Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report yesterday that in an interview with Russia sputniknews website, Vassily Kashin, an expert of Russia’s Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, pointed out that 2015 is an important year in China’s development of strategic nuclear force as it obtained lots of brand new combat capabilities such as DF-5B MIRV ICBMs displayed in its September military parade.
In addition, China has developed new DF-41 ICBM and its train-mobile version, DF-31 and its improved version DF-31B with MIRV and the new road launch vehicles for the ICBMs and made progress in developing hypersonic warheads.
Kashin believes that due to the above-mentioned developments, it is better justified to say that China is as strong as Russia and the US in nuclear capabilities.
In its report “China says carrying out tests of new long-range missile” yesterday, Reuters says, “The Washington Free Beacon said last week U.S. intelligence agencies had recently monitored a test of the DF-41 on the train, a missile that could hit U.S. targets.” Reuters quotes Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, as saying when he was asked about the Washington Free Beacon’s report, “The scientific research tests carried out domestically are done in accordance with plans”. Obviously Yang confirmed the report.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russia media: China has made major breakthrough in its nuclear capabilities, which enables it to be as strong as the US and Russia” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Source: Reuters “China says carrying out tests of new long-range missile”
Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Tests New ICBM from Railroad Car”
Full text of Rueters and Washington Free Beacon’s reports can be viewed respectively at http://www.reuters.com/article/china-defence-missile-idUSL3N14K2CM20151231 and http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-tests-new-icbm-from-railroad-car/
After months of speculation, China confirmed on Thursday it is building a second aircraft carrier to go with an existing one bought second-hand, as neighbors worry about Beijing’s new assertiveness to claims in the South China Sea.
Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the carrier had been designed in China and was being built in the port of Dalian. Foreign military analysts and Chinese media have for months published satellite images, photographs and news stories purporting to show the second carrier’s development.
“China has a long coast line and a vast maritime area under our jurisdiction. To safeguard our maritime sovereignty, interests and rights is the sacred mission of the Chinese armed forces,” Yang said.
The design draws on experiences from the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China, Yang said.
Yang said the conventionally powered carrier has a displacement of 50,000 tonnes, will be able to operate the Shenyang J-15 fighter and, unlike the 60,000-tonne Liaoning, have a ski-jump take-off.
Little is known about China’s aircraft carrier program, which is a state secret.
Yang would not say when the second carrier would enter service, saying it depended on progress in the design process.
A Shanghai-based naval expert who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter said tensions in the South China Sea made the carrier particularly necessary to furthering Chinese interests.
“The U.S. has many aircraft carriers that are traveling all over the place in the South China Sea, which has caused problems for us,” he said. “Having a second aircraft carrier reduces the pressure on us. It will keep us from being bullied.”
China claims almost all the South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and has been building up military facilities like runways on the islands it controls.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
China says it has no hostile intent and wants to manage the dispute through bilateral talks with the other claimants. Yang also announced the defense ministry had just set up a new hotline with Vietnam, as it seeks to manage the tensions.
But Beijing has been involved in a diplomatic spat with Washington too over ship and aircraft patrols in the region.
Asked whether China was thinking of a third carrier, Yang said that “relevant authorities” would take various factors into consideration about future carrier plans.
The Pentagon, in a report earlier this year, said Beijing could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in September China was building two aircraft carriers that would be the same size as the Liaoning.
Successfully operating the Liaoning is the first step in what state media and some military experts believe will be the deployment of domestically built carriers by 2020.
The Liaoning has taken part in military exercises, including in the South China Sea, but is not yet fully operational.
Last week, the military said the Liaoning had made a “key breakthrough” in shifting from the testing phase to being able to operate ship-borne aircraft, as the country’s navy chief paid a visit.
(Reporting By Ben Blanchard, Writing By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Source: Reuters “Amid maritime disputes, China confirms building second carrier
The first call was made to share New Year’s greetings
The first official hotline between Beijing and Taipei became operational on Wednesday in a move to calm tensions across the Taiwan Straits.
The director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, and the head of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Andrew Hsia, placed the first call on the line to share New Year’s greetings, according to Reuters.
The decision to institute the hotline was made during a historic meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou in November, Reuters reports.
It was the first official meeting between the leaders of both sides since the Chinese Communist Party’s Mao Zedong and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s Chiang Kai-shek met in 1945. The Nationalists fled to Taiwan following a war with the communists in 1949.
Source: Time “The Hotline Between China and Taiwan Is Now Operational”
J-16D brings hammer down on SAMs
While China’s Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) operations rely on heavy air defenses, Chinese air force planners may also have to account for enemy surface to air missiles, all the more with Taiwan and Japan embarking on a new buildup of missile shields. In December, one of the responses was revealed: the Shenyang J-16D.
The J-16D is a J-16/Su-30 multi-role fighter optimized for “Wild Weasel” missions. Starting in the Vietnam War, Wild Weasels are fighters designed to take on surface-to-air missile batteries in a SEAD (Supression of Enemy Air Defense) role. Armed with anti-radiation missiles (which lock on and target radars by their electronic emissions) and electronic intelligence and electronic warfare jammers, they are designed to engage and suppress defenses, opening the way for traditional air attacks.
Compared to the baseline J-16, the J-16D has removed its Infrared Search Tracking sensor and 30mm cannon to accommodate more electronics inside its fuselage. It also has several antennas mounted around its fuselage. The J-16D also two large ELINT pods on its wingtips, similar to those on the E/A-18 Growler, to collect enemy radar and electronic activity. Additionally, the J-16D has smaller radome, likely to include an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar optimized for electronic warfare, including signals collection and jamming. The J-16D will be fitted with large AESA jamming pods, a development of current jammers on JH-7A attack aircraft; its attack ability will come from YJ-91, LD-10 and other anti-radiation missiles.
The J-16D provides Chinese aerial operations with a fast, maneuverable and long range EW and Wild Weasel platform that can protect Chinese fighters and bombers like the J-10, J-11, J-15, J-20, J-31 and H-6K bomber. This will be an important requirement in combat operations in increasingly militarized areas like the Taiwan Straits and South China Seas. In combat operations, the J-16 would first use its jammers to disrupt the target and fire control of enemy air defenses, before firing its long range anti-radiation missiles, which are equally deadly against both mobile and fixed air defenses. As a fighter, it can still take part in aerial combat in self defense and to protect other aircraft against enemy fighters.
China’s increasing ability to protect its power projection capabilities shows that its advances in military technology are just as much focused on taking action aboard to advance its interests, as opposed to the A2AD narrative of hunkering down against enemy threats. And, much as the US plans for F-35/22, Chinese Wild Weasel capabilities can be expected to migrate to fifth-generation stealth fighters, carrier aircraft, and drones large and small.
Source: Popular Science “China Builds Its Own ‘Wild Weasel’ To Suppress Air Defenses”
Due to secrecy, China’s official media’s military forum is used to reveal China’s development of advanced weapons through foreign media’s speculation.
This blogger has said that in order to prevent US military attack at China, China has to develop the capabilities of attacking US homeland. That is what China’s strategy of active defense really means as attack is the best defense. It is also what Chinese President Xi Jinping means in his instruction to Chinese air force on speeding up the development of China’s integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense.
To have such capabilities, China must have long-range strategic stealth bombers able to wipe out US aircraft carrier battle groups at high seas and attack US homeland.
China has already obtained and displayed its nuclear second-strike capabilities for nuclear deterrence, but it needs the above-mentioned capabilities as conventional deterrence.
To make a point of that, China’s official military column mil.huanqiu.com gives an almost full translation of well-known US science media Popular Science December 28 article “Chinese Stealth Fighter J-20 Starts Production”.
What especially worth noticing is the conclusion of the article: “As J-20 testing wraps up, the PLAAF will also have many other new projects to roll out, like the J-31 stealth fighter, H-20 stealth bomber, Sharp Sword stealth UAV and hypersonic weaponry.”
In fact, all the said new projects except H-20 stealth bomber have already been made public by China’s official sources. What we are not clear is whether China is developing H-20 stealth bomber or a strategic bomber with more advanced technology.
In my post “China to Build Huge Super Nuclear Bomber Carrying Over 200 Nuclear Bombs” on November 2, 2013 based on the military column of qianzhan.com (which has been closed perhaps due to its revelation of too much of Chinese military secret), I said that according to a Russian media, China is developing a nuclear strategic bomber with a cruise speed of Mach 3.6 and ability to remain in the air for 3.5 months incessantly and carry 170 to 210 sets of nuclear bombs depending on the density and scale of its targets.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “US media: If J-20 is series produced, China will perhaps start stealth bomber project” (summary and comments by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Photos posted on the Internet show that China’s 4th Type 071 large landing platform dock (LPD) has been built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and is setting out for sea test. So far China has commissioned 3 such new-type LPDs in its South Sea Fleet. They are respectively named the Kunlunshan, Jinggangshan and Changbaishan.
Note: Type 071 LPD is China’s largest LPD with a displacement of about 20,000 tons.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “China’s 4th Type 071 Landing Platform Dock Sets Out for Sea Test” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Gbtimes.com says in its report “China launches Gaofen-4 dual-use geostationary satellite”, “Defensenews.com, citing China Youth Daily, claims that the express purpose of Gaofen-4 is hunting US aircraft carriers and forms part of a network that ‘will work together to locate, target and destroy aircraft carriers and destroyers’” though “Official Chinese sources state the main functions of the satellite as monitoring resources and environment, tracking climate change and economic and social development, with clients including the Ministry of Environmental Protection.”
Anyway, according to Professor Bhupendra Jasani at King’s College London, satellites in geostationary orbit (GSO) are usually used for early warning purposes, with sensors on board able to detect launches of missiles much earlier than land-based sensors.
The following is the full text of gbtimes.com’s report:
China launches Gaofen-4 dual-use geostationary satellite
China on Monday launched its Gaofen-4 Earth observation satellite toward a geostationary orbit, from which it will able to perform a range of civilian and military applications – including detecting US aircraft carriers.
A Long March 3B rocket, currently China’s most powerful in use, lofted the satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern Sichuan province at 16:04 UTC (00:04 Beijing time, Tuesday).
Gaofen-4 will offer optical spatial resolution of better than 50 metres and infrared sensing capabilities from geostationary orbit. It is designed to operate for eight years at an altitude of almost 37,000km above the Earth.
The 4,600kg satellite is part of the China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS).
According to the China National Space Administration (CNSA), CHEOS aims to provide China with all-weather, all-day and global Earth observation coverage by 2020.
Gaofen-4 will cover an imaging area of 7,000 km × 7,000 km. The mission follows the launch of Gaofen-1, -2, -8 and -9 satellites, providing high-resolution images of Beijing and other areas.
Professor Li Bin, of the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University, told gbtimes that: “The main breakthrough of Gaofen-4 is it will realise high-precision survey and image synthesis, long-distance imaging and data processing and transmission.”
Li says Gaofen-4 has adopted sophisticated photo-electronic imaging technologies and belongs to the advanced level of international satellites.
Aircraft carrier hunter?
Official Chinese sources state the main functions of the satellite as monitoring resources and environment, tracking climate change and economic and social development, with clients including the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Contrary this, reports in Chinese media – later picked up by US outlets – claim that the satellite can and will be used to detect US aircraft carriers in China’s neighbourhood.
Defensenews.com, citing China Youth Daily, claims that the express purpose of Gaofen-4 is hunting US aircraft carriers and forms part of a network that “will work together to locate, target and destroy aircraft carriers and destroyers.”
Professor Li Bin says however that spotting aircraft carriers is not the main goal of the satellite.
“If an aircraft carrier comes into Gaofen-4’s view, it should be able to spot it. [However] The main goal is to serve China’s economic development. Of course there will be security functions, but obviously they are not the major functions.
“[Gaofen-4] will provide information for oil exploration, agricultural harvest, natural disaster and maritime search and rescue,” Li says.
Professor Bhupendra Jasani at King’s College London explains that satellites in geostationary orbit (GSO) are usually used for early warning purposes, with sensors on board able to detect launches of missiles much earlier than land-based sensors.
He notes that such a satellite is of great importance for China’s security, stating that China’s interest would be to observe the US, Russia and other states in the region for launches of missiles.
“Satellites form an essential element of terrestrial weapons, nuclear as well as conventional ones. As a nuclear weapon state and constantly trying to exert its influence in world affairs, early warning satellite and others would be essential for China, who is concerned particularly about the USA and Russia from its security point of view,” Professor Jasani notes.
Professor Jasani also explains that GSO weather satellites measure a number of characteristics of the atmosphere, for example, temperature, pressure and particular content.
“The knowledge of these enable improvement of missile trajectory for accurate delivery of weapons.”
Such information could be used to assist delivery of China’s Dongfeng 21D “carrier killer” missiles and its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
While there are clear dual-uses to the satellite, as with many space assets, Professor Li states that the Gaofen series is not military in nature.
“Gaofen satellites have nothing to do with militarisation of outer space, but it is undeniable that Gaofen-4 could detect lots of information, some of which could also be used for military purposes. Both China and other countries could do this.”
The US will use the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for infrared space surveillance, taking over from its Defense Support Program (DSP) for early warning and reconnaissance.
Li adds that such an association is a wrong way to look at things. “It neither helps the world understand China’s foreign policy and technological development policy, nor helps other countries to arrange their own technological projects. If people use this view point of antagonism, it is not cooperative.”
Conversely, Li says, the focus should be on how to use China’s rapid development of economy and technology to benefit both Chinese people and people from other countries and boost cooperation.
China’s 2015 space activities
Gaofen-4 was China’s 19th orbital launch of busy year and follows on from the DAMPE/Wukong dark matter probe launched on December 17.
Previous missions include the lofting of four Beidou global positioning satellites, the high-resolution Gaofen-8 andGaofen-9 earth observation satellites and related Yaogan-27,-28 and -29 birds.
In a leap for Chinese carrier rockets, the autumn saw the debut launch of the next-gen, kerosene/liquid oxygen Long March 6, which put 20 small satellites in orbit. The maiden flight of the solid-fuelled Long March 11 also marked new, rapid-response launch capabilities.
Other notable missions include Jilin-1, China’s first self-developed commercial remote sensing satellite, and APSTAR-9, developed and launched on behalf of a major regional satellite fleet operator. China also lofted the first satellite for the southeast Asian nation of Laos, LaoSat-1.
Source: gbtimes.com “China launches Gaofen-4 dual-use geostationary satellite”