Monday, March 02, 2015

Time to check in with our friends at Wuhan's Wuchang Shipyard.

First of all,  another Yuting III-class class LST under construction.  Consider the 3 Yukan-class class LSTs already have 30 years of service under their belts,  this new boat could be a Yukan replacement.  Otherwise, one would expect a much bigger hull or a more modern design.

Two Type056s of the Bangladesh Navy, F111 Shadhinota and F112 Prottoy

Of course, no Chinese shipyard picture is complete without a Coast Guard cutter under construction

Two new LH (Army Aviation) helicopter regiments spotted

The  LH (Army Aviation) was founded in 1998 organic to the ground force and it's 10 operational units have been slowly growing in size ever-since.  Throughout much of the 2000s, the PLA high command seems to prefer enlarging the existing operational units from regiments into brigades of 3 battalions each (one transport, one attack and one scout) each then raise new operational units.   This growing existing units model seems to come to an end as two new regiments are now spotted. 

Perhaps, the 10 existing units are already brigade in size, can't grow any larger. 

Z-10 of the new 11th LH regiment

Z-19 of the new 12th LH regiment, Guangzhou Military Region.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photos of the day: airborne infantry regiment, 43rd airborne Division, PLAAF.

Showing off their new  CS/VP4 8x8 ATV on parade ground

Tech details from the 2012 Beijing International Emergency Rescue Expo on CS/VP4

length: 3.9 m
height: 1.8 m
width: 1.8 m
engine: 1.4 Liter inline four diesel
speed: 60 kph (max.)
empty weight: 1.7 tonne
payload: 1.1 tonne (max.)
crew: 6 including driver

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Expert: J-10 more suitable for Argentina

This is a noteworthy OpEd due to Mr Xu Yongling stature as a J-10 test pilot.  Given that, his "low opinion" of the FC-1 is not entirely unexpected.

Expert: J-10 more suitable for Argentina

(Source: China Military Online)   2015-02-11

  BEIJING, February 11 (ChinaMil) – The "Chengdu FC-1 is a light fighter developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd specifically for the market in the third world countries. Its advantages include a high performance-price ratio, with a unit price of only more than 30 million U.S. dollars," said Xu Yongling, China’s meritorious test pilot of J-10 and air force theory expert.

  However, Xu Yongling also pointed out that the Chengdu FC-1 originated from J-7 after all, it is not a fourth-generation warplane in a strict sense, thus with relatively low operational effectiveness.

  Britain now deploys six "Typhoon" fighters in the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, while four "Typhoon" fighters four or five years ago. Once the situation becomes tense, or simply if Argentina upgrades its air force equipment, the Britain may keep sending its "Typhoon" fighters or even E-3 early warning airplanes along the route of "mainland Britain-Gibraltar-Ascension Island- Malvinas (Falkland) Island" at any time.

  "14 FC-1 fighters seem to have quantitative superiority over six Typhoon fighters, but the Britain can absolutely deploy one or two squadrons of Typhoon fighters and early warning airplanes in the Malvinas (Falkland) Island." In the eyes of Xu Yongling, the introduction of FC-1 actually doesn’t substantially help improve the situation in the Malvinas (Falkland) Island since there is no quantitative superiority and the single-aircraft combat capability is obviously inferior. "Even if less money is spent compared to that for J-10, it is a waste," said Xu.

  Only J-10B can contend against "Typhoon"

  If Argentina possesses the new-type J-10B which is also a fourth-and-a-half-generation fighter and equipped with the phased-array radar, it is completely capable of fighting the "Typhoon" fighter because the latter is using the traditional pulsed Doppler radar.

  With the advanced navigation-power equipment that reaches the level for fifth-generation warplanes, the J-10B can also carry the China-made air-to-air missiles that reach the world's top level -- including the active radar guided medium-range missile PL-12 and infrared imaging guided fighting missile PL-10 which are no way inferior to the America-made medium-range missile AIM-120 and "Sidewinder" fighting missile.

  If the J-10 is deployed in the Malvinas (Falkland) Island direction, its limited combat radius is worrying, because after all the Malvinas (Falkland) Island is 500 kilometers away from the mainland of Argentina. But the J-10B has the flight-refuel function, and this is not a big problem if the refueling aircraft is also introduced.

  "Facing the Britain, a traditional powerful nation, as well as the surrounding countries such as Chile and Brazil which have introduced fourth-generation warplanes, Argentina would feel ashamed for the old stuffs it is using," Xu Yongling said that the F-16 fighters Chile bought from America were delivered in 2008. At present, Chile has 46 F-16 fighters, one Israeli "Vulture" early warning airplane, and three KC-135 refueling aircraft. Brazil signed the agreement with Sweden last year to buy 108 "Gripen" fighters, and the first batch of 28 such fighters will be delivered in 2019.

  In such grim strategic environment, Argentina has to choose the equipment of the same level -- the new model of J-10, in order to have the freedom of choice and leeway. Once the production lines for fighters and ammunition are introduced, Argentina will be able to produce advanced fighters endlessly, making the cost of delivering combat forces from the mainland of Britain too high to bear, no matter the land-based aviation forces or aircraft carrier taskforce.

  South America is an ideal entry point for China's export of warplanes

  Arms sale is a sensitive field. Every country would be very careful when it begins to buy weapons from other countries. But once this gate is opened, the arms sale relations will be highly stable and last for long.

  Xu Yongling gave an example. India began to buy weapons from the Soviet Union from the 1960s, and now adapts itself quite well to and trusts the Russian equipment. Though the French "Dassault Rafale" warplanes won the bid for Indian air force's latest big order for 126 fighters, no progress has been made so far. Now the deal would quite probably fail because the French want to raise the price. It is no easy even for America, let alone France, to sell weapons to India.”

  "The China-made operational aircraft did not sell well in the past, because on the one hand some countries concerned hobbled us, and on the other hand, the China-made aircraft did have defects. But China's aviation industry today is not what it used to be." Xu Yongling believed that China must take solid steps to find an entry point in the international market for the advanced fighters that it produces, and such entry point may just lie in such South American countries as Venezuela and Argentina.

Editor:Zhang Tao

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Photo of the day: KJ-500 AWAC in service with the PLAAF.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

First Showing: KJ500 AWACS prototype

After a successful introduction of 11 KJ200 "Balance Beam" mid-size AWAC into PLAN-AF and PLAAAF service, the Chinese military is switching gear to a fixed rotodome based approach for housing their three ASEA radars. 

Photo credit goes to stoneinsky.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Newly constructed KJ-200 AWAC spotted.

Notice the extra "antennas" on top of the cockpit.

The current KJ-200 service model. Notice there are no antennas in the "forehead"

Little Luda that could

30 years ago, when the might of the Soviet Red Navy deployed the battlecruiser Admiral Lazarev to its Pacific fleet, the Chinese send their most powerful combatant that time for a little welcoming party. 

Here are photos of their encounter back in early 1985, a classic David vs Goliath match up.

DDG133 Chongqing today, enjoying its retirement.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Photos of the day: Kurdish HJ-8 ATGM in action

While the source of this Chinese ATGM remains unknown -- one thing is for certain -- Chinese arsenal is making its way to the middle east war zones, one way or the other.

August 12, 2013
Arms Shipments Seen From Sudan to Syria Rebels

Syrian rebels, frustrated by the West’s reluctance to provide arms, have found a supplier in an unlikely source: Sudan, a country that has been under international arms embargoes and maintains close ties with a stalwart backer of the Syrian government, Iran.

In deals that have not been publicly acknowledged, Western officials and Syrian rebels say, Sudan’s government sold Sudanese- and Chinese-made arms to Qatar, which arranged delivery through Turkey to the rebels.

The shipments included antiaircraft missiles and newly manufactured small-arms cartridges, which were seen on the battlefield in Syria — all of which have helped the rebels combat the Syrian government’s better-armed forces and loyalist militias.

Emerging evidence that Sudan has fed the secret arms pipeline to rebels adds to a growing body of knowledge about where the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is getting its military equipment, often paid for by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or other sympathetic donors.

While it is unclear how pivotal the weapons have been in the two-year-old civil war, they have helped sustain the opposition against government forces emboldened by aid from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

Sudan’s involvement adds yet another complication to a civil war that has long defied a diplomatic resolution. The battle has evolved into a proxy fight for regional influence between global powers, regional players and religious sects. In Sudan’s case, it has a connection with the majority Sunni rebels, and a potentially lucrative financial stake in prosecuting the war.

But Sudan’s decision to provide arms to the rebels — bucking its own international supporters and helping to cement its reputation for fueling conflict — reflects a politically risky balancing act. Sudan maintains close economic and diplomatic ties to Iran and China.

Both nations have provided military and technical assistance to Sudan’s state-run arms industry and might see sales of its weapons by Sudan to help rebels in Syria as an unwanted outcome of their collaboration with Khartoum, or even as a betrayal.

In interviews, Sudanese officials denied helping arm either side in the Syrian war. “Sudan has not sent weapons to Syria,” said Imad Sid Ahmad, the press secretary for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, a spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces, added that the allegations defied common sense, except perhaps as a smear.

“We have no interest in supporting groups in Syria, especially if the outcome of the fighting is not clear,” Mr. Saad said. “These allegations are meant to harm our relations with countries Sudan has good relations with.”

A Qatari official said he had no information about a role by his country in procuring or moving military equipment from Sudan.

Sudan has a history of providing weapons to armed groups while publicly denying its hand in such transfers. Its arms or ammunition has turned up in South Sudan, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Chad, Kenya, Guinea, Mali and Uganda, said Jonah Leff, a Sudan analyst for the Small Arms Survey, a research project. It has provided weapons to Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army; rebels in Libya; and the janjaweed, the pro-government militias that are accused of a campaign of atrocities in Darfur.

“Sudan has positioned itself to be a major global arms supplier whose wares have reached several conflict zones, including the Syrian rebels,” said one American official who is familiar with the shipments to Turkey.

Western analysts and officials said Sudan’s clandestine participation in arming rebels in Syria suggests inherent tensions in Mr. Bashir’s foreign policy, which broadly supports Sunni Islamist movements while maintaining a valued relationship with the Shiite theocracy in Iran.

Other officials suggested that a simple motive was at work — money. Sudan is struggling with a severe economic crisis.

“Qatar has been paying a pretty penny for weapons, with few questions asked,” said one American official familiar with the transfers. “Once word gets out that other countries have opened their depots and have been well paid, that can be an incentive.”

Analysts suspect that Sudan has sold several other classes of weapons to the rebels, including Chinese-made antimateriel sniper rifles and antitank missiles, all of which have made debuts in the war this year but whose immediate sources have been uncertain.

Two American officials said Ukrainian-flagged aircraft had delivered the shipments. Air traffic control data from an aviation official in the region shows that at least three Ukrainian aviation transport companies flew military-style cargo planes this year from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, to a military and civilian airfield in western Turkey. In telephone interviews, officials at two firms denied carrying arms; the third firm did not answer calls on Monday.

Mr. Ahmad, the Sudanese presidential spokesman, suggested that if Sudan’s weapons were seen with Syria’s rebels, perhaps Libya had provided them.

Sudan, he said, has admitted sending arms during the 2011 war to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Libya’s new leaders have publicly thanked Sudan. Libya has since been a busy supplier of the weapons to rebels in Syria.

However, that would not explain the Sudanese-made 7.62x39-millimeter ammunition documented by The New York Times this year in rebel possession near the Syrian city of Idlib.

The ammunition, according to its stamped markings, was made in Sudan in 2012 — after the war in Libya had ended. It was used by Soquor al-Sham, an Islamist group that recognizes the Western-supported Syrian National Coalition’s military command.

When told that the newly produced Sudanese cartridges were photographed with Syrian rebels, Mr. Saad, the Sudanese military spokesman, was dismissive. “Pictures can be fabricated,” he said. “That is not evidence.”

Sudan’s suggestion that any of its weapons in Syria had been provided by Libya also would not explain the presence of Chinese-made FN-6 antiaircraft missiles in Syrian rebel units. Neither the Qaddafi loyalists nor the rebels in Libya were known to possess those weapons in 2011, analysts who track missile proliferation said.

The movements of FN-6s have been at the center of one of the stranger arms-trafficking schemes in the civil war.

The weapons, which fire a heat-seeking missile from a shoulder launcher, gained nonproliferation specialists’ immediate attention when they showed up in rebel videos early this year. Syria’s military was not known to stock them, and their presence in northern Syria strongly suggested that they were being brought to rebels via black markets, and perhaps with the consent of the authorities in Turkey.

After the missiles were shown destroying Syrian military helicopters, the matter took an unusual turn when a state-controlled newspaper in China, apparently acting on a marketing impulse, lauded the missile’s performance. “The kills are proof that the FN-6 is reliable and user-friendly, because rebel fighters are generally not well trained in operating missile systems,” the newspaper, Global Times, quoted a Chinese aviation analyst as saying.

The successful attacks on Syria’s helicopters by Chinese missiles brought “publicity” that “will raise the image of Chinese defense products on the international arms trade market,” the newspaper wrote.

The praise proved premature.

As the missiles were put to wider use, rebels began to complain, saying that more often than not they failed to fire or to lock on targets. One rebel commander, Abu Bashar, who coordinates fighting in Aleppo and Idlib Provinces, called the missiles, which he said had gone to Turkey from Sudan and had been provided to rebels by a Qatari intelligence officer, a disappointment.

“Most of the FN-6s that we got didn’t work,” he said. He said two of them had exploded as they were fired, killing two rebels and wounding four others.

Detailed photos of one of the FN-6 missile tubes, provided by a Syrian with access to the weapons, showed that someone had taken steps to obscure its origin. Stenciled markings, the photos showed, had been covered with spray paint. Such markings typically include a missile’s serial number, lot number, manufacturer code and year of production.

Rebels said that before they were provided with the missiles, months ago, they had already been painted, either by the seller, shipper or middlemen, in a crude effort to make tracing the missiles more difficult.

Reporting was contributed by Andrew E. Kramer, Nikolay Khalip and Andrew Roth from Moscow; Robert F. Worth from Washington; Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul; Nicholas Kulish from Nairobi, Kenya; Isma’il Kushkush from Khartoum, Sudan; and Karam Shoumali from Turkey and Syria.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Rumor Control: .50 caliber Sniper Rifle in Syria IS NOT an AS50 , it's Chinese M99

The media is awash with "news" of how the Syrian rebels now have the AS50 Accuracy International .50 caliber sniper rifle...but they don't.

Many Western media sources have erroneously identified the video in this video as an AS50.  However, the rifle is in fact a Chinese M99 sniper rifle in 12.7x108mm:

If you were a member of the world's premier internet Chinese military discussion, Forum, you would have known weeks ago that the Syrian rebel forces had Chinese M99 .50 caliber sniper rifles.  Forum members generally agree Sudan is the most likely source of the rifles.

M99 is visually similar to AS50, but is a different weapon. The AI is like a FAL while the M99 is more like an M-16. M99 is a direct gas, rotating bolt action, whereas the AS50 is a short stroke, tilting bolt action.  The M99 is also 2 kg lighter than AS50.

Here's a pic of the M99 in service with PLA Marines: can be accessed here:
We are currently vetting new members, register with a distinguished email address, or ask a current member for access.