Sunday, January 31, 2010

First photo of the PLAAF aerial refueling training in Russia.

As part of the 2 Billion dollars Su-30MKK package ordered by the PLAAF on August 27th 1999, a small team of Chinese pilots was send to the Moscow Pilots School for training in 2000. Initially the training program was greeted with great fanfare, but for reasons yet unknown, there were no follow-ups.

PLAAF's Su-30MKK with it's retractable refuel probe.

Photos from the Shanghai Museum of Navy, enjoy.

Address: No.68,Tanghou Road, Wusong Town, Baoshan District,Shanghai
Shop hours:8:00~17:00
Phone: 021 - 56163295/56564153

The Shanghai Museum of Navy consists of 4 exhibition halls. The exhibition of the navy history: There are over 5,000 pictures and over 1,500 objects, describing the historical evolution of China's Coastal Defense, modern history of China's territorial sea, the composition of the history of development of the People's Navy. Exhibition of Navy Equipment: over 1,000 pictures and 500 pieces of arms, ship and plane models, showroom of Ships and Planes, shooting range for light-duty arms. Exhibition of Marine Education: consisting of marine wonders and marine art, the mysterious and beautiful sea world, magnificent objects in the sea, over 1,000 artworks of paintings, sculptures, porcelain, and wax printing and over 1,000 pictures. All these vividly impress one with the sense of national territory, marine economy and marine culture.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Civilian" mini F-22P frigate?

On March 2009, the PRC Administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision (AFFHS) confirmed (here) that five "heavier than 3000-ton" class patrol ships with helicopter support platform were ordered to augment its law enforcement capabilities.

This recently revealed mini-F-22P could be one of the five ordered by the AFFHS. Together with the transferred Type R22T Fuchi class AOR Fuxianhu 888 from the navy (here), the AFFHS is getting a significant boost in protecting China's maritime interest in the civilian sphere.

Fishery vessel begins patrol in South China Sea
Updated: 2009-03-17 21:17

HAIKOU - China's largest fishery administration vessel began patrolling the South China Sea Tuesday afternoon.

Yuzheng 311, China's largest fishery administration vessel, is pictured as it arrives in the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, March 17, 2009. [Xinhua]

"China Yuzheng 311" will patrol the Xisha Islands such as Zhaoshu, Yongxing and the East Island to give Chinese fishermen in this area more powerful protection for their interests and safety, said Liu Guimao with the Administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision for the South China Sea.

"China Yuzheng 311" made a week-long voyage to the region from its home port in Guangzhou before arriving Tuesday noon. The vessel stopped at a naval base in Sanya in the southern Hainan Province last Thursday for supplies and set sail for the islands, which are about 180 nautical miles southeast of Hainan.

However, the vessel encountered a storm which delayed its arrival in the islands which was expected to be on Sunday, the vessel's captain, who preferred not to be named, told Xinhua.

With 112.68 meters in length, 15 meters in width, and a maximum displacement of 4,600 tonnes, the vessel is the largest of its kind in China.

Equipped with the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), an advanced communication system initiated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), "China Yuzheng 311" can sail non-stop for 8,000 sea miles at a maximum speed of 22 knots. It was converted from a rescue vessel of Chinese navy

Wu Zhuang, director of the Administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision for the South China Sea, said the vessel will escort Chinese ships around the islands where "fishing illegalities by neighboring countries are on the rise."

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands of the South China Sea and their adjacent waters," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Tuesday.

His comments came after he was asked to respond to accusations of China "flexing military might" by sending ships to the South China Sea.

"The vessel was heading there for a routine fishery administration mission," said Qin.

Speaking of a possible PLAN overseas naval base in Djibouti

Chinese missile frigate makes port call at Djibouti
(Source: Xinhua) 2010-01-26
  DJIBOUTI, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese guided missile frigate has made a port call to Djibouti for re-supply after escort missions in the nearby Gulf of Eden and in the international waters off Somalia.

  It was the first time for Chinese naval vessels to have made port calls to the Horn of Africa country.

  The missile frigate, Ma'anshan, is one of the Chinese guided-missile vessels dispatched to escort cargo ships of China and other countries sailing through the area where Somali pirates have posed serious threats to international shipping by frequent hijacks.

  China made an unprecedented move in late 2008 by sending warships to the Gulf and Eden in the country's first ever overseas escort mission for merchant vessels.

  The Chinese fleet has so far escorted more than 1,300 merchant vessels from China and other countries.

Editor:Chen Jie

Resupplied Chinese frigate back on duty

(Source: Xinhua) 2010-01-29

  GULF OF ADEN, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese frigate is back on duty protecting ships in the Gulf of Aden and in international waters off Somalia after a three-day call at Djibouti for resupply.

  The Ma'anshan ship, which left port on Jan. 26, also hosted a visit by senior Chinese officials while in Djibouti.

  Head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Wang Jiarui, who was in Djibouti for a visit, visited officers aboard Ma'anshan.

  Ma'anshan is one of the Chinese vessels dispatched to escort Chinese and other nations' cargo ships through the area, where Somali pirates have staged increasingly frequent hijack attempts.

Editor:Chen Jie

China Suspends Military Exchanges With U.S.

Here is a bit of news that might calm the PRC leadership's "anger" (here) over the US planned arms sales to the ROC. The Sino-US military relations will likely return to "normal" in six months when the current theatrical-work ends.(here)

U.S. May Lift Export Controls for Some Warfare Items (Update1)
January 28, 2010, 06:28 PM EST

By Mark Drajem

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. may remove restrictions on exports of goods with potential military applications when such technologies are already available worldwide, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.

Existing rules are intended to keep dual-use technologies such as computer encryption software and aerospace parts out of the hands of U.S. adversaries that could use the products for military purposes. The Obama administration is looking at how to reduce the burden on exporters, Locke said today.

“We have too many controls on items readily available around the world,” Locke told a meeting of the U.S.-China Business Council in Washington. “For us to restrict companies from sending those around the world, does it hurt us?”

The rules may have cut exports by as much as $100 billion, according to an estimate from the National Association of Manufacturers. Allowing the sale of products that are already manufactured in other nations would help U.S. makers of software, machine tools and basic encryption technology, Catherine Robinson, associate director for trade at the Washington-based industry group, said in an interview.

At a meeting with Obama administration officials yesterday, the discussion was about how to “control less and control it better,” Representative Brad Sherman, a California Democrat and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview. “You have a present system that is bad for national security, bad for jobs and bad for our industrial base.”

The US-China Business Council is a nonprofit organization of about 220 U.S. companies that do business with China, according to its Web site.

Officials from the Obama administration briefed lawmakers yesterday on the review of the export-control rules, Locke said.

“We need to have some commonsense reorientation,” he said.

--With reporting by Hans Nichols in Washington. Editors: Romaine Bostick, Joe Richter.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at +1-202-624-1964 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at +1-202-624-1936 or

Friday, January 29, 2010


China to contribute 32 Type 05P (ZSL05) APC to the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). They are being shipped to Sudan from the Anhui Hubin Machinery Factory on January 28th (here).

China-defense blog's entry on the Type05p/ZSL93/ZSL05WZ523 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier.

Monday, October 26, 2009
ZSL93/WZ523 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier.

The ZSL93 is the PLA’s security armored "truck". In essence, this 10-ton light APC is a standard PLA HY472 6x6 truck on an armored shelf with 80% commercial parts. It is geared for security duty with a smoke generator, siren and police flash lights. While the other PLA AFV is armed with a 12.7 HMG, the ZSL wears a lowly 7.62 machine gun.

The ZSL93 was first revealed to pubic in the 1984 National Day Parade and again in the 1997 HongKong handover ceremony. It is currently in service with the Beijing, HongKong and Macou Garrisons and the CMC’s Central Guard.

In 2005, a modernized variant of the ZSL05 was developed for the PLA’s peacekeeping operations in Africa.

Thus far, Niger is the only known operator of the WZ523 outside of China. Since HY trucks are widely exported to Africa finding spare parts should be easier compared to other Chinese APCs.

China's stand on the UNAMID mission.

Regional groups must play growing role with UN for world peace: security council 2010-01-14 05:39:10

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Wednesday discussed ways of further enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security and tackling global crises, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for greater flexibility in facing the "new landscape" of ever more complex problems.

"Hardly a crisis confronts us that does not require actors to cooperate at multiple levels in the search for solutions," Ban said in an opening speech, fresh from a two-day retreat exploring "new avenues for cooperation" with leaders of more than a dozen regional groups, ranging from the African Union (AU) and Arab League to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of American States (OAS) and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

"That is why the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations is so important," he said. "They are part of a new landscape, one in which the problems we face are so complex and interlinked that no one can work in isolation, and no one can afford to do without the benefits of cooperation and burden-sharing."

Many of the regional group leaders attended the council session at which Ban cited already existing cooperation such as UN support for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in Sudan, a wide-ranging relationship with the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Balkans, and other operations from Honduras to Iraq.

"Yet we can and must go further still," he said. "The United Nations continues to bolster its capacity to prevent conflicts and mediate solutions. We continue to improve our ability to deploy more effective peacekeeping, peace building and humanitarian presences. These investments have positioned us to be a better partner to our regional counterparts."

In a presidential statement, the council promised further steps to promote closer cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace building.

"The Security Council is resolved to strengthen United Nations support for the peaceful settlement of disputes through improved interaction and cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations," said the statement, read by Ambassador Zhang Yesuiof China, who holds the council's rotating presidency for January.

It stressed the role that regional and sub-regional organizations can play in post-conflict situations in peacebuilding, recovery, reconstruction and development, and called for cooperation between the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the organizations.
Editor: yan

Shaanxi's Y9 still waiting on Chinese military to commit

SOURCE:Flight International
Shaanxi's Y9 still waiting on Chinese military to commit
By Leithen Francis
China's state-owned Shaanxi Aircraft has frozen the design of its Y9 transport, but has yet to start building the aircraft due to a lack of orders.

A source familiar with the programme says the manufacturer is speaking to the Chinese military about becoming launch customer for the type, which is touted as Beijing's equivalent to the Lockheed Martin C-130J.

The first flight of a Y9 transport could be carried out at the end of this year or in 2011, says the source, who adds that the event's timing could depend on when a buyer is secured. Shaanxi had originally hoped to fly the type as long ago as 2006.

Powered by four Wojiang WJ turboprop engines, the new model is similar in size to Shaanxi's Y8, but has more advanced equipment and avionics. The company continues to make military versions of the Y8, but has made no commercial sales of the type recently.

Shaanxi in 2008 shelved plans to offer a commercial Y8-F600 derivative of its new aircraft, and the source says there are no plans to revive the programme.

Here is the China-defense blog entry on the Y-9 project back in July.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Y-9 Tactical Transport Aircraft program back on track?
According to Shanfei’s press release posted on its website (,1.html) the Y-9 dual-purpose Tactical Transport Aircraft project has been restarted. Shanfei upper management acknowledged elements that caused the delay of this important project. They included: unbalanced department workload, lack of research capability, project planning, funding, in addition to a shortage of parts, limited parts assembly lines and final assembly, and limited test flight capabilities. There were also technology limitations, frequent accidents due to low safety standards, poor quality control, undefined procedures and poor production work flows that led to a serious delay of the project.
Here are the words in Shanfei’s press release and judging from the language used AVIC, Shanfei’s parent company, must be getting hard on them.


The Y-9 Tactical Transport Aircraft, or YunShuji-9 project, was reported back in 2001 as an enlarged version of the PLA’s workhorse Y-8 transport: a Chinese version of the C-130 Hercules with an airdrop payload capability of 20,000kg or 100 paratroopers. The older Y-8 had a max airdrop payload of 13,200kg. The Y-9 has a built-in RoRo ramp for quick offloads/airdrops. It will also have a max range of 3000km, allowing it to reach most of China from Wuhan—the central city in China and also home to the 15th airborne army. Strategically, this allows the Chinese military a quick reaction to any trouble spot and is one of the reasons why the Y-9 project is so important. Also, it lessens the reliance on Russia for transport aircraft, even though it is not in the same class as the Russian Il-76’s payload of 50,000 to 88,000kg. But the Y-9 is a homegrown and inexpensive solution that is capable of dropping armor such as ZBD03/ZLC2000 Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The PLA’s order for 36 Il-76s placed in 2005 is still under negotiation.

Now that the project is seriously behind schedule, it will not be surprising to see management changes take place at Shanfei.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

China to lead SHADE's anti-piracy patrols off Somalia

In November 2009, China expressed interest in playing a “lead role” in the fight against Somali pirates. (here) They requested to co-chair SHADE (Shared Awareness and Deconfliction) jointly with the EU and US-led Combined Maritime Force, headquartered in Bahrain.

After receiving support from the EU delegation, China is now approved to lead SHADE's anti-piracy patrols off Somalia. This effort will also require Chinese warships to patrol a sector of the special transit corridor through the most dangerous part of the Gulf of Aden and it also means China will need to send more than the three ships currently deployed off the Horn of Africa. Naturally, there are political complications for such a development and they can be summarized as follows.

First, there are those who view any Chinese military development, especially in the Indian Ocean, with suspicion. By operating under an international framework China’s effort can be seen as a positive step in alleviating suspicion.

Second, others see China’s military growth as “natural.” Writing in the current edition of the Atlantic monthly, Robert Kaplan argues that “as a great continental nation’s economy grows, it begins to trade more with the outside world and develops interests it did not have previously” (here) and that the Chinese build up mirrors what the United States once did. In that light, China is following a natural growth path. This group is less concerned about a PLAN “misadventure” in the region as long as its posture is not overly aggressive.

Lastly, there is also a group of critics who charge that China has enjoyed a free-ride provided by the United States Navy in protecting international waters (here). With 2.4 Trillion dollars in the Bank, China should constitute a greater share of the MOOTW burden. Unlike the previous two groups, this group would welcome greater Chinese participation in protecting the "liberal trade" system that the world enjoys.

Political considerations aside, in order for the PLAN to support an expanded naval deployment, it would require a greater fleet reserve at home. As a general rule, to maintain a task force of three ships on-station, the PLAN would need to keep a total of 9 ships on reserve: three on training, three on crew rotation and maintenance, and three on-station. That requirement could provide the justification the PLAN seeks for naval build up at home and abroad (expect to see more Type 054A frigates on order). Second, the PLAN would need to increase their C2 assets in order to communicate with other members of SHADE. The current fleet PLAN is not equipped with the extensive communication gear that can deal with a 40-nation strong Maritime Force. A PLAN overseas naval base in Djibouti seems to be an ideal location to host such a C2 asset. (here)

All in all, China’s mission to fight pirates is becoming "historical" indeed.

China to lead anti-piracy patrols
PLA Navy officials agree to expanded role co-ordinating international efforts off Somalia
Greg Torode Chief Asia correspondent in Singapore
Jan 28, 2010
China has won approval to lead the co-ordination of international anti-piracy patrols off Somalia - an unprecedented expansion of its historic deployment of warships to the Indian Ocean.
The effort will also see China send its warships to permanently patrol a sector of the special transit corridor through the most dangerous part of the Gulf of Aden. The pledge means that China needs to send more than the three ships it keeps deployed off the Horn of Africa to protect vital trade routes linking Asia to Europe.

PLA Navy officials reached agreement last week over its expanded role with major international navies at a meeting of the so-called Shade grouping in Bahrain, officials at the meeting said.

Shade, or Shared Awareness and Deconfliction, has been jointly headed by European Union forces and the US-led Combined Maritime Forces.

More than two years old, Shade meets monthly to maximise co-ordination and communication among the 40-odd navies now protecting shipping off the Horn of Africa.

While some nations operate as part of international flotillas under the banner of Nato, the EU or the CMF, some operate independently, including China, India, Russia, Malaysia and Iran.

Currently only Nato, EU and CMF ships patrol inside the corridor.

By committing to provide an "enduring" presence in the corridor, China will be eligible to lead as part of a new rotating chairmanship, which will switch every three to four months. It is expected to take charge by the middle of the year.

The move is expected to force India and Russia to seek a greater role, as they try to match a growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean.

Captain Chris Chambers, director of operations for the CMF, confirmed China's new role yesterday at a shipping conference in Singapore.

"There has been major progress in communication and co-operation with navies that once didn't really speak to each other," Chambers, a US naval officer, said. "China will get a chance to chair the Shade ... it is a very positive development.

"It will open the door for other independent nations to come in."

Other officials at last week's Bahrain meeting said the PLA was reporting back to Beijing for political approval before a formal announcement could be made.

Both Western and Asian naval officials are backing the move, knowing they are struggling to deal with a worsening piracy situation off Somalia, a failed state where pirates operate with no fear of law enforcement or other government intervention.

While the Gulf of Aden situation has eased under naval pressure, pirates are now attacking ships off Somalia's east coast, travelling more than 1,000 nautical miles into the Indian Ocean to seize ships, putting a wider range of shipping at risk. "It is getting desperate and there is no solution in sight," one foreign naval official said. "Anything China can do to offer more practical help will be taken up at this point. This deal is a straight win-win."

While helping to tackle a worsening international crisis, fighting piracy allows China to quietly develop an Indian Ocean presence - something military analysts believe could be highly strategic to its ambitions to create a navy with wide global reach.

Typically, hijacked ships are taken to pirate lairs on Somalia's east coast. The ship and crew are kept under armed guard but are generally unharmed until the owners can arrange a ransom, which now range between US$2 million and US$7 million.

China began pushing for a broader role after the hijacking in October of mainland bulk carrier the De Xin Hai. The ship, steaming to India with a load of South African coal when it was captured northeast of the Seychelles islands, was released late last month after the payment of US$3.5 million in cash.

The De Xin Hai was the first mainland ship to be captured since Beijing's historic deployment of warships to the area in December 2008.

That deployment marked the first time the Chinese navy had ventured into potential conflict beyond its home waters in centuries.

The PLA warships never attempted to attack or intercept the pirates, with PLA officials later insisting they were too far away at the time.

The warships - two destroyers and an armed supply ship - run regular escorts from convoys of ships registered in Hong Kong, Taiwan and on the mainland. Ships of other nations can join the Chinese convoys.

When not involved with convoys, the Chinese vessels have also assisted other international efforts. China's convoys sail near the transit corridor, keep in contact with it but have not been part of it. Now it has agreed to keep a single ship in the corridor for a month at a time, China will be assigned a 60 nautical mile stretch of ocean to permanently patrol.

Chinese officials have repeatedly suggested that individual countries should be given set areas of ocean to take responsibility for - a concept already in operation inside the corridor.

Commander of Chinese naval escort taskforce visits No. 465 EU naval escort fleet

(Source: MOD) 2009-11-24

Wang Zhiguo (L), commander of the Chinese naval 3rd escort fleet, talks with officials of the European Union (EU) navy 465 formation during his visit to the Dutch frigate "Eversten" at the invitation of the European Union (EU) navy 465 formation in the Gulf of Aden, Nov. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Guo Gang)

Wang Zhiguo (L), commander of the Chinese naval 3rd escort fleet, talks with officials of the European Union (EU) navy 465 formation during his visit to the Dutch frigate "Eversten" at the invitation of the European Union (EU) navy 465 formation in the Gulf of Aden, Nov. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Guo Gang)

  On the morning of November 22, local time, Rear Admiral Wang Zhiguo, commanding officer of the Chinese naval escort taskforce and deputy commander of the East China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese PLA and his 6-member party were invited to visit the "Eversten” guided missile frigate of the Dutch Navy and flagship of the No. 465 European Union (EU) naval escort fleet. Commodore Pieter Bindt, commanding officer of the No. 465 EU naval escort fleet, warmly received the Chinese guests.

   During the talks, Commodore Bindt mainly introduced the escort organization mode and coordination mechanism of the EU naval escort fleet.

  Commodore Bindt noted that the International Cooperation and Coordination Conference for the Escort in the Gulf of Aden held in Beijing on November 6-7 was a testimony of the Chinese side’s stand of actively participating in regional escort and deepening international cooperation and the EU maritime troops appreciated the active attitude adopted by the Chinese side.

  Wang Zhiguo said in the talks that in the face of the current tough situation in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast, the common efforts of the multi-national escort navies were required to ensure the security of the merchant ships.

  Wang also said that the Chinese naval escort taskforce will continue to maintain and strengthen the exchanges and cooperation with the naval escort forces of relevant countries and international organizations and do a good job in escort.

  After the talks, accompanied by Commodore Bindt, Wang Zhiguo and his party visited the "Eversten” frigate and watched the anti-pirate drill of the light and heavy weapon shooting staged by the officers and men of the No. 465 fleet.

  According to the agreement reached by the Chinese and Dutch navies, China and Holland dispatched two young officers respectively to the warship of the other side to conduct a two-day-long on-board study and exchange.

  By Zhu Da, Xu Yeqing

Commander of Chinese naval escort taskforce visits U.S. guided-missile cruiser “Chosin”
(Source: China Military Online) 2009-11-23

Rear Admiral Scott Sanders, commander of the No.151 taskforce of the U.S. Navy, is presenting the emblem of the guided-missile cruiser “Chosin” to Rear Admiral Wang Zhiguo, commander of the Chinese naval escort taskforce.

  On the morning of November 19, at the invitation of Rear Admiral Scott Sanders, commander of the No. 151 taskforce of the U.S. Navy, which was performing escort task in the waters of the Gulf of Aden, Rear Admiral Wang Zhiguo, commander of the third Chinese naval escort taskforce and deputy commander of the East China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, flied to the guided-missile cruiser “Chosin” of the U.S. Navy for a visit together with his 5-member party and conducted exchanges. This was a return visit to Rear Admiral Sanders and his party’s visit paid to the “Zhoushan” warship of the Chinese naval escort taskforce on November 11.

Editor:Yang Ru

PLA's STUFT (Ships Taken Up From Trade)

A good follow up article from the PLAdaily to Stephen Miles' "PLA Experimentation with Armed Cargo Ships"

Container vessel modification injects vigor into maritime military transportability

(Source: PLA Daily) 2010-01-28

  Since early January, the Navigational Affairs Military Representative Office of the Nanjing Military Area Command (MAC) of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has successfully completed the modification of many container vessels, hence overcoming the difficulties in universality and exchangeability of different ship types, different cargo holds and different parts. As a result, the modified facilities are standardized and newly-built civilian ships are required to reach the new standard to meet military demand. The modified container vessels will inject new vigor into the maritime military transportation. Recently, the research program “Container Vessel Modification and Standard Design” won the Military Scientific and Technological Progress Award.

  In order to improve the support structure of maritime military transportation, the Navigational Affairs Military Representative Office of the Nanjing MAC adheres to the principle of being applicable both in peacetime and wartime, reliable in technology,economic and easy to be modified, fully explores the transportation potential of container vessels and tries to improve the maritime military transportation capability to the maximum.

  By Yang Guoping, Li Shengcai


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cessna Skycatcher Flies (In China)

In case you were wondering what that Light Sport aircraft is from the "engine-less J-11B" post (here), it is a Cessna 162 Skycatcher. The aircraft will be shipped from the Shenyang Aircraft Company back to the U.S. where they will be reassembled.

September 17, 2009
Production Cessna Skycatcher Flies (In China)

By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor

The first production line assembled-in-China Cessna 162 Skycatcher to be flown took flight Thursday at Cessna's Shenyang production facility in northeast China, performing "a number of handling quality tests during the flight," Cessna said in a news release. The "first" here means that the particular aircraft was "fabricated and assembled on production tooling." Cessna in July earned ASTM compliance (international standards for Light Sport aircraft) for the two-place, piston powered single-engine high wing, and Cessna chairman, president and CEO, Jack Pelton, is excited to see the Skycatcher "take its place in the industry as the light sport aircraft of choice." When Cessna first announced the Skycatcher would be assembled in China, it fielded some boisterously opposed opinions from some percentage of the flying public, but Cessna has stayed the course. The Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC) is the fabricator of the aircraft's fuselage, which it then integrates with other components including a Continental 0-200D 100-hp engine and Garmin G300 split screen primary flight and multi-function displays. Aircraft will be shipped from China to the U.S. where they will be reassembled, according to Cessna.

The 162 should cruise near 118 knots for a 470 nautical mile range. It will be built for VFR day/night operations. The company, which operates a network of flight training centers, says it has more than 1000 orders for the aircraft.

EU presidency reconsidering China arms embargo

The consistent US arms sales to the ROC and the EU's perpetual "consideration" to lift the arms embargo to China have almost become ritualized. At the end of the day, despite all the diplomatic protest by the PRC, the US will sell most of the non-head line items to the ROC (here). And as a gesture to the PRC, the US will leave the big ticket items out, such as F-16s. The EU will continue to uphold the arms embargo and continue to cooperate with the PRC on "civilian" technology (here).

However, these rituals keep the PRC's PR department employed, keep pundits busy filling their columns, and allow for the 24 hour news channels to appear relevant.
EU presidency reconsidering China arms embargo


Today @ 09:25 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The Spanish EU presidency has indicated it is willing to reconsider the bloc's arms embargo with China, implemented over 20 years ago following the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on Chinese pro-democracy protesters.

Following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday (26 January), Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said his country was "weighing the pros and cons" of lifting the ban.

"We are all aware of the new role which China is assuming in the world," he added.

China considers an end to the ban to be long overdue. "The embargo is outdated, it does not go along with the partnership between China and the EU," Wang Xining, spokesman for the Chinese mission to the EU, told EUobserver.

"Its a political principle on the definition of the relationship," he added, indicating that China was not necessarily going to place a large military order should the embargo be lifted.

France has been a vocal supporter of ending the ban, a line Moratinos said Spain would now follow, but other member states have traditionally indicated China's human rights record did not merit an end to the EU restriction.

Last October saw the EU lift an arms embargo against Uzbekistan however, despite continuing concerns about human rights in the central Asian nation, suggesting a reluctance to allow full Chinese access to EU military capabilities is also a factor.

European diplomats also queried whether the Spanish decision to visit the perennial issue would win the backing of all 27 member states this time round, with any decision requiring unanimity for a change of position.

The United States, which also maintains an arms embargo on China, is a further complicating factor, with the country likely to be reticent towards a unilateral European move.

The European Parliament has shown its support for the ban, voting in 2008 to maintain it as long as Beijing supports armed forces and groups involved in African conflicts in general.

News that Spain would revisit the thorny issue first hit the headlines last week following a China Daily interview with Spain's ambassador in Beijing.

The issue has subsequently attracted considerable media attention in the Asian powerhouse.

EU Presidency Mulls Lifting China Arms Embargo
Published: 26 Jan 2010 12:57

BRUSSELS - The European Union's Spanish presidency is considering whether to lift the bloc's arms embargo on China, Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Jan. 26.

Spain is "weighing the pros and cons" of the embargo, which Europe introduced after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on Chinese pro-democracy protesters, Moratinos told a press conference.
Related Topics

The European Union has long agreed to reconsider the decision to ban the sale of arms to China, Moratinos said.

France has been one of the main supporters of lifting the ban and "Spain is following that line," he added.

"We are all aware of the new role which China is assuming in the world," and the desirability "to improve relations with China to ensure the best possible dialogue," said Moratinos, whose country holds the EU presidency for the first half of the year.

The time is right to "consider whether the consequences allow" for the embargo to be lifted, he underlined.

In 2008, the European parliament voted to retain the arms embargo as long as Beijing helps armed forces and groups involved in African conflicts in general.

Moratinos was reacting to reporters' questions on comments made by Spain's ambassador in Beijing.

"We hope to deepen discussions on lifting the ban" during Spain's six-month EU presidency, ambassador Carlos Blasco Villa tod the official English-language China Daily.

There is, nonetheless, a reticence to lift the embargo unless done in tandem with the United States, due to security implications, a diplomat added.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Putonghua 101

Just your basic conversational Chinese, great for picking up girls!

战略导弹武器系统生存能力 (survivability of strategic missile weapon system)
zhanliie daodan wuqi xitong shengcun nengli

战略导弹武器系统生存能力 (survivability of strategic missile weapon system)战略导弹武器系统遭核袭击后还具有的作战能力。通常用生存概率表示。它是衡量战略导弹武器系统作战能力的重要指标之一。战略导弹武器系统生存能力主要取决于导弹武器的反应时间和机动能力、伪装程度和被发现的概率、导弹数量和阵地配置密度、战略侦察和反导系统的防御能力,以及导弹武器和阵地加固水平等。提高生存能力的主要措施有:研制部署小型化高机动性能的战略导弹武器系统;采用隐形和隐身技术等手段严密防护和伪装;增强戒备率,使用机动灵活的发射方式,缩短反应时间;合理配置阵地,进行抗核加固;提高战略侦察预警能力和建立反导系统,及时拦截来袭导弹等。20世纪60年代以来,一些国家对提高战略导弹武器系统的生存能力进行了多方面探讨和研究,使上述各项措施逐渐付诸实施。(容嘉信)

战略导弹发射可靠性 (reliability of strategic missile launching)
zhanlue daodan fashe kekaoxing

战略导弹在规定的发射条件下和规定的时间内按程序与要求,发射成功的可靠程度。以概率形式表示时,则称战略导弹发射可靠率。它主要取决于导弹及其地面设备等的可靠性和维修性,同时还与操作人员的心理状态、技术水平和操作熟练程度等有关。提高战略导弹发射可靠性主要途径有:搞好导弹及其地面设备等的可靠性和维修性设计,使之便于操作和维修;提高制造工艺水平和产品质量;加强对操作人员的培训,发挥人在发射过程中的主导作用。随着导弹及其地面设备等性能的不断完善和操作人员技术素质的不断提高,其发射可靠率逐步得到提高。例如,地地战略弹道导弹的发射可靠率早期为65%左右,到20世纪80年代达 75-80%。(李庆星)

战略导弹戒备率 (readiness rate of strategic missile)
zhanliie daodan jiebeilii


战略导弹反应时间 (response time of strategic missile)
zhanliie daodan fanying shijian


反弹道导弹导弹防御系统 (antiballistic missile missile defence system)
fandandao daodan daodan fangyu xitong

特点 反导防御系统工作的主要特点是:①拦截时间短。射程为10 000千米以上的洲际弹道导弹从起飞点到目标区总飞行时间约30分钟。对它分段或分层次拦截的时间极短,只有十几分钟、几分钟、甚至几十秒钟。②拦截目标难。拦截对象是高速飞行的活动目标,有的还采用多种突防措施,致使雷达很难发现和识别,特别是来袭弹头较多时,情况就更加复杂。③拦截技术高。反导防御系统的可靠性和自动化程度要高,反应要灵敏,必须做到及早发现,正确识别,精确测算,精密跟踪和有效拦截。
简史美国于20世纪60年代初研制成“奈基—宙斯”反导防御系统。它是由射高100-160千米的高空拦截导弹与目标搜索、识别、跟踪雷达、引导雷达,指挥控制中心和数据处理设备等组成。用于 保护城市。该系统属预研性型号,由干弹头突防技术的发展,多弹头的出现,它识别真假弹头的能力有限,不具备对付多个弹头的能力,因此没有成批生产和部署。苏联在50年代研制出兼有反弹道导弹能力的SA-5远程地空导弹综合系统。1969年开始部署在莫斯科防区,同年11月在苏联阅兵式上首次公开展出。195 7年又开始研制ABM--l“橡皮套鞋”反弹道导弹导弹武器系统(图1),用于高空拦截。部署了4个发射场,每个发射场包括16部导弹发射架,2部大型目标搜索跟踪雷达、4部小型引导雷达。到1979年“橡皮套鞋”反弹道导弹导弹减少到3 2枚。美国于60年代末70年代初研制了“卫兵”系统,并开始建造大福克斯、马姆斯特罗姆和怀特曼3个防区。用于重点保护“民兵”洲际弹道导弹基地。“卫兵”系统包括:3个“斯普林特” 导弹(图2)发射场,有70枚导弹用于低空近程拦截。1个“斯帕坦”导弹(图3)发射场,有30枚导弹用于高空远程拦截。两部相控阵雷达和场地雷达。“卫兵”系统有两个特点:一是采用高空和低空两种拦截导弹,可实施双层拦截,以扩大保护空域和初步解决识别真假弹头问题;二是采用相控阵雷达并提高数据处理能力,以解决对付多个目标问题。随着战略弹道导弹弹头突防技术的发展,美、苏两国装备了分导式多弹头,继续发展机动式弹头。反导系统所要对付的目标日益增多和复杂,其作战效能有限,生存能力低,成本昂贵,不能根本解决反导技术上的难题。因此,美、苏两国虽然都研制成了反导系统,但都不急于大规模生产和部署,宁愿受1972年5月,两国签署的《苏、美限制反弹道导弹系统条约》的约束,双方部署场地各限制为两个。1974年7月再次签订《苏、美限制反弹道导弹系统条约的附加议定书》,双方同意各部署一个场地,100枚拦截导弹。1976年2月,美国陆军正式宣布关闭“卫兵”防御系统反导场地,只保留远程搜索雷达,作为弹道导弹预警系统和空间监视系统的设备。并继续研究新的反导手段。苏联一直保留莫斯科反导防区,1980年3月宣布撤除其64 部ABM-1高空拦截导弹发射架的一半,但系统的改进试验工作仍继续进行。
发展趋势 80年代以来,美、苏两国都把注意力转向研究新的反导技术和探索新的反导途径。1983年美国国防部制订了 “战略防御倡议”(SDI),实际上就是建立一个能够使核武器“起不了作用而废弃”的弹道导弹防御系统。设想中的反导防御系统,是一个多层次、多种拦截手段和以陆基、空基、天基为依托的互相配合使用的立体防御体系。设想在弹道导弹的助推段、末助推段、中段、末段组成4道防御层。采用的拦截手段有:非核拦截导弹,超高速拦截导弹等。80年代中期以来,美、苏两国进行过多次非核拦截导弹的研制和试验,表明用非核拦截导弹等手段击中飞行中的来袭弹头是可行的,它们将代替核拦截导弹,以建立先进的反弹道导弹导弹防御系统。 (装景峰)

反弹道导弹导弹 (antiballistic-missile missile)
fandandao daodan daodan

分类通常,反弹道导弹导弹分为两类:①高空拦截导弹,又称被动段拦截导弹。一般用于对来袭弹道导弹飞行到大气层外时实施拦截。②低空拦截导弹,又称再入段拦截导弹或近程拦截导弹。用于对来袭弹道导弹进入目标上空时实施拦截。其主要特点是反应速度快、命中精度高。其中,高空拦截导弹受到普遍重视。实战时,可单独部署使用 ,也可两者配合部署使用,以提高其拦截概率。
组成反弹道导弹导弹主要由战斗部、推进系统、制导系统、电源系统和弹体等组成。①战斗部是用于直接毁伤目标的有效载荷,大多数采用核爆炸装置,用在大气层外拦截来袭弹道导弹时,主要依靠核爆炸所释放的X射线,穿透来袭弹头的烧蚀层,破坏其防热层,进而烧毁其内部的核装药;用在大气层内拦截时,主要依靠核爆炸所释放出的中子流、γ射线和强大的冲击波等综合毁伤效应,摧毁来袭弹头。随着反弹道导弹导弹命中目标精度的提高,有的战斗部已用常规装药或无装药的高速飞行的精确制导弹头,以近炸或直接碰撞方式毁伤来袭弹头。②推进系统是用于使导弹获得一定飞行速度的动力装置。一般采用推力大、启动时间短的固体火箭发动机。为了获得良好的飞行加速性,通常由主发动机和火箭助推器组成推进系统,能产生每秒1OOg以上的加速度。当拦截来袭机动的弹头时,反弹道导弹导弹的末级发动机,一般采用推力和方向均可控制的固体火箭发动机,也可采用能多次启动、调整推力的液体火箭发动机。③制导系统是用于导引和控制导弹准确地命中目标的装置。通常采用无线电指令制导系统。 ④电源系统是用于保证导弹各系统正常工作的能源装置。⑤弹体是用于将弹上各系统构成一个完整的整体,并具有良好气动外形的承力构件。一般由2级或3级弹体组成,还有弹翼和操纵稳定面,以保证导弹稳定飞行和改变飞行方向的需要。通常采用锥柱形或全锥形的结构样式,以轻型耐烧蚀、高强度的金属或非金属材料制成。为了能够对来袭弹道导弹进行全方位拦截,反弹道导弹导弹多采用导弹发射井发射,并配有重新装填、快速发射的装置。为提 高其生存能力,也有的采取机动配置方式。
简史随着进攻性的弹道导弹的出现和发展,用于拦截它的反弹道导弹导弹相继问世。早在1944年德国使用V-2导弹袭击英国首都伦敦时,英国就开始寻求在空中拦截V-2导弹的防御手段,曾提出包括反弹道导弹导弹、预警和跟踪导引雷达所组成的防御方案,为研制反弹道导弹武器 系统奠定了基础。美国和苏联在防空导弹的基础上,于50年代初,从理论上论证研制反弹道导弹导弹的可行性,并进行了一系列的试验。60年代初,美国研制成“奈基—宙斯”(Nike-zaus)反弹道导弹导弹,最大射程为640千米,因其识别能力差、拦截概率低,未进行部署。同时,苏联也 研制成了“橡皮套鞋” (Galosh)反弹道导弹导弹,最大射程为645千米,最大拦截高度为320千米,有效杀伤半径为6^-8千米,60年代中期在莫斯科周围进行了部署。 1975年,美国在大福克斯、怀特曼等反导场地,也部署了由低空拦截的“斯普林特” (Sprint)和高空拦截的“斯帕坦” (Spartan)两种反弹道导弹导弹所组成的“卫兵”防御系统,但该系统难以拦截多弹头和带突防装置的弹头,于1976年2月宣布关闭。1980年,苏联因反导技术有了新的进展,宣布将已部署的64部反弹道导弹导弹发射架拆除一半。其余32部发射架配备的是“橡皮套鞋”改进型SH-04反弹道导弹导弹,它可以在飞行中关闭发动机,在滑行中等待地面指令再次启动对目标实施拦截。同时,还装 备了SH-08型高速、低空拦截导弹。1983年,美国提出建立多层次反弹道导弹导弹防御系统,着手研制非核拦截导弹、超高速拦截导弹等。
展望随着弹道导弹的突防、隐身和精确制导等技术的不断发展,推动了反弹道导弹导弹的发展。还将继续研制多层拦截导弹,如发展在卫星上发射的助推段拦截导弹;提高自身的生存能力和实施拦截的成功概率;研究由非核战斗部代替核战斗部的技术,或采用无装药的直接作用于目标的碰撞式战斗部;进一步使反弹道导弹导弹小型化、机动 化、自动化、采用多种发射方式。(王林琛岳福来)

弹道导弹预警系统 (ballistic missile early warning system,BMEWS)
dandao daodan yujing xitong

用于早期发现来袭弹道导弹及其发射阵位,测定弹道参数,判定来袭导弹将要攻击的目标,为国家战略防御决策提供预先警报信息的系统。它是反弹道导弹导弹战略防御体系和战略导弹部队指挥、控制、通信、情报(C3I)系统的重要组成部分。一般包括:预警卫星监视分系统和地面预警雷达分系统两大部分。①预警卫星监视分系统。能够及早发现空间运动的弹道导弹或其他飞行器,并且不受地球曲率的限制,截取信息的覆盖范围广。它被用来探测、监视来袭地地战略弹道导弹和潜地战略弹道导弹的发射阵位,记录其发射时间,探测飞行轨迹,并向指挥控制中心传送有关数据。该系统一般可以提供15-20分钟的预警时间。若在卫星上装有红外扫描探测器,可在几十秒钟内探测到来袭弹道导弹发动机启动时产生的火焰,以及在主动段飞行时发动机喷出的炽热尾焰,以判定该导弹的发射阵位的坐标。因导弹尾焰穿过电离层时还会引起电离层的扰动,还可依此进一步鉴别、核实目标。装上长波红外探测器的预警卫星,可探测到火箭发动机关机后的导弹弹体和分离后的弹头。卫星上装有可见光探测器(如电视摄像装置等),可拍摄到导弹发射和飞行运动的实景。②地面预警雷达分系统。一般由早期预警雷达、大型相控阵雷达、超视距雷达、作战指挥雷达等组成。用于对付来袭地地洲际弹道导弹的地面预警雷达网,能覆盖可能来袭导弹方向的全部视界,其作用距离 为2 500-6 000千米,可提供1525分钟的预警时间;用于对付潜地弹道导弹的地面预警雷达网,能覆盖海岸线以外可能发射潜地弹道导弹的阵位,可提供2.5-20分钟的预警时间。为确保预警信息准确可靠,弹道导弹预警系统应具备提供预警时间长、发现目标概率高、虚警率低、截获目标容量大等特性,并有畅通的通信传输系统。该系统无论战时、平时都有较大的应用 价值。
弹道导弹预警系统随着弹道导弹技术的进步而不断发展。20世纪50年代末、60年代初,美、苏两国分别开始部署地面预警雷达网。70年代初,它们又利用地球同步静止轨道卫星或大椭圆轨道卫星上的电子、光学测控设备,对来袭弹道导弹进行探测报知,但其测量精度不高,并有虚警现象。80年代以来,为适应新的空间防御需要,正在研究和建立全球范围内的全弹道、多层次、多手段的监视、探测、判定、跟踪来袭弹道导弹的预 警系统。
(岳福来 王林琛)

Engine-less J-11B

The current issue of Aviation News (HangKong Bao) displays a dozen manufactured J11Bs sitting at SAC without engines. This highlights the problem the PLAAF faces due to Shanyang Liming Aircraft Engine company's inability to fulfill all FWS10A (Taihang) orders. As indicted by the SAC's press release on its 2009 performance, it said it had fulfilled its PLAAF contracts "fairly" well. Which is different from previous press releases describing their performance as "very" well.*

Production certification delays prevented the FWS10A from entering mass production until recently. Perhaps this public display of engine-less fighters is SAC telling its partners to work faster.

Thanks hmmwv.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chinese underwater guns

The recently aired CCTV documentary has confirmed that the secretive Chinese underwater guns are based on the Russian designs*

The Russian SPP-1 4.5mm underwater pistol can accommodate either a twin or quad-barrel arrangement with a cartridge in each which is inserted into the pistol's breech. The Chinese QSS-05 5.8mm adoption (or 山寨) has a tri-barrel pistol arrangement.

The Chinese also "山寨-ed" the Russian APS Underwater Assault Rifle to fire the Chinese 5.8mm rifle round.

* Thanks genkideskan, =GT, and chenium for the photos.

Russian SPP-1 (twin-barrel) vs QSS-05 (tri-barrel)

The Chinese 5.8mm underwater ammo

Chinese Underwater Assault Rifle

APS Underwater Assault Rifle

PLAN Frogmen

Other PLAN underwater toys.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Naval power grows out of the barrel of a gun -- Mao Tse-Tung

The PLAN navy chased off four pirates on January 22nd in response to a distress call

After a year of deployment to the Gulf of Aden, the PLAN has not resorted to the use of deadly force in its dealings with the pirates (here). Richard Weitz offers a possible explanation.

Priorities and Challenges in China's Naval Deployment in the Horn of Africa
By: Richard Weitz[tt_news]=35795&tx_ttnews[backPid]=25&cHash=8c7b43d6ae

Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 24

December 3, 2009 02:01 PM

For a few days in mid-November, it looked like the Chinese government was prepared to take the unprecedented step to lead a multinational security operation involving the armed forces of Russia, the United States, the EU, and other countries. Following the seizure of yet another Chinese commercial vessel by Somali-based pirates, Beijing convened a two-day conference to enhance international coordination of the many foreign fleets currently seeking to defend shipping around Somalia from pirate attack. Participants included senior navy officers from EU and NATO countries along with representatives from India, Japan, Russia, and other navies whose warships have joined the maritime patrols around the Horn of Africa (BBC, November 6).

According to some media reports, at a subsequent meeting of the Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) group, which includes representatives of the some three dozen navies currently participating in the maritime counter-piracy mission, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) delegates expressed a willingness to integrate their operations more closely with the other navies on the mission (Fox News, November 10). In addition, they reportedly told officials from the European Union Naval Force for Somalia (EU Navfor) that they wished to assume more of a leadership role in the multilateral maritime patrols. In particular, the PLAN members suggested they favored rotating the SHADE co-chairmanship among the other participating navies so that China could serve in that role. Thus far, these monthly meetings have been co-chaired by the EU Navfor and the multinational Combined Maritime Force led by the United States (Telegraph, November 10).

Both of the existing co-chairs supported the proposal. At an international anti-piracy conference in Hong Kong that convened a few days later, Commodore Tim Lowe, the deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, said that the chairmanship position was “a leadership role in terms of making sure that the meetings and the agendas for the meetings are properly coordinated.” Lowe added that he hoped “that perhaps in April or May next year, we would see China taking on that lead coordinator role for the corridor” that the international fleets established for protecting the commercial vessels (Reuters, November 13).

A few days later, however, the Chinese government reverted to their previous stance of simply calling for greater international cooperation against the pirates. Rather than leading or even joining a combined multilateral force, Chinese representatives called for a division of the sea lanes currently being patrolled into separate national sectors. Writing in China Daily, Zhang Haizhou observed that Chinese “officials deftly parried appeals for China to lead the anti-piracy mission” that were made by Lowe (China Daily, November 20).

For example, senior Colonel Huang Xueping, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said that, “China is always open to boosting international patrolling cooperation (and) wishes to cooperate, bilaterally and multilaterally, with all nations involved” in the counter-piracy operation off Somalia. But he added that Beijing wanted to “reach consensus” on an arrangement for defining specific national patrol areas (China Daily, November 20). Liu Zhenmin, deputy permanent representative of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the UN, likewise proposed to the UN Security Council that the navies engaged in the counter-piracy mission “define areas of responsibility.” He argued that such an approach would improve escort operations and reduce the risks of pirates hijacking vessels. Liu also called for an “integrated solution” to overcome the piracy problem, which would include promoting political stability in Somalia and enhancing the ability of the country’s neighbors to counter regional piracy. He further urged that the navies now supporting the counter-piracy mission off Somalia “should expand maritime escort operations and other countries should also improve how they carry out maritime escort operations” (Xinhua News Agency, November 18).

Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo maintained that allocating specific areas for each patrolling country would “significantly increase” the efficiency of the operation. He observed that, “When each country takes care of a specific area, density of the patrolling mission will grow,” though he added that the navies involved had to have effective means of coordinating their activities (China Daily, November 20). When discussing appropriate coordinating mechanisms, Beijing’s reluctance to engage in close military cooperation with NATO was again evident, a factor also seen in China’s cautious policies toward the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The Chinese press quoted Admiral Yin as arguing that the United Nations “is the best candidate to take the leading coordinating role” in countering the pirates because China lacks formal relations with NATO (China Daily, November 20).

PLAN Procedures

The growing threat to international shipping in the Gulf of Aden and neighboring regions from pirates operating from ports in lawless Somalia has engendered an unparalleled global response. The UN, NATO, the EU, and various national governments have organized separate multilateral and single-country maritime security operations in the Horn of Africa region to patrol sea lanes, escort merchant vessels, and respond to distress calls and pirate sightings. Since the PLAN first sent three warships to conduct counter-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden this January, the Chinese Navy has focused on protecting Chinese-flagged vessels and Chinese sailors. Thus far, PLA representatives have resisted EU and NATO proposals to join a more centrally commanded operation (BBC, November 6).

The PLAN has traditionally concentrated on defending Chinese coastal waters and on impeding U.S. military intervention in any Taiwan contingency. Although Chinese warships have engaged in port visits and unsophisticated exercises with foreign navies, the current operation represents the first potential combat mission for the PLAN outside the Pacific. The Chinese Navy has now sent four task forces, consisting of two or three warships, typically frigates, along with a larger supply ship and hundreds of sailors and special force troops, since the beginning of the year (Xinhua News Agency, October 30). In November 2009, Liang Wei, the deputy chief of operations for the PLAN’s South Fleet, said that the four Chinese flotillas had escorted or protected approximately 1,100 commercial vessels from potential pirate attack (Reuters, November 13).

Yet, none of the Chinese warships on patrol thus far appear to have engaged in large-scale combat with the pirates, raising the interesting question of what rules of engagement the Chinese flotilla follows. At a November 2009 maritime seminar in Hong Kong, Liang Wei, deputy chief of operations for the South Sea fleet, said the standard operating procedures were for the PLAN first to investigate any incident “to make sure it is not a fisherman but a pirate.” The Chinese sailors would fire warning shots if the pirates initiated the use of force. If this show of force failed to stop the pirate attack, then the Chinese ships would fire in self-defense of themselves or in defense of others (South China Morning Post, November 14). Yet the same source cites another unnamed Chinese military official who acknowledged that the PLAN weighed additional criteria when determining its response to a pirate attack. “For us to use force is a very complex matter ... it is not just a simple question based on an operational requirement.” Rather, the decision over how to respond also involved “political questions—and these are not issues dealt with by military commanders alone. Our warships off Somalia are very well aware of this. We are fully prepared to use force, but we do not take that step lightly” (South China Morning Post, November 14).

Threats and Opportunities

Despite the large international counter-piracy operation, the Somali piracy threat has worsened this year after showing some signs of improving in 2008 after foreign navies established a five-mile wide protection corridor that ranged up to 300 nautical miles off Somali’s coast. As of mid-October 2009, the pirates had conducted almost 150 attacks on commercial vessels in the waters off the Horn of Africa since the beginning of the year. They succeeded in hijacking more than 40 ships and at least 270 hostages (RIA Novosti, October 21). Many of the recent attacks have occurred at great distances from Somalia’s shores—including some in the Indian Ocean and even the Gulf of Oman—as the pirates have sought to prey on vessels outside the protection corridor (United Press International, November 19).

Chinese ships have suffered several prominent attacks. On October 19, the pirates seized a vessel owned by China Cosco Holding, the De Xin Hai, and its 25 crew members while they were conveying 76,000 metric tons of coal over 700 nautical miles from Somalia's coast (New York Times, October 22). Following the incident, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China would “make all-out efforts to rescue the hijacked ship and personnel,” but no such operation occurred (Time, October 27). Instead, the PRC Ministry of Transport subsequently issued a warning that “Chinese ships must urgently steer as far away from the area as possible. Ships within the region must exercise caution and increase their vigilance” (RIA Novosti, October 21). In November, the pirates launched their most distant attack to date on a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker sailing 1,000 nautical miles from Mogadishu.

This upsurge in maritime assaults may account for Beijing’s recent efforts to strengthen the international response to the piracy challenge. In addition to hosting last month’s international counter-piracy summit in Beijing, the PLAN in September conducted a three-day joint exercise with the Russian Navy in the Gulf of Aden that rehearsed capturing and detaining pirates. The Chinese warships that participated in these simulated search-and-detain operations included the Zhoushan and the Xuzhou along with support vessels (RIA Novosti, September 21).

Several considerations led the PRC leadership to make the unprecedented decision to deploy the PLAN on a counter-piracy mission around the Horn of Africa. China possesses one of the world’s largest commercial shipping fleets and relies heavily on international maritime commerce, including for energy imports from the Persian Gulf which are carried on tankers that traverse regions potentially threatened from long-range pirates operating from Somalia [1]. Chinese policy makers and security experts have cited this dependence on foreign energy imports as a Chinese security vulnerability [2]. The PRC’s counter-piracy efforts near Somalia enjoy the legitimacy of several UN Security Council resolutions calling on UN member states to curb piracy in the region. The counter-piracy operation also has the support of Somalia’s transitional government. In addition, many other foreign navies are engaged in the same mission. The Somali campaign marks the first widespread participation of the world’s rising naval powers—which besides China includes India and other non-NATO navies—in an active maritime operation distant from their shores [3]. On January 14, 2009, a Chinese delegation attended the founding meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia, giving Beijing a leading role in this institution from the start (unlike in the case of such institutions as the Proliferation Security Initiative, which the PRC has resisted joining partly because China would have to accept a set of principles Beijing had no say in establishing). The Contact Group provides a mechanism to allow states and international organizations to exchange information on aspects of combating piracy off Somalia’s coast [4].

In addition to whatever protection of China’s shipping that results from the PLAN’s participation in the counter-piracy operation around Somalia, the Chinese Navy and the PRC have benefited in other ways from supporting the mission. The Chinese sailors involved have had ample opportunities to improve their tactics, techniques, and procedures by working in close proximity with several more experienced navies. Rear Admiral Du Jingchen, commander of the first PLAN task force, earlier told the Chinese media while returning to his home port of Sanya that he used the 123-day patrol to test his sailors’ capabilities, weapons, and support mechanisms as well as promote maritime defense diplomacy (China Daily, April 29). “The first anti-piracy fleet had zero experience,” he explained, but it had learned valuable lessons applicable for future overseas PLAN missions. A week earlier, Zhuang Congyong, a researcher with the Naval Command Academy, likewise observed that, “The ability to go deep into the ocean to conduct integrated operations is a key criterion for a strong navy. The escort operation to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters reflects and starts the transformation of our military strategy,” Zhuang said, adding that, “The Chinese navy will conduct more long-distance escort missions in the future” (Xinhua News Agency, April 22). By engaging in such a high-profile operation, moreover, the PLAN can highlight its contribution to advancing China’s foreign interests to PRC policy makers, including those determining the Navy’s budget.

The Chinese government in turn has characterized it’s support for the counter-piracy operation as meeting Beijing’s commitments as a benign international security actor (what some non-Chinese analyst have termed a responsible global stakeholder). It also confirms China’s growing capacity and willingness to contribute to international humanitarian missions. The day after the PRC celebrated the 60th anniversary of the PLAN in April 2009, an editorial in the People’s Daily Online lauded the Somalia operation on the grounds that, “The protection offered by the PLA fleet safeguards the national interests of China and projects a favorable image of China to the world.” The commentary added that, “This mission indicates that as a responsible power of the international community, China is fulfilling its promise to advance the construction of a harmonious world, and is taking actions to uphold world peace and boost mutual development. At the same time, it is demonstrating to the world that China, currently in the course of peaceful development, is utilizing its own military power to provide ‘public goods’ to the international community” (People’s Daily Online, April 24).

Yet, assuming a leadership position in the international counter-piracy coalition in the form of the SHADE co-chairmanship appears to have been a step too far for Beijing’s still cautious government, despite the encouragement offered the PRC by European and U.S. Navy commanders. In this regard, China’s wavering over leading the maritime mission off Somalia is symptomatic of how Beijing has approached many other international security issues. Chinese policy makers stress their desire to support world peace and security, but they still shun leadership roles in prominent international institutions and endeavors seeking this end. In Central Asia, for instance, Chinese officials continue to defer to Moscow’s primacy when it comes to many political and military questions, including those addressed in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The PRC’s most prominent security role has been with respect to the Korean Peninsula, where Beijing has played a key part in establishing and sustaining the Six-Party Talks. But even here the Chinese government has performed the role primarily of facilitator and mediator rather than that of leader. Instead of defining the terms of a preferred solution and seeking to impose it on the other parties, Beijing has sought to encourage Pyongyang and Washington to reconcile their differences through direct dialogue and use the multilateral framework of the talks to reach a comprehensive agreement that would also satisfy Seoul and Tokyo, who in turn are expected to provide financial support for any deal.


1. Andrew S. Erickson, “New U.S. Maritime Strategy: Initial Chinese Responses,” China Security, vol. 3, no. 4, Autumn 2007, p. 40.
2. U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Annual Report 2009 (Washington, D.C.), p. 133,
3. Brian Wilson and James Kraska, “Anti-Piracy Patrols Presage Rising Naval Powers,” YaleGlobal, 13 January 2009,
4. "First Plenary Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia, New York, January 14, 2009," Fact Sheet, U.S. Department of State, January 20, 2009,