India’s Modi to visit China this week as rapprochement gathers pace


FILE PHOTO: India’s prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a bilateral meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, at 10 Downing Street in London, April 18, 2018. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via Reuters

Ben Blanchard April 22, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China this week for an informal meeting with President Xi Jinping, as efforts at rapprochement gather pace following a testing year in ties between the two giant neighbors.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the two would meet on Friday and Saturday in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

“Our common interests far outweigh our differences. The two countries have no choice other than pursuing everlasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development,” Wang told reporters after meeting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in Beijing.

“The summit will go a long way towards deepening the mutual trust between the two great neighbors,” he added. “We will make sure that the informal summit will be a complete success and a new milestone in the history of China-India relations.”

Modi has sought to re-set ties after disputes over issues including their disputed border with Tibet and other issues.

The discussion with Wang was to prepare for the informal summit, Swaraj said.

“It will be an important occasion for them (Modi and Xi) to exchange views on bilateral and international matters, from an overarching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication,” Swaraj said.

The Asian giants were locked in a 73-day military stand-off in a remote, high-altitude stretch of that boundary last year. At one point, soldiers from the two sides threw stones and punches.

The confrontation between the nuclear-armed powers in the Himalayas underscored Indian alarm at China’s expanding security and economic links in South Asia.

China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative of transport and energy links bypasses India, apart from a corner of the disputed Kashmir region, also claimed by Pakistan, but involves India’s neighbors Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives. Modi’s previously unannounced Wuhan trip is even more unusual in that he will visit China again in June for a summit in Qingdao of the China and Russia-led security grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which India joined last year.

It is almost unheard of for foreign leaders to visit China twice in such close succession. Xi is also extending Modi the rare honor of a meeting outside of Beijing, which almost never happens unless there is a multilateral summit taking place.

Modi’s nationalist government has reversed course on its relationship with Beijing apparently after realizing its hard line on China was not working.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who lives in India and who China considers a dangerous separatist, is also facing the cold shoulder.

In March, India issued an unprecedented ban on Tibetans holding a rally with the Dalai Lama in New Delhi to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Other areas of disagreement remain however between Beijing and New Delhi.

China has blocked India’s membership of a nuclear cartel and it has also been blocking U.N. sanctions against a Pakistan-based militant leader blamed for attacks on India.

Additional reporting by Elias Glenn and Gao Liangping; Mayank Bhardwaj in NEW DELHI; Editing by William Maclean and Dale Hudson

Source: Reuters “India’s Modi to visit China this week as rapprochement gathers pace”

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

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China is building drone planes for its aircraft carriers


They’re robotics wingmen for China’s carrier pilots.

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer April 21, 2018

The Chinese military is bringing its drone and aircraft carrier programs together, pulling unmanned aerial systems onto carriers as robotic wingmen for pilots.

Type 003
This display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution (China’s official military museum) in 2016 shows a nuclear-powered carrier with stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
Oedo Soldier

Shi Wen, the chief engineer of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC)’s attack drone family, told the Global Times that China is working on drones capable of flying from aircraft carriers. This program would be China’s response to the U.S. Navy’s UCLASS program, which proved drones’ ability to take off and land from aircraft carriers, and the U.S. MQ-25 Stingray program, which will deploy refueling tanker drones to carriers in the coming years.

Stealthy Sword
The Lijian drone could be tweaked to better serve aircraft carriers.
Hongjian via China Defense Forum

While China’s two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the nearly completed CV-17, have ski ramps that would likely limit them to vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones, the next Chinese carrier, CV-18, will likely have electromagnetic catapults. Those catapults would enable CV-18 and its nuclear-powered successors to launch heavier and faster drones propelled by turbofan engines.

It’s likely the drones Shi mentions will be sophisticated, heavier versions of today’s systems. The Lijian, for example, uses a flying wing body (just like the B-2 bomber and X-47B drone) and has two bomb bays that could accommodate 2 tons of artillery. A carrier variant would have reinforced landing gears and structures to handle the forces involved in catapult launch and assisted recovery. They may also have larger fuel tanks for extended range.

Shi also added that CASC’s primary customer, the People’s Liberation Army, was looking at using artificial intelligence to enable “wingmen” drones for manned aircraft.

For quick air strike abilities, missile-armed drone helicopters like this V750 and the Sky Saker 300 could be adapted for use on Chinese warships.

Aerial Firepower for the Masses
For quick air strike abilities, missile-armed drone helicopters like this V750 and the Sky Saker 300 could be adapted for use on Chinese warships.
Weibo

These plans fit nicely within China’s other military ambitions. The nation is already testing the first of VTOL unmanned aerial systems (UAS) on its warships. Those VTOL drones are likely unmanned helicopters, used for reconnaissance and possibly anti-submarine missions. Those drones will likely see service in the next few years, before being replaced by those with more sophisticated VTOL propulsion systems, such as tiltrotor engines (the engines tilt 90 degrees for level flight) or tail sitters (the entire aircraft tilts forward perpendicularly for level flight).

Wingmen
The Cloud Shadow, a single-engined version of the Sky Wing UAV, has stealthy features like canted vertical stabilizers and serrated panel edges, though its lacks an internal weapons bay (for now). The CH-X drone, which will be displayed at Zhuhai 2018, will be a completely stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle.
cqsims

The Cloud Shadow, a single-engined version of the Sky Wing UAV, has stealthy features like canted vertical stabilizers and serrated panel edges, though its lacks an internal weapons bay (for now). The CH-X drone, which will be displayed at Zhuhai 2018, will be a completely stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

Shi also mentioned that a new stealth drone, the Caihong X “CH-X,” will be displayed at the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow in November. The CH-X will likely draw from the work done on the Lijian flying wing stealth drone. Like other members of the CH family displayed at the Zhuhai Airshows, the CH-X will likely be offered for export, possibly making it the world’s first stealthy attack drone offered for export. And, as the CH-X is marketed for foreign buyers, it could also likely find domestic naval users as well.

Peter Warren Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He has been named by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues. He was also dubbed an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Jeffrey is a national security professional in the greater D.C. area.

Source: Popular Science “China is building drone planes for its aircraft carriers”

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.


To Fight or Not to Fight Trade War, That Is the Question


US President Trump is now challenging China with a trade war to force China to reduce its trade surplus by US$100 billion.

What shall China do? Chinese media and officials have so far responded bellicosely, stating that China will fight to the end.

I had a post on April 4 that predicted that China would win the trade war. However, the victory will be quite costly now as China has not made adequate preparations for it.

Trump’s ban on sales to ZTE alone dealt quite a heavy blow to one of China’s two telecoms equipment giants as ZTE depends heavily on US chips for its operation.

China has already drawn up and been carrying out its Made in China 2025 Program to develop the capabilities of making substitutes for most of its high-tech imports. Now it has decided to make huge additional investment in chip and other electronic high-tech production to be independent from US high-tech supplies, but it takes time.

Moreover, it has been moving its labor-intensive industries to countries with lower labor costs. Time is on China’s side. China can subdue the US in trade war without fighting a decade later. Therefore, I believe it is better for China to delay trade war with the US as long as possible.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently promised at Boao Forum further opening of Chinese market and liberalization of Chinese economy. It seems precisely aimed at pleasing the US to avoid the trade war.

However, on April 17 China slapped 178.6 percent deposit on imports of U.S. sorghum in retaliation of US tariff increase on Chinese exports. That gave the impression that China is determined to fight back in the trade war.

What does China really want? To fight or no to fight the trade war, that is the question.

To fight, it will win and put an end to US economic hegemony, but that will be quite a costly victory. According to China’s gifted strategist Sun Tzu, subduing the enemy without fighting is better.

There are also advantages not to make concessions. The US is now attacking nearly all countries in the world with its protectionism. If China surrenders to the US, other countries under US attack will have difficulties to resist a triumph United States. As a result, US protectionism may prevail while globalization advocated by China and most others may suffer.

For example, Trump is also attacking US close ally Japan for reduction of US trade deficit with Japan. The Star says in its report “Trump, Abe fail to agree on U.S. steel tariff exemption for Japan” that Trump will not exempt the high tariffs he imposed on China as well as Japan. China’s surrender will make it hard for Abe to resist Trump’s attack.

I still believe that there will not be a real trade war but some skirmishes between China and the US as Trump does not want a real trade war. The high tariffs he will impose on Chinese goods will make American consumers especially the poor suffer. He will thus lose quite many votes in the next presidential election.

What Trump wants is to get substantial concessions from China so that he will be popular and obtain much more votes in the election.

For China the trade war may cause some hardship near term but in the long run, it will gain quite a lot especially if it can bring an end to US economic hegemony, which is the basis of US military hegemony. Moreover, its victory will also be the victory of globalization that facilitates its economic expansion in the world.

However, China’s priority is to realize its dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. A trade war will certainly cause difficulties in realizing the dream; therefore, China had better avoid it.

To fight or not to fight, that is the question. If the trade war is really fought, the whole world will be affected.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Star’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/04/18/trump-cites-very-big-deficit-with-japan-during-abe-visit.html.


Factbox: Made in China 2025: Beijing’s big ambitions from robots to chips


Reuters Staff April 20, 2018

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is looking to catch up with rivals like the United States and Germany in high-end technology, making a major push with a “Made in China 2025” strategy that identifies 10 key sectors, including robotics, aerospace and clean-energy cars.

The drive by President Xi Jinping is at the heart of a bruising trade standoff between China and the United States, with Washington concerned that Chinese companies, backed by the state, could overtake its own tech titans.

Chinese trade partners in Europe, especially Germany, have also raised concerns that a more protectionist China is aggressively moving up the value chain faster than expected. Below are the key targets China has set in high-end tech.

CHIPS, COMPUTERS AND CLOUD

China wants home-made chips used in smartphones to make up 40 percent of the local market by 2025, helping cut heavy reliance on imports. Computers and cloud systems should also close the quality gap on international rivals. In smart manufacturing, China wants domestic firms to have 60 percent of the market in industrial censors.

ROBOT WARS

Chinese firms making industrial robots should make up half of the market by 2020 and 70 percent by 2025 by when local robotics systems should have been “perfected” to compete with global rivals. The country is aiming for 2-3 local champions.

TAKING FLIGHT

Chinese airlines should hit 100 billion yuan ($15.90 billion) in revenue by 2020 and double that by 2025, when plane makers should capture 10 percent of the domestic market. The home-grown CJ-1000A jet engine should also be ready for commercial use. In the space race, China wants 80 percent of civil space industry equipment to be domestically sourced by 2025.

ON THE HIGH SEAS

China should become a world leader in latest-generation ships and out-at-sea engineering equipment, with critical systems and equipment capturing 80 percent of the high-tech ships market by 2025.

RAILWAYS

Beijing wants its domestic firms, already dominant at home, to make a major push overseas in the next decade. By 2020, train makers should make 30 percent of their sales abroad, raising this to 40 percent by 2025.

SMART GREEN CARS

Amid a major push towards fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, China wants its own firms to take 80 percent of the fast-growing market by 2025, with two local champions among the world’s leading new-energy vehicle companies. Chinese companies should also dominate in smart, connected vehicle technology.

RENEWABLES

Chinese companies making renewable energy equipment and energy saving equipment should dominate the market with an over 80 percent share by 2025, with three home-grown firms with enough scale to compete globally.

ON THE FARM

Already strong in agricultural tech, China is aiming to produce 90 percent of its own farming equipment by 2020, with high-end machines like tractors holding around a one-third share of their segments. This should rise to 95 percent and 60 percent respectively by 2025.

HIGH-TECH MATERIALS

Advanced basic materials, such as for construction or textiles, and essential strategic materials including rare earth and special alloys, should hold a 90 percent and 85 percent share of the domestic market respectively by 2025.

DRUGS AND DEVICES

China wants home-grown drug firms to be up to international standards by 2025, with 5-10 locally-developed drugs having won approval by then in the United States or Europe. In medical devices – an area in which China has been heavily reliant on imports – Beijing wants its own companies to capture 70 percent of the market for middle and high-end medical equipment at county-level hospitals.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Philip McClellan

Source: Reuters “Factbox: Made in China 2025: Beijing’s big ambitions from robots to chips”

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 children are its secret weapon in the global AI arms race


Aged 15, Shanghai students are on average three full years ahead of their counterparts in the UK or US in maths
Credit AFP/Getty Images

China wants to be the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. To get there, it’s reinventing the way children are taught

Late on the night of October 4, 1957, Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev was at a reception at the Mariinsky Palace, in Kiev, Ukraine, when an aide called him to the telephone. The Soviet leader was gone a few minutes. When he reappeared at the reception, his son Sergei later recalled, Khrushchev’s face shone with triumph. “I can tell you some very pleasant and important news,” he told the assembled bureaucrats. “A little while ago, an artificial satellite of the Earth was launched.” From its remote Kazakh launchpad, Sputnik 1 had lifted into the night sky, blasting the Soviet Union into a decisive lead in the Cold War space race.

News of the launch spread quickly. In the US, awestruck citizens wandered out into their backyards to catch a glimpse of the mysterious orb soaring high above them in the cosmos. Soon the public mood shifted to anger – then fear. Not since Pearl Harbour had their mighty nation experienced defeat. If the Soviets could win the space race, what might they do next?

Keen to avert a crisis, President Eisenhower downplayed Sputnik’s significance. But, behind the scenes, he leapt into action. By mid-1958 Eisenhower announced the launch of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (better known today as Nasa), along with a National Defense and Education Act to improve science and technology education in US schools. Eisenhower recognised that the battle for the future no longer depended on territorial dominance. Instead, victory would be achieved by pushing at the frontiers of the human mind.

Sixty years later, Chinese President Xi Jinping experienced his own Sputnik moment. This time it wasn’t caused by a rocket lifting off into the stratosphere, but a game of Go – won by an AI. For Xi, the defeat of the Korean Lee Sedol by DeepMind’s Alpha Go made it clear that artificial intelligence would define the 21st century as the space race had defined the 20th.

The event carried an extra symbolism for the Chinese leader. Go, an ancient Chinese game, had been mastered by an AI belonging to an Anglo-American company. As a recent Oxford University report confirmed, despite China’s many technological advances, in this new cyberspace race, the West had the lead.

Xi knew he had to act. Within twelve months he revealed his plan to make China a science and technology superpower. By 2030 the country would lead the world in AI, with a sector worth $150 billion. How? By teaching a generation of young Chinese to be the best computer scientists in the world.

In an era of exponential technological growth, it’s easy to forget that behind every smart machine stands a bunch of very clever humans. Silicon Valley was built by those who grew up in the space age boom in science and technology education. Today, the US tech sector has its pick of the finest minds from across the world, importing top talent from other countries – including from China. Over half of Bay Area workers are highly-skilled immigrants. But with the growth of economies worldwide and a Presidential administration hell-bent on restricting visas, it’s unclear that approach can last.

In the UK the situation is even worse. Here, the government predicts there’ll be a shortfall of three million employees for high-skilled jobs by 2022 – even before you factor in the immigration crunch of Brexit. By contrast, China is plotting a homegrown strategy of local and national talent development programs. It may prove a masterstroke.

Six months after Alpha Go’s stunning victory, I went to Shanghai to see firsthand how China’s schools can give them the edge. In 2013 the city’s teenagers gained global renown when they topped the charts in the PISA tests administered every three years by the OECD to see which country’s kids are the smartest in the world. Aged 15, Shanghai students were on average three full years ahead of their counterparts in the UK or US in maths and one-and-a-half years ahead in science. Nowhere in the world made more of their kids’ talent.

At Wanhangdu Road Primary School a mural of a spacecraft urged students to “Come to participate!” and “March to the future!”. In a classroom on the second floor, thirty kids in matching sailor outfits joined in as seven-year-old Selena led a rendition of the school song. Then they jumped into the day’s topic: how could we use number lines to express fractions? In bursts of one to five minutes in length the young teacher ping-ponged students through a variety of short “I do, you do” activities designed to layer the learning of the concept throughout the class, ensuring the kids practiced as much as possible. This was the famous Shanghai approach. They called it mastery learning.

In the staffroom later, a group of maths teachers explained how it worked. Lessons lasted just 35 minutes in order to optimise student concentration. The activities were chunked into short blocks and a variety of media and approaches used to maximise student opportunities to gain understanding, which was achieved through drilling and repetition. Each class began with a few minutes of stretching, singing or dancing in order to boost brain-power.

Teachers, too, were expected to be learners. Unlike in the UK, where, when I began to teach a decade ago, you might be working on full-stops with eleven-year-olds then taking eighteen-year-olds through the finer points of poetry, teachers in Shanghai specialised not only in a subject area, but also an age-group. This meant that they might teach the same lesson multiple times, getting steadily better at doing so throughout their careers. Lest this become dullingly repetitive, they were allocated 240 hours a year in which to improve their practice. The aim? Perfection.

Shanghai’s success owed a lot to Confucian tradition, but it fitted precisely the best contemporary understanding of how expertise is developed. In his book Why Don’t Kids Like School? cognitive Dan Willingham explains that complex mental skills like creativity and critical thinking depend on our first having mastered the simple stuff. Memorisation and repetition of the basics serve to lay down the neural architecture that creates automaticity of thought, ultimately freeing up space in our working memory to think big. The result: a proven approach for growing science and technology know-how.

Bringing up smart kids isn’t easy. Before going to Shanghai, I visited Seoul. South Korea was the original talent power and scene of history’s greatest education miracle. In the sixties its economic prospects were bleak. Ravaged by the three long years of the Korean War, it was relying on foreign aid handouts, while four-fifths of its population was illiterate. Yet in the fifty years that followed, Korean GDP grew 40,000 percent. Today Korean teens regularly come in the top five globally in the PISA tests – a man-made miracle, powered by a multi-generational effort to grow Korean brainpower.

“We don’t have any resources,” former education minister Ju-Ho Lee told me, “just our minds and hard work.” He wasn’t kidding about the hard work.

Seung-bin Lee, a seventeen-year-old high school graduate, told me of studying fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, for the three years leading up to the Suneung, the fearsome SAT exam taken by all Korean school leavers on a single Thursday each November, for which all flights are grounded so as not to break students’ concentration during the 45 minutes of the English listening paper. It had paid off. Today the country has the highest proportion of university graduates in the world, and Korea’s high tech economy is home to global mega-brands like Samsung, Hyundai and LG.

Yet despite the success, there was a growing sense that hard work had achieved all it could. “Koreans are not happy with it,” said Ju-Ho. A $20 billion industry had grown up around hagwons, private tutoring centres that prepared kids for exams. So intense was the competition that the government has imposed an 11pm curfew to stop kids working through the night. Worse, Korea’s teen suicide rate was the highest in the world. Over dinner, a successful entrepreneur in her 30s told me that the stress of school had been so great that her hair had fallen out. Korea’s childhoods were being lost to a relentless regime of studying, crushed in a top-down system that saw them as cyphers rather than kids.

Things are beginning to change. Policymakers like Ju-Ho Lee are concluding that although the pursuit of high test scores was vital to economic growth in the industrial era, today the approach is outdated. Skills that mattered for success in the high tech industries of the twentieth century now appear particularly susceptible to automation – with Korea already leading the world in the proportion of robots to workers in its factories. Becoming a science and technology superpower in the the twenty-first century meant evolving from a model in which the mastery of routine skills is the end of education, to one in which they’re a means to the end of creative inquiry. Here, too, China and Korea are thinking of the future.

An hour west of Seoul in Songdo Future City, teacher Gwangho Kim had already eradicated rote learning from his classroom. A member of the Future Class Network, he was part of a thousands-strong movement of educators now preparing their students for a high-tech future. In his biology class high-schoolers were working in small teams to sequence DNA from blood samples found at an imaginary crime scene, developing skills of inquiry, research and collaboration. A student in a blue baseball jacket presented the findings of the study she had made of bacteria present in the foods of local convenience stores. “At the start, I just wanted to learn for my exams,” she told me, “but now I realise that this way we actually learn more.”

The attitude is spreading throughout East Asia. Back in China at Peking University Future School, I met Orestes Za, who’d stylishly chosen his English name after Aeschylus. Head of an experiment to imagine the school of the future, he’d created an institution organised into Harry Potterish houses of lions, dragons, hummingbirds, wolves – yet also self-consciously rooted in the tomorrow. Kids learned liberal arts and sciences, but they also developed grew their imagination, creativity and teamwork. As we toured the maker lab and in-school tech-hub, I saw a new vision that I hadn’t encountered elsewhere. Kids used touch screen monitors to edit film, whilst others carefully scribed Chinese characters in their notebooks.

A decade ago, we consoled ourselves that although kids in China and Korea worked harder and did better on tests than ours, it didn’t matter. They were compliant, unthinking drones, lacking the creativity, critical thinking or entrepreneurialism needed to succeed in the world. No longer. Though there are still issues with Chinese education – urban centres like Shanghai and Hong Kong are positive outliers – the country knows something that we once did: education is the one investment on which a return is guaranteed. China is on course to becoming the first education superpower.

Troublingly, where education in the UK and US has been defined by creativity and independent thinking – Shanghai teachers told me of visits to our schools to learn about these qualities – our direction of travel is now away from those strengths and towards exams and standardisation, with school-readiness tests in the pipeline and UK schools minister Nick Gibb suggesting kids can beat exam stress by sitting more of them. Centres of excellence remain, but increasingly, it feels, we’re putting our children at risk of losing out to the robots, while China is building on its strong foundations to ask how its young people can be high-tech pioneers. They’re thinking big – we’re thinking of test scores.

Over a final lunch in Shanghai, Zhang Mingsheng, a former deputy secretary general of the city’s education commission told me that the old image of Chinese education was outdated. “Young people these days want independence.” He predicted that soon “digital information processing” would be included as a core subject on China’s national graduation exam – the Gaokao – and pictured classrooms in which students would learn in cross-disciplinary fashion, designing mobile phones for example, in order to develop design, engineering and computing skills. Focusing on teaching kids to code was short-sighted, he explained. “We still regard it as a language between human and computer.”

Whether China can harness its deep-rooted education culture and implement its visionary policy for the development of the high-level skills while also maintaining an authoritarian social order – the well-educated teens of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement suggest otherwise – remains to be seen. For now though, China seems better-placed than ever to draw on the greatest pool of resources required for twenty-first century dominance: well-educated teen minds. It’s a lesson we once knew that could prove costly to forget.

“If your plan is for one year,” went an old Chinese saying, “plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Two and half thousand years later chancellor Gwan Zhong might update his proverb, swapping rice for bitcoin and trees for artificial intelligence, but I’m sure he’d stand by his final point. In the digital age, making the most of our brain power matters more than ever. In the AI long game, China may have the lead.

Alex Beard is a former teacher and author of Natural Born Learners, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Source: wired.co.uk “China’s children are its secret weapon in the global AI arms race”

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


DSA 2018: China’s Norinco reveals Fire Dragon 280A tactical missile


A photograph of a Norinco brochure showing the Fire Dragon 280A 750 mm tactical missile. Source: IHS Markit/Gabriel Dominguez

Gabriel Dominguez, Kuala Lumpur – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly 17 April 2018

The China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) has revealed the development of the Fire Dragon 280A Tactical Missile for use by its AR3 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

This 750 mm-diameter missile is not only larger than the previous largest munition available to the AR3 – the 370 mm Fire Dragon 280 guided rocket – but also has a 10 km-longer range (290 km), according to the company.

“The 7.38 m-long missile, which completed development trials in 2017, is fitted with a 480 kg high-explosive blast/fragmentation warhead that uses pre-formed fragments,” a company spokesperson told Jane’s at the 16-19 Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

Guidance is provided by INS aided by a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), GPS, and the BeiDou systems, thus giving the missile a stated circular error probable (CEP) of no less than 30 m at its maximum range.

The official told Jane’s that the AR3’s previous eight (two pairs of four) launch tubes have been replaced with two launch containers, each of which holds one Fire Dragon 280A.

The company also revealed that the modifications made to the MLRS mean that the TL-7B land-based version of the TL-7 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM), which was first unveiled at the 2016 Singapore Airshow, can also be mounted on and fired from the AR3.

The official described the 6 m-long ASCM as being fitted with a 320 kg semi-armour-piercing warhead “capable of destroying a medium-sized or large enemy warship”.

Source: Jane’s 360 “DSA 2018: China’s Norinco reveals Fire Dragon 280A tactical missile”

Note: This is Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


DSA 2018: Chinese LHD design contends for RMN’s MRSS programme


China’s CSOC displayed a model of an LHD with amphibious capabilities at DSA 2018. The company is offering the design to Malaysia to meet the RMN’s MRSS requirement. Source: Richard D Fisher Jr

Richard D Fisher Jr, Kuala Lumpur – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly 17 April 2018

A Chinese landing helicopter dock (LHD) with amphibious capabilities is one of the designs being considered for the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN’s) multirole support ship (MRSS) programme, officials told Jane’s at the 16-19 Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The design being considered appears to be a smaller version of the 23,000-tonne LHD design unveiled by the China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC) at the 2012 Defense and Security exhibition in Bangkok. RMN officials said that the Chinese design could carry up to eight helicopters and would be equipped with a well-deck for deploying amphibious vehicles.

While officials at DSA 2018 stressed that the RMN has yet to select a final design, the experiences made with China’s different production and ship standards as part of the ongoing Sino-Malaysian co-operation to build littoral mission ships (LMSs) for the RMN has led to concerns about the desirability of China’s MRSS proposal. However, the officials also stressed that Beijing’s proposal could remain competitive if it becomes the low-cost option.

Malaysian officials indicated they expect the 15,000-tonne three-ship MRSS programme to be funded in 2018, with a final design expected to be selected in 2019.

The MRSS is part of the RMN’s ’15-to-5’ fleet transformation programme, which seeks to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency in logistics management, while bolstering vessel numbers.

Source: Jane’s 360 “DSA 2018: Chinese LHD design contends for RMN’s MRSS programme”

Note: This is Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.