Friday, December 31, 2010

STUFT--Ships Taken Up From Trade

Shangyang MR's transportation mobilization department recently inspected the newly commissioned Lift-on/Lift-off ship the "Long Xing Dao" to ensure it is ready to be "STUFT-ed" in time of need.

Perhaps, the leaders of this "million-man swim" military read the current issue of The Atlantic article "In Korea, Planning for the Worst: Mass Evacuation" and decided to act upon it (here).

Though often dismissed by military analysts as little more than a garnish for a "million-man swim" to Taiwan, China's amphibious assault fleet could rescue many stranded non-combatants. China's massive civilian fleet offers another possible resource. Plenty of Chinese ships will be available, able to respond if allowed to enter South Korean waters.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Possible Cockpit Photos of Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter

These pictures were taken at this year's Zhuhai Airshow, reportedly at a closed-door demonstration for select guests. Based on the mockup nose profile and display parameters matching the J-20, it's quite possible this was the first hard info released about the new stealth fighter.

There is much to be deduced from these photos. Click each picture for an enlargement and enjoy!

If you were a member of China-Defense Forum you could have seen these pics two months ago. Join today!

Early Eclipse: F-35 JSF Prospects in the Age of Chinese Stealth

Money Shot: New Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter poses for eager onlookers at Chengdu Test Facility

Much to the chagrin of Lockheed-Martin's JSF team, it appears there really is a new Chinese stealth fighter. And by the looks of it, the Chinese J-20 is a heavyweight contender built to challenge the F-22 Raptor. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, US air dominance seems in question. But where does this leave the F-35 JSF?

JSF is the "one-size-fits-all fighter", good for the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as all interested foreign customers. In an attempt to meet all roles and needs, within an affordable budget, the JSF has necessarily compromised capability in some areas, particularly air-to-air combat. The US Congress and International Customers were told the JSF possessed sufficient air-to-air capability, with Lockheed-Martin claiming a "close and long-range air-to-air capability second only to that of the F-22 Raptor." However, with the sound of the twin-engined Chinese J-20 roaring down the flightline at Chengdu, it appears Lockheed-Martin's claim may have been a bit short-lived.

Many international customers currently invested in the JSF would have preferred purchase of the air-to-air optimized F-22 Raptor, but the US has banned Raptor exports. International buyers were told JSF was the best air-to-air fighter their money could buy. Now facing a likely overmatch against the Chinese J-20, JSF shareholders such as Australia and potential Asian buyers such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and of course Taiwan must now be quite soured on the US refusal to sell the F-22.

It seems certain the emergence of the J-20 into the Asian military equation will precipitate a cascade of new fighter procurement in the region. Beyond Australia which has already financially committed to the JSF, the F-35 will most likely not be among the new types sought.

Latest Batch of J-20 Chinese Stealth Fighter Photos

At this point, the only thing we can rule out is that those photos are not photoshopped.

There could be two prototypes as well, writing for Janes International Defence Review on December 13th 2010, a week prior to the "leak" (here) Reuben F Johnson stated:

Meanwhile, rumours from China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) and the adjoining Aircraft Plant No 132 suggest that a flight of a Chinese-developed fifth-generation fighter prototype would take place by the end of the year. Reportedly, two airframes (numbered 2001 and 2002) have been assembled at the 132 plant.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A note to Comrade Kim?

While China calls for calm in the Korean Peninsula by calling for the cessation of military drills, it is interesting to see China stage a large drill of its own by one of its two Praetorian Guards: the 38th and 39th Group Armies. It might be a coincident that this drill is scheduled near Secretary Gates and the Defense minister of South Korea, Kim Kwan-Jin's, planned visit to Beijing (here). Nevertheless, over the recent years, both Praetorian Guards have undergone intense modernization, including the introduction of top-of-the-line systems such as the Type 99 MBT, the WZ-9 attack helicopter, and the PLZ-04 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer. Shengyang air force’s 1st Air Division became the first operator of the J-11B fighter. In sum, the Praetorian Guards are the most powerful armies of the PLA and they are not even facing “an island”.

One can speculate what the Praetorian Guards' mission might be: containing 23 million refugees? Protecting a weak regime from imploding? Or to simply stand tall as a reminder that China does have a military option if Dear Leader (tm) crosses the line. It seems that the PLA has a contingency plan.

As a recent New York Time article stated (here):

Administration officials said the Chinese government had embraced an American plan to press the North to reconcile with the South after its deadly attacks on a South Korean island and a warship. The United States believes the Chinese also worked successfully to curb North Korea’s belligerent behavior.

Division of Shenyang MAC in actual-troop tactical drill

(Source: PLA Daily) 2010-12-27

Shown in the picture is the site of the winter tactical drill with real troops of a division under the PLA Shengyang MAC. (Photo by Li Guangdong)

  When it cleared up after the heavy snow, a division under the Shenyang Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) allied with an aviation division under the PLA Air Force to conduct a tactical drill with real troops in the Keerqin Grassland of North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

  By Liu Dewu, Zhu Xiaohu and Shi Binxin

Editor:Yang Ru

The Division has been identified as 115th Mechanized Infantry Division, 39th Group Army, Shangyang MR

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chinese Stealth in Plain Sight: The Curious Emergence of the J-20 Fighter

It was a most unexpected Christmas gift to PLA watchers, the first clear photos of China's next-generation stealth fighter. Variously attributed as J-14, J-20, J-XX and other nomenclature, the new fighter has been seen performing high-speed taxi trials within view of public passersby. Perhaps an attempt at international transparency, perhaps a tantalizing leak for a Chinese public increasingly proud of its emerging military might, the disclosure of the existence of the new fighter is the roaring revelation of the Year of the Tiger.

From CDF Member "Mr. Unknown":
Photo releases in the past few days of the PLAAF's 4th generation J-14 fighter (5th generation by western categorization) have generated substantial interest in the PLA enthusiasts' community. They also seem to give a degree of credibility to recent assessments made by US SecDef Robert Gates, who predicted China's deployment of stealth fighters by 2020, and by Jane's, whose recent article vaguely stated that China's J-XX and Russia's PAK-FA fighter programs have reached unspecified "year-end milestones".

One question of great interest to PLA watchers is what type of engine this J-14 prototype will use. It is widely speculated that China's domestic engine development programs remain inadequate for producing the wide array of aircraft being produced in China. The upgraded H-6 bombers use Russian D-30KP engines, JF-17 uses RD-93s, the J-10s use AL-31FNs, and until recently, the J-11s also relied on AL-31s. Thus heavy reliance on Russian engines is likely to continue. Unconfirmed Russian media reports and Jane's claimed that Russia provided 117S engines - the same used for its own PAK-FA fighter - for the current J-14 prototype, but this author is skeptical as to whether Russia would be willing to sell to China its best available engine, given its perception that China frequently reverse engineers Russian military technology. On the other hand, the use of indigenous WS-15 engines remains equally implausible, for it is unlikely that this relatively new and immature model would be ready for use on an experimental aircraft.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

5 Liman el Hadrami Class OPV to Bangladesh

Thanks to our friends at for this update; Khulna Shipyard recently signed a contract with Hudong Shipyard and CSOC for building 5 x OPVs locally. These OPVs are based on the Liman el Hadrami (P601) class PRC donated to the Mauritanian Navy. (here)

Russo-Chinese "Anti-Terror" maneuvers in the Sea of Japan.

Love this classic example of commie-ist propaganda, noting:

1. Nothing prepares for fighting Uygurs than joint Naval operations in the Sea of Japan.
2. "Moreover, South Korea keeps firing at its northern neighbor" ...yea, it was the South that started that.
3. Gotta love the irony in using "terrorism" as a justification for military move! Thank you United States.

Russia, China start war games

In the last few years, Russia and China have been strengthening cooperation between their armies. 2011 will see joint Russo-Chinese maneuvers in the Sea of Japan.

So, what is the point of these war games?

The maneuvers are not a rehearsal of a landing in Taiwan, as some political analysts suppose. Nor are they meant to create a Russo-Chinese military bloc as an alternative to the military union between the US, Japan and South Korea. In fact, the reason behind these war games is simple – like many countries today, Russia and China are facing the threat of international terrorism. This was stressed by a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Mrs. Jiang Yu, who explained that the main aim of these maneuvers is to strengthen the two armies’ capability to withstand the evil of terrorism. These joint war games are by no means aimed against any third country, she said. The only purpose is to strengthen stability in Asia and in the whole world.

The unstable situation in the Xinjiang Uygur region in China and in Russia’s northern Caucasus points to the fact that the armies of both Russia and China must be strong and mobile enough to react to terrorist challenges. Chinese politicians say that the three main evils of today are terrorism, extremism and separatism.

“To fight with these three evils, we need cooperation and exchange of experience,” the head of Russian’s Armed Forces’ General Staff Nikolay Makarov says.“Today, we have to face well-organized international terrorist organizations. The world’s nations can defeat terrorism only by joining their efforts.”

However, there are other reasons for joint Russo-Chinese war games as well. Today, practically all Asian nations are strengthening their armies. India, Japan and both Koreas are actively modernizing their arms. Taiwan, strongly backed by the US, is developing its army and navy. The last month saw joint US-Japanese and US-South Korean maneuvers. Moreover, South Korea keeps firing at its northern neighbor. In a recent armed incident between the two Koreas, several people were killed.

Of course, every country has the right to defend its national interests. On the other hand, nobody is protected from a “temptation” to interpret his interests a bit too broadly. At a certain point, the arms race in Asia may begin to threaten peace in this region. Maybe, it would be logical to create a collective system of security here, like has already been done in Europe?

I neither to confirm nor deny Mr Senator

Chinese FM spokeswoman unable to confirm Far East drill with Russia 2010-12-21 18:53:23

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday declined to confirm media reports that China and Russia will hold a joint military exercise in the Sea of Japan next year, but praised the role of such drills in safeguarding regional peace and stability.

Russian media reported over the weekend that Russia and China will hold the "Peace Mission 2011" joint drill, involving land, sea and air forces, in the Far Eastern Sino-Russian border region and waters of the Sea of Japan.

China and Russia had conducted several such exercises bilaterally or under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular briefing.

"Those drills, which were designed to improve responsiveness to new threats and challenges, deepen bilateral strategic coordination and expand military ties, strengthening both sides' capabilities," she said.

All the exercises contributed to safeguarding regional peace and stability, she said.
Editor: Zhang Xiang

Friday, December 24, 2010

Y-12F Tactical STOL prototype 001.

Y-12F Tactical STOL prototype 001 rolled off production line on December 19th, counting down to its maiden flight.

Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Selects Hamilton Sundstrand for Y12F Environmental Control System

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co. Ltd. (HAIG) has selected Hamilton Sundstrand to provide the Environmental Control System for the Harbin Y12F airplane. Hamilton Sundstrand is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

Using the latest technology developed for regional jets, Hamilton Sundstrand's Environmental Control System will provide technical advancement for the Y12F airplane, which represents the next generation of high wing, middle-to-short haul airplanes with technology that enables improved economy and efficiency, and a significant reduction in airplane weight. The Y12F is a light multipurpose airplane that can accommodate 19 passengers or three large cargo containers.

"Hamilton Sundstrand is very excited by the opportunity to work with Harbin as partners on the Y12F," said Jim Patrick, Hamilton Sundstrand vice president of Air Management Systems. "Our success on the program is further evidence of our position as a leading aircraft systems integrator."

Founded in 1952, HAIG is a major Chinese airframe manufacturer with more than 16,000 employees. The company's facility, located in Harbin, Heilongjiang, produces helicopters, flying boats and light general purpose aircraft. Development of the Y12 began in 1980. Type I was used chiefly in exploration and Type II is a passenger plane with 12 seats.

"We selected the Hamilton Sundstrand Environmental Control System because of its quality, reliability and innovative design," said Qu Jingwen, president of Harbin Aircraft Group.

With 2007 revenues of $5.6 billion, Hamilton Sundstrand employs approximately 18,300 people worldwide and is headquartered in Windsor Locks, Conn., U.S.A. Among the world's largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and industrial products, the company designs,manufactures and services aerospace systems and provides integrated system solutions for commercial, regional, corporate and military aircraft. It also is a major supplier for International space programs.

United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries worldwide.

Contact: Dan Coulom

Windsor Locks, Conn.

SOURCE Hamilton Sundstrand

China ready to hold military exercises with Philippines

After equipping the Philippines to fight against their Maoist (yes, I had to stop to think about this too) rebels, the Sino-Philippine military relationship is ready to take their next step. (here)

Looking back at recent Sino-ASEAN military exchanges, ranging from a joint marine military drill (here) in Thailand, to a joint patrol with the Vietnamese Navy (here), frequent exchanges with the Singapore navy and  weapon sales to Indonesia, it seems that military leaders in ASEAN might be anxious about the "assertiveness" of China, but to give them credit, they are finding ways to understand each other under a variety of exchanges.

For some hardliners, venting in OpEds might offer quick relief, but it rarely drives foreign policies or improves relations.  Then again, writing OpEds are easy, whereas managing foreign relations is somewhat more complicated.

China ready to hold military exercises with PH
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 13:02:00 12/23/2010 Filed Under: Foreign affairs & international relations, Diplomacy, Military, Illegal drugs

China ready to hold military exercises with PH -, Philippine News for Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines—China is open to having full-scale joint military exercises with the Philippines, and does not view the country's close ties to the United States as an impediment to closer Sino-Philippine cooperation.

"Both sides are very much inspired and encouraged in having even greater cooperation between the two militaries," said Chinese Ambassador to Manila Liu Jianchao.

At a roundtable meeting with the press at his residence in DasmariƱas Village in Makati on Wednesday, the ambassador said joint military exercises between the two countries could be conducted "even now" against drug and human trafficking.

Joint military exercises against terrorism were also possible.

"Why not? I mean when the confidence and trust are boosted, and we have a better understanding, confidence, and trust, we can do better, Liu said.

"Even now, we can do joint military exercises in the area of, for example, in maritime security, maritime rescue, possible exercises against drug trafficking, human trafficking, and again, possibly, terrorism."

Liu said the Philippines' strong alliance with the United States should not impede it from fostering greater military cooperation with other allies, like China, whose military influence in the region is growing.

"I don't see any reason for that. The Philippines is an independent country, and I think that the Philippine people and the Philippine government... have a right to have sustained and strategic cooperative relations with China," he said.

He said military exchange and cooperation was part of "good, neighborly, and strategic relations between China and the Philippines."

But at the same time, he said, "China is happy to see the developments and improvements of relations between the Philippines and the United States. And it hopes that such relationship will benefit the regional peace and stability."

The envoy said proof of the growing military cooperation between China and the Philippines was the recent logistics agreement the two countries signed during a recent visit of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ricardo David to China.

"We provided 24 million yuan (about P150 million) worth of engineering equipment to the (Philippine) military, mostly for construction, like diggers, pressers, trucks," Liu said.

The ambassador acknowledged that his country was expanding its military presence throughout the region, and the Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were a part of this.

"Together with our economic development, we have been able to strengthen our military capabilities for the purpose of a better and effective defense of the land and of the sovereignty of China," he said.

"We'd like to have more dialogues and cooperation with our neighboring countries, including the Asean countries, in making sure that this region is a region of peace and stability and free from conflict," Liu said.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

when there is smoke there is fire

China speeds plans to launch aircraft carrier: sources
By Benjamin Kang Lim

BEIJING | Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:08am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China may be ready to launch its first aircraft carrier in 2011, Chinese military and political sources said on Thursday, a year ahead of U.S. military analysts' expectations.

Analysts expect China to use its first operational aircraft carrier to ensure the security of its oil supply route through the Indian Ocean and near the disputed Spratly Islands, but full capability is still some years away.

"The period around July 1 next year to celebrate the (Chinese Communist) Party's birthday is one window (for launch)," one source with ties to the leadership told Reuters, requesting anonymity because the carrier programme is one of China's most closely guarded secrets.

The Defense Ministry spokesman's office declined to comment.

The possible launch next year of the ex-Soviet aircraft carrier 'Varyag' for training, and testing technology, will be one step toward building an operating aircraft carrier group, analysts said.

The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence estimates the Varyag will be launched as a training platform by 2012, and China will have an operational domestically built carrier after 2015.

Andrew Erickson and Andrew Wilson of the U.S. Naval College wrote that it was "conceivable that carrier-relevant research, development, and even production ... could proceed with a rapidity that might surprise Western analysts."

China, which would be the third Asian country to have a carrier after India and Thailand, needs hardware, software and pilot training.

"The acquisition of a carrier doesn't equate to the acquisition of a capability -- the ability to use it effectively -- the latter involving a process that can take decades," said Robert Karniol, a veteran defense analyst based in Canada.

The 300-meter (1,000-foot) Varyag is undergoing refit at a state-run shipyard in northeastern city Dalian, sources said.

A Chinese firm bought the then-engineless Varyag from Ukraine in 1998 for $20 million, planning to convert it to a floating casino in Macau, but the Chinese military then bought the vessel.

Chinese air force pilots have yet to master takeoffs and landings from carriers. They have been undergoing training, but have far fewer flying hours than their U.S. peers.

"They must realize that their learning curve will be costly in terms of blood and treasure," Erickson and Wilson wrote.

"The Varyag will allow us to familiarize ourselves with aircraft carrier tactics of war," one Chinese military source said.

The United States and China's neighbors are nervous about how China could use its growing navy, and speeding up preparations for an aircraft carrier group could add to those jitters.

"Just the prospect of China building aircraft carriers has already made neighbors uneasy," former Taiwan deputy defense minister Lin Chong-Pin said in an interview.

China has refused to rule out the use of force to unify with Taiwan, a self-ruled island over which Beijing claims sovereignty. Tensions between the two sides have eased in recent years.

In March, China announced a 7.5 percent increase in its 2010 military budget to about $78.6 billion. But Washington suspects Chinese spending to be double that figure.

China is seeking to buy ship-borne Su-33 jets from Russia and is working on a variant of its own J-10.

The Varyag will be based in the southern province of Hainan.

(Additional reporting by Sabrina Mao; Editing by Chris Buckley and Daniel Magnowski)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 1990s: Joint exercises and the Somalia noncombatant evacuation operation.

Reading from Christopher D. Yung, Ross Rustici, Isaac Kardon, and Joshua Wiseman's recently published "China’s Out of Area Naval Operations: Case Studies, Trajectories, Obstacles, and Potential Solutions" by the Center for Strategic Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University (here)

The 1990s: Joint exercises and the Somalia noncombatant evacuation operation.

In early 1991, escalating violence from a civil war in Somalia drove many embassies in Mogadishu to request extraction due to unsafe conditions. The Chinese embassy and consulate requested help in evacuating its personnel. The PLAN had no assets capable of assisting the embassy, so the Chinese government reached out to the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Company to aid in the evacuation.

The company diverted one of its cargo ships (the Yongmen), sailing from Europe through the Gulf of Aden, to orchestrate the rescue of Chinese personnel in both Mogadishu and Kismayo. As a result of the large number of people needing to be evacuated, a lack of navigation charts, and the high level of danger on the piers, the Chinese hired two tug boats to ferry people from the piers outside Mogadishu to the boat. The option of using the life rafts from the Yongmen was rejected due to the time it would require to ferry all the passengers as well as the danger associated with such small boats in rough seas. After loading all the people from Mogadishu, the Yongmen set sail for Mombasa, Kenya. After unloading the first batch of passengers in Mombasa, the Yongmen was dispatched to Kismayo, Somalia, for a second evacuation. The port at Kismayo was too small for the Yongmen to dock. As a result, the crew hired a large fishing vessel and another tug to transfer the evacuees to the Yongmen, which then sailed back to Mombasa to unload the rest of the civilians.

From this case history, we note that in the early 1990s, the PLAN was incapable of conducting an out of area noncombatant evacuation. Not only did it lack the necessary ships, but also the naval personnel had yet to be trained in operations of this kind due to the PLAN’s inexperience operating out of area. The long distances alone virtually eliminated China’s ability to respond to it adequately, requiring its merchant fleet to step in. We can also see from this specific case that while merchant vessels are useful substitutes for naval surface combatants, they also have their shortcomings. The Yongmen lacked personnel who could risk operating small boats in rough seas (as would be expected of a boatswain of any other navy) or serve as a security force to escort citizens from shore points to the ship. Furthermore, it is unclear what assets were available on board the Yongmen to transport personnel. In fact, given the nature of the Yongmen—a merchant vessel, not a warship equipped for multiple contingencies—it is safe to say that had Chinese citizens in Somalia been unable to get to points along the shore, and had they remained stranded inland, the Chinese government would have had no means to get them out.

Today as the PLAN now makes the Gulf of Aden as one of its "training grounds", the above incident illustrates how far the PLAN has come in a short period of 20 years. At the same time, reading from Yung, Rustici, Kardon and Wiseman's in-depth analysis, the PLAN still has a long way to go before it can take part in major combat operations far from home.

"China’s Out of Area Naval Operations: Case Studies, Trajectories, Obstacles, and Potential Solutions"
is a great work, download a copy, (here) it is well worth your time.

Someday, firing warning shots may no longer able to drive those pirates away, when that day comes, the PLAN may have to resolve to something more lethal -- such as harsh language.

Gorman: Apone! Look... we can't have any firing in there. I, uh... I want you to collect magazines from everybody.
Hudson: Is he fuckin' crazy?
Frost: What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?

No, not gotta.

Make any comments on the biggest leak in the Chinese military blogger sphere in recent years.
Not gotta, so don't ask.

China to commission MSA01 in May 2012.

The contract for this 5400 ton advanced patrol ship was recently signed between the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration and the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Company Ltd (here)

At the cost of 350 million Yuan, this new class of patrol ship features a top speed of 20.4 knots and with endurance of 10,000 nautical miles at 16 knots cruising speed. In addition to the 200 people rescue capacity, a fully equipped medical operation room is also provisioned .

Monday, December 20, 2010

ROC Navy opens missile base in eastern Taiwan to media

After "ramping-up" production of the newer generation of Hsiung Feng IIF and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles (here), the ROCN is ready to show the PLAN what they facing.

Navy opens missile base in eastern Taiwan to media

The nation's navy opened yesterday a military base with Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles in eastern Taiwan to the media for the first time.

Officers and their men gave a demonstration of operations concerning installing and hanging the missiles onto the right positions for launching as well as removing them from missile racks afterward.

The naval missile base, called “Guhai” (“fortifying the sea” in Chinese) military base, is nestled in a mountain region in eastern Hualien.

With a camouflage that disguises the military base as an area for ordinary building compounds, the roof tiles of the structures have the special effects of deflecting satellite searches by unfriendly forces or parties.

There are housing units for residents and commercial hotels for tourists near the base.

The structures housing the missiles and troops can be easily mistaken for villas at a tourist resort.

Some of the missile facilities are concealed and some others are mounted on heavy-duty trucks for high mobility.

Troops handling Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles have regularly taken part in large-scale military exercises, including live fire tests in war games.

But this is the first time the navy has let reporters make an onsite tour of the military facilities.

The Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles measure 4.8 meters in length and can hit targets more than 100 kilometers away.