China’s tech ambition is ‘unstoppable’ — with or without the trade war, analyst says


Arjun Kharpal September 30, 2019

Key Points

  • For years, Silicon Valley looked down on China tech and believed it was only copying. But today, there is awareness that China is innovating and getting ahead in certain tech arenas,” says Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China.”

  • The world’s second-largest economy is already showing some good progress in its push on homegrown industries such as artificial intelligence and chips.

  • Experts suggest that the U.S. needs a national technology agenda and increased investment in research and development to retain its edge.

Photo Trump, Xi

President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

China is closing in on the U.S. in some areas of technology and could soon even overtake America in certain respects, experts told CNBC.

The world’s second-largest economy is already showing some good progress in its push on homegrown industries such as artificial intelligence and chips.

China is closing the technological gap with the United States, and though it may not match U.S. capabilities across the board, it will soon be one of the leading powers in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, energy storage, fifth-generation cellular networks (5G), quantum information systems, and possibly biotechnology,” U.S.-based think tank the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said in a recent report.

It comes as Beijing gears up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1. With much fanfare expected, the event will see the Asian giant flaunt its military prowess in a parade in Beijing and President Xi Jinping talk up the nation’s progress

China’s digital footprint

A big part of the nation’s development has been technological.

China’s digital economy accounts for over 34% of the country’s gross domestic product. It’s also home to some of the largest technology companies in the world, including e-commerce giant Alibaba and tech conglomerate Tencent.

That’s thanks to an internet boom over the years. The number of internet users in China at the end of 2008 totaled 298 million — or just over 22% of the population at that time, according to official statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). That number rose to 854 million at the end of June this year — or over 60% of the population.

We have a technology grip from the U.S. that is actually being torn apart by China at this point.

Eoin Murray head of investment at Hermes Investment Management

Just over 99% of Chinese web-users access the internet on their mobile devices, according to official government statistics. In the U.S. just over 92% of internet users access it on mobile, separate statistics from eMarketer show.

That mobile focus in China has helped companies roll out products quickly and on a large scale.

And China’s rise is threatening America’s historically strong position in technology.

We have a technology grip from the U.S. that is actually being torn apart by China at this point,” Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes Investment Management told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” last week.

Copycat image changing

But the rise of China’s tech industry has been tarnished by allegations of intellectual property theft and claims that the country’s technology companies have been copycats.

Whether it is Chinese-designed phones that look similar to Apple’s iPhone, or Chinese search or e-commerce companies being compared to Silicon Valley’s Google or Amazon, China has for a long time carried the image of a tech follower.

But that image is changing.

For years, Silicon Valley looked down on China tech and believed it was only copying. But today, there is awareness that China is innovating and getting ahead in certain tech arenas,” Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China,” told CNBC.

There are even signs that some of America’s biggest tech firms have been imitating some Chinese companies now.

Facebook released a short video app called Lasso last year to fend off competition from TikTok, an app owned by Chinese firm Bytedance. TikTok has made major inroads with U.S consumers.

China threat to US tech

Over the past few years, Beijing has publicly stated its ambitions to develop critical future technology, such as artificial intelligence and the next-generation of super-fast mobile networks known as 5G.

Even before the U.S.-China trade war started, Beijing said in 2017 that it wanted to become a world leader in AI by 2030. Some of China’s biggest companies including Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent and Baidu, are all investing heavily in AI. Just last week, Alibaba followed Huawei’s footsteps and released its own AI chip.

The US-China trade war is hurting both sides. China’s ambition is unstoppable to become a global leader in tech, trade war or not.

Rebecca Fannin author of “Tech Titans of China”

Beijing has also said semiconductors will be a key area of the Made in China 2025 plan, a government initiative that aims to boost the production of higher-value products. China wants to make more of the chips it uses.

Meanwhile, Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment-maker, has secured more commercial 5G contracts than its rivals Nokia and Ericsson. 5G promises super-fast data speeds and the ability to support new technologies like autonomous vehicles.

US response

Technology has been a key part of the ongoing U.S-China trade war with one company in particular, Huawei, being caught in the crosshairs.

The Chinese technology giant has been put on a U.S. blacklist known as the Entity List which restricts its access to American technology. But this has only sharpened its focus on trying to make more of the components and software it needs. The company has been releasing its own processors for smartphones and recently unveiled its own operating system, in a bid to become less reliant on the U.S.

Washington’s response to the rise of China’s tech industry has been about containment rather than trying to stay ahead, according to one expert.

So far it has been primarily focused on slowing China down and preventing critical technologies from flowing to Beijing,” Adam Segal, one of the authors of CFR’s report, told CNBC. “While there is a growing recognition in Congress and in the White House that the U.S. needs to do more to accelerate innovation at home, the response so far has fallen short.”

Segal suggested the U.S. should restore federal funding for research and development to its historical average. This would mean increasing funding from 0.7% to 1.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) annually, or from $146 billion to about $230 billion at the 2018 exchange rate, according to Segal.

Fannin echoed some of Segal’s comments and said the U.S. needs a “national agenda” in key technology areas. She added that the current trade war won’t stop China’s rise.

The US-China trade war is hurting both sides. China’s ambition is unstoppable to become a global leader in tech, trade war or not,” Fannin told CNBC.

Source: CNBC “China’s tech ambition is ‘unstoppable’ — with or without the trade war, analyst says”

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


Can the U.S. Navy Beat China’s New Type 055 Destroyer In a Fight?


A killer class of warships.

by Kyle Mizokami September 29, 2019

Key point: Although a response is not needed yet, America must figure out its priorities before China builds too many advanced ships.

Does the United States have an answer to China’s new Type 055 destroyers? Does it need one?

On July 3 Dalian shipyard launched two of the big new ships, with some reports suggesting that the class may extend to twenty-four vessels. The ships are large and have more VLS cells than Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers, although the latter still exceed the former in sensor integration and other capabilities.

Still, with the Navy’s cruiser force aging, does the U.S. Navy need to think seriously about its own large cruiser?

Description:

The Type 055 destroyers are large ships, probably displacing around thirteen thousand tons and carrying 112 vertical launch system (VLS) cells, in addition to a 130-millimeter gun and a wide array of sensors and defensive weapons. They are the world’s largest surface combatants apart from the Zumwalt class destroyers, which really are specialized land attack vessels. The overall production run remains uncertain, with a low estimate of six and a high estimate of twenty-four; much likely depends on how effectively the ship performs in PLAN service.

U.S. Response:

The United States has been slow to develop a replacement to the Ticonderoga class cruisers, which are somewhat smaller than the Type 055. The DDG-1000 class will end after three ships, and in any case the Zumwalts do not perform missions similar to the Type 055. The Obama administration cancelled the CG(X) program after cost projections became excessive. In response to the failure of the DDG(X) and CG(X) programs, the Navy decided to restart the Arleigh Burke program, which had the added benefit of improving ballistic missile defense capabilities. But apart from the Arleigh Burke Flight III ships, the U.S. Navy has no specific large combatants in its long-term plans. At the moment, the FFG(X) program is dominating the U.S. Navy’s procurement attention, as the shortcomings of the Littoral Combat Ship have demonstrated a need to fill the gap between the LCS and the Arleigh Burkes.

But the Ticonderogas will soon reach the end of their useful service lives, as will the oldest of the DDG-51 class of ships. Some have floated the idea of a cruiser based on the hull of the LPD-17, which would allow high energy production, a degree of modularity, and the inclusion of a wide variety of different systems. However, the LPD-17s are large and slow, likely incapable of keeping up with carrier battle groups. Another idea (floated by Tyler Rogoway, among others) is to modify the existing Zumwalt design for cruiser-esque purposes. But as of yet the Navy has made no firm determination about the future of its large surface combatant program.

The Need?

But then there is little obvious need for a direct analogue to specific Chinese ship classes. The existing cruisers and destroyers of the U.S. Navy perform roles essentially similar to that of the Type 055s, even if the latter carry more VLS cells. And the era in which individual ships fight each other independently is long in the past; indeed, even during the dreadnought era individual ship-to-ship comparison rarely played out in actual combat.

In a fight between the United States and China, the U.S. Navy would use a wide variety of air, surface, and subsurface systems to track and destroy the largest units of the PLAN. While the additional VLS systems and sensors of the Type 055 will undoubtedly increase Chinese capabilities, they won’t be directed towards any specific U.S. ship type (other perhaps than aircraft carriers). Similarly, the U.S. Navy will find it far more convenient to sink the Type 055s with submarines and air-launched cruise missiles than it will with any specific ship type. And so the question is less “can the United States match the Type 055” than “what hull or set of hulls will make it easiest to match the capabilities that the Type 055 can offer?” There are a variety of technological developments (VLS, power generation, sensor capability, and future avenues in railguns and lasers) that suggest that size may once again be rewarded in naval architecture; the Type 055s offer China’s initial answer for how to take advantage of these developments, just as the Zumwalts represented an exploration of those capabilities on the U.S. side. Unfortunately, the former seem more likely to see long-term success than the latter.

Wrap

So the short answer to the question “does the United States need to respond to the Type 055” is “no, not in the medium term.” The longer answer is that the U.S. Navy needs to figure out its procurement and shipbuilding policies soon in order to credibly approach design of the next big surface combatant. As the Ticonderogas continue to age, they will leave a gap that a new large warship needs to fill, even if it is never likely to meet the Type 055 in direct combat. China has decided to take advantage of the efficiencies inherent in a large hull-type, not because of any specific competition with the United States, but rather because of the evolution of key technologies. The U.S. Navy can also take advantage of these evolutionary developments, even if it doesn’t specifically think of matching the Type 055, but it needs to sort out its long-term shipbuilding plans.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to the National Interest, is author of The Battleship Book . He serves as a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. (This first appeared in mid-2018.)

Source: National Interest “Can the U.S. Navy Beat China’s New Type 055 Destroyer In a Fight?”

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.


Bad News: China Will Soon Have 4 Crazy Deadly Aircraft Carriers


Sooner than you think.

by Kyle Mizokami September 28, 2019

Key point: Beijing is making rapid progress to having a real carrier-centric navy.

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The People’s Liberation Army Navy—more commonly known outside of China as the Chinese Navy—is modernizing at a breakneck pace. Chinese shipbuilders have built more than one hundred warships in the past decade, a build rate outstripping the mighty U.S. Navy. Most importantly, China now has two aircraft carriers—Liaoning and a second ship under sea trials—and a third and possibly fourth ship under construction. With such a massive force under construction it’s worth asking: where does PLA naval aviation go from here?

For most of its modern history China has been the target of aircraft carriers, not an owner of one. The Imperial Japanese Navy’s carriers conducted strikes on the Chinese mainland in support of ground campaigns in the 1930s, strikes that went a long way toward honing the service’s legendary naval aviation record. U.S. naval power protected nationalist Chinese forces at the end of the Chinese Civil War, and U.S. Navy carriers conducted airstrikes on Chinese “volunteers” during the Korean War. In 1996 during the Third Taiwan Crisis, the United States deployed a carrier battle group near Taiwan as a sign of support against Chinese military actions. It could be fairly said that aircraft carriers made a significant impression on China.

Today, China has two aircraft carriers: the ex-Soviet carrier Liaoning, and a second unnamed ship, Type 002, currently undergoing sea trials. Liaoning is expected to function strictly as a training carrier, establishing training, techniques, and procedures for Chinese sailors in one of the most dangerous aspects of naval warfare: naval aviation. Despite this, Liaoning’s three transits of the Taiwan Strait and visit to Hong Kong show the PLAN considers it perfectly capable of showing the flag.

The second ship, Type 002 (previously referred to as Type 001A) resembles Liaoning but with a handful of improvements, including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar the carrier’s island and a larger flight deck. Experts believe Type 002 will carry slightly more fighters than her older sibling, up to thirty J-15 jets in all. Type 002 will be the first combat-capable carrier, although the lack of a catapult means its aircraft must sacrifice range and striking power in order to take off from the flight deck.

A third ship of yet another class is under construction at the Jiangnan Shipyard at Shanghai, with credible reports of a fourth ship of the same class under construction at Dalian. This new class, designated Type 003, is the first Chinese carrier constructed using a modern, modular construction method. The modules, known as “superlifts” each weigh hundreds of tons, are assembled on land and then hoisted onto the ship in drydock. Large American and British warships, including carriers such as the USS Gerald R. Ford and HMS Queen Elizabeth are assembled using the superlift method.

Although there are few hard details on Type 003, we do know some things. The new carrier will forgo the ski ramp method for CATOBAR, or Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery. The use of catapults will allow the carrier to launch heavier aircraft with great fuel and weapons loads, making the carrier more effective as a power projection platform. China has reportedly conducted “thousands” of test launches of a new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS). Not only does an EMALs launch system enable the launch of heavier combat jets, it can also launch propeller-driven aircraft similar to the U.S. Navy’s E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft and the C-2 Greyhound cargo transport. The ability to tune EMALs power levels also makes it easier to launch smaller, lighter unmanned aerial vehicles from catapults.

We don’t currently know the size and displacement of the Type 003s, and likely won’t be able to even make an educated guess for another year. They will probably be incrementally larger than Type 002 with an incrementally larger air wing and overall combat capability, though one still falling short of American supercarriers. The new carriers are expected to be conventionally powered and fortunately, China’s EMALS system will not reportedly require nuclear power.

At the same time, Chinese designers are believed to be hard at work on a fourth class of carrier, Type 004. According to Popular Science, a leak by the shipbuilder claims the new class, “will displace between ninety thousand and one hundred thousand tons and have electromagnetically assisted launch system (EMALS) catapults for getting aircrafts off the deck. It’ll likely carry a large air wing of J-15 fighters, J-31 stealth fighters, KJ-600 airborne early warning and control aircraft, anti-submarine warfare helicopters, and stealth attack drones.” Such specifications will make them the equal of U.S. carriers, at least on paper.

Meanwhile, the PLAN is looking forward a next-generation carrier aircraft. The PLAN has twenty-four J-15 multirole fighters, with at least two aircraft lost and two damaged during accidents attributed to the J-15 itself. That’s not enough aircraft to equip two carriers, land-based training units and carriers currently under construction. A future aircraft could be a carrier-based version of the Chengdu J-20 or the J-31/FC-31, China’s two new fifth-generation fighters. An interim solution could be the so-called J-17, an improved J-15 roughly comparable to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy carrier fleet is a rapidly growing force shaping up to be a powerful, flexible tool of statecraft and war. Beijing could realistically have four aircraft carriers by 2022—a remarkable feat of military construction. All of this lead to a number of unsolved questions. To what end is Beijing building this force? How many carriers will the PLAN ultimately build? Is China growing a carrier force meant to protect its interests or expand them? We simply don’t know—but we will certainly find out.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. (This first appeared in September 2018.)

Image: Reuters.

Source: National Interest “Bad News: China Will Soon Have 4 Crazy Deadly Aircraft Carriers”

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.


Afraid of China’s Rise, Western Media Pit EU against China


EU and Japan’s infrastructure agreement on infrastructure connections to Asia in fact supplements China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI). However, as its strategy differs from China’s in stressing the returns to investment in their projects, they would not make their projects parts of China’s BRI.

China, however, is satisfied if it is able to get back the principal of its loans to BRI projects, which is quite different from EU and Japan’s ones. As a result, EU and Japan are simply unable to compete with China in investment in infrastructure connections.

However, both China’s and EU’s projects facilitate connections in Asia and each wants to use the connections built by the other. In order to use China’s, the EU could certainly insist its push on infrastructure connections to Asia is not intended as a rival to Belt and Road.

However, China can use the infrastructures built by EU and Japan just as EU and Abe can use China’s

Western media, however, are fond of demonizing China so that they have been demonizing China’s BRI as China’s efforts to enhance its geopolitical influence. Therefore, in spite of EU insisting its connections being no rival to China’s, Western media have beein trying hard to pit EU and Japan against China. Japan Today’s article “EU, Japan sign agreement to bypass China’s ‘new Silk Road’” proves precisely that. In order to make readers believe EU and Japan’s opposition to BRI, it quotes two unidentified EU senior officials’ words.

However, its inability to give the identities of the officials prove those officials’ words are not EU’s official position.

In fact, the report reflects EU and Japan’s keen interest in infrastructure connections in pointing out that according to China China’s “trade with Belt and Road countries has exceeded $5 trillion”.

EU and Japan also want to build infrastructure connection to facilitate increase in their shares in the market of Belt and Road countries.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Japan Today’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://japantoday.com/category/politics/eu-and-japan-ink-plan-to-bypass-china%27s-new-silk-road


Meet the J-10 ‘Vigorous Dragon’ Fighter Jet: China’s Own F-16 (Tanks to Israel)


We take a look.

China’s J-10 fighter jet Image: Creative Commons.

At any rate, the J-10 is more inspired by the Lavi than an outright clone. It is significantly longer and heavier, and has different wings. In his book, Golan explains that China lacked access to the compact PW1120 engine and the capability for wide-scale manufacturing of lightweight composite components. (China finally achieved the latter with the Y-20 transport plane.) Therefore, Song had to lengthen the J-10’s fuselage by two meters to accommodate a Russian AL-31F turbofan, resulting in an 11.75-ton jet.

The J-10 “Vigorous Dragon” is a mainstay of China’s effort to modernize its large fleet of single-engine jet fighters, with 350 already in service. An agile tactical fighter similar to the ubiquitous F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Vigorous Dragon was the first domestic Chinese design roughly on par with Western and Russian fourth-generation fighters.

(This first appeared last month.)

However, there is considerable evidence that the J-10’s development was heavily informed by a jet fighter developed by Israel with U.S. engines in the 1980s.

Israel first manufactured its own jets after its order of French Dassault Mirage Vs was embargoed in 1967. Israeli agents obtained Mirage V schematics (and most likely manufacturing components and even airframes), allowing Israel Aerospace Industries to produce two domestic clones: the Nesher and the improved Kfir. These both served with the IAF and were exported broad.

Between 1969–1979, the IAF received high-performance twin-engine F-4 Phantom fighters and F-15 Eagles from the United States. However, it still wanted a cheaper single-engine tactical fighter to replace its increasingly vulnerable A-4 Skyhawk and Nesher jets. So why not also build the Nesher’s replacement domestically?

The resulting dapper IAI Lavi (Lion Cub) had delta-wings (good for high-speed performance) combined with canards, a second set of small wings near the nose for improved lift and maneuverability. The Lion Cub was so maneuverable it was aerodynamically unstable, but an advanced quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control system counter-acted the instability.

Composite materials were extensively incorporated to lower the Lavi’s weight down to just 7.25-tons empty. A compact Pratt & Whitney 1120 turbofan slung under the belly delivered large amounts of thrust, allowing the little Lavi to fly far and fast carrying up to a sixteen-thousand-pound payload.

In fact, with the exception of the canards, the Lavi closely resembled in appearance and capability the U.S.-built F-16s that entered Israeli Air Force service in 1980. These soon saw extensive combat service, destroying the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor and shooting down over forty Syrian fighters over Lebanon without loss.

Israeli and U.S. critics of the Lavi pointed out Israel was investing $2 billion in development costs to reinvent an airplane it had already bought from the United States. The more ground-attack oriented Lavi did differ in a few respects, however. It had a lower maximum speed of Mach 1.6-1.8 compared to the Falcon’s Mach 2, but had 50 percent longer range. It also had a powerful internal mounted jamming system for self-protection. The Lavi’s Israeli-designed avionics were comparable to the later F-16C model than the more rudimentary F-16A.

However, by the 1980s jet fighter development costs had grown exponentially as they grew more and more sophisticated; and, unlike the Nesher and Kfir, the Lavi was not cloned from an existing design. IAI hoped to make back the costs by exporting the Lavi, particularly to states facing embargoes due to poor human-rights records such as Apartheid-era South Africa, Chile and Argentina.

But the U.S., provider of 40 percent of the Lavi components, didn’t want to subsidize a competitor for the F-16. Washington signaled it would only cooperate if Israel refrained from exporting the Lavi.

By 1987 IAI had built two flying two-seat Lavi prototypes which demonstrated excellent performance in eighty-two test flights. Three more were under construction. It had also tested the PW1120 turbofans on an F-4 ‘Super Phantom’ which demonstrated such extraordinary performance it even flew a demo at the Paris Air Show and was briefly considered for export.

However, the extraordinary financial commitments the Lavi entailed made it extremely politically divisive. On August 30, in an 11-12 vote, the Israeli cabinet canceled the Lavi. Ninety additional F-16s were procured instead.

From Israel to China

Thus ended Israel’s production of domestic jet fighters—but not of advanced weapons and components for jet fighters, which was greatly boosted by technologies developed for the Lavi.

One notable export was the Python-3 heat-seeking missile, which boasted the then still-rare ability to engage planes from any aspect using a helmet-mounted sight. The technology was licensed for production by China’s Xi’an Aircraft Corporation in 1989 as the PL-8 missile, which remains in service today.

Other technologies transferred include the E/LM-2035 doppler radar (derivatives installed on the J-8 and J-10 fighter) and the Tamam inertial navigation system.

In fact, during the 1980s, the U.S. and Western Europe were also exporting military technology to China, then seen as a counter-balance to the Soviet Union. U.S. firms even explored co-developing updated J-7 and J-8 fighters for Beijing. However, Chinese-Western defense cooperation ended abruptly following the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989.

However, in the mid-1990s, U.S. newspapers began reporting that intelligence agencies were concerned about continued Israeli technology transfers to China—including some components given to Israel by the United States.

This included allegations that Israel had transferred Lavi technology for China’s program to develop a fourth-generation jet fighter. The Chengdu Aircraft Corporation had begun work on the J-10 in 1988 under engineer Song Wecong, who can be seen next to a Lavi in this photo (fourth from the right).

In his book Lavi: the United States, Israel and a Controversial Fighter, John W. Golan wrote:

Israeli involvement in the J-10 appears to have begun at around the same time that China first opened diplomatic relations with Israel in January 1992 . . . Israeli contractors were engaged to provide the aerodynamic and structural outlines for the J-10. The Israeli influences on the J-10’s design are unmistakable: a close-coupled, canard-delta arrangement; a single-engine fighter featuring a ventral engine inlet; twin ventral strakes; and an area-ruled fuselage.

You can see the striking resemblance in these photo comparisons.

Concerns over Israel-China technology transfers spurred Congress to ban exporting the hi-tech F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. Unfortunately, the lack of export orders combined with later defense spending cuts, led to the premature closure of the F-22s production line. In its final years, the Clinton administration also blocked Israel from exporting its Phalcon airborne early-warning aircraft, forcing China to spend years domestically developing a wide variety of its own AEW aircraft.

According to Golan, “Israeli involvement in the J-10 program appears to have been curtailed at around the same time, with Russia stepping in to market Soviet-developed avionics systems to supply production versions of the aircraft.”

Both Song and IAI officials have staunchly denied collaboration in the J-10’s development.

However, in 2008, Jane’s reported that in extended interviews with several visiting Russian engineers that Chengdu “benefited from significant, direct input from Israel’s Lavi programme – including access to the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Lavi aircraft itself . . . This has included extensive design and performance modeling, wind-tunnel testing and advanced aerodynamic design input . . . Jane’s was told how Chengdu officials of the highest level stated how they had one of the IAI Lavi prototypes in their facilities.”

Hypothetically, Jane’s Russian sources may have been spreading misinformation. Russia’s aviation industry has a decidedly love-hate relationship with China.

However, if Israel did transfer Lavi technology to China—both parties would have strong incentives to deny it.

At any rate, the J-10 is more inspired by the Lavi than an outright clone. It is significantly longer and heavier, and has different wings. In his book, Golan explains that China lacked access to the compact PW1120 engine and the capability for wide-scale manufacturing of lightweight composite components. (China finally achieved the latter with the Y-20 transport plane.) Therefore, Song had to lengthen the J-10’s fuselage by two meters to accommodate a Russian AL-31F turbofan, resulting in an 11.75-ton jet.

Nonetheless, the J-10 remain an agile, versatile and inexpensive multirole fighter designed from the outset to incorporate hi-tech avionic systems and guided weapons. Though not a cutting-edge stealth aircraft, it marked an important milestone in China’s military modernization—achieved, most likely, with a little foreign assistance.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “Meet the J-10 ‘Vigorous Dragon’ Fighter Jet: China’s Own F-16 (Thanks to Israel?)”

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.


See These Chinese Missiles? They Can Sink an Aircraft Carrier


And America doesn’t have them.

by Kyle Mizokami September 26, 2019

Key point: America’s weapons are the best, but Beijing has some good ones anyone might want.

We all know that there are plenty of U.S. weapons the Chinese military would like to get its hands on. The Arsenal of Democracy churns out some of the best, most technologically advanced and versatile weapons in service anywhere. China is willing to steal American military technology to help advance its own military research and development programs.

The United States on the other hand…well, there is probably not a single Chinese weapon that, in a direct comparison, is better than its American equivalent and that probably won’t change for another twenty years. So if we want to talk about Chinese weapons for the American military, we have to think about holes in current American capabilities. There aren’t many, but here are Chinese weapons that might make the American military a little better.

AG600 Seaplane

The United States made extensive use of seaplanes during the Second World War, where they were instrumental in rescuing downed pilots and providing long-range reconnaissance. It was a PBY Catalina seaplane that reported the location of Admiral Nagumo’s fleet, setting the stage for the American victory at the Battle of Midway.

If the United States is serious about fighting across the expanse of the Pacific, it will once again need a long-range aircraft that can land in the water. China’s new AG600 seaplane is the answer. The largest seaplane in the world, it’s as big as a Boeing 737. It can carry up to fifty passengers, has a range of 3,100 miles, and can stay aloft for up to twelve hours.

DF-ZF Hypersonic Vehicle

Washington has expressed interest in so-called hypersonic weapons—weapons that travel at more than five times the speed of sound. Several projects, including the X-51 scramjet—have undergone development, but despite the technical prowess of the United States no one system has reached operational status yet.

The DF-ZF hypersonic vehicle is seemingly farther along than its American equivalents. The DF-ZF, which travels at speeds between 4,000 and 7,000 miles an hour, has had seven successful tests. Although the Chinese weapon travels more slowly than its American equivalent, it appears much closer to operational status than anything in development in the United States.

ZBD-05 Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The U.S. Marine Corps attempt to replace the AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicle is now in its fourth decade. The original project, begun in 1988 resulted in the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, a failed effort that consumed $3 billion dollars before being canceled in 2011.

The U.S. is pressing ahead with the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle initiative, but in the meantime what about the Chinese ZBD-05? Developed by Chinese defense contractor Norinco, the ZBD-05 has a crew of three, can carry ten passengers, and has a 30-millimeter cannon mounted in a turret. It has ballistic protection up to .50 caliber rounds and shrapnel, and has a water speed of up to eighteen miles an hour.

Type 072A LST

Amphibious capability is going to be key in any future standoff in the Western Pacific. As part of a broader switch to fewer, more capable platforms America’s amphibious fleet is concentrated in massive the Wasp, America, and San Antonio-class ships of the U.S. Navy. Always accompanied by a slew of escorts, these hulking ships attract attention.

The Type 072A landing ship is a frigate-sized amphibious vessel. Just 390 feet long and 3,400 tons empty, the ships can carry three hundred troops, a dozen tanks, or eight hundred tons of cargo. It has a helicopter flight deck on the stern and a well deck that can accommodate China’s version of the LCAC air cushion transport. The Type 072A could be just the thing for quietly slipping into an area, depositing a small company-sized force of marines, and slipping away—without sending in an entire amphibious ready group.

Type 056 Corvette

The United States needs a capable littoral combat ship. Despite more than a decade of ship construction and development of high tech “mission modules”, the Littoral Combat Ship program has created a growing fleet of minimally capable ships armed largely with a single 57-millimeter and two 30-millimeter guns.

In the “perfect is the enemy of good” vein of thinking, consider the Type 056 corvette. The Type 056 is a small, 1,500 ton general purpose warship. The Type 056 may not rely on robotics and fancy swappable mission modules, but it’s cheap and available. It has a 76-millimeter gun, two 30-millimeter guns, and four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles. It has a FL-3000N launcher for air self defense.

For antisubmarine warfare, it has two triple-tube 324-millimeter torpedo launchers and more recent versions have a towed-array sonar system. It has a helicopter flight deck but not a hangar.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This first appeared in August 2016.

Source: National Interest “See These Chinese Missiles? They Can Sink an Aircraft Carrier.”

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.


Five-year plan for BRI projects in Myanmar


Chan Mya Htwe 27 Sep 2019

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and China’s Premier Li Keqiang at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April. Photo – EPA

The governments of China and Myanmar are negotiating to draw up a five-year plan on economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Negotiations to draw up the plan were held in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday, the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations announced.

The idea for the plan was first put forward during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in April. The forum in April was attended by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar’s delegation for the negotiation was led by U Aung Naing, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Relations, while China’s team was headed by Mr Wang Shengwen, director general of China’s Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation.

Some 70 representatives from relevant ministries and organisations from both countries were also present for the talks. – Translated

Source: Myanmar Times “Five-year plan for BRI projects in Myanmar”

Note: This is Myanmar Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.