Sunday, November 30, 2008

PLA is going PC on us, gee, thanks Al Gore.

MCCEC comes into existence 2008-11-28

  Upon the approval of the General Staff Headquarters of the PLA, the Military Climatic Change Expert Committee (MCCEC) of the PLA was set up in Beijing recently.

  At the inaugural meeting, more than 40 relevant leaders from the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the China Meteorological Administration, the State Oceanic Administration and the National Natural Science Fund Committee of China, as well as the meteorological and hydrological responsible departments of the services and arms of the PLA and teaching and research institutions of meteorology and hydrology were present. Some of them made speeches on special topics focusing on climate change.

  Composed of well-known academicians and experts from inside and outside of the military, the MCCEC is dedicated to studying the issue of climate change and probing into the impact of climate change on military struggle and the army building, so as to provide decision-making support and technical support to the PLA in response to the problems of climate change.

  By Cheng Ming and Chai Xulin

  (Nov 28, PLA Daily) Editor: Fan Aifeng

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hope everything will have a great thanksgiving.

Because CDF's bandwidth limit exceeded again due to the recent airshow.

See you guys on Dec 1st.
Fallon: US needs strategy on China
Former top commander says Pentagon officials insisted he prepare for war with China
By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff / November 25, 2008

WASHINGTON—In 2005, the nation's top military commander in the Pacific confronted Pentagon hawks who insisted he prepare for a future war with China, warning then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the United States was headed for disaster if it insisted on confronting the Chinese militarily.

"There were people who warned me that you'd better get ready for the shoot 'em up here because sooner or later we're going to be at war with China," retired Navy Admiral William J. Fallon recalled. "I don't think that's where we want to go. And so I set about challenging all the assumptions."

In his first extensive interview since resigning from the Navy earlier this year, Fallon told the Globe that the US desperately needs to come up with a strategy for dealing peacefully with a rising China.

Fallon, currently a fellow at MIT's Center for International Studies, is well known for his differences with the Bush administration, especially over Iran policy. He resigned unexpectedly in March as chief of the US Central Command -- responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- after publicly voicing criticism over its refusal to engage diplomatically with Iran. An Esquire magazine profile of Fallon in March -- in which he was quoted stating some of his Iran views -- set off the media firestorm leading to his resignation.

But it is clear that Fallon clashed with top Bush administration officials bent on using American military might over other levers of power -- such as diplomacy and economic cooperation -- several years before he took command of US forces in the Middle East in March 2007.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Globe on Monday, Fallon recalled that after he became chief of the US Pacific Command in 2005, "I came back here about once a month and sat down with Secretary Rumsfeld. I'd walk through what I was thinking, why I was thinking that way. There were people who didn't like that."

US-China relations had soured in 2005 after the Pentagon issued a high-profile report highlighting a growing threat from China, and after Rumsfeld publicly rebuked China's military build-up in a Singapore speech.

Describing the message he brought back from the region at the time, Fallon said he told his superiors, "What are the priorities, guys? Do you want to have a war [with China]? We can probably have one. But is that what you really want? Is that really in our interest? Because I don't think so."

The friction with some of his political bosses in Washington continued when Fallon, a former Navy pilot, was picked by Rumsfeld's successor, Robert M. Gates, to run Central Command in 2007, just as the "surge" of additional US combat forces was getting underway to try to quell skyrocketing violence, much of it blamed on neighboring Iran.

He said he quickly realized that dealing with Iraq's neighbors -- including Iran and Syria -- would be critical to bringing long-term security to Iraq -- not a popular position in the Bush administration.

"One of the challenges was as the guy in charge of the region I can't solve Iraq just from working the inside," Fallon said. "That's Gen. [David] Petraeus' game. He is my commander working inside Iraq. But I have to do something about the neighborhood and the idea that we were going to ignore Iran and Syria, for example, and just focus on Iraq was ridiculous."

Fallon told the Globe that the Esquire article was "unfortunate." "The story came out and it was obviously a political attack on the president and used me to put the president in a very awkward position. The rest of the news hounds jumped all over it and it became a free-for-all," he said.

Looking ahead, Fallon said he believes the war in Iraq "is essentially over."

"We have some combat activity still ongoing occasionally up in the Mosul area, but other than that it's pretty much over and been over," he said.

However, the war in Afghanistan, while showing some progress in recent months as a result of increased cooperation with neighboring Pakistan, is "probably a bigger challenge than Iraq," Fallon said.

He said Pakistan has had some success taking on Al Qaeda militants in South Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan, but it will be far more difficult in North Waziristan where Arab fundamentalists have married into the tribes and established strong links with the locals.

Bryan Bender can be reached at

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Speculation time!

Is this a new class of submarine tender? Any suggestions?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some offical information regarding the PLA reserve

First unit of reserve troops of PLA 2008-11-21

  The first division of the reserve troops of the PLA was established in Jinzhou of Liaoning Province in March 1982.

   Twenty-six years have elapsed since then, and what changes has this division undergone over all these years? Curious to find the answer, the reporters drove all the way to the hinterland of the Liaoxi mountainous areas in late fall. Instead of wasting time, the reporters rolled straight to the training field of a logistic support brigade of the reserve force. The brigade is the former infantry division of the reserve troops of Jinzhou.

  In the training field, the brigade was holding a comprehensive support exercise in complicated electromagnetic environment, involving more than 1,000 officers and men of the reserve troops. Cui Yanfa, commander of the brigade, said, "We set more than 40 subjects in five categories in the exercise. All of them are carried out in complicated electromagnetic environment. As the first unit of reserve troops, we should be more enterprising to blaze new trails of information-based training for the reserve troops."

   The Spring Festival of 1982 was hardly over when the reserve infantry division was quickly forged in accordance with the arrangement of the Central Military Commission and the general headquarters/departments of the PLA, with a group of officers in active service as the backbones, and the officers transferred to civilian work and the demobilized soldiers as the main body, thanks to the close cooperation of the military and the local authorities. On March 20 the same year, the Shenyang Military Area Command held a flag-presenting ceremony for the reserve infantry division.

  By the end of 1998, the division was entrusted by the Central Military Commission with the experimental task of turning itself into a logistic support brigade of the reserve force.

  By Xue Qingbo, Leng Dong and An Puzhong

  (Nov 21, PLA Daily) Editor: Dong Zhaohui

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

But Mom, I want to be a private!

PLAN's South Sea Fleet conducted an anti-terrorism drill at high sea on Nov 17 with a rescue attempt against a hijacked “Cargo ship”


图为特战队员机降被劫持“货轮”的情景。 中国军网发 管伟华摄 (责任编辑:孙礼)
(Photo of a SpOps team descending on a "hijacked cargo ship")

And in two totally unrelated news:

Hong Kong cargo ship hijacked off Yemen coast

HONG KONG (AFP) — A Hong Kong-registered cargo ship was hijacked on Tuesday by pirates off the coast of Yemen and was believed to be heading for Somalia, government and military officials said.

The cargo ship Delight was carrying 25 crew members and 36,000 tonnes of wheat when it was attacked on Tuesday afternoon in the Gulf of Aden as it headed for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua said, quoting the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said none of the crew was from Hong Kong, but did not give details of their nationalities.

"Our Marine Department knows that none of the crew onboard is from Hong Kong. We are following the matter up," he said, adding that he did not have any information about the exact location of the hijacking.

Xinhua said the crew were not mainland Chinese.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Gulf confirmed the hijacking.

"We have very little details," Lieutenant Nathan Christensen told AFP in Dubai, adding that the ship was operated by the "Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines."

Asked whether the Delight was now heading toward Somalia, Christensen said: "We didn't have the specific location but we think this is the case."

The Hong Kong government's spokesman said that Donald Tsang, the territory's chief executive, had been informed of the situation while on a visit to London for talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He said Tsang had been asked about the hijacking by reporters during a question and answer session.

"I just heard about this," the spokesman quoted Tsang as saying. "I want to find out more about this. This could be a serious matter for us. We will deal with it."

The hijacking comes after a Saudi super-tanker carrying two million barrels of oil was seized over the weekend by Somali pirates.

The Sirius Star, the size of three football fields and three times the weight of a US aircraft carrier, is the largest ship ever seized by pirates and the hijacking was the furthest out to sea that Somali bandits struck.

This year, Somali pirates have attacked 90 ships, more than double the number in 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Pirates are still holding 16 ships and more than 250 sailors.

China pledges to work for freedom of fishermen held by pirates 2008-11-15 00:34:23 Print

BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's government on Friday pledged to make every effort to ensure the safe release of the crew of a Chinese fishing boat seized by Somali pirates off east Africa.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was still assessing the situation and trying to obtain more information on the vessel, which was overrun late on Thursday.

The ministry would work with organizations abroad to ensure the safe release of the crew, according to the statement.

The vessel, owned by Tianjin Ocean Fishing Company, was hijacked by pirates armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons off the coast of Kenya and was being held off the southern Somali port city of Kismanyu, according to reports on Friday.

The 24 crew comprised 16 Chinese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese, according to China's Ministry of Transport.

A Somali pirate leader reportedly said all the crew members were "fine".
Eurocopter Receives the First Airframe Structure for the EC175 Prototype from Chinese Harbin Aviation Industry Co.

(Source: American Eurocopter; issued November 17, 2008)

On 15th November, Harbin Aviation Industry Co. (HAIG) successfully delivered the first EC175 airframe structure to Eurocopter at its factory in Harbin/China in the presence of representatives from both companies. This is the 3rd key milestone for the development of this multi-role medium-twin class 16-passenger helicopter.

The EC175/Z15 is a 50:50 joint programme between Eurocopter and HAIG, a subsidiary of the Chinese helicopter manufacturer AVICOPTER. The cooperation contract was signed on 5th December 2005 with the completion of the Preliminary Design Review in 2006 followed by the Critical Design Review in 2007

After the delivery of this airframe structure from Harbin, the assembly of the first EC175 prototype will start in Marignane with its maiden flight will take place by the end of 2009. The EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) type certification for this helicopter is expected for 2011 with CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) certification for this aircraft, called “Z15” in China, in 2012.

Eurocopter and HAIG are very satisfied with the progress of the development program which is consistent with the initial schedule. Both parties also insisted on the excellent spirit between the teams since the very beginning of the cooperation.

The delivery of the first EC175 helicopter is expected to start in 2012 with the objective to sell approximately 800 helicopters over 20 years worldwide. A big step towards this target was taken at the unveiling of the helicopter at Heli-Expo 2008 in Houston this February where Eurocopter signed intentions to buy with 13 different customers for a total of 111 units in 3 days.

Showcased for the first time at Zhuhai Airshow in early November in China, a letter of intent for 5 Z15 helicopters was also signed between HAIG and Longken General Aviation Cooperation – a domestic general-purpose aviation company.

These significant orders illustrate the fact that the EC175/Z15 perfectly complements the current Eurocopter and AVICOPTER product range and meets the market needs – primarily offshore passenger transport but also missions such as Search and Rescue, Emergency Medical Services as well as business and commercial aviation.

The EC175/Z15 program – the summit of a long history of cooperation with China

Eurocopter has had a lengthy experience of partnership in China – a good example would be the development, industrialisation and serial production of the EC120 B in 1992. All the structures for these aircraft (equipped with the fuel system, canopy, right and small door and engine cowlings) are manufactured by HAIG in Harbin. To date, more than 600 Colibris have been delivered throughout the world.

The EC175/Z15 development programme brought this cooperation to a new level – that of a 50:50 workshare. With a common goal, teams from both entities worked together in perfect harmony and coordination, be it in the beginning in the joint design office based in Marignane (where there were as many as 70 Chinese engineers at one time) or today where the teams are back in their respective organisations.

Monday, November 17, 2008

First batch of test pilots in PLA Air Force graduated

First batch of test pilots in PLA Air Force graduated 2008-11-11

  On November 10, Wei Hongwei and other seven test pilots completed their specialized training, and will soon leave to perform test flight missions for China's new generation of aircraft, which indicates that the PLA Air Force has basically built up a test pilot candidate selection mechanism and specialized training system with the Chinese characteristics.

  According to sources, this batch of test pilot cadets was selected from among outstanding young pilots with considerable flight experience. After receiving two years of training on aviation theory, test flight piloting skills and aviation English, they have successfully turned themselves into qualified test pilots, and will be awarded master's degree in aircraft design engineering by the Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU).

  In the past, most Chinese test pilots were selected directly from among outstanding pilots of aviation units of the PLA Air Force.

  In recent years, by drawing on advanced concept and useful practices from international test pilot trainings, the PLA Air Force has basically built up a lasting test pilot specialized training mechanism.

  The training missions are carried out jointly by the PLA Air Force and China Aviation Industry Corporation. During the training, Li Zhonghua and other top-notch Chinese test pilots are flight instructors while the NPU undertakes theoretical teaching on aviation theory, and the Aviation Medical Research Institute is responsible for aviation medical training.

  By Shang Xiaohua and Tan Jie

  (Nov 11, PLA Daily) Editor: Dong Zhaohui

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nov 13, 2008
Warship to make Viet port call

HANOI - A CHINESE warship will next week make a port call in central Vietnam as part of efforts to boost military ties between the communist nations, a government spokesman in Hanoi said on Thursday.

News of the Nov 18-22 visit follows a meeting between both countries' premiers in Beijing last month at which both sides, despite a history of distrust and conflict, pledged closer bilateral cooperation.

'This visit will help promote the friendship and cooperation between the two ministries of defence,' said foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung.

Mr Dung said that the ship's commanders would meet leaders of the central city of Danang as well as Vietnamese senior naval and army officials, while the ship's crew would play a football match while on shore.

China and Vietnam are communist allies but have a history of animosity and fought their most recent border war in 1979. Last year a Chinese naval ship reportedly fired at a Vietnamese fishing vessel in disputed waters.

Both are among countries laying claim to the Spratly islands in the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, and both claim sovereignty over the Paracel islands, which are occupied by China.

At their Oct meeting, premiers Wen Jiabao of China and Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam agreed on a series of steps, including collaboration on oil exploration and information exchanges by the two armed forces.

Vietnam expert Carl Thayer said the Chinese port call next week would be the first to Vietnam since Nov 2001 when the People's Liberation Army's guided missile frigate Yulin docked in Ho Chi Minh City.

'It's highly significant because of the reported build-up of tension last year in the South China Sea and the attempts this year by the party chiefs and prime ministers to prevent incidents in the South China Sea from damaging bilateral relations,' said Mr Thayer of the Australian Defence Force Academy.

'They have had four our five joint naval patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin, and this is a continuation of steps to build trust between the two navies.'

The visit comes one month after guided missile destroyer USS Mustin docked at Danang in the latest of a series of American port calls designed to boost relations between the former enemies. -- AFP

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

China increases troops on North Korea border

China increases troops on North Korea border
By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Song Jung-a in Seoul

Published: November 13 2008 00:25 | Last updated: November 13 2008 00:25

The Chinese military has boosted troop numbers along the border with North Korea since September amid mounting concerns about the health of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, according to US officials.

Beijing has declined to discuss contingency plans with Washington, but the US officials said the Peoples’ Liberation Army has stationed more soldiers on the border to prepare for any possible influx of refugees due to instability, or regime change, in North Korea.

US and South Korean intelligence agencies believe Mr Kim suffered a stroke in August that has left him paralysed on his left side, possibly severely enough to prevent him from walking. While the US believes Mr Kim remains in control for now, there are growing concerns about how long he can hold on to power if paralysed.

One official cautioned that the increase in Chinese troops was not “dramatic”, but he said China was also constructing more fences and installations at key border outposts. Wang Baodong, the Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington, said he was unaware of any increased deployments.

Speculation about the North Korean leader’s health has mounted since September when he failed to appear at a key military parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the repressive communist state. In an attempt to downplay concerns, state-run media released photos of Mr Kim visiting soldiers, but the CIA believes most of the images were either taken before the stroke, or have been altered with software.

US officials believe, however, that one recent photograph of Mr Kim – purportedly watching a football match from the stands of a stadium – appears authentic. But they say the fact that Mr Kim is sitting, with his left arm dangling, reinforces the conclusion that he is paralysed and having difficulty walking. The US believes North Korea would release video footage of Mr Kim to eliminate speculation about his health if that were possible.

The increased Chinese military presence and concerns about the health of the Stalinist leader come as international efforts to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme run into obstacles that threaten to derail what President George W. Bush hoped would be a foreign-policy success.

In a ominous sign for the six-party talks, North Korea on Wednesday said international inspectors would not be allowed to take samples from its nuclear complex at Yongbyon. It added that it had slowed down the disablement of its nuclear reactor.

Mr Bush last month removed North Korea from the US terrorism list after Pyongyang agreed to allow inspectors into the country to verify a nuclear declaration it made earlier this year. Critics had previously warned that the vague language of the agreement would allow North Korea to escape from the commitment.

While the US previously insisted that North Korea had agreed to allow inspectors to take samples – to determine how much plutonium has been processed for nuclear weapons – Pyongyang on Wednesday rejected calls for sampling, saying the move would breach its sovereignty.

The dispute has complicated efforts by the six-party members – which include Japan, China, South Korea and China – from convening a meeting to finalise the details of the verification mechanism. One senior US official said North Korea was resisting efforts to have verification system formalised in a six-party document.

“The issue is not sampling, the issue is how to express it in a document that doesn’t involve their loss of face,” said a second senior official.

“The more serious problems going on in the six party talks have nothing to do with [sampling] but rather the continued bad North/South relations and the lack of a diplomatic process with the Japanese,” added the official. “Probably, there are also leadership problems in North Korea that are having an impact on decision making there.”

Japan opposed the US decision to remove North Korea from the terrorism list because it believed the move would reduce pressure on Pyongyang to resolve a dispute about Japanese citizens abducted over several decades by North Korean spies.

Washington has urged North Korea to fulfil a pledge to reopen an investigation into the abductees. But one Japanese source said there had been no progress on the issue, saying the “ball is in [Pyongyang’s] court”.

In another sign of deteriorating relations with North Korea, Pyongyang on Wednesday announced it would close its heavily fortified land border with South Korea from December. Tensions between the North and South have increased under President Lee Myung-bak, who pledged to take a tougher stance on North Korea than his predecessors and to link aid to progress in denuclearisation efforts.

One US official said North Korea was becoming increasingly bellicose towards South Korea because the decision by Seoul to cut off food aid was starting to impact the North Korean military, a key constituency for Mr Kim.

Two weeks ago, Pyongyang threatened to reduce the South to “debris” if Seoul did not stop anti-communist groups from launching pamphlets by balloon over the border. The leaflets contain statements about the health of Mr Kim, which North Korea cannot rebut because of the leader’s illness.

“The South Korean puppet authorities should never forget that the present inter-Korean relations are at the crucial crossroads of existence and total severance,” the North Korean news agency said in a statement.

Kim Ho-nyeon, spokesman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry, called the move “regrettable”, saying it would have a negative impact on efforts to improve inter-Korean relations. He urged the North to come back to the negotiating table to discuss implementing previous inter-Korean agreements from a “realistic” perspective.

A move by the South’s National Human Rights Commission this week to form a special committee on human rights in the North likely raised Pyongyang’s hackles after years of southern downplaying of reports of atrocities.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

PLAN hospital ships

Going back to the topic of PLAN hospital ships, there is always STUFT (Ships Taken Up From Trade) that is something most PLA analysts ignored. 865 is twice the size of the new 866 but I am sure it is no where near the capabilities as the newly commissioned 865. However, it surely can perform as a backup.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

China Repackages Aerospace Industry
Nov 6, 2008
Bradley Perrett/Beijing

Sweeping reforms to the Chinese aerospace sector will present the global industry with a team of focused competitors with specialties ranging from engines to fighters to aircraft equipment.

The country has cast aside the fuzzy structure under which Avic 1 and Avic 2 each loosely managed a range of plants that did not often cooperate closely with each other. Instead, the Avics have been merged into a single company called Avic and, most importantly, the factories and research institutes have been bundled up into subsidiaries with much narrower businesses.

Managers now face the challenge of making it work. Like executives dealing with mergers anywhere, they must overcome local fiefdoms and jealousies to get disparate plants to work together as integrated businesses.

Further reforms can be expected, but probably none as radical as the one now being put in place. More than likely, the long-term future structure of the Chinese aircraft industry is now being settled.

"Our objectives are competitiveness and efficiency," says a senior Avic executive. "The key tools for achieving that are specialization and commercialization."

There are now six focused companies that foreign manufacturers are likely to compete with for much of this century.

The first is the Transport Aircraft Co., whose main assets are the civil factories at Xi'an, Chengdu and Shenyang. The original Avic subsidiaries in those cities have been dismantled to create the new company, with their military plants assigned separately. Importantly, this unit is not responsible for the ARJ21 and future large jetliner projects, except as a supplier. That's crucial because it cannot be tied exclusively to the ARJ21's builder, Comac. Transport Aircraft needs to compete for work with Airbus, Boeing and other foreign aircraft makers.

"Transport Aircraft" is only a preliminary, functional tag for the company. Like most of the other new business units, it will be rebranded later, officials say. For some units, described below, no official English name is available.

The second is the Defense Division, which so far remains a direct part of Avic, not a subsidiary company. Its assets include combat aircraft manufacturers Chengdu and Shenyang, stripped of their civil plants, along with Xi'an military assets that have been peeled away from Transport Aircraft. The Hongdu military business is also included.

The third is Avicopter, which brings together the country's rotary-wing plants, notably those at Harbin, Changhe and Jingdezhen.

The fourth is Aviation Engine Industry Corp. Ltd, which combines propulsion plants and research centers at Liming, Xi'an, Chengdu and Zhuzhou, as well as the Gas Turbine Establishment at Jiangyou.

The fifth is General Aviation Co., now the owner of facilities at Guizhou and Shijiazhuang. The company is looking at building a business jet of about the size of a Challenger 850.

And the sixth is Aviation Systems Co., China's answer to Rockwell Collins, Thales, Honeywell and Goodrich. About 40 factories and research institutes have been combined to form the company, including major facilities at Shanghai, Xi'an and Nanjing.

The reorganization also places a host of miscellaneous units and research institutes directly under Avic, which will retain a central but probably diminishing role in the industry. One former subsidiary has already become largely independent: Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, the future challenger to Airbus and Boeing that now calls itself Comac.

Avic executives say that their detached relationship with Comac is an example of how the six new units will eventually be cast off, depending on how quickly they can improve their efficiency.

A principle of the restructuring is that existing programs stay where they are, even if they don't fit with the specialization of the new company. For example, Harbin Aircraft, a helicopter maker, also builds general aviation aircraft, which it has taken into Avicopter.

ARJ21 artist's concept: LMS

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What is the biggest surprise at Zhuhai?

It has to be Z-10 and ADK-10 ATGM. While we know for sometime what they look like, but it is good to see them in such an official event