Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Romanian TAB77 in China

In 1984, China imported the Romanian TAB77 8x8 wheeled APC technology but it never entered production. In the 1980s, as the PLA shifted its doctrine from an all out people's war to a "local war under local condition," the wheeled APC needed to accommodate its newly designated rapid reactive units. A number of proposals were suggested, among them, the WZ551 and the TAB77.

The WZ551 was one of the first joint Sino-Western European defense projects and its success was far from certain. It was inspired by the French VAB (Vehicule de l'Vvant Blinde) design but armed with a Chinese turret and powered by a German Deutz engine. The follow up Sino-French project of the NGV-1 IFV fitted a French Giat Industries Dragar powered turret onto the chassis of the WZ551. It failed to secure any customers.

The TAB77 is a less ambitious -- it called for a direct adoption of the Romanian production design incorporating a twin diesel engine. In some ways, it served as an inexpensive and proven option to the WZ551 project.

The WZ551 is heavier (15.8 Ton vs 11.5 Ton) and wields greater fire power (one 25mm cannon vs a 14.5mm). After a series of tests, the WZ551 proved to also have greater cross-country mobility thanks to its 320hp German Deutz engine, while the TAB77's 120hp twin diesel proved inadequate in comparison. The imported TAB77 was stored away in Norinco's warehouse and the project was discovered two years ago when it was put on display at Norinco's museum.

TAB 77 On Display

The Sino-French NGV-1 IFV

Will the DF-41 be revealed during the parade?

That was the question raised during today’s (9-30-2009) "Focus Today" interview.

You can watch the video online here:

Thanks gordonblade for the CCTV Capture and maddogy4645 for the interview summary

What an interesting interview!

-The guy from navy basically confirms MIRV capability by indicating that JL 2 should carry more warheads than JL 1

-The political officer from 2nd Artillery did not confirm that DF-41 would show up tomorrow, but referred to it alongside DF-31.

-The guy from the airforce imtimated that J-10A and J-10B look practically the same.

Latest Round of Force Cut.

Back in July, there were discussions about (here) a possible 700,000 troops force reduction for the PLA, but it was rebutted by Global Times. As the Oct 1st National Day parade nears, the discussion is once again back in the news.

China air, naval boost risks raising tension
Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:17am EDT

EXCLUSIVE: China to cut army by 700,000 troops: sources
12:53am EDT

By Benjamin Kang Lim and Lucy Hornby

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to cut back its army and boost the navy and air force, sources with ties to the People's Liberation Army said, extending its military reach and risking greater regional tensions.

China, which celebrates the 60th founding of the People's Republic on Thursday with a massive military parade, aims to cut its army by 700,000 troops over two to three years as part of its drive to modernize the world's biggest military into a leaner high-tech force, the two sources said.

The PLA also plans to boost navy and air force personnel over that period, the sources said. Both requested anonymity to avoid repercussions for speaking to foreign reporters without authorization.

Xu Guangyu, a former PLA officer now at the government-backed China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said he had not heard of the 700,000 figure but was sure cuts were coming.

"After several years there will have to be more reductions so we can continue improving weapons and creating crack troops," Xu told Reuters. "The land forces will remain dominant, but the navy and air force will rise as a proportion of the PLA."

China watchers are monitoring international deployments for signs of China's rising global status translating into a more assertive foreign policy and presence. Chinese warships steamed to waters off Somalia in December to help in anti-piracy patrols.

Recently, Chinese vessels have become involved in jostling with U.S. surveillance vessels in seas off the Chinese coast that Beijing claims are in its exclusive economic zone.

And China has never renounced the use of force to bring self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which it considers sovereign territory, under its rule. But ties have improved since the election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou last year.

Increased Chinese military activity around a series of disputed atolls and rocks in the South China Sea has worried Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, which have their own territorial claims. Japan urged China this week to cut its nuclear arsenal, illustrating its wariness of China's might.

"Cutting the army doesn't affect the rest of Asia very much, what people are concerned about is boosting the air force and navy, such as by having aircraft carriers," said Ikuo Kayahara, professor of security studies at Takushoku University and a retired major general in Japan's ground forces.

"If they are increasing them by the same amount as they cut the army, this is a very big problem. But I do wonder if it's actually possible."

Uday Bhaskar, of the National Maritime Foundation in India, which has long-festering border disputes with China, said any large army should concentrate on technology over manpower.

"For India, I think if the Chinese are able to implement this particular policy that they're now articulating, it would heighten the asymmetry between India and China in terms of straight military capacity in China's favor," he said.


The PLA was born out of the Red Army, a five-million-strong peasant army, and became the national armed force after Communist leader Mao Zedong swept to power 60 years ago.

The cuts to land forces and additions to the other arms of the military would mean that PLA troop numbers shrink from 2.3 million, but the final tally is unclear.

China has cut troop numbers in recent years to free up cash for better training and conditions and more advanced weapons. The navy is considering building an aircraft carrier.

Neither source was sure when the planned reduction would be announced. It needs the approval of the Communist Party's Central Military Commission, which is headed by President Hu Jintao.

One of the sources said China plans to retire and replace aged aircraft over the next three to five years. The streamlining will also involve hiving off military hospital personnel and performing troupes, the sources said.

Xu, the former PLA officer, said that under Beijing's long-term plan for military modernisation, reductions could happen gradually over the coming decade.

"Costs are rising, so we have to keep military spending in line with budgetary capacity," he said.

China's armed forces are far bigger than the world's second-largest military, that of the United States, whose forces number around 1.5 million.

Thursday will be marked by a show of military force along the Avenue of Eternal Peace, which is expected to feature an array of new and improved weaponry, including missiles.

President Hu has made the navy's modernization his personal project, but it has far from erased a technological gap with the United States and other major powers. The PLA Navy has about 290,000 personnel, many on aged vessels.

China has become increasingly vocal about its ambition to become a deep-water power, concluding it must master the logistical and technological demands of a blue water navy.

China boasts the world's third-largest air force, with about 400,000 personnel and 2,000 combat aircraft.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard, Chris Buckley and Emma Graham-Harrison in BEIJING and by Isabel Reynolds in TOKYO; Editing by Nick Macfie)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Monday, September 28, 2009

Number of ZBD-97 IFV In PLA Service As Estimated By Andrew KC.

A "leaked" photo of the ZBD-97 prototype was first revealed in public in 2003; it was coupling an imported Russian BMP-3 turret with the new Norinco 20 ton class universal tracked chassis. The imported BMP-3 turret included the fire-control system, the laser guided projectiles for its 100 mm 2A70 rifled gun and a coaxial 30mm cannon. The Norinco chassis is equipped with two large water jet ports enabling the ZBD-97 to have a greater amphibious capability compare to the standard Russian BMP-3.

Since entering service in 2006, a total of 310 ZBD-97 in 5 battalions have been identified by Andrew KC.

86th Motorized Division - Armored Regiment Armored Infantry Battalion - 31;
121st Motorized Division - Armored Regiment Armored Infantry Battalion - 31;
123rd Mechanized Division - Armored Regiment Armored Infantry Battalion - 31, and 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments - 186;
163rd Motorized Division - Armored Regiment Armored Infantry Battalion - 31.

This gives a total of 310! - Andrew KC

Photo of a laser simulation equipped ZBD97 for battling against "bad guys" of the Blue Army

Friday, September 25, 2009

Third China-Vietnam defense and security consultation

The Sino-Vietnam relationship has improved greatly the past few years. There was even talk about a “Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership” by Pham Quang Nghi, a senior Vietnamese official.(here) The language used during the recent “Third China-Vietnam defense and security consultation” is very positive. The annual Sino-Vietnam trade reached 15 billion by 2007, a 468% increase from 1991, when the two nations normalized relations (Here) and trade figures are expected to hit 25 billion a year by 2010. To accommodate this rise in trade, two more expressways are under construction connecting the Longbang Port to Guangxi. Guangxi has planned to build 24 transportation routes to Vietnam, 10 of which are already in operation (here)

Skeptics point out the historical mistrust between the two Asian nations; not everything is as rosy as trade would imply. They believe any “comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership” will be difficult to achieve. For example, Vietnam’s war hero, General Vo Ngugyen Giap spoke out against a $15 billion mining project in the Central Highlands between China’s Chinalco and Vietnam’s Vinacomin citing environmental, societal and national defense concerns. The Vietnamese government also has to deal with nationalist bloggers and periodically, anti-Chinese protesters who fear Chinese economic imperialism with trade imbalance heavily favoring the Chinese.

In addition to utilizing the “defense and security consultations” forum, other regional and international frameworks can reduce national backlash. The joint enforcement of the UN prohibition on drift net fishing in the North Pacific, which involves both the US Coast Guard and the Chinese Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, serves as an example (here)

Third China-Vietnam defense and security consultation held in Beijing

(Source: PLA Daily) 2009-09-25

   Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and Tran Quang Khue, the visiting deputy chief of general staff of the Vietnamese People's Army, co-chaired the third defense and security consultation between the Chinese and Vietnamese defense ministries in Beijing on the morning of September 24.

   During the consultation, the two sides exchanged views on regional security, relations between the two countries and the two militaries and other issues of common concern. Both sides stated to treasure the traditional friendship between the two countries, further promote the mutual trust between the two militaries, strengthen the cooperation between the two countries and the two militaries, properly handle the sensitive issues which may have negative impact on the relations between the two countries and the two militaries and together maintain the regional peace, security and stability. The two sides spoke highly of the defense and security consultation mechanism and held that it is an effective measure to boost the development of the relations between the two militaries in the new period and should make full use of this platform to further enhance mutual trust and cooperation.

  Yang Hui, director of the Intelligence Department of the General Staff Headquarters of the PLA, Xiao Xinnian, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, and Nguyen Van Tho, Vietnamese ambassador to China, were present at the consultation.

  By Lu Desheng

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dennis J. Blasko's view on the PRC 60th Anniversary Parade

As a long time US Army attaché in Beijing, Col (ret'd) Blasko is considered to be one of the leading PLA watchers out there. It is always refreshing to read his view.

September 24, 2009
The PRC 60th Anniversary Parade: Equipment on Display, Not Military Capabilities
Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 19
September 24, 2009 04:34 PM Age: 1 hrs
Category: China Brief, Military/Security, China and the Asia-Pacific, Home Page
By: Dennis J. Blasko[tt_news]=35535&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=e904e85030

Tongzhou Airfield Second Artillery Contingent (L) and Tongzhou Airfield Barracks North (R)

The Chinese press has announced that 52 types of “new weapon systems” will be on display in 30 vehicle and 12 air formations during the October 1st military parade portion of the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PLA Daily, September 17). Fourteen dismounted formations from active and reserve People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units, military academies, the People’s Armed Police (PAP), and militia will follow the tri-service honor guard. All personnel will wear new (Type-07) camouflage, service, or dress uniforms issued in recent years.

Based on what can be deduced from other official media reports, unofficial Chinese blogs and internet postings, and public satellite images (i.e. Google Earth), outside observers can verify what the Chinese have said and make a pretty good prediction of what will be seen during the parade. Yet, the new uniforms and newly painted equipments on display indicate little about actual Chinese military capabilities. The more pertinent issue for Chinese military experts is how the parade reflects military doctrine and how the preparations for this event impact the annual training schedule for the personnel and units involved.

All of the Chinese Armed Forces on Parade

This is a parade of the entire Chinese armed forces, not just the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The Chinese armed forces are a “party army”: their loyalty is pledged to the Chinese Communist Party (CPP), not the state (People's Republic of China). The first mission defined by Party General-Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Hu Jintao in his “historic missions in the new century” is to safeguard the Party’s governing position (Xinhua News Agency, October 25, 2007). Every parade formation, except for the honor guard, will be led by two leaders or two vehicles. These pairs represent unit commanders and political officers. In the Chinese armed forces, the commander and political officer are jointly responsible for the actions of their unit. There are many examples where both commander and political officer were relieved of their duties when something went wrong.

By law, the Chinese armed forces are composed of 1) the active and reserve units of the PLA, 2) the PAP, and 3) the militia. The PLA is composed of three services, the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and an independent branch, the Second Artillery—the strategic missile force composed of both nuclear and conventionally-armed ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Each element of the armed forces has a primary mission: the PLA is focused primarily on defense against external enemies; the primary role of the PAP, in conjunction with the civilian Ministry of Public Security police force, is internal/domestic security [The security tasks of the PAP were enumerated recently in the Law on the People's Armed Police Force of the People's Republic of China passed on August 29, 2009.]; while the militia may provide support to both external and domestic security missions. As secondary tasks, the PLA and the PAP may support the other in their primary missions.

According to Chinese doctrine (for example, see The Science of Campaigns), all elements of the armed forces are to be integrated with civilian support into joint campaigns to fight local wars under informationized conditions or conduct “non-traditional security” missions (e.g. anti-terrorism, disaster relief operations, internal stability functions, public health security).

In any mission the armed forces undertake the Chinese leadership will seek to mobilize the public to support their efforts politically, economically, and materially as necessary. In that regard, while stoking national pride the 60th anniversary parade aims also illustrate to the Chinese population that the last decade of double-digit increases to the defense budget have resulted in tangible progress (China Brief, September 10). This is a people’s parade and the uniformed participants fully understand that they need the public’s support as they continue to operate within the modernized “strategic concept” of People’s War, which originated as a political-military strategy invented by Mao Zedong.

[B]Also according to Chinese doctrine, military parades contribute to China’s overall, multi-layered posture of strategic deterrence (e.g. deterring conventional attack on Chinese territory or sovereignty, deterring nuclear attack, deterring further steps toward Taiwan independence, and deterring the “three evils” of “terrorism, separatism, and extremism”). Th[/B]e Science of Military Strategy, published by the Chinese Academy of Military Science, the country's premier military research institute for the development of military strategy, operations, and tactics and which is directly controlled by the Central Military Commission, states:

“Demonstrating momentum by showing the disposition of the strength to the enemy is to display clearly one’s deterrent force for bringing about psychological pressure on and fear to the opponent and thus to force him to submit. Such deterrent forms as large-scale military review, joint military exercise, and military visit, etc, are usually adopted” [1].

The “enemies” that Beijing seeks to deter may be individuals or groups of terrorists, separatists, or extremists either in China or along its borders or may be state actors which challenge its sovereignty. Thus, the parade is intended for both domestic and foreign audiences. The Chinese leadership will hail it as a measure of their transparency in military affairs.

Parade Preparations Reveal Much

A Google Earth satellite image of Beijing taken in June 2009 covers the “Parade Villages” at the Tongzhou and Shahe military airfields near Beijing. The preparations and training that have been underway at these sites for five months are clearly visible even to an untrained eye. Foreign journalists have been allowed access to the Shahe “Parade Village” to observe living conditions and training for dismounted personnel marching in the parade (China Military Online, September 11).

Multiple ground and air rehearsals have been conducted along the parade route down Chang’an Boulevard and the Chinese blogosphere is abuzz with close-up photos and videos of equipment and personnel. Analysis of Google Earth imagery matched with rehearsal photographs reveals much of what will be seen on October 1st.

Earlier this year, barracks and vehicle parking lots were constructed along the main runway at Tongzhou airfield. Open unit parking lots for 30 vehicle formations are visible on the Google Earth imagery. At the time of the image, nine units were on the runway assembling or practicing driving in formation. The standard formation seen in 1999, four rows of vehicles with four columns led by two vehicles (for a total of 18 vehicles per formation) is evidenced once more on the runway.

Near the north end of the runway, perhaps the most prominent sight is the perfect formation of 18 armored personnel carriers painted white, denoting their subordination to the PAP. Main battle tanks, armored fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, multiple rocket launchers, surface-to-air missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, and ballistic and cruise missiles of the Second Artillery are all recognizable on the runway and parked in open lots.

Among the parked vehicles, many formations are green (generally indicating Army units) and four can be seen to be blue (indicating Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Airborne). In addition to the 18 vehicles that will drive in the parade, each unit has a few spares in case of maintenance problems.

The Second Artillery contingent is seen at the southern end of the airfield. Five types of missile systems can be seen: 19 DF-11 short-range ballistic missiles, 19 DF-15 short-range ballistic missiles, 19 DF-21 medium-range ballistic missiles, 14 DF-31/31A intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 19 DH-10 cruise missiles. (There has been no sighting yet of the new JL-2 SLBM, which is eventually expected to be deployed to the Navy.) Significantly, the 14 DF-31/31As present at the airfield comprise a very large percentage of the total number of DF-31/31As deployed. According to the 2009 National Air and Space Intelligence Center report on the “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” less than 15 of each of the DF-31 and DF-31As have been deployed.

While, like the Chinese say, the weapons on display have been made in China (albeit some under license from Russia and France), it is evident from the rehearsal photographs that more than half of the systems are the same as or modifications or upgrades of weapons seen in the 1999 parade. Unlike previous parades, however, communications and logistics support vehicles will also participate.

The 12 formations of aircraft to over-fly Beijing will include China’s newest fighter, the J-10, other fighters and fighter-bombers (J-8, J-11, and JH-7), airborne refuelers, early warning and control aircraft, and multiple types of helicopters.

Many of the weapons in the parade are considered “assassin’s mace” (shashoujian) weapons in the Chinese literature. However, the fact that so many different types of weapons from all services, to include communications and logistics vehicles, are included in the parade represents Chinese military doctrine that calls for all weapons, new and old, to be integrated into campaigns. “Assassin’s mace” weapons will be used in joint campaigns with other elements of firepower, mobility, and special operations integrated with systems to prosecute electronic and information war. Yet, according to PLA doctrine, “information warfare is a means, not a goal” [2].

The Parade and Military Organization and Training

Whether or not the new equipment has been seen officially in public before, military enthusiasts and analysts inside and outside of China have been monitoring the status of nearly every weapon (if not all of them) in the parade. Long before the parade rehearsals, websites such as the excellent had photos and specifications for the majority of Chinese gear to be seen in the parade.

The appearance of equipment in the parade says nothing conclusive about how widespread it has been deployed to the force. For example, the Type 96 and Type 98/99-series main battle tanks were both seen in 1999. Only 10 Type 98 tanks led eight Type 96s in a mixed formation suggesting there were only 10 Type 99s deployed within the whole of the PLA at that time (a second formation composed entirely of 18 Type 96s preceded the mixed formation in the 1999 parade). This year a full formation of 18 Type 99 will be followed by a second formation of 18 Type 96 series tanks. Currently only about 200 Type 98/99 series tanks are estimated to be deployed to the force, but some 1,500 Type 96-series are found in units throughout the country. These two most advanced main battle tanks make up less than one-third the 6,700 tanks in the PLA (total number found in the 2009 Department of Defense Report to Congress).

This year, much larger formations of Second Artillery missiles will be paraded as compared to the 1999 performance. At that time, nine each of the early models of DF-11 and DF-15s, six DF-21s, and three DF-31s were included. Despite it making a showing at the 1999 parade, according to the 2009 Department of Defense Report to Congress, the DF-31 was not deployed operationally until some seven years later in 2006. Full formations of these ballistic missiles (perhaps ranging from 12-18 missiles depending on type), as well as the recently deployed DH-10 land-attack cruise missile, will be in the parade. However, the numbers of each type of missile seen in the parade do not correspond to the actual numbers of missiles found in operational units. Again according to the Department of Defense Report to Congress, 700-750 DF-11s, 350-400 DF-15s, 60-80 DF-21s, and 150-350 DH-10s missiles are in PLA units (the number of each type of launcher is usually less than the number of missiles available).

The set-piece parade formations of personnel, vehicles, and aircraft also provide no insights into how the PLA has restructured itself over the past decade. The structure of army divisions has been modified; new brigades have been created (many from former divisions). The mix of equipment in the parade does not provide any clue to how these divisions and brigades are organized.

What is more important is that the parade does not reveal how well-trained the troops are to actually use these weapons. While marching or driving in precise formations is rigorous work requiring a high degree of discipline and stamina, the parade formations have absolutely no tactical value or relevance to how units actually move, shoot, and communicate in battle or are integrated into larger systems-of-systems necessary for modern war.

Parade personnel and equipment will miss an entire season of unit field training. Yet the impact is greater than just for the personnel and equipment involved in the parade. In order to assemble sufficient soldiers of the proper height, many subordinate units in the larger organization will have to contribute personnel to create a detachment of the proper size to march in the parade. Units also must send clerks, cooks, medics, and mechanics to support the marchers. Parent units can consolidate those left behind for training or train at less than full-strength, but the parade will have an impact on many units’ annual training schedules.


The individuals and units involved in the execution of the parade can rightfully be proud of their accomplishments. It will be no small maintenance accomplishment to get so many pieces of military equipment to complete the route without breakdown after months of slow formation driving. Participation undoubtedly increases unit esprit and confidence in the soldiers and their leaders. Many small unit leaders will likely have improved their own leadership skills to motivate subordinates during what certainly have been trying times during parade practice. The logistics effort to support this commitment also gives the units experience at operating away from their home bases (even if in nice barracks along airfields). Therefore, some benefits accrue from this event, but these intangibles say little about the warfighting or “military operations other than war” capabilities of the Chinese armed forces.

No judgment about Chinese military capabilities can be rendered simply by watching this parade. And more importantly, based on the weapons on display no judgment can be rendered as to the Chinese intention behind the deployment of these weapons. The best that can be said is that these weapons are inventory—but from the parade itself, we do not know how many have been deployed into units or if the units have developed personnel capable of planning for their employment, operating them to their maximum effectiveness, and supporting them in the field under the stress of combat.

The 60th anniversary parade is one milestone in China’s long-term, multi-faceted military modernization process. It will be major morale boost for the force and a source of national pride for the Chinese public, but the parade should not be misinterpreted by attributing unwarranted intentions to this single event.


1. Peng Guangqian and Yao Youzhi (eds), The Science of Military Strategy, Beijing: Military Science Publishing House, 2005, p. 223.
2. The Science of Campaigns. National Defense University Press, both 2000 and 2006 editions make these points.

100 More RD-93 Engines

Two major Chinese media outlets (here) and (here) have reported that a contract was signed between Rosoboronexport and Chengdu Aircraft Company for 100 Russian-made "improved-thrust" RD93 engines. An additional 100 engines is also under negotiation. Since the FC-1 fighter is the only target for the RD93 engine, this contract could signify a boost in FC-1 production. According to the report, the Pakistani Air force has a requirement for 250 FC-1s (JF-17) and is the likely recipient.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The "New" F-8T Fighter

The new F-8T fighter was on display for the first time during the 13th annual Beijing International Air Show. This latest J-8 export model was first revealed in an AVIC poster during last year’s Zhuhai air show.

Judging from the specs released, it is sporting a JL-10A X-band airborne pulse Doppler radar and a reconnaissance/EW pod under the forward fuselage, the same radar and pod equipped on later models of the J-8F and T currently in service with the PLAAF.

There is nothing special about this bird except its price as most of its components have been in service for over a decade. If the previous Sino-Russian joint venture of the F-8IIM failed to land any customers, there are doubts this latest attempt will succeed. Coincidentally, a number of Shangyang Aircraft Company’s former employees were critical of the previous J-8 projects in the internet, noting their lack of international marketing experience as a source of embarrassment.

To sum up: they are selling a dated design, using off-the-shelf components for a cheap price. Save money. Live better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

General Liang Guanglie, Defense Minister of China, interviewed.

General Liang Guanglie granted a rare interview with Xinhua recently and we get to see his office for the first time as the result. The entire interview is posted on Ministry of National Defense’s website in both Chinese and English (English) (Chinese).

Instead of reporting the interview “as it is”, some news outlets spanned it: From AP, the headline reads “China says military arsenal comparable with West” (here), from "China says its arsenal compares to West’s" (here) and from Time 'China's arsenal matches that of the West, says Defence Minister" (here)

Actually, General Liang stated the following during his interview:

“After consistent efforts by scientists and researchers as well as China's improving industrial capacities, the PLA's arsenal has been equipped with all major weapon systems on the land, in the sea and air just like other major military powers.”

Through Assumption, there is a perception that all major military powers are located in the “West”. I am sure the Russian would disagree.

Dude, you got a Dell! Where is your Lenovo man?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Egyptian Air Force's Mig-23 in China.

A newly arrived and poorly maintained Egyptian Air Force Mig-23 is on display in the China Aviation Museum at Xiao Tang Hill, Beijing (here)

In 1983, 6 Mig-23 swing-wing fighters (2 Mig23 MC, 2 Mig-23BN, 2 Mig-23U) and 10 AS-5 missiles were “donated” to the PRC as part of a weapons package worth 60 first-generation J-7B fighters. The Sino-Egyptian military exchange started to take shape after President Anwar Sadat withdrew Egypt from the Soviet-Egyptian treaty commitments and turned to China for weapons and support. (Here) After Hosni Mubarak’s 1983 China visit, production lines of J-6 and J-7 fighters were setup with technical assistance by Chinese technicians. At the same time, Chinese reverse engineers were busy dissecting the Egyptian Mig-23. Those Mig-23s never entered PLAAF service; instead they were used as a model for the next generation of Chinese warplanes; its air intake and RP-22 radar were adapted to the J-8II project and its swing-wing and body became the base of the now abandoned Q-6 attacker.

Due to the close Sino-Egyptian military relationship, China received the AT-3 ATGM and the BMP-1 IFV and reverse engineered them to become the Red Arrow 73 and the Type 86 APC. The PLA was facing 40 Soviet Far-East Divisions during the cold war and the Soviet’s AT-3 ATGM’s impressive performance against Israel during the 1973 war seemed to address the PLA’s anti-armor needs. Throughout much of the 1980s and 90s, the Red Arrow 73 and Type86 would operate side-by-side with China’s Type59B MBT and Type 79 MBT sporting a 105mm Israeli tank gun, Israeli fire control suit and Israeli helmet. Welcome to the bizarre world of the international arms market.

J-8II's Air Intake.

Mig-23's air intake

The abandoned Q-6 Attacker.

Type 79 and the imported CVC helmet.

PAP's New Equipment

During the last few weeks, China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP or WJ) have been sporting a number of new armored cars and equipment. This comes as no surprise considering the recent social tension and rioting.

While the Chinese government might be a master of theatrical overreaction (to quote a recent Economist article) when it comes to dealing with "separatist" groups and their movies, they put their money where their mouth is by investing in PAP "to play an active role to facilitate harmony in political, ethnic, religious and class relations among our compatriots at home and abroad," according to Hu Jintao. (here)

New PAP Mobile Command Hmmwv

New DongFeng 4x4 Anti-Riot Car

Beijing’s “Snow Wolf” SWAT Team with it's WZ551 APC protecting a public toilet, the most important civic building.

The very "model" of a modern day People's Militia.

The very "model" of a modern day People's Militia.

If the female People's Militia look like models, well, it's because they are. Since the Oct 1st National Day Parade organization committee failed to find enough "suitable" people's militia for the parade, they hired models instead and some of them come as far as Singapore. To avert another possible Olympic lip sync incident, they made the fact known with full TV and news paper coverage. The other parade participants are real PLA personnel.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Photos of the Sino-Vietnam Joint Survey Team

Photos of one of the 12 Joint-Government teams surveyed the boarder area in accordance with the Dec 31st 2008 Sino-Vietnam demarcation agreement(here) Seeing both militaries working side-by-side is a far cry from events of 1979.

While both sides hailed the land demarcation agreement but no progress on a separate maritime dispute regarding the Spratly Islands has been made. It is also reported the Vietnamese government is uneasy about the growing gap between China's increasingly advanced navy and its own older Soviet and American origin warships (here)

In that light, the Vietnamese government's decision to push for a naval infrastructure expansion is predictable.

Vietnam To Get China Eximbank's Loans For Shipyard, Pwr Projs

HANOI -(Dow Jones)- Vietnam will get soft loans from China Eximbank to expand a shipyard and build a coal-fired power plant, the government said Wednesday.

The loans will be used to expand the Dung Quat Shipyard in central Vietnam and to build the Mao Khe power plant in the north, the government said in a statement.

The government said it has assigned the Ministry of Finance to instruct the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group and the state-run Vietnam Coal-Mineral Industries Group to complete documents for obtaining the loans.

Details on the loans weren't provided.

-By Vu Trong Khanh, Dow Jones Newswires; 844 35123042;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Sino-Vietnam Joint-Government team in action.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Airborne Backpack Kitchen

PLA's airborne backpack kitchen. While MRE has been a standard issue for the PLA for sometime now, but for some reason, they never developed a taste for it. Will the PLA still march without hot sauce?

PLA's MRE and nutrition power, hmmmmm, yum.