SCMP says in its report “China dispatches air force jets to carry out more drills in the Pacific” yesterday:
Chinese air force jets again carried out drills in the western Pacific, flying through the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan and the Philippines and the Miyako Strait near Japan’s Okinawa island, the nation’s air force said.
It quotes Chinese air force as saying that such drills far at sea are normal for countries bordering the ocean and it will organize more such drills for development of its systematic abilities far at sea to “maintain national sovereignty, protect national security and guarantee peaceful development”.
Previously, SCMP says in its report “China dispatches one of its largest air force fleets ever near Okinawa in show of force to Japan” on November 25, that the air force’s drill on November 20 with a large fleet of more than 40 fighter jets, bombers and air tankers was “saber-rattling” “meant as a strong message to Tokyo, after Japan’s new defence minister vowed to step up its military presence in the disputed South China Sea in joint training patrols with the United States” according to analysts.
We believe that instead the drills are strong messages to US navy that in addition to DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles, with J-20 dominating the airspace, China may send fleets of bombers accompanied by fighter jets to sink US aircraft carries outside the first island chain.
Japanese and US joint training patrols constitute no threat to China as such patrols will give China the excuse to deploy strong air force on the three large airports on its artificial islands in the South China Sea. China incurs huge costs in building the islands and airports certainly for the purpose first of all of defending its sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea though it claims that those islands and airports are mainly for civilian purposes in an attempt to ease US and China’s neighbors’ worries.
China certainly welcomes the planned joint patrols to get the excuse to militarize its artificial islands. The three airports there will be much stronger than quite a few US aircraft carriers. If militarized, it will be the US and Japanese patrol navies’ worries instead of China’s worries.
China’s large-scale drills in western Pacific give the US a clear message that with its J-20 dominating the airspace, China is more than able to annihilate US navy if the US attacks it from western Pacific.
Japan can be neglected by China! Without US support, Japan will be showered by China’s intermediate ballistic missiles and H-6K bombers’ cruise missiles and bombs if it dare to provoke China.
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s reports, full text of which can be found respectively at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2049596/china-dispatches-air-force-jets-carry-out-more-drills and http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2022467/china-dispatches-big-air-force-fleet-near-okinawa-show.
China’s official military forum mil.huanqiu.com says in its report on November 24 that according to Singapore’s zaobao.com’s report, a number of photos of China’s homegrown long-range air-to-air missile (LRAAM) have appeared on the Internet.
The missile looks like the PL-15 there has been rumors about.
We have a post on September 25 on the missile based on The Daily Beast’s report titled “The New Chinese Missile That Has the U.S. Air Force Spooked”, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/25/the-new-chinese-missile-that-has-the-u-s-air-force-spooked.html?via=newsletter&source=DDAfternoon
Mil.huanqiu.com says that in the photos, the PL-15 is carried by a J-11BS. The report says that PL-15 is of world leading wing-free design for higher speed and longer range.
Chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.hk website gives the following much more detailed report, but as it has not been cited by official mil.huanqiu.com, the information is not as reliable:
It was first rumored in 2011 that 607 Institute has been developing a new active radar homing long-range AAM (dubbed PL-15?) comparable to American AIM-120D and might have evolved from the earlier PL-12C/D design. Initially the missile was speculated to have small stabilizing fins and tailfins so that would fit into the internal weapon bay of J-20. However the latest images (November 2016) indicated that PL-15 has 4 tail control fins only (coupled with TVC?) and is significantly longer and thicker than PL-12 (length 5.8m, diameter 300mm). Its large size suggests the missile is actually a new class of LRAAM and not a PL-12 replacement. As the result it cannot be carried internally by the 4th generation fighters such as J-20 but is expected to be carried externally by 3.5th generation long-range fighters/interceptors such as J-11D and J-16. However it may still be carried externally by J-20 underneath its wings. The missile appears to be propelled by a dual pulse rocket motor in favor of a ramjet engine, which has a smaller drag and a slimmer size. It is also speculated to fly a semi-ballistic trajectory similar to American AIM-54 in order to achieve an extra long range (range>300km, speed>Mach 4, cruising altitude 30km). PL-15 is believed to feature an advanced guidance system including a two-way datalink and a new active/passive dual mode AESA seeker with enhanced ECCM capability. Before the launch the missile must obtain the target information via datalink from an AWACS, a land-based long-range radar or even a satellite. The launch aircraft disengages right after releasing the missile. After the initial ascent stage, the missile may use Beidou/GPS+INS+datalink guidance during the mid-course cruising stage. At the terminal diving stage, in combination with the AESA seeker, it may also use an IIR seeker as indicated by a small optical window in its nose, which further increases its kill probability amid severe jamming. Therefore this LRAAM could pose a serious threat to high-value aerial targets deep behind the enemy line such as AWACS and tankers, and currently is the only type in this class. It was rumored in November 2016 that a PL-15 was test-fired successfully from a J-16.
– Last Updated 11/23/16
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Foreign media: Appearance of China’s PL15 air-to-air missile: Powerful weapon for J-20” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Source: Chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.hk “PL-15 under Missiles III”
China will boost military ties with Djibouti, strategically located in the Horn of Africa, state media quoted a senior Chinese army officer as saying during a visit to a country where China is building its first overseas naval base.
In February, China began construction in Djibouti of its first overseas military facility, a logistics base that will resupply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
Djibouti, which is about the size of Wales, is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts U.S., Japanese and French bases.
Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission, said after a meeting with Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh the two countries could strengthen ties in all areas, including militarily, state news agency Xinhua said late on Thursday.
“The two sides have made frequent exchanges of visits, and achieved remarkable results in personnel training, naval escort and supplies, and participation in UN peacekeeping operations,” Xinhua paraphrased Fan as saying.
Fan said relations between the two militaries had been “developing smoothly in recent years”, Xinhua reported.
“China is willing to make joint efforts with Djibouti to continue to promote the healthy and stable development of relations between the militaries,” Fan said.
There was no direct mention of the Chinese military base, which China describes as a supply facility.
Djibouti’s location on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled worries in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)
Source: Reuters “China says to boost military ties with strategic Djibouti”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
China’s official military forum mil.huanqiu.com says in its report yesterday that according to the website of Russian Today Economy News Agency, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia and China has concluded contracts in military technology field worth US$3 billion. I said in my post yesterday that he regarded Sino-Russian military cooperation as the most important of all important issues.
At first, Russian military was unwilling to sell China its most advanced weapons S-400 air defense system and Su-35 fighter jets for fear that China may copy such weapons. Now, it is more than willing to do so.
Russian military expert Vassily Kashin says that it is natural that China will copy Russian weapons to improve its weapon technology. However, the weapons sold to China are very expensive. It enables Russia to recover the development cost and have funds for development of even more advanced weapons to sell China.
As a result, the weapon sales are mutually beneficial. China will obtain advanced weapons cheaper and quicker than it develops on its own while with the profit from such sales, Russia will be able to develop more weapons to sell to China.
As for the US, it is not willing to sell China any advanced weapons. China has to use spies to steal US advanced weapon technology free of charge. Russia understands that China will after all be able to develop advanced weapons similar to those Russia has developed. Why shall Russia not sell China to enable China to save while Russia to make more advanced weapons to keep on the sales and making profits?
For China, since the weapons are available and China has enough funds to purchase, why shall China steal? There has been no news whatever about China stealing Russian weapon technology.
In fact, the US may sell advanced weapons to China at excessively high prices. For example, it can sell its F-22 with the profit of more than US$100 million each.
That is a price China will accept as proved by China’s purchase of 24 Su-35 at the excessive price of US$2 billion. China only wanted 2, but agreed to buy 24 to get the technology through reverse engineering. In fact, Su-35 perhaps includes some technology that China already has or does not need but China has to pay for them.
That is also the case with F-22, China will buy it for defense, its penetrating strike capabilities are useless for China, but China has to pay for them if it buys F-22. It needs only 2 F-22, but has to buy 24 so that the US may earn excessive profits.
The problem is that US government will not be benefited from the sale. Unlike Russian government who owns the weapon producers, US does not own any of the weapon producers. The sale will only enrich those producers, who will not reduce government’s financial burdens in providing it with advanced weapons. As usual, they will be reimbursed by the government all the R&D costs plus an increment of profit. With such a system, US government and people will be increasingly debt ridden in getting advanced weapons from weapons producers.
China on the other hand may develop J-20 stealth fighter jet to deal with F-22 at much lower costs as it needs some of F-22’s expensive capabilities or enable its weapon producers to make windfall profits.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia media: Russian weapons indispensable for China: US$3 billion contracts signed in a year”
SCMP says in its report “China maps new road to Latin America to rival and check US influence” today, “President Xi Jinping’s week of state visits sets the course for developing ties in the region but may have targeted Washington and Taipei, too”
Target Washington? Certainly. That is China’s traditional wisdom.
More than 2,000 years ago, in order to contain the powerful state of Chu, another powerful state Jin sent experts to help Chu’s weak neighbor the state of Wu develop its economy and military. As a result, Wu became strong and to attack Chu repeatedly until it occupied Chu’s capital the City of Ying. Chu was finally rescued by the state of Qin, another powerful state.
Using the same strategy, Chu helped Wu’s neighbor the state of Yue develop its economy and military, Yue was thus able to conquer Wu.
The United States has become increasingly unpopular in Latin America that it regards as its back yard. The backyard is unhappy with US dominance but is not strong enough to counter the US.
Now, by helping Latin America develop through win-win cooperation, China will not only be economically benefited, but will also weaken the US geopolitically to counter US failed attempt to weaken China in Southeast and East Asia.
The US plays both military and economic diplomacies to contain China. Its economic diplomacy the TPP will soon be scrapped by its new president Trump. Moreover, Trump gives priority to bringing jobs home. From where? Not from China as the US is not able to. Apple’s CEO has given very convincing reason: The US simply lacks the skilled workers China has to enable Apple to bring back its production home from China.
Trump is going to bring back jobs from Latin America and first of all from Mexico by terminating US free trade area agreement with Canada and Mexico. In addition, he will build a wall to stop the tide of immigrants from Latin America who want to have a share of American dream.
The wall will wake their American dream and tell them to have instead Chinese dream through economic cooperation with China.
On the other hand, military diplomacy is entirely useless in Latin America as China uses only economic means.
The US is doomed to lose its back yard if Trump succeeds in his economic approaches.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2049360/china-maps-new-road-latin-america.
China has developed its 4th-generation long-range rocket artillery since its imported and imitated Russian one as its 1st-generation of rocket artillery.
Rocket artillery is China’s major weapon for export. The range of the export version shall not exceed 300 km due to international restriction.
China’s rocket artillery has long exceeded such range, but China cannot export such long-range one. What new functions can China develop for its export version people would ask when they visited recent Zhuhai Airshow.
For that question, Global Times reporter visited Chinese experts. Wu Xuesen, chief designer of China’s A300 rocket artillery told the reporter that China’s new types A200 and A300 rocket artillery are China’s 4th-generation products with unique function. They can reprogram the trajectory of their rockets to penetrate enemy rocket defense as their warheads can proactively separate from the rockets.
In addition, the warheads can be controlled to hit their targets perpendicularly to penetrate meters of reinforced concrete. The artillery can be guided by Chinese and Russian navigation systems in addition to GPS.
Moreover, GATSS data receipt unit has been added to A200 and A300 rocket artillery to enable them to hit moving targets.
Source: Global Times “China’s 4th-generation long-range rocket artillery has unique best function in the world: Its warhead can proactively separate from the rocket” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
According to Russian Sputnik website’s report on November 23, Russian Defense Minister Senior General Sergei Shoigu says that Sino-Russian ties are at an unprecedented high and keep on steady development. He stresses that military cooperation between the two countries is the most important among all important issues.
According to him, such cooperation facilitate peace and stability within and outside Eurasia. It is not targeted at any other countries, nor constitute any threat to them.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russian defense minister: Sino-Russian relations unprecedented, military cooperation is the most important of all important issues” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
In November 2016, a Chinese J-16 strike fighter test-fired a gigantic hypersonic missile, successfully destroying the target drone at a very long range.
Looking at takeoff photos, we estimate the missile is about 28 percent of the length of the J-16, which measures 22 meters (about 72 feet). The puts the missile at about 19 feet, and roughly 13 inches in diameter. The missile appears to have four tailfins. Reports are that the size would put into the category of a very long range air to air missile (VLRAAM) with ranges exceeding 300 km (roughly 186 miles), likely max out between 250 and 310 miles. (As a point of comparison, the smaller 13.8-foot, 15-inch-diameter Russian R-37 missile has a 249-mile range).
This is a big deal: this missile would easily outrange any American (or other NATO) air-to-air missile. Additionally, the VLRAAM’s powerful rocket engine will push it to Mach 6 speeds, which will increase the no escape zone (NEZ), that is the area where a target cannot outrun the missile, against even supersonic targets like stealth fighters.
The new, larger missile’s added value is not just in range. Another key feature: its large active electronically scanned (AESA) radar, which is used in the terminal phase of flight to lock onto the target. The AESA radar’s large size—about 300-400% larger than that of most long range air-to-air missiles—and digital adaptability makes it highly effective against distant and stealthy targets, and resilient against electronic countermeasures like jamming and spoofing.
The VLRAAM’s backup sensor is a infrared/electro-optical seeker that can identify and hone in on high-value targets like aerial tankers and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) radar aircraft. The VLRAAM also uses lateral thrusters built into the rear for improving its terminal phase maneuverability when engaging agile targets like fighters.
Interestingly, the ability to glide may be a key feature as well. A 2016 research paper by Zhang Hongyuan, Zheng Yuejing, and Shi Xiaorong of Beijing Institute of Control and Electronics Technology linked to the VLRAAM development suggests that the midcourse portion of the VLRAAM’s flight will occur at altitudes above 30 km (about 18.6 miles). Flying at such low pressure, low drag high altitudes would allow the VLRAAM to extend its range (similar to hypersonic gliders). The high altitude also makes it difficult for enemy aircraft and air defenses to shoot it down midflight. Finally, high altitude flight means that the VLRAAM would have a high angle of attack against lower flying targets, which reduces the response time for enemy evasive action.
Another researched VLRAAM function is datalinking; the papers called for the VLRAAM to be embedded within a highly integrated combat networks. It is envisioned as just part of a larger wave of networked solutions aggregated through multiple Chinese systems. For example, a J-20 stealth fighter wouldn’t mount the missile (the VLRAAM is too large to fit in the J-20’s weapons bay), but could use its low observable features to fly relatively close in order to detect enemy assets like AEW&C aircraft (which are vital to gather battlespace data for manned and unmanned assets, but subsonic in speed and less able to evade missiles). Then before breaking off contact, the J-20 would signal a J-16 400 km (249 miles) away (outside the range of most air to air missiles) providing it the data needed to launch the VLRAAM at the target. This would offer China a longer range version of present U.S. tactics that involve using the fifth generation F-22 as a sensor for 4th generation fighters as the “shooters.”
The gains in range and speed of the VLRAAM pose another significant risk to the concepts of the U.S. military’s “Third Offset.” U.S. operations are highly dependent on assets like aerial tankers, dedicated electronic warfare aircraft, and AEW&C. For example, without aerial tankers, the relatively short range of the F-35s would become even more of a liability in long range operations in the South China Seas and Taiwan Straits. Similarly, without AEW&C aircraft, F-22s would have to use onboard radars more, raising their risk of detection. Even for stealthy tanker platforms like the planned MQ-25 Stingray drone and proposed KC-Z tanker will be vulnerable to VLRAAMs if detected by emerging dedicated anti-stealth systems such as the Divine Eagle drone and Yuanmeng airship.
By pushing the Chinese air defense threat bubble hundreds of miles out further, they also offer to turn the long range tables on the putative U.S. “Arsenal” Plane concept, a Pentagon plan to launch missiles from non-stealthy planes from afar. In sum, VLRAAM is not just a big missile, but a potential big deal for the future of air warfare.
Source: Popular Science “China is testing a new long-range, air-to-air missile that could thwart U.S. plans for air warfare”
Note: This is Popular Science’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
In its report “Yongshu Reef hospital thoroughly overcomes medical service shortage in Nansha (Spratly) Islands”, mil.huanqiu.com provides the above photos of the brand new large hospital that has just completed construction and begun operation on Yongshu (Fiery Cross) Reef artificial island.
It is a grade 2 first class modern comprehensive hospital with floor area of 16,000 square meters and more than 400 pieces of medical equipment. Its emergency room has more than a dozen specialized treatment rooms to provide all kinds of services including intensive care unit and all kinds of medical examination units.
As there is an airport on Yongshu Island, the hospital can provide medical services in the South China Sea where islands are far away from Chinese coast.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Yongshu Reef hospital thoroughly overcomes medical service shortage in Nansha Islands” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)