop relationships, interoperability and is focused on responses to humanitarian crisis.

  Cooperation Spirit 2012 builds on the respective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) experiences of the three nations and will help enhance relationships and mutual understanding and awareness of HADR health response capabilities, Senior National Officer Chris Mitchell of the New Zealand Army, said in a statement on Monday.

  "This is the New Zealand Defence Force's first significant HADR engagement exercise with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China," he said. "The NZ Defence Force has a good relationship with our international partners and it's important for us to work closely to build interoperability so we can perform tasks together when required.

  "Participating in exercises like Cooperation Spirit 2012 enables the NZ Defence Force to prepare for a variety of contingencies to ensure that New Zealand can play its part in working with other nations to respond effectively to humanitarian aid and disaster relief events, and contributing to regional peace and stability," he added.

  As part of Exercise Cooperation Spirit 2012, a number of HADR experiences will be shared, including a Defence Force presentation on the Christchurch earthquake response. The exercise also involves a discussion based table top planning activity, a HADR Multinational Medical Unit capability demonstration, as well as a tour of flood-affected areas of Brisbane.

  The Australian Defence Force previously conducted a HADR planning exercise with the PLA in April 2010 and the NZ Defence Force sent an observer, the PLA of China hosted Exercise Cooperation Spirit 2011 last November. Approximately 30 personnel from the PLA of China and 24 personnel from the Australian Defence Force will participate in Exercise Cooperation Spirit 2012.

Photo of the day: Liaoning's tire marks

After playing touch-and-go for the last two weeks, the Liaoning is now returned to port with some real tire marks to show for.

Notice the four arresting cables and the positions of the tire marks.

Friday, October 12, 2012

This is what they are doing at sea.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

End of an era -- Nanchang ends its production of Q-5 ground-attack aircraft after 44 years.

After extending the production line to cover a limited run on the J model twin-seater trainer, Nanchang finally closes its Q-5 offerings for good.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Q-5J twin-seater trainer

Q-5J (30093 and 30094) twin-seater trainer of the 82nd Attack Regiment, 28th Attack Division, post for photo after replacing the old JJ-6 that has been in service for more than 30 years.   In addition to a new fleet of "modern" fighters, the PLAAF is also procuring more specialized training assets -- a trend that is ignored by some of the PLA watchers out there. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Communist Propaganda of the day: J-15, whether heavy bomber or fighter

With 3.18 trillion US dollars in foreign exchange reserve, you would think the Chinese government could afford to hire a decent editor for its English edition of the People Daily!
Joking aside, it seems that they finally acknowledge the official designation for that "Independently developed" carrier bird.

Devastating power of China's J-15 ranks high in the world

(Source: People's Daily Online)   2012-10-24

  The J-15, a heavy bomber independently developed by China, has the features of excellent carrier-based aircraft, but it still needs time for the aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to become combat effective, a military expert disclosed in an interview recently.

  The carrier-based aircraft refers to any naval planes based on an aircraft carrier or other warships, which is used to attack targets in the air, on and under the water and on ground and execute tasks of early warning, scouting, patrolling, convoying, mine-laying, mine clearance and vertical landing. It is used as one of the main weapons of naval air forces in battles and an important force to seize and maintain air and sea controls on the maritime battlefield.

  It has also become the focus of attention of the outside world that whether the repeated "touch and go landing" in recent days means that J-15 will be delivered soon. To this question, Chinese naval expert Li Jie said as it is the first time for China to carry out taking off and landing training of a carrier-based aircraft, it still needs much time for J-15 to be delivered.

  In addition, the external world also paid special attention to the performance of J-15. An expert revealed that J-15 is a fighter plane of or above the third generation. It has superior combat performance and characteristics of excellent carrier-based aircraft.

  Du Wenlong, senior colonel and researcher of Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, told the reporter in an interview, "First, it is a heavy-duty carrier-based aircraft, which means that it has larger flying range and bigger bombs and fuel load, and its control range and devastating power rank high in the world. In addition, from the basic equipment of the heavy-duty carrier-based aircraft, the J-15 is compatible with various kinds of ammunition and has any functions a standard foreign carrier-based aircraft owns. The J-15 aircraft is able to accurately and efficiently run on the aircraft carrier and is also an important sign of integrated sea-air combat force of Chinese navy until now."

  Talking about the significance of the carrier-based aircraft to the combat effectiveness of the aircraft carrier, Li Jie said, "The main fighting power of an aircraft carrier is embodied in the planes so the majority of countries regard the training of carrier-based aircraft as a top priority."

Friday, September 28, 2012

A closer look at the J-15 Multirole Naval Fighter Project (SAC)

Fueling suspicion that the J-15 programme may be much further advanced than we think.

There were already four or five in Navy grey by May 2011, one of which I read as c/n 0003.

In April 2011, a newcon J-15 in yellow similarly seems to be c/n 0008.

That was 17 months ago. And we know that they normally build about 24 a year…

 -- franco-russe


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Third J-20 stealth aircraft prototype emerges.

While the new J-31 seems to gather all the news headlines over the last several months, Chengdu is quietly working on its third J-20 stealth aircraft prototype.   That is the thing about the Chinese military-industry complex -- they walk more than they talk. 

Judging from the photos below, the third J-20 prototype is sporting a new nose with room reserved for a dedicated EOS/IRST system.

 2, 1, and 3


Friday, October 19, 2012

Luda class DDG 107 "Yinchuan" decommissioned

Luda class DDG 107 "Yinchuan" decommissioned today after 36 years of service (here) marking it the third decommissioned Luda Class in recent weeks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Aircraft carrier needs three stages to achieve combat effectiveness

Aircraft carrier needs three stages to achieve combat effectiveness

(Source: People's Daily Online)   2012-10-18

  The delivery of an aircraft carrier is not the end of an aircraft carrier project, especially when the carrier-based aircraft are not delivered. It is just an important result of a stage in an aircraft carrier project because the supporting weapons and carrier-based aircraft systems need to be further tested. It still needs a longer period of time for the aircraft carrier to form a joint combat effectiveness together with the aircraft carrier battle group and submarine.

  Generally speaking, after the aircraft carrier is delivered, it needs three stages to form combat effectiveness and the ability of global deployment.

  First stage: Sea test after delivery

  According to sources, an aircraft carrier will first enter a sea test of 18 months (an aircraft carrier is developed for the first time) or 12 months (not the first time to make it) after delivery to ensure that both crew and equipment meet the requirements of performing combat deployment tasks, which include loading and unloading of goods and materials and equipment, residential checks, preparation period of going to sea, tests and trial voyages before being sent back and final contract trials.

  Second stage: Being sent back after delivery and tests

  The period of being sent back to shipyard after delivery, which normally lasts for several months, is a typical maintenance stage in the early phase of the whole life cycle, aiming to amend the problems in the final contract tests and troubles found and postponed to be solved in the check of trial voyages and upgrade the carrier-based system. The shipyard bearing the task after being sent back is similar to the shipyard of goods and materials and equipment because it is familiar with the aircraft carrier.

  Third stage: Combat deployment preparation and training period

  The training for preparedness against war is the responsibility of the fleet forces command where the aircraft carrier is in, including the tests of air defense operation system, anti-submarine warfare system, anti-ship combat system, combat warfare system and flying of carrier-based aircrafts group, as well as certificated examination to crew and their operation capacity.

  During the training period, the crew must accept comprehensive training to adapt to the aviation facilities of the aircraft carrier, such as the battle station exercises of dragging, rescuing and refueling and battle station operation exercises on duty. The training and examination of operating personnel on takeoff and landing of the carrier-based aircraft are also essential. Before the new aircraft carrier enters formal service, the specialized technician personnel must have a comprehensive flight deck inspection including the distributed architecture, rigidity, strength and conditions of taking off and landing.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Photos of the day: The 7 China Navy warships off Okinawa

If there are two submarine tenders in that task force ......

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012

Seven Chinese Navy warships skirt Okinawa

Seven Chinese warships passed Tuesday through Japan's contiguous zone, a band of water just outside the nation's territorial waters, near an Okinawa island, the Defense Ministry said.

The ships, including destroyers and frigates, were spotted at around 7 a.m. sailing from the Pacific Ocean to the East China Sea about 49 km south-southeast of Yonaguni Island, which is 110 km east of Taiwan.

The seven vessels confirmed by Maritime Self-Defense Force P-3C reconnaissance aircraft were heading north-northeast south of the disputed Senkaku Islands, according to the ministry.

Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto told reporters he was unsure of the purpose of the flotilla. "At present, we don't see any helicopters flying from the vessels," he added.

It is the first time Chinese naval vessels have been spotted in the 22-km-wide contiguous zone between Yonaguni and Iriomote islands, the ministry said.

Sailing in the contiguous zone, which connects to 12-nautical mile territorial waters, poses no problem under international law. In the zone, Japan can apply its laws for customs procedures and immigration control.

Sources said the Chinese warships did not intend to provoke the Self-Defense Forces or enter the contiguous zone near the Senkakus, which Japan controls but China claims.

The Defense Ministry suspects the task force may have passed the area to avoid a typhoon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

U.S., China to Consider Sharing Resources During Joint Missions

U.S., China to Consider Sharing Resources During Joint Missions

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2012 – In what U.S. Pacific Command’s logistics chief calls a groundbreaking development, officials from the United States and China plan to meet to discuss sharing logistical resources, including fuel, as they operate together during counterpiracy and humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions.
The United States has officially extended the invitation for a team of senior Chinese logisticians to visit Washington in early 2013 to discuss the possibility of a first-ever logistics cooperation agreement between the two countries, Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark M. McLeod told American Forces Press Service.
If adopted, the arrangement would enable the United States and China to share fuel, food, supplies, and even vessel parts to support their joint operations, he said.
Pacom officials pitched the idea last month during the 41st Pacific Area Senior Officer Logistics Seminar in Perth, Australia.
The forum of senior logistics and national security officers from Pacific, Asian and Indian Ocean area nations meets annually to exchange information, pursue bilateral and multilateral initiatives and encourage closer regional cooperation. This year, PASOLS participants focused on ways to promote multinational and multiagency logistics collaboration.
Navy Rear Adm. Yang Jianyong, who led the Chinese delegation at this year’s seminar, called the U.S. proposal “a good area for future discussion [and] cooperation,” McLeod reported.
Such an arrangement was floated in the past, but didn’t get traction because of strained U.S.-Chinese relations.
But the timing could now be right, McLeod said, as both countries begin looking for ways to strengthen their military-to-military relationship. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Pacom commander Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III recently visited China to promote closer cooperation and collaboration.
Logistics cooperation with China provides a perfect forum for that relationship-building, McLeod said, particularly as China assumes a growing global role. For example, in addition to counterpiracy operations, China periodically deploys its naval hospital ship, the Peace Ark, to provide medical services in other nations.
“As they go from an internal defense-focused military and begin to push off their shores and take on more regional security roles, they are finding that their logistics chains are kind of strained,” McLeod said.
PASOLS, and a potential logistics agreement with the United States, offer China an opportunity to learn from the experience of the regional partners it now operates with, he said.
“Based on them reaching out and starting to perform some of these more joint missions that other nations are doing,” he said, “we thought this was an opportunity for us to enter into an agreement with them to share resources.”

McLeod called the potential agreement a great foundation for other military-to-military cooperation that supports both the United States’ and China’s national security strategies.
“Obviously, both militaries are interested in regional security. Both militaries are interested in freedom of passage through areas. There are a lot of things going where we share common interests,” he said.
“But this is the first time, at least from a logistics standpoint, that we have reached out and they have been very receptive to those ideas,” McLeod said. “That is pretty groundbreaking for us.”
McLeod called these developments important building blocks toward closer logistics collaboration that enables regional nations to partner together and respond more effectively to natural disasters and other contingencies.
Responses to regional natural disasters and other contingencies will be far better, he said, if the nations understand how each other’s operations, share basic principles and learn from each other’s experiences. “There are things that each of us can bring to the fight that ultimately helps all of us provide support,” he said.
McLeod said he will share the lessons from PASOLS with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other regional organizations. “What we are trying to do is operationalize what we do in the theater by branching out to some of these other large organizations,” he said.
Ultimately, he hopes to promote sharing arrangements that enable more countries to participate in regional operations. “Many nations have difficulty when they reach beyond their logistics chains and have to go about gathering supplies and equipment,” he said.
Setting up an infrastructure so nations can share resources, water, even cybersecurity expertise could help eliminate that roadblock, he said.
But McLeod said he sees particular promise in operationalizing fuel across the theater. “That is an interest area that many, many nations have, from our high-end partners all the way down to our developing partners that are expanding their capabilities as they go forward,” he said.
“That helps you not only during operations, when transiting vessels or operating equipment in that [particular] nation, but it [also] can be important when there is a supply interruption because of a typhoon or some other natural disaster,” McLeod said. “In essence, you diversify your fuel capabilities so, no matter where you go, you have that capacity.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Photos of the day: China, U.S. conduct first joint anti-piracy drill

Insert Quote
China, U.S. conduct first joint anti-piracy drill

(Source: Xinhua) 2012-09-18

BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of National Defense confirmed Monday that the Chinese and U.S. navies conducted their first joint anti-piracy drill in the Gulf of Aden on the same day.

The drill, conducted by the Chinese missile frigate Yiyang and the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill, lasted for more than five hours, the ministry said.

The drill was praised by the Chinese side as being conducive to increasing mutual understanding and trust between the two navies and deepening bilateral cooperation in non-conventional security fields.

Editor:Ouyang Dongmei