J-20 not FC-31 Chosen as China’s Carrier-Borne Stealth Fighter

SCMP’s article “China’s navy ‘set to pick J-20 stealth jets for its next generation carriers’” on August 27 says that China has chosen J-20 instead of FC-31 as its carrier-borne stealth fighter.

There must be good reason for such a choice as to defend China’s trade lifelines on the ocean, J-20 will have longer-range and be better armed than F-35. J-20 is much heavier than F-35 so that it can carry better radar to detect and track F-35s before being detected by F-35 and be equipped with longer-range air-to-air missiles to hit F-35s before they can hit back. However, as China has not built any carriers with powerful catapult to help J-20 take off, it certainly is not in a position to make the choice; therefore, such a choice is but speculation.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3024584/chinas-navy-set-pick-j-20-stealth-jets-its-next-generation.

Xi Rejects Duterts’s Arbitration Claim but Willing to Maintain Amity with Him

ABS-CBN News says in its report “Xi rejects Philippines’ arbitral win in South China Sea” yesterday”, “Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the Philippines’ legal victory against China on the South China Sea after President Rodrigo Duterte raised the arbitral ruling during their bilateral meeting in Beijing Thursday.”

However, the report quotes Philippine Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo as saying in a statement “Both President Duterte and President Xi agreed that while their variant positions will have to remain, their differences however need not derail nor diminish the amity between the two countries.” Moreover, it is still possible for the two countries to jointly explore and exploit the energy resources in the disputed waters according to the statement.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on ABS-CBN News’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/30/19/xi-rejects-philippines-arbitral-win-in-south-china-sea.

China’s Efforts to Revive Tarim River

The Tarim River is Chian’s longest inland river. Due to excessive use of its water, its lower reach dried in 1972. China has been making great efforts to conserve water to revive the river. China Daily’s article “Xinjiang discharges reservoir water in another effort to revive Tarim River” yesterday says that Xinjinag has injected water from Daxihaizi Reservoir into the river 20 times.

However, the source of water for the reservoir is limited so that the areas along the river have remained desert. If enough water is drawn from the Yarlung Zangbo River, Tibet to the Tarim, China may turn world second largest desert along the river, the Taklimakan Desert, into farm land.

The desert, bigger than half France will be able to provide agricultural goods more than enough for China’s own need. China will be able to compete with the US in exporting agricultrual products.

That will be a very expensive great project worthwhile for China to do.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on China Daily’s article, full text of which can be viewed at www.chinadailyglobal.com/a/201908/29/WS5d672d31a310cf3e35568820.html.

Bypass Malacca Strait–China’s BRI Strategic Connections to the West

Stratfor’s article “Casting an Eye on the Belt and Road Initiative” on August 28 describes China’s BRI as China’s worldwide ambitious initiative. If China were able to satisfy the needs for construction of infrastructures all over the world, it would certainly be an ambitious initiative to make China world leader. However, China is not rich enough to do so; therefore, it invites other countries to join it in the construction.

As the infrastructures may facilitate other countries’ investment and expansion of market in receiving countries, Japan and EU are interested but still have doubt whether joining China will help China become a world hegemon. Therefore, most of them would rather join the US to demonize China by description of China’s efforts as setting up “debt traps” to hurt receiving countries.

Stratfor’s article however, points out China’s efforts to avoid its BRI projects from becoming debt traps through renegotiation to reduce the debt burdens on receiving countries. However, it fails to see the strategic importance of BRI for China.

First, bypass the Malacca Strait. BRI first of all is aimed at China’s connections to its markets and sources of resources to its West. The old Silk Road is not so important as it’s on land while most trade now is carried out by shipping, which is much less expansive and has much greater volume.

Through development of infrastructures of roads, railways and pipelines, the freight costs have reduced but are still much higher than marine shipping. The freight volume is limited. China has developed rail links with Europe through Central Asia and Russia and would keep such links even if the rail freight is not cost effective enough as they may provide alternatives if marine shipping is cut off by powerful US navy.

Even if China has a relatively strong navy to protect its shipping through the Indian Ocean, the Malacca Strait will be a bottleneck difficult to pass if it is blocked by US military stationed in Singapore.

That is why Hambantota Port is so important. If China can bypass the strait, the port will become the major transport hub as important as Singapore for China’s shipping to its west now.

That is why China is building a railway through Laos to Thailand while Thailand is building a railway linking the railway in Laos to Malaysia. Malaysia has to build its East Coast Rail Link to its port on its western coast. Such a pan-Asia railway will enable not only China but also quite a few Indochinese countries to bypass the Malacca Strait.

The article mentioned the reduction of cost by China for the construction of the East Coast Rail Link though I have mentioned that as China is building a port at Kyaukpyu, Myanmar and the establishment of China-Myanmar Economic Corridor will make the construction of a railway linking Kyaukpyu and China possible. That will give China a much better shortcut to the Indian Ocean without going through the Malacca.

A pipeline from Pyaukpyu to China has already been built and in operation for more than 3 years as a shortcut for shipping of oil to China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Stratfor’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/casting-eye-belt-and-road-initiative-china-infrastructure.

China’s Navy: Armed with Six Aircraft Carriers and Stealth Fighters?

Image: Chinese Internet.

Now that the J-20 is joining Beijing’s carrier fleet, it seems possible.

by David Axe August 28, 2019

Follow @daxe on Twitter

The Chinese military has decided to develop the air force’s J-20 stealth fighter into a sea-based variant to fly from the navy’s growing fleet of aircraft carriers.

The Central Military Commission, the People’s Liberation Army’s top decision-making body, favors the J-20 over the smaller FC-31 stealth fighter design, according to the Hong Kong South China Morning Post.

The Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, which builds the J-20 for the air force, “will announce some new products, which will include a new version of their J-20,” an unnamed source told the newspaper. “You can guess what type it will be.”

If the selection of the J-20 is confirmed it will mark the end of a lengthy debate between its supporters and advocates of the FC-31 as to which would make a better carrier-based fighter.

Those who favored the J-20 said it was more advanced and reliable than the FC-31, but its supporters said it was more light and nimble.

Both the J-20 and FC-31 have their advantages. The size of the J-20 is similar to the J-15 since both are powerful heavy fighters,” Song Zhongping, a military commentator for Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, said.

The carrier-based J-20 partially would replace the J-15, China’s first carrier fighter.

The J-15 is a clone of Russia’s Su-33 naval fighter. Outwardly, the fighter has a lot in common with U.S., French and British carrier planes. “The J-15 has folding wings, strengthened landing gear, a tailhook under a shortened tail stinger, two-piece slotted flaps, canards and a retractable inflight-refueling probe on the left side of the nose,” the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency explained in a January 2019 report.

The non-stealthy J-15 weighs 17 tons while empty and can launch via the ramp on the bow of China’s first two carriers, which lack catapults. But the ramp-launch method limits the J-15 to around 30 tons maximum weight, translating into a modest weapons load. The J-15 reportedly also is unreliable and accident-prone.

The J-20, which weighs 21 tons without fuel and weapons and up to 40 tons with them, likely will require a catapult for launch.

The U.S. Navy’s carriers use steam catapults to launch aircraft weighing as much as 50 tons. The Chinese navy could commission its first catapult-equipped aircraft carrier in 2022, according to the May 2019 edition of the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on Chinese military developments.

China began construction of its second domestically built aircraft carrier in 2018, which will likely be larger and fitted with a catapult launch system,” the DIA noted. “This design will enable it to support additional fighter aircraft, fixed-wing early-warning aircraft, and more rapid flight operations. China’s second domestically built carrier is projected to be operational by 2022.”

The older flattops Liaoning and Shandong should remain useful even after the second domestic carrier — China’s third flattop — enters service. “Though Liaoning has substantially less capability than a U.S. Navy carrier, it provides extended air-defense coverage for at-sea task groups and is being used to develop further China’s carrier pilots, deck crews and tactics,” the Pentagon noted in the 2018 edition of its annual report on the Chinese military.

Still, China’s first two flattops probably won’t venture too far from home, the DIA predicted. “The primary purpose of this first domestic aircraft carrier will be to serve a regional defense mis­sion,” the intelligence agency claimed. “Beijing probably also will use the carrier to project power throughout the South China Sea and possibly into the Indian Ocean.”

The Chinese navy could possess as many as six aircraft carriers by the mid-2030s, experts told state media. As many as four could have catapults.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and T.V. commentator, told Global Times that China needs at least five aircraft carriers to execute its military strategy. Wang Yunfei, a retired Chinese navy officer, said Beijing needs six flattops.

Six carriers might allow Beijing to equip each of its regional fleets with two flattops. One vessel could deploy while the other underwent maintenance.

If Chengdu does develop a carrier-based J-20, the Chinese navy eventually could operate a mixed carrier fleet including two small flattops with J-15s and as many as four bigger vessels with J-20s.

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix,War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

Source: National Interest “China’s Navy: Armed with Six Aircraft Carriers and Stealth Fighters?”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

How Quantum Radar Could Completely Change Warfare

You’ve heard of stealth aircraft—now meet stealth radar.

By Kyle Mizokami

Aug 26, 2019

quantum radar Vladimir GerdoGetty Images

Quantum radar, for decades merely a concept, was recently demonstrated at science institute in Austria.

Quantum radars can provide much more detailed information about their targets without giving away their position.

Contrary to claims, quantum radars do not make stealth obsolete.

A new high definition radar system that could change the nature of warfare has been demonstrated for the first time. The result, quantum radar, is a high definition detection system that provides a much more detailed image of targets while itself remaining difficult to detect. Quantum radars could provide users with enough detail to identify aircraft, missiles, and other aerial targets by specific model.

According to the MIT Technology Review, researchers at Austria’s Institute of Science and Technology used entangled microwaves to create the world’s first quantum radar system.

Under a principle known as quantum entanglement, two particles can be linked together regardless of distance. When something happens to one particle it can be noticed in the other particle, forming what scientists call a quantum entangled pair. This in turn leads to a process called quantum illumination, where information about one particle’s environment can be inferred by studying the other particle.

Quantum radars involve pairing photon particles together, shooting one downrange while keeping the second captive for observation. The downrange particle will act in a certain manner as it bounces off certain objects, behavior that can be observed in the captive particle. The result is much more detailed information about the target than seen in previous radars.

Today’s radars can detect targets very well, but provide little detail. Radars can detect an object and note its altitude, bearing, and distance, but otherwise the target is a big, featureless blob. Air defenders must rely on other things, such identifying radar and other electromagnetic signals emanating from the target, to discern whether the blob is an enemy fighter, bomber, or even a commercial civilian aircraft.

Quantum radars, on the other hand, could provide enough detail for radar systems to identify the object based on physical characteristics. A Su-35 Flanker-E fighter, for example, could be identified by the sweep of its wings, the shape of its nose, and the number of engines.

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Another benefit of quantum radars: they emit very little energy and are thus difficult to detect. All contemporary radars emit electromagnetic radiation to detect objects. This radiation, while detectable, also makes the radar itself detectable. It’s a lot like having lots of people holding flashlights in a dark room: turning on your flashlight allows you to find other people but the flashlight beam leads straight back to you, giving away your presence and location.

A lack of detectability offers a distinct tactical advantage in warfare. A friendly quantum radar could detect a flight of enemy aircraft without revealing its own presence. This could cause the enemy warplanes to put off defensively jamming local radars and radio signals—which itself is noticeable to the defenders. Their guard down, they could then be ambushed by friendly air defense missiles and fighters waiting for them.

Quantum radars has been billed as a means for detecting stealth aircraft, with claims that it renders efforts to make aircraft invisible to radar useless. According to three experts polled by Engineering and Technology, anti-stealth claims are a “gross oversimplication” and the main advantage of quantum radar is the high definition aspect.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Hull of China’s 075 Landing Helicopter Dock Nearing Completion

China’s first Type 075 amphibious helicopter assault ship (Picture source: Chinese Internet)

China’s first Type 075 amphibious helicopter assault ship suggests the vessel may be completed in the next few months (Picture Source: Mike Yeo)

Navy Recognition says in its report “China’s First Helicopter Carrier Type 075 Nearing Completion” on August 27 that the hull of China’s first Type 075 landing helicopter dock is nealy completed and is expected to be launched early next year according to a photo on the internet.

The ship has an estimated displacement of 30,000 to 40,000 tons able to hold up to 28 helicopters and land 6 simultaneously on its deck according to the report.

The report says that three of such ships are in order. Those ships will greatly strengthen China’s amphibious force.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Navy Recongnition’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2019/august/7431-china-s-first-helicopter-carrier-type-075-nearing-completion.html.