Sunday, October 29, 2017

Wait a minute, those are QL550 4x4 Recon AFV under eval in Tibet!

The QL550 4x4 Recon AFV was officially revealed in 2006 targeting both export and domestic markets.  However, it has dropped off the radar with only limited examples tested by the PLA.   Fast forward to 2017, it is reported that the PLA is giving it another try, this time in Tibet (here) for high altitude operations.   Report in Chinese here:

The QL550 might have weak armor protection but it packs a heavy punch with its Type99 30mm gun + HJ73 turret.   With a V6 water-cooled diesel engine, it can reach a maximum speed 130 km/h.  It has a crew of four and weighting in around a ton and half.  Furthermore,  it has a data bus that can keep track all systems on-board.

The latest photo released by PLA's Army website

Here are some older QL550 pics

 Note the cage armor

Friday, October 27, 2017

Another year, another new Chinese APC

The Ministry of National Defense of the PRC just released three photos of a new family of 6x6 wheeled APC currently under evaluation.  It is intended to replace the older Type92 6x6 APC in service with the PAP (People's Armed Police) with a modern design, upgraded armor protection and a remote weapon system (RWS).    I suppose the Chinese do not want to be outdone in heavy-handed community policing set by the US urban SWAT. 

The older Type92 police APC in service with the PAP.

Photos of the day: 161st Air-Assault Brigade conducted its first confrontation drill at Zhurihe training base

Less than 100 days after its commission, the 161st Air-Assault Brigade just conducted its first confrontation drill with 18 of its organic helicopters and training support from the PLAN Marine brigade.   The PLAN Marine, of course, has the most operational experience with vertical assault resulting from the PLAN anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The 1st LH (Army Aviation) Brigade is now the 161st Air-Assault Brigade (空中突击第161旅), 83rd Group Army, Central Theater Command

The great PLA orbat reform of 2017 continues -- the former 1st LH Brigade now has an organic light assault infantry detachment and renamed as the 161st Air-Assault Brigade accordingly.   It is no-longer just a battlefield transport arm of the 83rd Group Army anymore.

To be clear, the PLA has been experimenting with heli-assault tactics in combined arms operations since the formation of its LH (Army Aviation) Corps (here), albeit at a low scale.  In 2005, the CMC detached elements from the 149th Mech Infantry Division to form the experimental 155th Special Light Mechanized Regiment as a first step of putting theoretical theory into practice.  In addition to the 155th, a smaller Heli-Assault battalion battle group was also created at the Nanjing MR to further refine small-unit, heli-assault operations.   Fast forward to 2017, Air-Assault is now part of the ground force's arsenal.  More LH units are expected to be converted into Air-Assault Brigades as part the orbat reform.

The PLAAF is also doing the same (see below) 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Next up at the Stride 2015 - Zhurihe A "red-vs-blue" confrontational exercise, 1st Heli-Assault Brigade, Nanjing MR

This is 1st Heli-Assault Brigade's first "baptism of fire" at Zhurihe, China's premier operational level "red vs blue" proving ground. It should be interesting to see how fine-tuned the PLA air assault tactics are after 10 years of trial and error in adopting this new combat operation. 

The 1st Heli-Assault Brigade (or 直升机机降突击旅 in Chinese) started as the 1st Heli-Assault battalion battle group in 2005, expanded into a full assault brigade in 2008. According to its commander 厉振彪 Li ZhenBiao, due to shortage of organic vertical assets, flatbed trucks were pressed into service to simulate airdrops. Their first military exercise was feasible only by 2009 when additional  helicopters found their way to the Nanjing MR.  Despite taking part at this year's Zhurihe, the outfit is still fairly new by PLA standards, doubts about their effectiveness will remain for some time to come.

Here are CCTV captures of its first military exercise in 2009

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

For all you "The Hunt for Red October" fans out there

Chinese propulsion system advances submarine capability

Global Times
Huang Panyue
China has conducted a trial run on the country's first permanent magnet propulsion motor for naval vessels, with experts saying that it marks a significant breakthrough in the country's naval vessel building industry, especially for the nuclear submarines.

The State-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), which is known for its aircraft carriers and the Jiaolong submersible vessel, made a statement on its official WeChat public account on Monday that the permanent magnet motor with a Chinese patent has been used on naval vessels docked at Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, the base of China's conventional and nuclear submarine fleet.

The statement said the vessel's propeller began to turn at 11 am on October 18, then reached the designated speed, which signified the success of the permanent magnet propulsion.

Although the statement did not disclose the type of vessels the motor was tested on, Chinese military experts say they believe the motor is specially designed for China's submarines and can substantially improve their performance in many aspects, especially by significantly reducing their running sound to the lowest possible level.

The new high-performance permanent magnet motors made from rare-earth materials avoid the flaws of traditional motors that work under the excitation principle, and can provide much greater power density, and can significantly reduce its working noise," Song Zhongping, a military analyst who previously served with the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Back in May, Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, China's top naval engineer, in an interview with China Central Television, said that the navy was supplying its newest nuclear attack submarines with a "shaftless," rim-driven pump-jet, which was considered a revolutionary, low-noise propulsion system.
Ma said that the technology was ahead of the US and more efficient and suitable for high-speed nuclear submarines.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

North Korea scenario, major PLA unit of the day: 202nd Combined-Arms Brigade, 78th Group Army (ex The 3rd Armored Brigade)

Together with her sister units up norther, she also sporting a full engineering and armor recovery elements.  

 Type 95/PGZ95 Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft System

 ARV unit

PPZ10 120-mm SP Gun-Mortar system
 PLZ89-122 of the artillery battalion

PLA Navy sets up another marine rescue squadron (DSRV)

Considering the fact that most of the new PLAN submarine operations are now shifting to the South China Sea, centering around Sanya naval base, this DSRV units is long overdue.

Three Jins SSBN and one Shang SSN at Sanya naval base

PLA Navy sets up another marine rescue squadron (DSRV)

    China Military Online
    Huang Panyue


By Guo Yuandan

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (ChinaMil) -- The South China Sea Fleet under the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy set up a new marine rescue squadron, which is expected to be a very important step for improving the PLA Navy's all-domain combat capability, an expert said.

The PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese PLA, said in a report on Oct. 19 that the squadron is a new unit set up in China's recent military reform. Now the Chinese PLA Navy has two marine rescue squadron.

Previously, the North China Sea Fleet's marine rescue squadron was the only unit of its kind in the Chinese PLA Navy, and it was responsible for all submarine rescue operations across all the PLA's naval jurisdictions.

As the name suggests, one of the main duties of the South China Sea Fleet's marine rescue squadron will deploy rescue ships, life-saving equipment and divers to save lives, resolve submarine-related problems and respond to emergencies, so as to minimize losses in submarine accidents.

Moreover, the marine rescue squadron is also responsible for fast search and emergent rescue tasks in coastal waters, high seas and even continental waters.

As the PLA Navy's mission area is expanding and going farther distances, one marine rescue squadron cannot ensure the timeliness and success rate of the rescue, especially in the South China sea.

An anonymous military expert said on Oct. 19 that the South China Sea Fleet of the Chinese PLA Navy has vast areas under its jurisdiction and convenient access to both the West Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Therefore, it is of special significance for the Chinese PLA Navy to carry out near-sea defense and far-sea escort and improve its all-domain combat capability.

According to foreign media reports, China's most advanced nuclear submarines are deployed in the South China Sea. In the light of the principle of nearby and fast assistance, it is absolutely necessary and reasonable to form a marine rescue squadron in the South China Sea.

The squadron is just like the "underwater ambulance" for submarine rescue. It will shorten the time and raise the efficiency of life saving, and effectively improve the success rate of life saving.

Also, setting up such a marine rescue squadron is extremely meaningful for supporting the Chinese PLA Navy to go farther and deeper in the world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vacation in Sanya

When the PLAN submarine base in Sanya Hainan was revealed to the public two years ago, it caused a stir within the PLA watching community (here).

Simultaneously, Sanya is developing into one of the nicest vacation spots in the world.  Why swim with dolphins when you can swim with Han class nuclear submarines?

The decommissioned LSM 978 (here)