Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Jianghu class (Type 053H) class FFG related updates.

Speaking of having enough shrimp boats -- South Sea Fleet's FFG 560 Dongguan (Type 053HG, Jianghu V) returns to the fleet after a period of extensive refits. Most visible upgrades included the replacement of its twin 100 mm gun and its old pair triple SY-2 SSM with a modern auto gun mount and a pair improved quad C802 SSM.

Even after this upgrade, it is still not a "modern warship" measured by any standards but it is still capable of performing the less glamorous second line duties such as offshore patrols (here)

At the same time, the FFG 544 Siping (Type 053H2 Jianghu III) is removed from the PLAN's Orbat to become a training ship. It was renamed as Lushun (Port Arthur) On July 28th 2010 becoming the first PLAN ship named after a county. Up till now, all other PLAN ships are named after a city. (here)

FFG 560 with its new upgrades.

The old FFG 560

FFG 544 Siping is now Lushun (Port Arthur)

PLAAF on an anti-ship training mission

A group of JH-7As from the 14th Attack Regiment, 5th Attack Division, PLAAF returns from a training mission.

This group is sporting two different EMC pods and three different type of munitions (rocket pods, iron bombs, and most interestingly, a pair KD88 anti-ship missiles)

Friday, July 30, 2010

PLA naval ship formation to visit five south pacific countries

A busy year for the PLAN -- in addition to the regular deployments to the Gulf of Aden, the South China Sea and Yellow Sea Dog-and-Pony shows, and the buzzing of the Japanese "self-defense" fleet, it seems she still has enough shrimp boats left over to conduct a good will tour.

PLA naval ship formation to visit five south pacific countries
(Source: China Military Online) 2010-07-29

The ship formation of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) consisting of the “Zhenghe” training ship and the “Mianyang” guided-missile frigate will pay a visit to five south pacific countries including Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia from late July to late October.

“The aim of the visit is to strengthen the pragmatic exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese military and the navies of the five south pacific countries and develop the friendly relations,” said by an officer of the Information Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese naval ship formation will make its first visit to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tonga during this trip. Besides, the formation will invite two midshipmen from the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy to board the Chinese ships to sail together during its voyage between Auckland of New Zealand to Sydney of Australia. The four midshipmen will eat, live, go through training, work and enjoy recreational activities together with the Chinese midshipmen, so as to enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between them.

It is said that the training ships and the combat ships of the PLA navy had visited foreign countries independently before, but it is the first time for them to visit foreign countries in mixed formation. Through this kind of formation, the midshipmen of the naval academies can broaden their horizons and enhance their abilities while accomplishing their ocean-going training.

Rear Admiral Leng Zhenqing, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, will be the commander of the visiting formation.

By Tian Yuan

China missile-removal offer goes unanswered

The size of the PLA missiles aiming at the ROC has been the subject of considerable media coverage and a screaming-point for pundits and internet warriors. On the other hand, this PLA missile related news item seems to be ignored by most.

China missile-removal offer goes unanswered

Updated Saturday, July 31, 2010 11:56 pm TWN,
The China Post news staff

China missile-removal offer goes unanswered
Taipei's China policymakers yesterday declined to comment on Beijing's latest overture hinting at the possibility of removing missiles targeting Taiwan.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) would not comment until it fully understands China's offer, said MAC Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun.

A spokesman for China's defense ministry, Geng Yansheng, said earlier that Beijing would discuss the removal of guided missiles targeting the island under the “One China” principle at a proper time.

Geng told a press conference in Beijing that in order to resolve the missile issue, the two sides should first build a military mutual trust mechanism.

Asked what is the biggest obstacle to building a cross-strait military mutual trust mechanism, Geng said there would not be too many problems, as long as both sides adhere to the “one China” principle.

As for possible U.S.-China military collaboration, Geng said the biggest obstacle is Washington's policy of selling weapons to Taiwan.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China, and does not rule out the use of force against it should it declare formal independence.

Although cross-strait tensions have eased since President Ma Ying-jeou took office, the island continues to be under military threats from China, including about 1,000 missiles currently aimed at the island.

But the Ma administration has given top priority to economic ties across the strait, putting aside political, ideological and military confrontations.

Taipei and Beijing has just signed an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).

Taipei has liberalized China-bound investments by Taiwan-based businesses. Tourists from China are coming in the hundreds daily, and direct flights across the strait are increasing.

The MAC vice chief said that Taiwan will still focus on economic exchanges with China in the meantime.

He said he believes after business and trade issues are tackled, a good climate will arise for the two sides to talk about other matters, including building a cross-strait military mutual trust mechanism.

Taiwan's defense ministry also declined to comment on Geng's remarks, saying it had yet to receive “relevant” information.

The United Evening News cited unnamed sources involved in cross-strait affairs as questioning whether there are ulterior motives behind China's latest overture.

China could just remove the missiles without holding any talks with Taipei, the sources said. Beijing could be looking for something in return, the sources added.

The Ma administration may be reluctant to touch on the political side of cross-strait relations, Beijing seems much eager to do so.

The United Evening News said that since last year, “military” ties between the two sides have been growing in the form of informal exchanges between retired generals and other activities.

Mainland will agree to cross-Strait military security talks: defense spokesman
(Source: Xinhua) 2010-07-30

  BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland will agree to discuss military security and mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait "at a proper time" so as to maintain stability in the region, a defense spokesman said Friday.

  "The mainland and Taiwan can make contact and exchanges on military issues at a proper time," Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said at a press conference.

  Discussions would focus on "the establishment of military security and mutual trust mechanisms," he said.

  Preparations "should be done step by step and starting from the easy ones," he said.

  "Peaceful development of cross-Strait relations conforms to the fundamental interests of people on both sides and represents their common aspirations," he said.

Editor:Ouyang Dongmei

Thursday, July 29, 2010

VT1-A MBT To Morocco

According to the website (here), the Moroccan Army recently acquired 150 MBT2000 VT1-A from Norino.

Will update when more details become available

My VT1-1 entry from 2009.

Monday, September 14, 2009
VT1A Main Battle Tank.
Norinco's VT1A MBT was first revealed in the October 2009 issue of "Ordnance Knowledge", a Norinco owned monthly magazine -- The VT1A MBT is a scaled down Type98/99 MBT built for export and similar to rest of the Type98/99 series of MBT, it's driver seat is located at the center of the hull and forward of the turret.

The Type99 MBT has been in PLA service approaching its 10th year and until now it has not been offered for export for number of reason: some of the potential customers might not have the necessary infrastructure to support or able to afford the high price associated with a 57 ton beast. In the past, Norinco has focused its sales effort with the Type96 and while it scored some success but in light of all the T-72 and T-54 upgrade packages that flooded the market in recent years, the Type96 might no longer be competitive in the international market place.

To reduce the total cost of ownership and combat weight to more manageable of 49 tons, the VT1A is not packaged with the 2nd generation ERA, active defense protection systems, D-3 infra-red jammer nor the much discussed a laser-dazzler device that are normally found on the Type 99. However, it can still perform the "rotation with pivot" in the center of the body by moving tracks from both sides in opposite directions. This capability allows The Type 99 to rotate 180 degrees in narrate streets making it a lethal adversary in MOUT. (Military Operations on Urban Terrain)

For more detail on the Type99/98 see

The New Chinese Type 98 MBT: A Second Look Reveals More Details
The Chinese Type 98 Main Battle Tank: A New Beast from the East

VT1A Specifications

Full Weight: 49 Tons
Turret root Height: 2.4 m
Width with track shield: 3.5m
Crew: 3 with auto-loader.
Power: 1200 hp
Engine: Water-cooled turbocharged diesel
Power-weight ratio: 24 hp / ton
Max speed: Highway speed 69 km/hour
Range: 450 km
Main Armament: 125 mm smoothbore

PLAN's South China Sea Naval Drill.

Report from Reuters:
China conducts naval drill in disputed southern seas
Thu Jul 29, 6:44 am ET

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese naval forces have carried out a series of drills in the South China Sea, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday, strategic waters which are disputed by a number of Southeast Asia countries.

The exercises were overseen by General Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff for the three-million-strong People's Liberation Army, the Defense Ministry said on its website (

The ministry's statement did not say exactly where the drills took place or how many ships or sailors participated. It said guided missiles were fired and anti-aircraft attacks simulated, as well as electromagnetic interference.

"Pay close attention to changes in the development of the mission, soundly prepare for combat," the ministry paraphrased Chen as saying.

China was furious after it was ambushed at Asia's top security forum last week by a discussion of sensitive territorial claims in the South China Sea, an area rich in energy and key for shipping. China has long-standing territorial disputes there with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Beijing had kept serious discussion of the South China Sea off the agenda of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) for a decade and a half. But last week in a meeting in Hanoi, 12 of the 27 members -- including some with no direct stake in the territorial disputes -- raised maritime issues.

China's Foreign Ministry accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of a barely disguised assault on Chinese interests by bringing up the topic.

Chinese state media has since weighed in, warning the United States to alter its policy to take account of China's role as a major player on the world stage if it wants to avoid friction and instability.

U.S.-China security ties have also been strained over joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises this week directed at North Korea but held in seas near China.

China's own growing military clout has worried many of its neighbours, including Japan and Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own.

Vietnam recently ordered six Kilo-class diesel submarines from Russia as part of a major arms purchase that analysts see as an attempt to counterbalance China's growing naval reach in the region.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Report frm the PLA Daily:

Naval troops conduct exercise on sea frontier

(Source: China Military Online) 2010-07-30

The participating warship is launching missiles.

  The combined-arms actual-troop and live-shell exercise organized by the South China Sea Fleet (SCSF) under the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was successfully held in a sea area of the South China Sea on July 26. By giving prominence to the actual use of arms in combined sea control, anti-missile air defense and air control operation in complicated electromagnetic environment, the exercise made new attainments in the study and exploration of such aspects as the construction of complicated electromagnetic environment and information control mechanism as well as the organization and training modes facilitating the generation of systematic combat capability based on the information system.

  By Pu Haiyang with People’s Navy and Zhong Jijun with PLA Daily

Editor:Liu Wanyun

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PLAAF Factory 5719

Apparently the PLAAF really does not want to send their imported turbofan back to Russia for overhaul -- this factory is home to China's Saturn AL-31 turbofan engine repair depot with a 16 years safety record (here)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A followup batch of 9 more KAs ordered by the PLAN

The first batch of 9 KAs were ordered back on October 11th 2009 (here)

FARNBOROUGH. July 26 (Interfax-AVN) - The construction of Kamov Ka-28 and Ka-31 deck helicopters continues at the helicopter plant in Kumertau, Bashkortostan, at orders from China, First Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Alexander Fomin has told Interfax-AVN.

"The contract provides for the delivery of nine Ka-28 helicopters and nine Ka-31 helicopters. It will definitely be fulfilled," Fomin said at the Farnborough international air show where he led the Russian delegation.

He said that the process of acceptance of the first helicopters by Chinese customers has begun.

Fomin said that the Kumertau plant is being actively modernized.

*Thanks Dylan for the news.
The same report from China

2010年7月23日 09:38
来源:东方网 作者:书山 选稿:王逾婷

  东方网7月23日消息:据俄罗斯军工新闻网7月22日报道,俄联邦军事技术合作局第一副局长亚历山大-福明7月20日在英国范堡罗航展上接受国际文传电讯社采访时表示,俄罗斯库梅尔陶市航空制造企业正在按照中国订单继续制造卡-28和卡-31舰载直升机。他说:“合同规定供应9架卡-28和9架卡-31 直升机。毫无疑问,合同将会履行。中国采购商接收首批直升机的程序已经开始启动。”(编译:书山)

Off to Yemen

Last Month, the New York Times asked an important question -- "Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan?" (here).

No, answered the PLAN. It is a rather pleasant vacation spot.

“Weishanhu” warship berths in port of Aden for replenishment

(Source: 2010-07-27

  The “Weishanhu” warship of the 6th Chinese naval escort taskforce sailed into the Port of Aden, the Republic of Yemen, on the morning of July 26, local time, beginning a 5-day-long replenishment and rest.

  The materials replenished to the “Weishanhu” have a gross weight of more than 4,000 tons, including fuel, drinking water and non-staple foods. In the replenishment and rest period, the “Weishanhu” warship will organize its officers and men to go sightseeing in turns.

  This is the 5th replenishment and rest of the “Weishanhu” ship in the Port of Aden when it implemented the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th escort tasks.

  By Yin Hang and Yu Huangwei

Editor:Ouyang Dongmei

Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan?
Published: July 6, 2010

Just before dawn on Dec. 24, an American cruise missile soared high over the southern coast of the Arabian peninsula, arced down toward the dark mountains above the Rafadh Valley in Yemen's Shabwa province and found its mark, crashing into a small stone house on a hillside where five young men were sleeping. Half a mile away, a 27-year-old Yemeni tribesman named Ali Muhammad Ahmed was awakened by the sound. Stumbling out of bed, he quickly dressed, slung his AK-47 over his shoulder and climbed down a footpath to the valley that shelters his village, two hours from the nearest paved road. He already sensed what had happened. A week earlier, an American airstrike killed dozens of people in a neighboring province as part of an expanded campaign against Al Qaeda militants. (Although the U.S. military has acknowledged playing a role in the airstrikes, it has never publicly confirmed that it fired the missiles.)

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today's CCTV reports a new "submarine-based special-force" unit. Little is known about this new PLAN special force unit, but the mere fact that it is still under the command of the Institute of Submarine Warfare suggests it is not yet operational.

One thing is for certain, the PLAN is playing an ever increasing role in China military calculus -- from new overseas deployments, frequent port visits, new amphibious warfare assets to an ever enlarging special force arsenal.

You can watch the CCTV report online (here)

DDG Guangzhou enters Suez Canal

5th Chinese naval escort taskforce enters Mediterranean Sea

(Source: PLA Daily) 2010-07-26
On the afternoon of July 24, local time, the visiting formation consisting of the “Guangzhou” warship and the “Chaohu” warship from the 5th Chinese naval escort taskforce slowly sailed out of the north entrance of the Suez Canal of Egypt and entered the Mediterranean Sea under the guidance of the local pilot. This is the first time for the Chinese naval escort taskforce to pass through the Suez Canal to enter into the Mediterranean Sea after accomplishing its escort mission in the Gulf of Aden.

  By Liu Chunhui

Editor:Cui Xinwen

5th Chinese naval escort taskforce visits four countries

(Source: PLA Daily) 2010-07-20

  At 05:00 on July 19, local time, the “Guangzhou” guided-missile destroyer and the “Chaohu” guided-missile frigate of the 5th Chinese naval escort taskforce set sail, bidding farewell to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast where they had stayed for 137 days and embarking upon the new voyage of visiting four countries in Africa, Europe and Asia.

  It is learned that the visiting taskforce consisting of the “Guangzhou” warship, the “Chaohu” warship, two shipboard helicopters and 70 special operation members of the South China Sea Fleet under the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will pay a goodwill visit to Alexandria in Egypt, Taranto in Italy, Piraeus in Greece and Yangon in Myanmar in succession. During the visit, the taskforce will carry out exchanges in various forms with navies of those countries.

  By Zhang Qi and Cao Haihua

Editor:Ouyang Dongmei