Monday, November 30, 2009

China gets rare ship tour: Japan shows off Aegis-equipped destroyer at Sasebo

This Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force "show off" can be viewed in two ways: To display their most advanced hardware to the Chinese as a warming, or to remind the Americans that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is seeking a more "independent" agenda for Japan (here). In light of the recent Okinawa base dispute (here) with the US military and Hatoyama’s proposal for an "East Asia Community" (here), the latter seems to be the more likely explanation.

China gets rare ship tour: Japan shows off Aegis-equipped destroyer at Sasebo
By Travis J. Tritten and Chiyomi Sumida, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Travis J. Tritten

Officers from China’s defense ministry board the Japanese destroyer Chokai at Sasebo Naval Base on Monday. The warship is equipped with the U.S.-developed Aegis weapons system, which gives the U.S. an edge over China’s rapidly developing missile program.

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A visit here Monday by a Chinese defense ministry delegation put the communist country’s top military officials unusually close to the U.S. Navy and its advanced Aegis weapons system technology.

The Japanese navy invited Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and an entourage of ministry officials onto the base for a tour of the destroyer Chokai, which is equipped with the Aegis system and docked in Sasebo with U.S. warships.

The United States has shared the technology with its ally Japan and both countries depend on the ship-based Aegis systems for an edge over Asian threats, including China’s burgeoning missile programs.

China’s tour of the Aegis destroyer was limited to the deck and the bridge to maintain security, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force said Monday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy was conspicuously absent from the high-level visit to one of its key bases in the Pacific region, which it shares with the Japanese navy.

Beyond arranging for the defense minister’s arrival, the U.S. did not work with the Japanese to coordinate the visit to Sasebo, said David Marks, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Tokyo.

“The involvement of the U.S. side was minimal,” he said. “Apparently, [Liang] had to go through the front gate of the base to get to the ships.”

The embassy would not comment on whether the visit raised any security concerns. U.S. Forces Japan refused to comment and directed all questions to the embassy.

The group of Chinese officials traveled through the U.S. Navy base by motorcade and spent about 90 minutes aboard the destroyer, Japanese defense ministry spokesman Masashi Maegata said.

Navy security was increased around the base during the visit and U.S. sailors were stationed at intersections along the defense minister’s motorcade route.

For Japan, the visit by Liang was a sign that long-held tensions between the two Asian countries might be thawing despite Tokyo’s concern about Chinese military growth in recent years.

Liang and his Japanese counterpart, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, agreed to joint military training between China and Japan during Liang’s six-day visit, according to Reuters.

But Kitazawa and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also took the opportunity to press China for more transparency in its military spending during meetings in Tokyo, the wire service reported.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

List of known Class-A Ground Force Military Exercise (cross-region, brigade/division level) conducted by the PLA in 2009.

Peace Mission 2009 和平使命-2009
Sino-Russia Joint exercise. Taonan, Jilin province.

Medical Service Mission 2009 卫勤使命—2009
Medical/Logistic Support Exercise
General Logistic Department, PLAAF, Lanzhou MR, Lanzhou Air force, Jianan MR.

Stride 2009 跨越-2009
Long Range Deployment, Cross-Region Exercise
162nd Motorized Infantry Division, 54th Group Army, Jinan MR. 61st Mechanized Infantry Division, 21st Group Army, Lanzhou MR. 115th Mechanized Infantry Division, 39th Group Army, Shanyang MR. 121 Motorized Infantry Division, 41st Group Army, Guangzhou MR.

Vanguard 2009 前锋-2009
Battle-Group/Battle-Corps Exercise
Armor Brigade, 20th Group Army, Jinan MR. Jinan Air force. 43rd Airborne Division, 15 Airborne Army.

Airborne maneuver 2009 空降机动-2009
Large Scale Airborne Exercise
43rd Airborne Division, 44th Airborne Division, 45 Airborne Division of 15th Airborne Corps.

Advance 2009 先行-2009
Integrated Logistic Support Exercise
General Logistic Department and support elements from all military regions.

South-West Mission 2009 西南使命-2009
Joint Land-Air Exercise
44th Fighter Division, Chengdu Air force. 149th Mechanized Infantry Division, 13th Group Army, Chengdu MR, 31st Motorized Infantry Division, 14th Group Army, Chengdu MR.

Western Region 2009 西部-2009
Joint Information Operation Warfare Exercise
Lanzhou MR, General Staff Department, CMC. 36th Bomber Division, Lanzhou Air force.

Joint 2009 联合-2009
Joint Special Operation/Vertical Assault Exercise
8th Armor Division, 26th Group Army, Jinan MR, Special Operation Teams, ECM Regiments, Army Aviation Regiments.

Iron Cavalry 2009 铁骑-2009
Armor Cavalry Battle-Group Exercise.
11th Armor Division, 54th Group Army, Jinan MR. 1st Army Aviation Regiment, Jinan MR

Victory 2009 必胜-2009
Red vs Blue "open house" Exercise
34th Motorized Infantry Brigade, 12th Group Army, Nanjing MR, Armor Brigade, 31st Group Army, Nanjing MR.

Iron Fist 2009 铁拳-2009
Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and C4ISR Exercise
127th Light Mechanized Infantry Division, 54th Group Army, Jinan MR. 11th Armor Division, 54th Group Army, Jinan MR

Fire Power 2009 火力2009
PGM targeting, live-fire Exercise
1st Artillery Division, 42nd Group Army, Guangzhou MR, Artillery Brigade, 41st Group Army, Guangzhou MR.

Friday, November 27, 2009

"Iron Fist-2009" military exercise in Jinan MAC

127th Light Mech Infantry Division Vs 11th Armor Division, 54th Group Army, Jinan MR

"Iron Fist-2009" military exercise in Jinan MAC

(Source: PLA Daily) 2009-11-27

  The military exercise code-named "Iron Fist-2009" was held at the Queshan Combined Tactics Training Base of the Jinan Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army from November 18 to 23, 2009. According to Rong Guiqing, commander of a group army under the Jinan MAC, the unprecedented exercise conducted in complicated electromagnetic environment posed serious challenges to the troops participating in the exercise.

  It is reported that the exercise directors arranged powerful electromagnetic interference (EMI) force to jam the C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) system of the “Red Army Division” during the whole process of the exercise.

  Shortly after the beginning of the exercise, the “Red Army Division” launched EMI to disturb the roles of the C4ISR of the command post, radar station and combat information system of the“Blue Army Division”.

  Various new type fire powers were employed in the precise strike of the exercise.

  The troops on the “Red Army Division” side from the air force, army aviation force, anti-aircraft artillery and radar force also joined in the exercise.

  During the exercise, the electromagnetic confrontation between the “Red Army Division” and the “Blue Army Division” lasted for several hours.

  According to Zhou Youya, commander of the “Red Army Division”, the division has spent 3 years exploring the fighting methods in the confrontations of communication, radar, electro-optical warfare and network and boosting its capability of managing and controlling the electromagnetic spectrum. Such methods and capability have stood the challenge and test of this "Iron Fist 2009" military exercise.

  By Tang Jinjiang and Li Guanghui

China, Japan plan first joint military exercise

It will take much more to put aside their mutual suspicion. Nevertheless, it is a welcoming step.

Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:54am EST

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and China agreed on Friday to conduct their first joint military training exercise, in the latest sign of warming ties between the Asian neighbors, long marked by mutual suspicion and spats over a range of issues.

But Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa maintained the pressure on China's visiting defense minister for more openness about ballooning military spending, a particular concern for Tokyo.

Kitazawa and his Chinese opposite number, Liang Guanglie, agreed that their countries' armed forces would hold a joint search and rescue exercise at sea -- their first joint exercise. The two sides would also discuss further joint training in humanitarian assistance and disaster rescue.

"I strongly believe that the agreement between China and Japan to conduct a joint rescue drill at sea clearly indicates tremendous progress in mutual understanding and trust between the two countries," Kitazawa told a joint news conference.

The uniformed Liang told reporters: "We have openly exchanged our ideas without any hesitation and agreed upon various goals by sharing issues and concerns."

In a joint press statement, they added that Kitazawa would visit China next year as part of a growing range of military exchanges, including visits by naval vessels.

But Kitazawa later told reporters he had pressed Liang to follow Japan's example of openness, including by issuing a defense white paper giving details of its military spending and equipment.

Hatoyama also called for more openness in his meeting with Liang, the foreign ministry said.

China's official military budget will grow to 480.7 billion yuan ($70.41 billion) in 2009, up 14.9 percent year on year, in line with nearly two decades of double-digit budget rises.

Kitazawa told Liang not enough information had been made public about the make-up and deployment of the armed forces as well as their equipment, saying that this could lead to misunderstandings, a defense ministry official said.

Liang replied that China was already making efforts to become more open, the official said. The official also quoted Liang as saying that China's defense budget was low when calculated per head of population.

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Government Flying Service of Hong Kong

The Government Flying Service (GFS) is one of the disciplined services departments of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has an establishment of 223 personnel responsible for flight operations, aircraft maintenance and administration. The GFS Headquarters (HQ) is located at the south-western corner of the Hong Kong International Airport at north Lantau.

The GFS was involved in rescue operations in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 and received a great deal of media coverage. In August 2008, the GFS provided 24-hour emergency and operational aerial coverage for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic questrian Events and Torch Relay of the XXIX Olympic game.

The GFS fleet comprises the following aircraft.

2x Jetstream 41 for long range/offshore SAR missions, aerial survey and surveillance
3x AS 332L2 Super Puma for inshore/offshore search and rescue helicopter; fire fighting
4x EC 155 B1 for aeromedical services, inshore search and rescue, VIP and government personnel transfer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Update on China’s IL-76 buy.

According to the $1.5 billion contract signed in September 2005, Russia would deliver 34 IL-76 military cargo planes and four IL-78 Midas refueling tankers in 2006 (here). The time-frame for this delivery was pushed by Rosoboronexport citing production and cost related issues. The Chinese government suspended the contract after Rosoboronexport attached an additional $400 million USD to the contract. (here)
It’s coincidental that Rosoboronexport is reopening negotiations after the recently announced Chinese 200 ton heavy military transport prototype (here).

TAPOiCh Creating Problems with Contract to Deliver Il-76 and Il-78 Airplanes to China

Source: 23.11.09, Avia.RU

Problems with realization of the contract for the delivery of Il-76 military transport airplanes and Il-78 tankers to China have been caused by the Tashkent Chkalov Aviation Production Association's (TAPOiCh, Uzbekistan), to fulfill its obligations, ARMS-TASS reports.

In particular, as regards Russia, the contract is being implemented and will be implemented; however, the Russian side is not bearing and will not bear responsibility for the factual failure of the fulfillment of this project by its third participant, the Uzbek side in the person of TAPOiCh, an informed source in the Russian defense industrial complex reports.

An announcement has been made in connection with the forthcoming 14th meeting of the Russo-Chinese mixed inter-governmental commission for military and technical cooperation in Moscow on 25 November.

Russia's obligations for this contract concern only the manufacture and the deliveries to China of engines and the auxiliary power plants for the Il-76 and Il-78 airplanes, and these obligations are being fulfilled. The Tashkent aircraft plant, who is actually has abrogated the contract, is supposed to produce the airframes themselves for these airplanes, in accordance with the contractual obligations they took on.

"Apparently, some kind of supplement to the contract will be signed as a way out of this situation in which new schedules for its fulfillment will be defined," a source in the Russian defense industrial complex said.

Possibly, the transfer of the order for production of the Il-76 and Il-78 airframes from the Tashkent aircraft plant to the Ul'yanovsk plant when the latter gets up to speed will be one of the variants.

According to the Russian Federation defense ministry, the contract, signed in Sochi in 2005 during the 12th meeting of the Russo-Chinese mixed military and technical cooperation intergovernmental commission, provides for the delivery of 38 medium Il-76 military transport airplanes and 4 long-range Il-78 tankers to China. The total cost of the deal is nearly one billion dollars.

Source: 23.11.09, Avia.RU

Senior Chinese military official meets Russian defense chief on cooperation 2009-11-25 18:49:09

MOSCOW, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong reached broad consensus with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov here Wednesday on furthering cooperation between Chinese and Russian armed forces.

Guo said this year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic ties and the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation had kept its momentum of dynamic development.

Leaders of the two countries met several times this year and reached broad consensus on efforts to deepen such a partnership, said Guo.

Thanks to intensive attention from both leaders, the relationship between Chinese and Russian armed forces -- as one major part of their bilateral relations -- had been continuously enriched and enhanced in recent years, he said.

Guo said both armies have maintained frequent high-level exchanges, with their cooperation in various fields being pragmatic and thorough.

The Peace Mission-2009 joint anti-terror military exercises in July had once more demonstrated to the world the close collaboration between China and Russia on anti-terrorism, as well as their determination to face up to new threats and challenges together, he said.

Against the backdrop of complicated international situations, Guo noted, the reinforcement of interactions and cooperation between their armed forces was not only in keeping with the fundamental interests of China and Russia and their two peoples, but also conducive to safeguarding peace and stability of the region and the world.

Serdyukov agreed with Guo, saying the two countries and the two armies had kept close interactions and timely communication with each other on major global and regional issues.

Each had also supported the other on major issues concerning core interests, which reflected the advanced development of their strategic partnership of cooperation, he noted.

Russia was ready to join hands with China in pushing forward their friendly and cooperative links in all fields, he said.

Guo is leading a Chinese government delegation on a five-day visit to Russia, which started Monday.

Editor: Fang Yang

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

J-10 pilot gets top honors for saving faulty jet fighter

Public Relations kitsch aside, this write-up offers a glance into how the PLAAF operates.

Chinese pilot gets top honors for saving faulty jet fighter

08:14, March 30, 2009

A Chinese pilot who successfully brought a malfunctioning jet fighter, a domestically made J-10, in for a landing was given the nation's First-Class Merit Citation and a Meritorious Pilot gold medal last Thursday

Li Feng, 38, an air force pilot with more than 2,000 hours of flight time, encountered an engine problem during a tactical training exercise at an altitude of about 4,500 meters on March 7.

With assistance from the command center of a nearby air base, Li tried every possible means to return to base. However, the plane lost all power at an altitude of 1,160 meters, although it was only about 6 km from the base's runway.

"There was some smoke in the cockpit, perhaps generated by the engine, which leaked into the environmental control system," Lt.-Col. Li said during an interview with China Central Television last week.

"All readings on the instrument board vanished, red lights flashed and the radio went out," he said.

Under Air Force rules, fighter pilots may eject if their aircraft loses engine power below 2,000 meters and can't be restarted.

Before Li lost contact with the control tower, the commander in the air base asked him to eject.

But Li Feng insisted on having another try.

"I knew where the deadline (to abandon the aircraft) was and was prepared for the ejection, but I decided not to give up unless the fighter was totally out of control."

After 106 seconds, Li was able to glide the fighter to a safe landing.

During his service in the Air Force, Li handled another emergency in 1999, when his J-7 jet fighter caught fire at take-off.

The award ceremony was held by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Air Force Command in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.

Li received the medal from Yang Dongming, Deputy Commander of the PLA's Air Force, who came especially to the city for the ceremony on behalf of Commander Xu Qiliang.

Li is a deputy commander of an aviation regiment in the PLA's Guangzhou Military Area Command.

The First-Class Merit Citation is the second-highest military award can get. The Meritorious Pilot gold medal is the top award that the PLA Air Force grants to its pilots. Only a very small number of outstanding pilots have been awarded those medals since 1991.

Li was also given 200,000 yuan (29,411 U.S. dollars) for his courage and composure, which allowed him to save the aircraft worth 200 million yuan. He will share the bonus with other people involved.

Those who were in the control tower during the event won Second-Class Merit Citations.

The J-10 is the third generation of a single-engine fighter made by China's largest state-owned aircraft maker, Aviation Industry Corp. of China.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Coatesville, PN plant gets "Pimp-My-Chopper" contract for Chinese-made Sikorsky frames

This news is definitely a major milestone for China’s aviation industry. It provides further evidence that China’s state sponsored capitalism (tm) is starting to pay dividends with private western companies. While China is capable of weaponizing the S-76, don’t expect to see one in PLA service soon as such modifications will undoubtedly annoy the US Government.

Coatesville plant to get Chinese-made Sikorsky copter

Sikorsky Global Helicopters in Coatesville will receive for customization the first S-76C++ civil helicopter airframe built in China under an agreement between Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and China Aviation Industry Corp. II.

Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., and China Aviation, parent company of Changhe, announced the completion of that airframe today. Additional frames, being made in Changhe's factory southwest of Shanghai, are scheduled to be delivered in 2010.

Changhe is a supplier for Sikorsky's three largest commercial helicopter programs. The S-76 helicopter series by Sikorsky Aircraft has long been the aircraft of choice for Fortune 100 companies and offshore oil support operations. - Diane Mastrull

First S-76(R) Civil Helicopter Airframe Completed in China
PR Newswire
November 23, 2009: 10:07 AM ET

JINGDEZHEN, China, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and AVIC today celebrated completion of the first S-76C++(TM) civil helicopter airframe produced in China. The airframe is the first to be built under an agreement between Sikorsky and Changhe Aircraft. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

The airframe will be delivered to the Sikorsky Global Helicopters facility in Coatesville, Penn., USA, for customization. Additional airframes are scheduled to be delivered in 2010.

"This delivery meets a key milestone in executing on international collaborations creating the culture and relationships for long term success," said John Bishop, Sikorsky Vice President, Strategic Sourcing. "The region has a strong need for helicopters, and as we establish the S-76 helicopter manufacturing presence here, we are proud to celebrate this first delivery. It is a true sign of the strength of this business relationship and the positive path we are on for the future."

In 2006, Sikorsky reinforced its manufacturing base in China when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Aviation Industry Corp. II (AVIC II, now AVIC), parent company of Changhe. The agreement laid the foundation for a business relationship between the two companies that has led to the production of the S-76 civil helicopter airframes from Changhe’s facility southwest of Shanghai.

Changhe is a supplier for Sikorsky’s three largest commercial helicopter programs. Changhe also manufactures tail pylons for Sikorsky’s S-92® helicopter, and supplies airframe components and assemblies Sikorsky’s Schweizer 300CBi(TM) aircraft, which are used worldwide for pilot training, transportation, aerial photography, airborne patrol and many other purposes.

The S-76® helicopter series by Sikorsky Aircraft has long been the aircraft of choice for Fortune 100 companies and offshore oil support operations. Since its initial certification in 1978, Sikorsky has delivered more than 725 S-76 helicopters and accumulated more than 5.1 million flight hours with 220+ operators in 59 countries.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

SOURCE Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

Offical Statement Regarding China's fourth Generation Fighter

The PLAAF public relations department confirmed the reported "fourth generation fighter [J-xx]" is based on the improved J-10 design. This confirmation was published by the Xinhua News Agency and the PLA daily.

Hopefully the PLAAF confirmation will put an end to all the speculation about the J-xx project since General He Weirong's statement saying "pilots could expect to jump into the most advanced fighter jets in 8 to 10 years that will have stealth capability." (here)

And yes, no aliens were harmed during the R&D phase of the J-10 project.


2009-11-23 15:48:26 来源:新华社




China's Fifth-Generation Fighters and the Changing Strategic Balance
Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 23
November 19, 2009 12:51 PM Age: 3 days
Category: China Brief, In a Fortnight, Home Page, China and the Asia-Pacific, Military/Security
By: Russell Hsiao

On November 9, General He Weirong, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), confirmed long-standing speculations that the PLAAF is developing fifth-generation fighters (fourth-generation in Chinese standard), which may be in service within 8 to 10 years, and certainly by 2020. During an interview with state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) two days ahead of the 60th anniversary of the PLAAF on November 11, Deputy Commander He announced that the next-generation fighter would soon undergo its first flight, closely followed by flight trials (Xinhua News Agency, November 9). The senior military officer's disclosure reflects the considerable progress that the PLAAF has made in force modernization, which has exceeded Western expectations in terms of the pace of development and the capabilities of its defense industrial base. While China remains several steps behind the United States in operationalizing its advanced fighter jets, the PLA's rapid military modernization has raised concerns among U.S. allies in the region that the military balance is beginning to tilt toward China's favor.

In an interview with Global Times, PLAAF Commander Xu Qiliang stated, “superiority in space and in air would mean, to a certain extent, superiority over the land and the oceans” (Global Times, November 2), thereby highlighting the PLAAF's position in Chinese military planning. At an event commemorating the PLAAF’s 60th anniversary, President Hu Jintao heralded a “new chapter” in the development of the PLAAF (Global Times, November 10).

China’s fifth-generation fighters will reportedly have 4S capabilities: stealth, super cruise, super maneuverability and short take-off. According to Air Force Colonel Dai Xu, “its most striking characteristic is the capability of invisibility, which also could be called low detectability” (Global Times, November 10). The U.S. F-22 Raptor serves as the gold standard of fifth-generation fighters, which is currently the only fifth-generation fighter in service among all the world's armed forces. According to General He's interview, Chengdu Aircraft, the country's leading fighter manufacturer, is reportedly developing the fighter with Shenyang Aircraft (Xinhua News Agency, November 9).

General He’s startling revelation that the next-generation fighter may be in service by 2020 stands in stark contrast to the Chinese habit of closely guarding its military capabilities, yet consistent with a recent trend that reflects the Chinese Armed Force’s growing confidence in its military strength. During an interview with the official Xinhua News Agency back in September, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie proclaimed that, "Our [China’s] capabilities in waging defensive combat under modern conditions have taken a quantum leap … It could be said that China has basically all the kinds of equipment possessed by Western countries, much of which reaches or approaches advanced world standards" (Xinhua News Agency, September 21),

Indeed, an ongoing survey conducted by Global Times among its Chinese users revealed some telling observations about how they perceive China's security environment and PLA airpower. The short four-question survey asks the respondents questions ranging from where they think the biggest security threat to China in the future will come from to how they rate China's airpower and what type of air force should be developed in the future. The first question, which asks how respondents view China's security environment, 46 percent of the 9,335 who answered said that they think the biggest security threat to China comes from the sea, while 43 percent responded that it is airborne. The second question asked respondents to rate China's air force, and 50.8 percent rated the Chinese Air Force as average, while 44.9 percent rated it as weak. The third question asked respondents what kind of airforce China should develop, and an overwhelming majority, 75.3 percent, responded that China ought to develop a strategic air force capable of covering the entire globe. The final question asks respondents where China should place its emphasis with regard to air force development, and the majority—47.6 percent—responded that China's air force should develop a space-based combat unit (satellites, space weapons, etc.), while 21.3 percent responded that China's emphasis should be placed on developing large airlift platforms (strategic bombers and cargo aircraft, etc.) (, November 17).

In light of China’s rapid air force modernization, Japan is increasingly concerned about Chinese regional air superiority. A Kyodo News report cited by the Global Times quoted Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canada-based Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, as saying that the PLAAF currently has 280 J-11s, whose combat performance is comparable to Japan's Air Self Defense Forces' 200 F-15s, and 140 J-10s, which are a match for the F-16s. According to a Japanese military source, "even though [Japan] has a disadvantage in numbers at the moment, but combined with its airborne early warning and control system Japan can win in terms of quality." Yet, the source cautioned that, "once China deploys its AEWC [KJ-2000, which were on display at the October 1 National Day Parade] … Japan's air superiority will gradually diminish" (China Daily, November 11; Global Times, November 12).

China’s last cavalry

China’s last cavalry

* Source: Global Times
* [17:34 November 20 2009]
A soldier herds horses on horseback.

The second squadron of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is the only mounted troop of The Chinese People's Liberation Army, camping in Maodeng pasture Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia.

With the development of modern science and military technology, soldiers on horseback are withdrawing from the military field.

Ren Zhilong, political director of the second squadron told the media that the cavalry horses are often trained from May to September.

After September, only six soldiers are left in the pasture to take care of the horses. According to Ren, there are 143 horses, each one with its own file and number which is branded on them when they are born.

Soldier Shang Chunlei said that training horses needs patience and perseverance. It's common for them to fall off the horses. Another soldier Liu Yuankuan agreed, having fallen off many times.

Liu also said that horses are timid animals that are easily frightened by red plastic bags.

Most of the soldiers suffer from arthritis, because of the cold and humid weather in prairie.

A horse can live 20 to 30 years and it can serve seven to 10 years in the army.

Horses and soldiers are intimate friends, as Wang Qingwei, the army veterinarian said he is happy to cure his horse friends.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

H5 and H6 Testbeds for the JH-7 Project.

Back in June 17 2009, I blogged about the "Growler" role for PLA's JH-7 fighter-bomber project. (Here) Recently released photos suggest that old H5 and H6 bombers were used during the component testing phase of the project.

There must be a reason to keep all those bombers around..........

H-5 testbed for JH-7 systems. Late 1980s

H-6 testbed for JH-7 EW pods.

Replenishment ship 888 Transferred to the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command (FLEC) as "渔政88"

According to the Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Ltd (GSI), the Type R22T Fuchi class AOR Fuxianhu 888 was launched on December 25th 2006 and commissioned by the PLAN South Sea Fleet on December 2007. Unlike her two Fuchi class sisters (886 and 887), Fuxianhu was designed to ferry supply and personnel to PLAN's offshore garrison. Her two RAS stations (one liquid, one solid) were replaced by 4 LCVP craft (in a 2x2 configuration) at midship for supply offloads.

Fuxianhu has a displacement of 20,000 tons with an extensive suite of SAT COM equipment. It’s defensive armament includes two Type 76F Twin-37mm AAA and two Type93 Twin-14.5mm Heavy AAA. One medium-size helicopter flight deck is also featured.

As reported by the PLA daily, the Fuxianhu conducted its maiden supply run to the South China Sea garrison on July 2008 and was initially expected to supplement the old Jingpohu which has been running supplies since June 1993 (here)

Now, with the transfer of the Fuxianhu to the FLEC, it reinforces the trend of shifting focus to MOOTM (Military Operation Other Than War). China is the largest fishing power with a total haul of over 17 million tons in 2007, its distant water fishing fleet is close to 2000 vessels operating in the EEZs of 35 countries (here) .

In 1999 China initiated a zero growth plan as the South China Sea fishing stock is nearing collapse. Having a large replenishment ship to serve in both supply and command roles will enhance the law enforcement of the FLEC (especially with those Type 76F AAA).

Old pennant 888 with her LCVP

One of the two utility boats

With her new pennant "渔政88"