Thursday, December 31, 2009

Update on the J-11B Project.

Recently surfaced photos indicate that the WS-10A turbofan engine is now operational with the J-11B heavy fighter.

According to the PLAAF 60th Anniversary Warplane Show, the J-11B conducted its maiden flight on December 2003 and entered service with the 1st PLAAF Fighter Division on December 2007. The initial batch of the J-11B was powered by the imported Russian AL-31F turbofans engine instead of the delayed WS-10A.

In addition to the engine, the J-11B differs from the J-11A in other areas; it features a new quadruple-redundant digital fly-by-wire flight system with mechanical backup, a new multimode pulse Doppler radar for indigenous armaments against land/sea/air targets, and a new cost of composite material to reduce weight. It's redesigned cockpit is equipped with a new set of instruments ranging from a holographic HUD, four LCD MDFs, to a new missile warning system.

J-11B with PL-12 MRAAM and WS10A

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Talks of a PLAN Overseas Naval Base.

As posted on the Chinese defense ministry website, the Chinese PLAN is floating the idea of an overseas naval base to support its anti-pirate mission in the Gulf of Aden. The lack of an overseas naval base caused hardships and supply problems during the PLAN’s first anti-pirate tour where the Chinese flotilla made no port call in over four months.

While the English report did not specify where the PLAN might setup a this base, the Chinese source mentioned Djibouti as a possible candidate as suggested by Rear Admiral Yin Zhou during a recent interview. (here) It is no coincidence that the Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs is visiting China today to "push forward friendly cooperation in various sectors and advance bilateral relations into a new level." (here)

Back on December 12, 2008, the PLAN first publicly acknowledged that they were "debating" a possible anti-pirate mission to the Gulf of Aden, (here) and their first flotilla was already gearing up for the tour. During that debate, Professor Jin Canrong of Renmin University told China Daily that “sending naval vessels to the waters off Somalia may raise some concerns and provide ammunition to the ‘China threat’ demagogues." One year later, the Chinese anti-pirate mission to the Gulf of Aden has generally been well-received. How the world will react to an overseas PLAN naval base in Djibouti is largely dependent on what type of base it will be. Will it be a simple supply depot or one with full faculty, armed guards and C3I?

All your base are belong to me.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahamoud Ali Youssouf in Beijing, Dec. 29, 2009. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009; 3:02 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese rear admiral has urged the nation to set up navy supply bases overseas in an interview posted on the Ministry of Defense website after China paid ransom to free a ship held for nine weeks by Somali pirates.

China has operated patrols for a year now in the narrow Gulf of Aden, escorting Chinese and foreign ships through waters menaced by pirates operating off the Somali coast.

But coal and ore shipping lanes off the east coast of Africa have proved harder to defend. The De Xin Hai, captured 700 nautical miles east of Somalia in October, was ransomed for $4 million on Sunday.

Reflecting on the hardships endured by the Chinese patrol ships in the anti-piracy effort, Rear Admiral Yin Zhou floated the idea of bases abroad to support the vessels. (

"This is entirely a matter for the country's foreign policy circles, but I feel that would be appropriate if we could have a relatively stable, fixed base for supplies and maintenance," said Yin, who is director of an advisory committee for the Chinese navy's drive to upgrade information technology.

"I think countries near any relatively long-term supply bases established by China, and other countries participating in the escort mission, could understand," he said, adding that would be more affordable than re-supplying via ship on the high seas.

Asian neighbors have been monitoring China's international deployments for signs of the country's rising global status translating into a more assertive foreign policy and presence.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which it considers sovereign territory, under its rule, and 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.

The Chinese navy did not call at any port during the four months of its first mission to the waters off Somalia, creating problems with straining supplies, medical care and homesickness for sailors unable to communicate with their families, the interview and other media reports have noted.

The anti-piracy mission off Somalia has been the first such long-distance projection of Chinese naval power since the Ming dynasty, 600 years ago.

Chinese ships communicated with ships operating under a multi-national anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden, but did not formally cooperate with them. The deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, Commodore Tim Lowe, suggested China could co-lead the grouping next year.

Yin did not suggest where the base would be. But the China Daily on Tuesday ran an interview with the Somali ambassador to China, asking for international assistance in building a coast guard.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Monday, December 28, 2009

China to launch Chang'e-2 lunar satellite

China to launch Chang'e-2 lunar satellite
2009-12-28 16:43 BJT
China will launch its second lunar satellite, Chang'e-2, at the end of 2010. This was announced on Monday by the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

"Chang'e" is named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess. The Chang'e-2 will test key soft landing technologies for the Chang'e-3 and provide high-resolution photo images of the landing area.

China has made progress on six key technologies of Chang'e-2. These include advancements to its lunar capture, orbit control and high-resolution stereo camera. Chang'e-2 and Chang'e-3 are part of China's lunar exploration program. China launched Chang'e-1 in October, 2007.
Related stories

* China to launch Chang'e-2 satellite at the end of 2010 2009-12-28

Editor: Liu Anqi | Source:

Sunday, December 27, 2009


PLA's Tactical Command and Control Simulation Training System (TCCST) is being shown for the first time by the CCTV. The TCCST is being used by the 6th Armor Division, 38th Group Army, Beijing MR at the "Blue Army" Combined Arms Tactical Training Base at Zhurihe for online war-game against the bad guy. For years the PLA has placed great emphasis on simulation and online war-game to enhance it's training needs. However, the accuracy of their simulation results against real-world performance is still remain unknown.

* JANUS is an interactive, digital simulation of combined-arms warfare named after the Roman god, "Janus", who guarded Rome’s city gates. And no, it has nothing to do with that satellite of Saturn.

Zhurihe Combined Arms Tactical Training Base

Update on the cargo ship De Xin Hai hijacked by the Somali pirates

I posted the following back in Oct 10, 2009 (here) and looks like they have agreed to the four million USD ransom demand. The crew will be home by Chinese New Year and that is worth celebrating.

Millions of Chinese are now glued to their flat panels wondering how the high seas drama is going to play out. How will China apply its military might in a MOOTW (Military Operation Other Than War)? Will they resort to diplomacy, water cannons, or C803’s? Inquiring minds want to know!

China says ship crew rescued from Somali pirates
Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:15pm EST

BEIJING (Reuters) - The crew of a Chinese ship hijacked by Somali pirates in mid-October was safely rescued, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday, making no mention of a reported ransom payment.

The De Xin Hai, owned by a unit of China Ocean Shipping or COSCO, was carrying coal and 25 Chinese crew from South Africa to India when seized by pirates east of the Horn of Africa, some 700 nautical miles east of Somalia, on October 19.

Jiang Yu, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said the crew was rescued early on Monday morning Beijing time, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"The ship has been under the protection of Chinese warships. We will carry out medical checks for the crew, send them to safe waters and bring them back to China as quickly as possible," Jiang said.

The announcement brought to a subdued end a hijacking that had highlighted China's growing presence on global shipping lanes, and brought warnings that Beijing could use military force against the pirates based in Somalia.

The foreign ministry statement gave no details of how the crew was recovered. One of the pirates told Reuters on Sunday a helicopter had dropped a $4 million ransom payment onto the deck of the ship, opening the way to their release.

China sent three warships to Somali waters late last year with great fanfare after a ship carrying oil to China was attacked by pirates. But Chinese warships, like those from other countries, provide protection mainly in the narrow and dangerous Gulf of Aden, not the much larger Indian Ocean.

(Reporting by Huang Yan; Editing by Chris Buckley and Ron Popeski)

Mobile Air Defense On-The-Cheap

Prior to the introduction of the PGZ95 self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery (SPAAA), this Type 63 APC ad hoc modification was the only opinion for PLA's mobile armor columns. Even today, this type of "mobile air defense on-the-cheap" can still be found on some low readiness units.

Can't imagine the twin 25mm AAA/HN-5 MANPAD mount would be effective in a modern battlefield.

Friday, December 25, 2009

China accomplishes survey and mapping of Qinghai-Tibet Railway with high-precision

Consider how important the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to the Chinese government, there is no way they would allow a foreign company to conduct the survey, not matter the cost.

CCTV has a different take on this news, it stated that the survey is for the entire Tibet region not just the railway.
China accomplishes survey and mapping of Qinghai-Tibet Railway with high-precision

(Source: PLA Daily) 2009-12-24

The PLA surveyors are carrying out survey task on the plateau of northwest China. (Photo by Li Xiaoqiang)

  “National geographical information security has a bearing on national core interest." Wang Mingxiao, director of a survey and mapping information center and senior engineer of the Lanzhou Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said firmly, “China’s first digitalized railway on plateau must be surveyed by Chinese people themselves.”

  The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is a railway constructed on the plateau with the highest altitude, the longest line and the most complicated geological structure in the world. According to the design requirements, the absolute precision gap in the dynamic survey and mapping of railway must be less than 1 meter, but the maximum absolute precision gap in China was far bigger than this numerical value.

  However, the expense for employing professional surveyors from Western developed countries is as high as 500 million yuan. More importantly, the confidential geographical information on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will thus be divulged.

  Finally, the task of surveying and mapping by satellite for 518,000 basic points and 110,000 key points along the 1,142-kilometer-long track line of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Ge’ermu to Lhasa was entrusted to the survey and mapping element of the Lanzhou MAC led by Wang Mingxiao.

  On the eve of the Chinese Spring Festival of 2005, Wang Mingxiao and his survey and mapping element developed a temperature-preserving and wind-avoiding satellite surveying and mapping track vehicle. With the service of this track vehicle, the survey and mapping element realized the dynamic measurement of the altitude, longitude and latitude along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The error in measurement precision was only 0.3 meter. Soon after, they successfully tackled more than 50 technological difficulties, innovated 12 operational methods, and accomplished the accurate measurement of 518,000 sets of 3D coordinates and 110,000 sets of key point data.

  By Ma Sancheng, Wei Chun and Huang Baofeng

Editor:Luo Hui

Here is the CCTV news report from November 22nd, 2009 proclaiming the digital mapping of the Tibetan Plateau (Chinese controlled region) has been completed.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Han class SSN (Type 091) Photos.

Since the Han class nuclear-powered attack submarine is no-longer state-of-the-art, the PLAN is publishing more photos of it in outlets such as the "Naval and Merchant Ship" magazine.