Tuesday, December 29, 2009

China to launch a second lunar probe next year

Another spacecraft launch likely in 2010 to prepare for space lab

China plans to launch Chang'e-2, the country's second lunar probe, at the end of 2010, space authorities announced yesterday.

The design and production of Chang'e-2 is complete, and the lunar orbiter is undergoing ground tests, the State Administration of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense said yesterday in a news release.
Second moon probe next year

Chang'e-2 is expected to test the soft-landing technological capability for the Chang'e-3 and provide high-resolution images of the landing area, the administration said.

"Progress on six key technologies of Chang'e-2 has been made, including the lunar capture, orbit control and research on high-resolution stereo camera," the administration's spokesman said.

Ye Peijian, chief designer of the nation's first lunar probe, had told China Daily earlier that the launch was expected in October.

The administration said that Chang'e-3, the country's lunar lander and rover, is also well on the way toward liftoff. The project is now in the prototype stage.

Chang'e-2 and Chang'e-3 are part of the second phase of the country's lunar exploration program, which consists of three stages - "orbiting", "landing" and "returning".

Ye said earlier that Chang'e-3 is likely to be launched before 2013. The country's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, was launched in October 2007 and ended its 16-month mission on March 1 this year.

Meanwhile, China's manned space project is also likely to see a breakthrough next year, a top scientist said.

Qi Faren, chief designer of the Shenzhou spacecraft, told Guangzhou Daily on Sunday that Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, a spacecraft that will test docking technology and prepare for the future construction of space laboratories, will be launched by the end of next year at the earliest.

According to the official website of China's manned space program, www.cmse.gov.cn, the launch date of Tiangong-1 is set between late 2010 and early 2011.

Within two years of the launch of Tiangong-I, China will launch Shenzhou-VIII, Shenzhou-IX and Shenzhou-X spaceships, to dock with Tiangong-1, the website said.

Two space laboratories, Tiangong-II and Tiangong-III, will follow, and China aims to build its own space station by the year 2020, the website said.

China became the third nation - after the US and Russia - to send people into space when Yang Liwei went into orbit aboard the spaceship Shenzhou-V on Oct 15, 2003. Three other astronauts were sent to space in Shenzhou-VII and carried out the country's first space walk in September 2008.

Shen Liping, deputy chief designer of China's manned space program, was quoted by Guangzhou Daily as saying on Sunday that China's first woman astronaut will be able to fly to outer space sooner than the targeted 10 years.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Indonesian warships to be equipped with Chinese-made missiles

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Navy`s warships will be equipped with missiles made in China, Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Agus Suhartono said here on Monday.

"We will continue to procure C-802 missiles from China after we tested the weapon with good results,` he said adding that the Indonesian Navy was also negotiating with China to obtain C-705 missiles that were more slender in shape.

"Both types of missile will be added to the armament of of the navy`s fast patrol boats and Van Speijk warships," Agus said.

He said the navy would increase the combat capabilities of its Van Speijk and fast patrol boats by integrating their armament systems with weaponry from China.

"We are still unable to make missiles domestically. But fortunately, state shipbuilding firm PT PAL already has the technology to integrate weapon systems imported from abroad with those already in place on our warships," he said.

The navy chief admitted with limited budget for his department, his officials would continue making a priority scale on the procurement of weaponry system.

"Our main priority now is security in sea border areas and the outer islands of Indonesia," he said adding that the navy would also replace some 27 of its warships with newer types and better combat capabilities.

Agus Suhartono had previously said Indonesia`s western waters were prone to various maritime crimes such as smuggling, human trafficking and poaching.

"The sea crimes are not the only problems we have in the western waters. In these areas we also have border problems with India, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia," the navy chief said.

He said that in order to maintain security in the area, the navy conducted routine patrols in the Indonesian western waters. It had maintained a joint patrols with its counterparts from India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

As a result, the maritime crime rate in the western waters had dropped , particularly in the Malacca Strait.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Peru to buy MBT-2000 tanks from China

Peru close to a deal with China to buy military tanks, says Defense Minister

Five MBT-2000 tanks made in China started yesterday's Military Parade, led by the Army General (EP) Richard Pitot Guzman.

The MBT-2000 is one of the models that Peruvian Army is testing with the aim of replacing the old T-55 bought from the former USSR during the 60s and 70s; but it was reported that another three models are currently under evaluation.

However, the MBT-2000s that participated in the parade were decorated with all the General Pitot's military insignias, and this fact has created a great controversy in Peru.

While the Army states that the technical evaluations are not over yet and that the presence of these tanks was only “part of an exhibition,” Defense Minister Rafael Rey says that the Government “is close to a deal" to buy an undetermined number of tanks from China.

But the controversy is just starting. According to La Republica, these tanks have already been tested in July, by a technical commission that traveled to China, and determined, in a report signed by General Jorge Vega Yáñez, that the tanks did not meet all the specialized requirements; especially in regards to defeating the Chilean Leopard 2A4, as well as shooting 125mm missiles.

Norinco, the manufacturer, was allegedly in conditions to meet all the Peruvian requirements, but in two years' time.

Rafael Rey said that Peru is purchasing these tanks because “our current operative tanks are in pretty bad conditions.”


Monday, December 7, 2009

US and China to cooperate on ARJ21 commuter jet

Chinese Jet Gets Boost From Obama

One of the few concrete signs of cooperation to emerge from this week's U.S.-China summit could boost Beijing's drive to become a global aircraft maker.

President Barack Obama pledged Tuesday to push for closer technical collaboration and eventual U.S. safety approval for China's ARJ21 commuter jet. That amounts to both a symbolic and practical step to counter Beijing's growing frustration with U.S. aviation policy and U.S. restrictions on the purchase of certain technologies.

The high-profile U.S. initiative is especially significant because China's own safety regulators are still a year or more away from approving the 70-to-100-passenger aircraft being developed by Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac.

But signaling Washington's desire to provide technical support and regulatory certainty down the road also raises questions about both the overseas role and the independence of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which has taken more of an arm's-length approach toward certifying the safety of China's future airliners.

Over the years, the FAA has forged close ties with Chinese carriers and aviation regulators through a multitude of joint safety efforts, data sharing and training programs. Hundreds of Beijing officials, airline managers, pilots and controllers have visited their U.S. counterparts. Partly as a result, the country's commercial-aviation accident rate—China has gone nearly five years without a major fatal crash—is by some measures better than that of the U.S.

But when it comes to regulatory approval, the FAA has tried to maintain greater distance. Before Mr. Obama's announcement, for example, FAA representatives in China pulled back from helping Comac teams developing the ARJ21 because of concern that such assistance might be considered a conflict of interest when other parts of the agency gear up to determine whether the plane meets U.S. safety standards. Nearly half the plane's parts come from the U.S. An FAA spokeswoman declined to comment on President Obama's announcement or what it means for future FAA steps.

So far, Western interest in buying the ARJ21 has been limited. At the Zhuhai air show in southern China last year, Comac announced that its first overseas order had come from General Electric Co. GE, which is supplying the engines, agreed to buy five of the regional jets with an option for 20 more, in a deal that could amount to $750 million. But GE also said that it planned to lease all the planes inside China. FAA certification is critical if Beijing hopes to attract other foreign buyers, and some U.S. officials predict it could take as long as two years. Currently undergoing flight tests, the plane has taken about twice as long to develop as its backers initially projected.

In some ways, however, the current discussions may be more of a prelude to broader commercial and regulatory cooperation on a larger Comac-designed jet, the more than 160-seat C919. Slated for certification no earlier than 2016, that model would compete directly with the two leading global airliner suppliers, Boeing Co and Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. Though still in early design, Chinese officials have said the C919 should have operating costs 10% below those of comparable Western jetliners

Safety and business considerations aren't the only reason for U.S.-Chinese friction over aerospace collaboration. Honeywell International Inc. has struck a tentative deal to provide avionics and terrain-avoidance warning systems to Chinese customers. But one glitch, according to Honeywell officials, is that Chinese authorities insist that the updated digital maps Honeywell sells outside China can't include data about sensitive facilities and man-made obstacles throughout the country.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey displays Chinese built Ballistic Missiles

Turkey has displayed the first of 200 Chinese B611 ballistic missiles, that it is building under license. The B611 is a two ton missiles with a half ton warhead and a range of 280 kilometers. The missile is carried, and launched, in an 8x8 cross country truck. Some trucks are designed to carry two missiles. The B611 uses a solid fuel motor, and its basic guidance system will land the warhead within 150 meters of the aiming point. Using GPS for guidance will improve that to less than 30 meters.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

China Promises New, Advanced Fighter

China has the resources and technology--some of it obtained quasi-legally and illegally--to build a fifth-generation fighter, say U.S. Air Force and intelligence officials. But Beijing's aerospace industry may be missing key skills needed for it to match the performance of advanced, Western-built combat aircraft.

What neither Beijing nor the Western defense community yet knows is whether Chinese technicians can generate the systems engineering and integration capabilities required to actually build in large production numbers and arm advanced aircraft with features similar to those of the aging B-2 and F-22 or the newer but less stealthy F-35 (AW&ST Nov.16, p. 26).

"You need a combination of the right shape, structural design, surface coatings, aerodynamic performance and flight control system," says a U.S. Air Force official. "It's not magic, but there's still a lot of art in it."

It remains to be determined if the People's Liberation Army Air Force (Plaaf) will pursue a fighter design optimized for low observability or how much it will be willing to trade in terms of performance, supportability and delivery schedule.

The requirement--dubbed J-XX by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence in 1997--may well seek a more "balanced" approach to stealth, likely focusing on front-quadrant radar-cross-section reduction and the use of reapplicable coatings, rather than pursuing an all-aspect design. A twin-engine delta-canard concept has previously been suggested to be the general design approach.

While China is unlikely to field a platform with F-22-like capabilities within 10 years--as claimed by the Plaaf's deputy chief, Gen. He Weirong--a new fighter is in development and may soon make its first flight, say Chinese aerospace industry and U.S. intelligence officials.

The U.S. intelligence official, a veteran analyst of China's airpower, summarizes his view of the nation's access to advanced technologies. "Between legal, quasi-legal [diverted] and espionage-based tech transfer, I'm sure China has obtained most of the data available on how we build our stealthy aircraft structures and the materials involved," he says. "They also have taken full advantage of our open patent system, our open engineering undergrad and grad schools, our publish-or-perish academic promotion process and the ease with which an integrated, centralized [government] can thwart artificial, social-democratic distinctions between military, police, civil and commercial data."

Aging F-22 and B-2 designs are another factor. They have given Chinese researchers more than 20 years to chase down those technologies. The B-2 has already gone through its first service-life-extension program.

"[With] what they've gotten from us, Japan, [South Korea], Russia and the European Union, they have access to all they need data-wise," the intelligence official says. "Their only limitations are investment cash and the ability to work out production process engineering and integration, which we still do better than anyone. [Those skills] really reflect corporate culture and learning curve more than anything readily documented, although ISO 9000/9001/9002 and similar software documentation standardization are making that easier to steal, too."

China's J-10 strike fighter, which has an F-16-like capability, is considered the country's best indigenous effort so far in terms of engines, avionics and aerodynamic performance. It began large-scale service in 2006. China's military aircraft are profiting from knowledge about commercial composite-structure production garnered from building components for Boeing airliners and space materials.

The original J-10 work drew heavily on the Israeli Lavi program--Tel Aviv has generally proved a valuable source of technology for Beijing--and has benefited from Russian support.

Beijing also has used the J-11B development of the Russian Su-27 Flanker as the platform to introduce indigenous avionics, fire-control radar, weapons and powerplant. Further iterations of the systems produced for the J-11B may be earmarked for the J-XX.

The J-11B is designed to carry the PL-12 medium-range active radar-guided missile, rather than the export model of the Russian R-77 (AA-12 Adder). The PL-12 development reflects the overall improvement in China's national guided-weapons technology base, even if the program had significant Russian input.

"Right now, the only arms race China is really facing is with India, and [Beijing is] winning," the intelligence official says.

While that contest has no direct impact on the U.S., at least some Pentagon planners believe it will accelerate China's large-force, war-making capability, while the U.S. is focusing its spending and technology development on limited-war and insurgency-type conflicts.

"In my view, we're wasting billions on slow- and low-flying MC-12s [surveillance aircraft], MQ-1/-9 [remotely piloted aircraft], C-27J [light transports] and less-than-world-class, lowest-common-denominator, design-to-price [F-35] JSF," the intelligence official says.

A veteran combat pilot with insight into the F-22 program says building an advanced fighter, even if it did not match the F-22's or F-35's performance, could be a serious threat to the U.S. stealth fleet if the new aircraft are built in large enough numbers to overcome an allied force through sheer attrition.

"Those fourth-generation fighters, when pitted against 187 F22s in large numbers, will eventually wear [the stealth fighters] down," says an aerospace industry official. "They only carry eight air-to-air missiles. They don't have to match Raptor capabilities if they build an advanced fighter in F-35 numbers."

It would not be considered an impossible technological leap for China to build an F-35-like fighter with some stealth capabilities in 10 years. "They could throw a lot of resources at it," a senior U.S. Air Force official says. "But we've yet to see a real organic design from China. So far, they've leveraged Russian or Israeli technology. They don't have a lot of radar engineering capability, nor experience in integrating a complete structure. That's the big question.

"You can paste on some [signature-lowering] capabilities, but changing a very large target to a large target doesn't buy you too much operational advantage," the Air Force official says. "You need very small stealth-signature numbers."

The F-22 had an all-aspect requirement of -40 dBsm., while the F-35 came in at -30 dBsm. with some gaps in coverage.

The idea that the J-10 will serve as a technological springboard is considered unlikely.

"I believe the Chinese have a difficult road if their design is tied to the J-10," he says. "As you know, significantly reduced signature requires more then coatings. The J-10 has many features which may produce the desired aerodynamic effects but would be a negative for signature reduction. I am sure they can somewhat reduce the signature with a few design tweaks and coatings, but the operational relevance would be questionable.

"They can certainly refine their composite-structure competency, and basic [stealth] coatings are widely known and available," the Air Force official says. "The milestone will be when we see more refined shaping."


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

China to build a F-22 class fighter jet

The Chinese Air Force has announced that it has a F-22 type aircraft ready to make its first flight within a year. The Chinese believe this aircraft will enter service within ten years. U.S. intelligence believes the Chinese are nowhere near this kind of capability. But given the quantity and quality of data Chinese hackers have been stealing in the past five years, it's possible that they have much of the American technology that makes the F-22 and F-35 possible. Some believe that the Chinese also have a F-35 type design in the works as well.

American intel analysts believe that Chinese aviation technology (both design and manufacturing) is not yet capable of producing F-22/F-35 class aircraft. Given the experience with the first two Chinese designed and manufactured jet fighters (J-10 and JF-17), there is much doubt that China is capable of making the leap to F-22 class fighters. The big bottleneck is jet engine technology.

For two decades now, China has been developing the manufacturing technology for aircraft engines, the key component of any high performance aircraft. So far, China has been unable to create the manufacturing technology and personnel skills that are needed to make the engines for their most advanced jet fighters. For example, China is a major customer for Russian RD93 engines (originally designed for the MiG-29), and has bought over a thousand of them. The RD93 engines currently cost about $2.5 million each.

China has been developing a similar (apparently identical) engine to the RD93, the WS-13. Actually, this effort is being aided by Russia, which is selling China technology needed for the manufacture of key engine components. Russia isn't happy about this, because they don't want competition in the low cost jet engine market. Then again, China has a history of stealing technology it cannot buy, so the Russians are making the best of a bad situation. China says the WS-13 is nearly ready for service. Maybe, maybe not. Recently, China ordered another hundred RD93s. Building high performance military jet engines is difficult, and China has had problems mastering this kind of stuff. Not that they will not eventually acquire the skills, but until they do, they need the Russian made RD93s. Officially, more RD93 are being bought because China cannot produce enough of their WS-13s.

Chinese engineers also thought they had managed to master the manufacturing techniques needed to make a Chinese copy of the Russian AL31F engine. This Chinese copy, the WS10A, was meant for the Chinese J-10 fighter, which entered service two years ago. But the Chinese Air Force was not satisfied with the reliability or performance of the WS10A, and have ordered another hundred AL31Fs from Russia, in order to continue building J-10s. Meanwhile, Russian efforts to build an improved AL31 for their own F-22 competitor, have run into serious problems. Will the Chinese suddenly do better than their tutors?

The J-10 is the first modern jet fighter designed and built in China. The aircraft is an attempt to create a modern fighter-bomber that could compete with foreign designs. The experiment was not completely successful. Work on the J-10 began over twenty years ago, in an attempt to develop an aircraft that could compete with the Russian MiG-29s and Su-27s, and the American F-16. But the first prototype did not fly until 1998. There were problems, and it wasn't until 2000 that the basic design flaws were fixed. By 2002, nine prototypes had been built, and flight testing was going forward to find, and fix, hundreds of smaller problems. It was a great learning experience for Chinese engineers, but it was becoming apparent that the J-10 was not going to be competitive with the Su-27s/30s China was buying from Russia. The J-10 looks something like the American F-16, and weighs about the same (19 tons). Like the F-16, and unlike the Su-27, the J-10 has only one engine.

The 13 ton JF-17, which uses the RD93, is meant to be a low cost alternative to the American F-16. It was developed in cooperation with Pakistan. The JF-17 is considered the equal to earlier versions of the F-16, but only 80 percent as effective as more recent F-16 models. The JF-17 design is based on a cancelled Russian project, the MiG-33. Most of the JF-17 electronics (in the Pakistani version) are Western, with Italian firms being major suppliers. The JF-17 can carry 3.6 tons of weapons and use radar guided and heat seeking missiles. It has max speed of nearly 2,000 kilometers an hour, an operating range of 1,300 kilometers and a max altitude of 55,000 feet. China has not yet decided on whether it will use the FC-1/JF-17 itself. This is apparently because China believes its own J-10 (another local design) and J-11 (a license built Russian Su-27) are adequate for their needs. The J-10, like the JF-17, did not work out as well as was hoped.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pakistan and China in $1.4 billion fighter jet deal

This is a huge deal. But $1.4 billion is not cheap, can Pakistan come up with enough funding for this purchase ?

LAHORE: China has agreed to sell Pakistan at least 36 advanced fighter jets in a landmark deal worth as much as $1.4bn, Pakistani and western officials said on Tuesday.

China will supply two squadrons of J-10 fighter planes in a preliminary agreement, which could lead to further sales in future, a Pakistani official said.

The official added that Pakistan might buy “larger numbers” of the planes in the future, but denied reports that Pakistan had agreed to buy 150 jets.

Experts describe the agreement as a “landmark” in Pak-China relations.

“The agreement should not simply be seen in the narrow context of Pakistan’s relations with China,” said Abdul Qayyum, a retired Pakistani general. “There is a wider dimension. By sharing its advanced technology with Pakistan, China is ... also saying to the world that its defence capability is growing rapidly.”

China has supplied Pakistan with fighter jets for more than three decades. Experts said the sales would be evidence of China looking to expand its military power. “Countries like Iran and possibly some of the Middle Eastern countries would be keen to deal with China,” said one western official in Islamabad.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

China's August 1st Aerobatics Team 八一飞行队

China's August 1st Aerobatics Team 八一飞行队 is the aerobatic demonstration team of the People's Liberation Army Air Force. The August 1st Aerobatics Team is considered as one the best aerobatic teams in the world. It is named after the date of the founding of the PLAAF. The unit was founded in 1962 and has performed 320 events in 100 countries. It is part of the PLAAF Beijing Military Region.

In the past, Ba Yi aerobatic team has flown J-5, J-6 and JJ-5 air planes.

In the 90's, Chengdu J-7EB was flown by the Ba Yi aerobatic team, but was replaced by the newer J-7GB (2001). There are about 8 aircraft in the fleet, but only 6 are set for any airshow.

In May 2009, the team upgraded their jets to the much more advanced Chengdu J-10s multirole fighter.

The aerobatics team is based out of Yangcun Air Force Base (Meichong) near Tianjin, home to the 24th Fighter Division.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

China and Russia to reach a deal on Kalashnikov rifle copyright

Klimovsk: After mercilessly ripping off the design of every Russian defence product that they have laid their hands on, and even producing and exporting then without so much as a thank you, the Chinese may finally accord copyright protection to one product–the ubiquitous Kalashnikov rifle. The protection may come too late in the day for it to be if any use to the Russians and the Kalashnikov brand name though.

Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said Thursday it was working to reach an agreement with China on copyright protection of Kalashnikov assault rifles.

"We have received China's national patent for Kalashnikov products. The documents have been handed to the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation to prepare and conclude an intergovernmental agreement in the field," Anatoly Isaikin, the head of Rosoboronexport told journalists.

Isaikin said he expected the process of reaching a deal with China to be lengthy, but hoped

it would be concluded soon.

In this respect he noted the huge number of unlicensed Kalashnikov rifles produced all over the world. "There are about 100 million Kalashnikov assault rifles worldwide, of which half are counterfeit, i.e. produced without licenses, patents and intergovernmental agreements," he said.

Isaikin said over 15 countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, Egypt and China, produce the rifles either on expired licenses or without them. "Even America produces the assault rifles, even though the country has never received a license for their manufacture," he said.

According to Isaikin, there were at least 30 organizations illegally producing and selling the weapons.

Russia has every reason to push for copyright protection of this classic weapon for just this September an arbitration court in the country accepted a bankruptcy suit against the factory which produces the famed assault rifles.

A court in the Urals republic of Udmurtia said on its website that the suit had been filed by a previously unknown company named Gremikha. It did not specify the connection between the plaintiff and Izhmash, the owner of the Kalashnikov plant.

The court said a hearing on the suit would be held on 7 October.

Though bankruptcy would help Izhmash deal with its debt burden, observers warned that a new wave of unemployment would sweep the region.

The Izhmash-owned Molot factory, which produces the legendary assault rifles, has already frozen operations due to a lack of orders from the state, Russian media reported.

The best-known Kalashnikov rifle is the 1947 model known as the AK-47, which is the most widely produced used assault rifle in the world, and is used by both regular armies and militant groups.

The creator of the AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov, is 89 years old and lives in Izhevsk.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

China's Unmanned Aircraft (UAV) Development

Andrei Chang, a Chinese military analyst with the Kanwa Information Centre in Toronto emphasised, it still is puzzling for what reason “the plethora of UAV models on display at Zhuhai do not go into production.” China is having difficulty mastering the technical complexity of operating UAVs in real time, he recently told Defence News. Chang suggests that many of the companies and institutions do not have an actual prototype and are simply looking for a foreign investor for their concept.

In an interview in early 2007 published by sina.com.cn, Tu Jida, chief designer of the Aviation Industries of China (AVIC), said that UCAVs are still at an early development stage in China and current efforts may lead to a successful aircraft system in approximately ten years. He further emphasised that for any such effort, China will be on its own and will have to “rely on its own strength and self-reliance.” The interview also left the impression that China is still working on the development of more secure and resistant control and communication links for the operation of UAVs to prevent enemies from interfering with the control of UAVs and the transmission of reconnaissance information.

Although the extension of China’s military satellite network allows the use of HALE UAVs over long ranges and in operations abroad, China is fully aware of dangers and the importance of satellite communications in modern UAVs. “Without military satellites, the commanders sitting in the United States could not operate their Predator UAVs, which are thousands of miles away on the other side of the globe,” Prof. Chen Hong of the Chinese Air Force's Command College correctly observed. Further statements published by Xinhua (see http://www.defpro.com/news/details/10187/) acknowledge that China’s push in all fields of defence technology proves that the country is prepared to show strength in the air as well as in space and will make sure its networks will be working when their antagonists’ resources are down.

Major systems and concepts

Apart from the “Harpy” UAV sold to China by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in 1994, China has indigenously developed and manufactured a number of unmanned systems during the past 30 to 40 years, often based on western – primarily US-built – UAV and UCAV concepts. A row of transformations of formerly manned aircraft, such as the Ba-5 (based on the J-5, a MiG-17 copy) and the Jian-7 (based on the MiG-21), for use as target drones, as well as the development of smaller target drones such as the Ba-2, Ba-9 (many more types have been produced), provided China with enough experience to develop remotely controlled and later pre-programmed and autonomously flying systems.

China also has a number of man-portable and -launchable mini-UAVs (such as the ASN-15), which are generally propeller-driven models for short-range tactical reconnaissance of ground troops. The following list of systems focuses on larger reconnaissance and combat concepts and – not least due to the lack of reliable information – does not claim to be complete (for instance, you may miss the formerly important ASN-104/105 and ChangKong-1 or a newer concept called “Combat Eagle”, which strongly recalls the X-45 and nEUROn UCAVs). However, it offers a condensed overview on past, present and future Chinese UAV and UCAV concepts, as well as on the often-foreign technological sources.

Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

• WuZhen-5 (also ChangHong-1)
The WZ-5, in particular, which has been developed on the basis of the U.S. AQM-34N Firebee, will have provided China with the required technical background to take the next step in UAV technology development. After a number of these jet-powered reconnaissance UAVs had been shot down by the PLA in the 1960s, and at least one could be recovered for reverse-engineering, the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics (BIA; now Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics, BUAA) began the development of a reconnaissance UAV based on the AQM-34N. The concept, consisting of the airframe, the optical camera sensor-suite, the turbojet engine and the ground station, resulted in two prototypes completed by 1972 and two in 1976. After achieving design certification in 1978, nine such systems were fielded by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as of 1981.

After having been successfully used for reconnaissance missions in the 1980s, the BUAA is believed to have developed an improved version, designated WZ-5A, which provided greater accuracy due to a GPS and inertial navigation system. The WZ-5 was air-launched at altitudes between 4,000 and 5,000 metres and would then climb to its operational altitude of 17,500 metres, where it may fly at up to 800km/h. It was originally launched by a modified Tu-4 Bull bomber, and later by the Y-8E (An-12 Cub copy) turboprop transport aircraft. Due to its lack of a real-time data link, its endurance of merely 3 hours and its limitation to day-time optical reconnaissance, the system can no longer keep up anymore with modern solutions. Without a real-time link and control, it must stay on its pre-programmed flight path, disregarding changing tactical situations or enemy air-defences.

• Xianglong (“Sour Dragon”, Chengdu)
As one of the more recent concepts, the “Xianglong” of the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) was first unveiled at the 2006 Zhuhai air show. Its dimensions, jet engine and intake arrangement and wing shape very much recall the US RQ-4 Global Hawk and suggest that this UAV will also be used for high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) reconnaissance missions. In fact, it is reported to fly at altitudes of up to 18,000 metres (approx. 59,000 ft), which is slightly less than the ceiling of the Global Hawk. According to unnamed sources, the aircraft already completed high-speed taxiing tests in late 2008 and was scheduled to have its maiden flight in early 2009.

The intake and engine, located on top of the fuselage at the rear between the V-shaped tail wings, are much smaller than those of the Global Hawk. However, according to Chinese media reports, it is believed to fly slightly faster than the RQ-4, reaching speeds of about 750km/h and ranges up to 7.000 kilometres. With a reported take-off weight of 7,500kg and a mission payload of 650kg, it is lighter than the RQ-4 and can carry less weight (RQ-4B max. weight: 14.640kg; payload: 1.360kg). Due to its comparably limited range, it is supposed to exclusively operate in the Asia and Pacific region.

• WuZhen-2000 (also WZ-9, Guizhou Aviation Industry Group)
Just as the Xianglong, the WZ-2000’s design seems to have been taken from the U.S. Global Hawk, with V-shaped tail wings and a single WS-11 turbofan on top of the rear fuselage. However, the WZ-2000 is smaller (length 7.5m, wingspan 9.8m) and has slightly aft swept wings, as well as obvious radar cross-section reduction features, including a flat bottom surface. Being an older – but nevertheless stealthy – reconnaissance UAV concept (1999) than the Xianglong, the WZ-2000 is reported to having accomplished its maiden flight in December 2003 and an onboard remote sensing system test in August 2004.

Although the aircraft has smaller dimensions, it is intended to fly at a service ceiling of 18,000 metres with a reported maximum speed of 800km/h for a total endurance of only 3 hours. The 80 kg mission payload reportedly contains a thermal imaging camera and a synthetic aperture radar. Reconnaissance data is transmitted via a satellite communications antenna in the nose bulge.

• ASN-206 / ASN-207 (Xi'an ASN Technology Group Company)
The ASN-206 is one of the earlier advanced tactical UAV programmes and one of the few that has been successfully introduced into service with the PLA. It is a lightweight, short-range, tactical multi-purpose UAV developed by Xi'an ASN Technology Group Company in 1994 and produced in series starting in 1996. According to unconfirmed sources, the Israeli company Tadiran Spectralink Ltd. has been involved in the development process. It carries various mission payloads and can, therefore, be used in a multitude of operations including day/night aerial reconnaissance, electronic warfare and countermeasures (EW/ECM), battlefield surveillance, border patrols and nuclear radiation sampling.

Powered by a HS-700 piston engine, the ASN-206 is a twin-tail braced UAV which is launched with the help of an accessory rocket from a 6x6 truck and is operated by a digital flight control and management system. The aircraft marks an important step in China’s UAV development as it provides real-time reconnaissance information, while older UAV models had to be recovered in order to access the collected data.

The ASN-207, of which four systems headed the UAV formation at the National Day Parade in early October, is an improved version of the ASN-206. It significantly surpasses the AN-206’s capabilities, reportedly providing double the endurance time and mission payload with a maximum range of 600km. It can easily be distinguished due to its mushroom-shape antenna mounted at the front of the aircraft, which receives flight control commands from the ground station.

Attack Drones / Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV)

• Harpy (IAI)
The Harpy, built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), was another technology source for China’s own development efforts. The procurement of an unknown number of these attack UAVs in 1994 created quite a stir in U.S.-Israeli diplomatic relations, leading to a crisis of confidence between the two countries. This only happened in 2004 when the Chinese Harpy’s were sent back to Israel for an upgrade and after it was discovered that the PLA used Harpies during a military exercise. The Bush administration subsequently urged Israel to halt all arms-transfers to China.

The Harpy (which since has been further developed: see http://www.defpro.com/daily/details/415/) is not a typical UAV but, rather, a weapons system called “loitering munition”. The propeller-driven aircraft is launched from a ground vehicle or surface warship and can loiter for some time above the mission area to locate and identify a suitable high-value target. Its sensor collects valuable information until the Harpy attacks and destroys its target by crashing into it and detonating its 32 kg (70 lb) high-explosive warhead. It was specifically developed to detect, track and destroy radar emitters, such as enemy radar and SAM emplacements, in all weather conditions during day or night.

• Yi-long (Chengdu)
Another design by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation appears to be a copy of the U.S. MQ-1 Predator, yet without inverted but, rather, upright V-shaped tail wings. The aircraft is driven by a small tail propeller. It carries a small pivotable sensor suit almost beneath the centre of the slender fuselage. The model displayed at the 2008 Zhuhai air show did not feature pylons to carry weapons, however, design concepts of this aircraft were presented with one pylon on each wing, arranged in the same fashion as on the Predator, to carry light missiles.

• CH-3 (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.)
The CH-3 is a medium-range long-endurance (MALE) UCAV model presented at the 2008 Zhuhai show which, due to its complexity, still appears to be far from becoming a reality. The aircraft has a canard airframe design with the tailplane ahead of the main wing. Still propeller-driven, the aircraft carries a large sensor suite underneath the fuselage at the level of the main wings’ root. According to the model, the aircraft is designed to carry two air-to-ground missiles, such as the AR-1 air-surface missile.

• Anjian (“Dark Sword”, Shenyang)
The “Dark Sword” is an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) concept which was displayed as a model at the 2006 Zhuhai air show. It is obviously designed for high manoeuvrability at supersonic speeds, having a flat, triangular shape with an additional large wing area and swing canards, hinting at China’s J-10 multi-role combat aircraft (which itself strongly resembles jets such as the Eurofighter, Rafale and Gripen). Its large intake underneath the fuselage implies high speed, agility and angle-of-attack, further suggesting that the aircraft will be powered by a turbofan.

At the Zhuhai air show, a staff member called the aircraft the “future of Chinese unmanned combat aviation”, emphasising its projected ability to evade enemy radar and to engage in air-to-air combat.


Monday, October 12, 2009

China Shows U.S. Delegation Next Spacecraft, TianGong

The U.S. and China are beginning to open lines of communications that could lead to greater cooperation in human spaceflight. This significant move comes as the Obama administration ponders a way forward in space that may include more willingness to work with China in areas that previously were off limits.

The two space-faring nations have a lot to offer each other. The U.S. program is in a budget-induced crisis, without the cash it needs to continue on its current path to build a pair of rockets to take astronauts back to the Moon and beyond. China’s space endeavors appear to have plenty of money, but they lack the technology and experience needed to catch up quickly on their own.

The new administration in Washington seems willing to play a more collegial role in the world, and the leadership cadre in China seems willing to play along. Hindering that is a legacy of mistrust that may have eased just a little last week, at least in the area of human spaceflight cooperation.

As a former deputy NASA administrator and the head of China’s Manned Space Engineering Office held back-channel talks, human spaceflight officials here offered an unprecedented opportunity to examine the Tiangong-1 docking target and the next in its series of Shenzhou human spacecraft, as well as previously off-limits space facilities.

And five of the six Chinese astronauts who have flown in space quizzed two former space shuttle commanders about aspects of their common profession, ranging from rendezvous and docking techniques to the best way to manage astronaut schedules.

“Because of a lack of contact in previous times, we haven’t decided how to cooperate,” replied Wang Wenbao, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, when asked if China would be willing to join the International Space Station partnership (ISS). “If we can open a channel so we can all sit together, then we can decide what we can do and what America can do.”

“The important thing to know is that we had a meeting,” says Fred Gregory, a three-time shuttle astronaut and deputy NASA administrator from 2002-05.

Gregory and Tom Henricks, a veteran of four shuttle missions who is president of Aviation Week, spent several hours briefing Chinese astronauts, engineers and space-medicine experts about their spaceflight experiences during a visit to Beijing Space City arranged by the Space Foundation, a private U.S. group. Among those participating were Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut; Zhai Zhigang, its first spacewalker; and three other Shenzhou spaceflight veterans.

Between them, Gregory and Henricks have been in space more than six times longer than all of their Chinese counterparts combined, and some of the scripted questions from the Chinese were quite basic. They included queries about what NASA would do if a crewmember became severely ill in space, and how astronauts recognize and handle space-adaptation syndrome, or space sickness. Others dealt with personnel issues, such as whether NASA astronauts are allowed to lend their names to advertising after they retire.

The questioning marked a stark contrast with the first encounters between NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts as their two human-spaceflight programs began to work together in the early 1990s. At that time, the Russian program had deep experience in human operations in space, but was strapped for cash.

During a tour of space facilities here on Sept. 22, the lack of experience in the Chinese program was offset by an apparent abundance of funding. Facilities at the compound in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing are gleaming, relatively new and elaborate. The Space Foundation delegation visited three of them: the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the China Astronaut Research and Training Center and the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

In contrast to another U.S. visit last year, when Chinese authorities restricted a group organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies to a museum just inside the Beijing Space City gate (AW&ST May 5, 2008, p. 29), the Space Foundation group received a friendly official welcome at the astronaut training center and BACC inside the compound, and at the CAST facility in another compound nearby.

At CAST, photography was forbidden. But the U.S. visitors were given white smocks, caps and booties, and allowed into the class-100,000 clean-room high bay where the Shenzhou 8 orbital module and reentry capsule are being assembled alongside the Tiangong 1 orbital target and the Chang'e 2 robotic lunar orbiter.

Shenzhou 8 is identical to Shenzhou 7, which carried Zhai and two crewmates on the three-day spacewalk mission in September 2008, except that it has a small docking unit on its forward end and video cameras mounted around its circumference to guide final approach. The mechanical docking ring is not compatible with the Russian androgynous peripheral assembly system used on the ISS, officials say.

A combination of radar and laser ranging will guide the approaching Shenzhou to Tiangong 1 for China’s first exercise in proximity operations and docking. The 8.5-metric-ton target vehicle’s hull appears complete, with its docking ring in place at one end. But the propulsion/ service module at the other end is partially disassembled, with what appeared to be a large avionics bay pulled out and rotated 90 deg., connected to the rest of the spacecraft only by cables.

Set for launch in October 2010, Chang'e 2 is an external copy of its predecessor, which impacted the Moon on Mar. 1 at the end of what officials here say was a successful mission. Improvements include a better camera with a resolution of 5 meters (16.4 ft.) at the surface, they say.

Also on display at CAST were a large anechoic chamber outfitted by EADS Astrium known as the Compensated Compact Range, and a thermal vacuum chamber used for Shenzhou and spacesuit testing that has an internal diameter of 12 meters, and an internal height of 24 meters.

At the astronaut training center, Yang and Zhou guided visitors through a large simulator suite, where a full-scale Shenzhou mockup is mounted vertically next to the computer gear that generates its audiovisual input, and a reentry capsule simulator is mounted horizontally. They showed us a 10-meter-deep neutral-buoyancy lab built in 2007, with a Shenzhou airlock/orbital module underwater mockup displayed nearby. In a separate room, a harness-and-cable arrangement is used to train astronauts in a higher-fidelity airlock under simulated microgravity.

At BACC, Ma Yongping, the deputy director, briefed the U.S. visitors on the center’s operations. Later, Wang, the human spaceflight engineering director, and Zhou Jianping, the University of Southern California-educated chief designer of the China Manned Space Engineering Program, hosted a discussion and an elaborate banquet at a restaurant.

Also on the agenda for later in the week was a visit to the Jiquan Satellite Launch Center, where all of the Shenzhou missions originated. Foreigners are allowed to visit the site only rarely, according to Yang.

Gregory’s conversation with Yang, whose office manages human spaceflight for the central government and draws its funding through the military, marks a change for NASA. In the past, the U.S. agency has discussed space cooperation with the civilian China National Space Administration. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, also a former shuttle astronaut, plans a visit here before the end of the year to discuss space topics. President Barack Obama, who accepted an invitation from President Hu Jintao during the London G20 summit in April, is also scheduled to visit this year.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bolivia buys six K-8 jet trainers from China

LA PAZ: The Bolivian government has approved 57.8-million-dollar purchase of six planes made in Pakistan with Chinese technology for use in anti-drug operations, media here reported on Friday.

The deal was finalised on Wednesday in consultations with ministers and stipulates that the aircraft will provide a “contribution to the regional battle against narcotrafficking, ensuring requisite control of national air spaces and areas prone to and affected by this problem,” reported local independent media agency Fides.

The government has not explicitly confirmed the deal but “the president will announce it on October 10”, according to Defence Minister Walker San Miguel, who was cited by La Razon newspaper.

The K-8, or Karakorum, plane is a light fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan in the early 1990s. It is used primarily as a training aircraft, but can also be used for airfield defence. Bolivia is also waiting for five US-made Huey helicopters to be delivered by Brazil. Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Thursday that the delivery was being delayed by the United States, which has yet to give the project a green light.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

China army parade may give clue to new missiles

China army parade may give clue to new missiles

BEIJING (Reuters) - When the National Day parade rolls down Beijing's streets next week, foreign observers will look beyond the goose-stepping soldiers for signs that China is developing a new missile able to threaten U.S. aircraft carriers.

If China is able to mount systems that support an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), it could force the U.S. carrier fleet to keep a greater distance, American defense analysts said, changing U.S. strategy for defending Taiwan should war break out.

On October 1, all eyes will be on the Avenue of Eternal Peace to see if China displays a Dongfeng 21-D missile, with maneuverable fins to help it find a moving target at sea, as well as a more finalized launch vehicle.

"The ASBM is far from operational, but it is close enough to make a splash," said Eric McVadon, a retired rear admiral whose 35-year naval career included a defense attache post in Beijing.

"It is something big. It represents the ability to make the U.S. think twice before sending carrier strike groups into the Western Pacific."

China is using the parade, which involves hundreds of thousands of marchers, to celebrate its modernization and the spectacular economic growth of three decades of reform.

Ten years ago, the military parade showcased new fighter jets and a model of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

This one will highlight achievements like the budding space programme -- illustrated in a topiary display along the route -- and the army's rescue work after a devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.

New weaponry and priorities will stand out. This week, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie outlined plans to transform naval and air forces to project power far from China's shores.


Current warming ties between China and Taiwan make a military confrontation less likely, but both sides are still heavily armed against each other. The United States has committed to help the island defend itself in case of war [ID:nPEK217256].

The United States uses its carriers to maintain a presence near Taiwan and in much of the Pacific. It sent a carrier group through the Taiwan Strait to counter Chinese saber-rattling a few months before Taiwan's 1996 presidential election.

A weapon like an ASBM -- or even a credible threat -- that could keep U.S. ships far out at sea for longer would buy China the time to overwhelm Taiwan's defenses in the event of conflict.

An ASBM deployed from Chinese territory would have a range of about 1,500 km (930 miles), enough to reach far beyond Taiwan and cover much of Japan and the Philippines.

An ASBM would be an "asymmetric" weapon, since a carrier group has inadequate direct defense against it, especially if confronted with multiple missiles, unlike the more traditional submarines or bombers which a carrier group can counter.

McVadon credits China for choosing to develop missiles, rather than take the more uncertain route of trying to directly match the U.S. strength in ships and submarines.

"China's great success has been that it went to missiles," said McVadon, now director for Asia Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis in Washington.

"It was a prudent decision to get around our strengths. They really made the right call."

Other analysts caution that successfully modifying the Dongfeng series missile to hit ships would not be enough to successfully hold an aircraft carrier at bay.

"Seeing it in the parade is not hard evidence that the missile is operative," said Matthew Durnin, a Beijing-based researcher with the World Security Institute. He recently coauthored a paper on the challenges of developing the systems -- including satellites -- needed to properly guide an ASBM.

"But U.S. intelligence believes that if this is credibly developed and deployed, it would change carrier strike group deployments."

Durnin predicts China will test the missile within the next two years, to prove it can hit a ship at sea. He estimates it will be about five years before China has the satellites in place to fully track a moving target on the vast Pacific.

"It will be very expensive to develop all the supporting infrastructure for such a system, and whether the Chinese will make the necessary investments is fundamentally a political question," said David Yang, a political scientist at RAND Corp. who has also written on the ASBM system.

Minister Liang said the Second Artillery Corps, which holds the keys to the country's nuclear weapons, would soon also control some conventional weapons. American strategists believe the ASBM could fall under that service's remit.

Even without full satellite cover, the threat to carrier groups is credible if China is able to launch multiple missiles and cripple, but not necessarily sink, a carrier or its escorts.

"I'm not forecasting its usage. They are doing it hoping it will deter, and never be used in combat," McVadon said.

"We may never know how well it works."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hongdu announces 60 K-8 trainer jet contract for an Asian country

Janes confirmed the news of 60 K-8 trainer jet export to an Asian country. My guess this Asian country is Indonesia.
Seems like K-8 is the most successful Chinese military product on the international arms market, with over 250 exported.


The Hongdu Aviation Industry Group has signed a contract with an unnamed Asian country to export 60 K-8 basic jet trainer/light attack jet aircraft, it was announced on 8 September.

In a statement the company said the deal was signed between the two parties and China's National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) on 6 September at Hongdu's headquarters in Nanchang, in Jiangxi province.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

China to build a new space launch center in Hainan

China breaks ground on space launch center

BEIJING — China broke ground on its fourth space center Monday, highlighting the country's soaring space ambitions six years after it sent its first man into orbit.

The space port on the southern island province of Hainan incorporates a launch site and mission control center for slinging the country's massive new rockets into space carrying satellites and components for a future space station and deep space exploration.

The reports portrayed the center as a major stride forward for China's military-backed space program, which has launched three manned missions since 2003, including one last year that featured the country's first space walk.

China's future space ambitions include building an orbiting station and sending a mission to the moon, putting it in the forefront of the tightening Asian space race involving India, Japan and South Korea. China says its space program is purely for peaceful ends, although its military background and Beijing's development of anti-satellite weapons have prompted some to question that.

The Hainan center, located near the town of Wenchang and slated to go into use in 2013, is located at a latitude of about 19 degrees north, far closer to the equator than China's other bases in the its southwest and northern plains.

Proximity to the equator is an advantage for launching payloads such as geostationary satellites used for telecommunications because less fuel propellant is needed. Reports said rockets launched from the Hainan base will be capable of carrying up to 14 percent more payload than those launched from Jiuquan, the home of the manned space program in northern China.

That added capacity should aid particularly in China's space station program as well as plans to assemble the Beidou, or "Compass," navigation system as an alternative to the U.S. satellite GPS network, the dominant positioning system.

The center is also served by a nearby port, allowing for the transport by ship of components such as the new generation Long March 5 rocket capable of launching 25-ton components for a space station or future lunar missions. China's other space centers are located in remote parts of the country that rely on limited capacity rail links to transport rockets and other components.

According to media reports, the Hainan center's construction involves upgrading a small satellite launch pad already on the site and building a second pad and other infrastructure. More than 6,000 area residents are being moved to procure the 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) needed for the base.

China is just the third country after Russia and the United States to have launched a person into space, and has long operated a successful commercial satellite launch program.

Officials say plans call for an unmanned moon landing around 2012, a mission to return samples in 2015, and possibly a manned lunar mission by 2017 — three years ahead of an initial U.S. target date for returning to the moon.

Viewed as a source of national pride and patriotism, the program's strong public support helps shield it from the public doubts and budgetary pressures that constrain such programs elsewhere.

However, cooperation in space with other countries has been inhibited by wariness over the program's close military ties. Highlighting that relationship, Chang Wanquan, a People's Liberation Army general who sits on the ruling Communist Party's powerful central military commission, joined other officers and technicians in Monday's groundbreaking ceremony, the reports said.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some of the new weapons that will be shown on the National day parade

Beijing Rehearsal Shows Off New Missiles

Taipei - Photos of the Sept. 6 rehearsal parade for the 60th anniversary of the Oct. 1 founding of the People's Republic of China are generating excitement among China watchers.

"Obviously, the Chinese are going to put on a real show for the 60th anniversary," said Richard Bitzinger, a former CIA analyst now with the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) exhibited a wide range of arms never before seen by the public.

During the 1999 parade, China displayed only three road-mobile Dong Feng 31 (DF-31) ICBMs, but this year the number jumped to eight. Analysts are assuming the missiles are the new DF-31A variant, capable of carrying three multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV). The DF-31A is the first road-mobile nuclear ICBM capable of hitting Washington.

"This is a sign they are sending a message to Washington that they have a counterstrike capability," said Andrei Chang, China defense analyst, Kanwa Information Center.

The DF-41 ICBM was a no show at the rehearsal despite speculation China would show the missile for the first time to the public. There is still a chance the missile could appear on Oct. 1.

"If the DF-41 is not shown, it could be that they are still testing it and don't want to look premature in revealing it," Bitzinger said. Based on the DF-31, the DF-41 will have a range of 11,000-13,000 kilometers and carry 10 MIRVs.

The PLA is moving toward a MIRV nuclear missile capability, said Richard Fisher, vice president of the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center.

The Dong Hai 10 (DH-10) long-range land-attack cruise missile (LACM) also made its first appearance to the public. The DH-10 is a three-missile tube variant of the Russian Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile. China procured six Kh-55s from Ukraine during the 1990s.

China has more than 200 DH-10s deployed along the coast across from Taiwan. The missile's range, in excess of 1,500 kilometers, also places Okinawa, at 700 kilometers, within striking distance.

"I think it's significant that they are taking the wraps off the DH-10, which openly demonstrates China's LACM capabilities," Bitzinger said. "The West has been talking for years about China's nascent LACM capabilities, and now it seems that the PLA has arrived. Obviously, this complicates missile defense, especially for regional U.S. forces and allies."

Photographs of the rehearsal also reveal there were several new short-range missile variants, including a DF-15 upgrade with new warhead stabilizer fins, a DF-11 with a modified warhead, possibly a penetrator, and a medium-range DF-21C equipped with a new engine.

"This is the first real opportunity to see the DF-21C with a pointed launch tube top," Fisher said. This missile is the basis for the future anti-ship ballistic missile program, which is part of China's anti-access strategy to deny U.S. navy ships from coming to Taiwan's aid during a war.

Another photograph, though unclear, could be the YJ-91 missile. Based on the Russian Kh-31 anti-radiation missile, the YJ-91 comes in both anti-radiation and anti-ship variants.

There were also two UAVs on display. One has been identified as the ASN-206 with a "curious saucer-bulb above the forward fuselage; a likely satellite com link or some kind of radar," Fisher said.

A second UAV photo is unclear, but could be the old ASN-205 that now serves largely as a target drone.

Infantry Vehicles and Equipment

The rehearsal also displayed a variety of new armored and infantry vehicles using a new digital camouflage pattern.

"This is intended to fox modern digitally enhanced imaging devices used in tanks, anti-tank devices and UAVs," Fisher said.

New vehicles on display include the ZBD97 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), 155mm PLZ05 self-propelled artillery, and the Type-99G main battle tank (MBT).

The ZBD97 appears to be an attempt by the PLA to produce a well-armed IFV similar to the Russian BMP-3 series.

The Type-99G MBT is the most modern variant of the new Type-98/99 series first seen in the 1999 parade. Improvements include an upgraded turret with detachable and upgradable composite armor, use of explosive reactive armor, plus improved engine and targeting systems.

There was also a new PLA Marine Corps blue camouflage IFV whose real designator remains unknown. Images have appeared on the Internet since 2005, but this is the first public display.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

China to show five new types of missiles on the National day parade

China will showcase five new types of domestically designed missiles at the Oct. 1 National Day parade, a leading missile expert from the Second Artillery Force, revealed Tuesday.

A number of advanced weapons of air and sea forces will also be on display, other sources said.

Five types of missiles, including nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, conventional cruise missiles and medium-range and short-range conventional missiles, will be displayed for the first time at the highly anticipated military parade, said the expert, who asked to remain anonymous and has been closely following the preparations of the strategic force of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

"These missiles are domestically designed and manufactured and have never been officially reported before," he said, adding that they belong to a second generation of missiles that have already been distributed to the military and are ready for operation.

He declined to disclose the model numbers of the missiles, citing state-secrecy reasons.

"The third generation is still under development and is unlikely to be displayed this time," he said.

Military aficionados have been expecting to see the Dongfeng 41, known as the DF-41, and the CSS-X-10, which is said to be a third-generation, solid-fuel, intercontinental ballistic missile.

While China is a late starter in the milssile development, compared with the US and Russia – countries equipped with fifth-generation missiles and in the process of developing sixth-generation missiles – it has made rapid progress, the expert said.

"Our second generation can match their third and fourth generations, and the third generation under development is comparable to their fifth and sixth generations," he said.

Progress made by the Second Artillery Force in the decade since the last military parade in 1999 will be highlighted at the Oct. 1 event, with marching soldiers and vehicles carrying missiles, three for every type.

"The force has created weaponry and equipment with nuclear and conventional missiles, both solid-fuel and liquid-fuel missiles, with different launching ranges, quick emergency response and precision strikes," he said.

The Second Artillery Force is a strategic unit under the direct command and control of the Central Military Commission, and the core force of China for strategic deterrence, according to a white paper entitled "China's National Defense in 2008," issued earlier this year by the Information Office of the State Council.

One of the force's responsibilities is "conducting nuclear counterattacks," the paper said.

"The statement indicates that the force can survive a nuclear attack before carrying out a counterattack. Any country that attempts to attack China with nuclear weapons must get ready for revenge, even if it has an anti-missile system," the expert said, adding that China's nuclear missiles, though few in number, have a high strike accuracy and formidable power.

A new submarine-launched ballistic missile, Julang 2, also known as JL-2 and CSS-NX-4, is also highly anticipated by fans of military hardware to make an appearance at the parade. It is said to have a maximum range of 8,000 kilometers and be designed to be installed onboard current and next-generation Chinese nuclear-powered submarines.

Li Jie, a naval expert, didn't exclude the possibility of Julang-2's appearance on Oct. 1. Li told the Global Times that the navy would showcase some types of ship-to-ship missile, ship-to-air missile and multiple rocket launchers at the parade.

"Maybe two to three of them will be unveiled for the first time," Li said. "The new weapons will help enhance the navy's combat capability in any future sea war."

Dai Xu, an air force colonel and military strategist, told the Global Times that a large part of the weaponry and equipment of the air force would be showcased at the parade, including third-generation warplanes, land-to-air missiles and sophisticated radar equipment.

"The backbone warplanes of the major military powers in the world are third generation. The qualities of some of our warplanes are at a level that is advanced in terms of the rest of the world," Dai said.

Li Daguang, a senior military expert at the PLA University of National Defense, emphasized that the military parade is not for saber rattling but aims to promote national pride, confidence and awareness of national defense.

"Some countries, observing China's parade with colored glasses, show off their weapons around the world on the battlefield instead," Li said.

Li Jie argued that the parade can reflect the current situation and tendency of China's military weaponry, as well as a way of showing China's military openness and transparency, and how it is aligned with international military standards.

According to the arrangement, President Hu Jintao will offer a keynote address at the huge celebration at Tian'anmen Square on Oct. 1, followed by the military parade and a mass pageant involving 200,000 people, 60 floats and a fireworks display.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

China refuses Japanese naval ships visit to Hong Kong

China has good reason to refuse a proposed visit to Hong Kong of three Japanese warships, Chinese media and experts are saying.

They said the ships should not be made welcome following recent decisions in Tokyo to host Xinjiang separatist Rebiya Kadeer and allow planned visits from former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui and the Dalai Lama.

The website of Japan's Asahi Shinbun newspaper reported Sunday that the three Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) vessels, with more than 700 naval officers and crew on board, set off from Tokyo in April. The ships called in at 13 countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe and are due back home in early September.

Though the mini fleet had no plans initially to visit Hong Kong, Japan has since raised the idea of a stopover sometime late this month or in early September in an attempt to improve exchanges with the Chinese navy, said the website.

According to the report, the Chinese government told the Japanese embassy in Beijing that "it is a sensitive issue, so far there is no atmosphere for approving Japanese warships' stopover in Hong Kong".

The report quoted Japanese analysts as saying that China was expressing its discontent following Japan's reception of Kadeer, Lee Teng-hui and the Dalai Lama.

Kadeer is head of the World Uighur Congress, which is suspected of having instigated the July riots in Xinjiang that claimed at least 197 lives.

Lee and the Dalai Lama are scheduled to visit Japan and make speeches there in September and November.

A diplomat with the Japanese embassy, who declined to be named, told China Daily yesterday that Japan was still negotiating with China about the suggested visit.

An official with the Foreign Ministry's spokesman's office said the ministry was studying the case, while the Ministry of National Defense made no comment yesterday.

Hong Kong-based Shing Pao Daily News said in an editorial yesterday that "Beijing is assured and bold with justice" in declining the visit.

"The request for JMSDF ships to visit Hong Kong would ordinarily be normal practice among military exchanges with China but what the Japanese government did recently contradicts with the principal of friendly cooperation and made the atmosphere unsuitable," it said.

Su Hao, director of China Foreign Affairs University's Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, said the request from the Japanese warships to visit Hong Kong was significant because it was unprecedented, even though there is an agreement between Beijing and Washington to allow US warships to stop in Hong Kong for supplies.

The first Japanese warship to visit China after World War moored at a naval base in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, last summer, drawing national attention because of Japan's past invasion of China.

"It's understandable for the government to decline such a request at a time when many sensitive issues have emerged in bilateral relations," Su said.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

China's stealth Type 022 Fast Attack Missile Craft

The Type 022 (NATO codename: Houbei class) is the new-generation catamaran (twin-gull) missile fast attack craft (FAC) built for the PLA Navy. The first-of-class (hull number 2209) was launched in April 2004 at the Qiuxin Shipyard based in Shanghai. Six contractors are now involved in the construction of the Type 022. Approximately 81 or more of these missile boats are currently in service with three flotillas, having gone through serial production. The vessel replaces the ageing Type 021 (Huangfeng class) that were commissioned between the late 1960s and early 1980s.

The wave-piercing catamaran offers great high-speed, long-distance cursing performance. The twin hulls of the catamaran enable the vessel to be more stable when travelling at high speeds than the conventional single-hull craft. Catamarans are especially favourable in coastal shallow waters, where large single-hull warships have limitations due to their deeper draft. The Type 022 missile FAC was likely to be used for costal defence roles in conjunction with larger surface ships and land-based aircraft.


* Displacement: 220 tons full load
* Length: 42.6 m
* Beam: 12.2 m
* Draft: 1.5 m
* Speed: 36 kt
* Crew: 12
* Armament:
Anti-ship missiles: 8 C-801/802/803 or
land-attack missiles: 8 Hongniao missile-2 long range land attack cruise missiles.
Surface-to-air missiles: FLS-1 surface-to-air launcher with 12 QW class MANPAD missiles
Guns: 1 x licensed copy of KBP AO-18 6-barrel 30 mm gun (AK-630) by ZEERI
* Propulsion: 2 diesel engines @ 6,865 hp with 4 waterjet propulsors by MARI
* Radars:
Surface search radar: 1 Type 362
Navigational radar: 1
Electro-optics: HEOS 300

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Latest update on China's aircraft carrier project

Chinese jet trains to take off using ski ramp.

The wonders of digital photography (on the ground and from commercial satellites) provide evidence that China is testing the use of its Su-30 aircraft and a ski ramp type carrier deck design. China is expected to have an operational carrier soon, and it will be one using a ski ramp (instead of a steam catapult). It was suspected that there was a ski ramp training facility somewhere, now it's been located, in Xian-Yanliang. What's strange about this is the altitude of this airbase; nearly 500 meters (rather than sea level.) Then again, Xian-Yanliang is a windy place, which allows testing of the stationary ski ramp built there, with winds typical of what would be encountered when the carrier turned into the wind for the commencement of aircraft launching operations.

Late last year, China announced that its first class of carrier aviators had begun training at the Dalian Naval Academy. The naval officers will undergo a four year course of instruction to turn them into fighter pilots capable of operating off a carrier. The Russians have warned China that it may take them a decade or more to develop the knowledge and skills needed to efficiently run an aircraft carrier. The Chinese are game, and are slogging forward.

Earlier this year, the Russian aircraft carrier Varyag was renamed the Shi Lang (after the Chinese general who took possession of Taiwan in 1681, the first time China ever paid any attention to the island) and given the pennant number 83. The Chinese have been refurbishing the Varyag, one of the Kuznetsov class that Russia began building in the 1980s, for several years now. It is expected to be ready for sea trials by the end of the year.

The Varyag has been tied up in a Chinese shipyard at Dailan since 2002. While the ship is under guard, it can be seen from a nearby highway. From that vantage point, local military and naval buffs have noted that some kind of work is being done on the ship. The only visible signs of this work are a new paint job (in the gray shade used by the Chinese navy) and ongoing work on the superstructure (particularly the tall island on the flight deck.) Many workers can be seen on the ship, and material is seen going into (new stuff) and out of (old stuff) the ship. The new contracts are believed to be for more equipment for the Varyag, in addition to the non-custom stuff already going into the ship.

Originally the Kuznetsovs were conceived of as 90,000 ton, nuclear powered ships, similar to American carriers (complete with steam catapults). Instead, because of the cost, and the complexity of modern (American style) carriers, the Russians were forced to scale back their goals, and ended up with the 65,000 ton (full load ) ships that lacked steam catapults, and used a ski jump type flight deck instead. Nuclear power was dropped, but the Kuznetsov class was still a formidable design. The thousand foot long carrier normally carries a dozen navalized Su-27s (called Su-33s), 14 Ka-27PL anti-submarine helicopters, two electronic warfare helicopters and two search and rescue helicopters. But the ship can carry up to 36 Su-33s and sixteen helicopters. The ship carries 2,500 tons of aviation fuel, allowing it to generate 500-1,000 aircraft and helicopter sorties. Crew size is 2,500 (or 3,000 with a full aircraft load.) Only two ships of this class exist; the original Kuznetsov, which is in Russian service, and the Varyag. Currently, the Kuznetsov is operating in the Mediterranean.

The Chinese have been in touch with Russian naval construction firms, and may have purchased plans and technology for equipment installed in the Kuznetsov. Some Chinese leaders have quipped about having a carrier by 2010 (this would have to be a refurbished Varyag). Even that would be an ambitious schedule, and the Chinese have been burned before when they tried to build new military technology in a hurry.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chinese warship visits Kochi, India.

The timing of this ship visit coincides with the on going 13th round of Sino-India border negotiation. The 6000 ton ship (167 Shenzhen) belongs to China's North Sea Fleet, it is current deployed in the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations.

Chinese Navy's Guided Missile Destroyer Shenzhen that has docked at Kochi on a four-day visit on Saturday.

Kochi: A Chinese Navy ship, en route to the port of Zhanjiang after deployment in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy operations, docked at the port here on Saturday on a four-day visit.

Shenzhen, a guided missile destroyer of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), is commanded by Senior Captain Zhao Chang Sheng and embarks Rear Admiral Yao Zhilou, Deputy Commander of China’s South Sea Fleet.

The crew of the ship is expected to visit the training facilities under the Southern Naval Command during the port call. On Monday,

Zhang Yan, Chinese Ambassador to India, will call on Vice-Admiral Sunil K. Damle, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command. Apart from professional and social interaction, a basket ball match between the two Navies is also slated to take place during the visit.

Shenzhen is the only Type 051B Luhai-class destroyer with a displacement of about 6,100 tonnes. It has a slope-sided hull designed with a view to minimising radar signature to dodge detection. It took part in the PLA Navy’s first goodwill visit to Africa in 2000, Europe in 2001 and Japan in 2007.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Photos of China's J-10 fighter jet refueling over the sky of South China Sea

These are J-10S two seat version, they are refueled by H-6U tanker.
The pictures are amazingly clear.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chinese military to launch official Web site

Chinese military is learning the importance of a good public relation in world's media

BEIJING — China's Defense Ministry will launch its first official Web site next month in what state media said Thursday was an effort by the secretive military to be more transparent.

China has long been tightlipped about its military strength and capacity, drawing criticism from other countries wary of the Asian giant's growing power and skyrocketing military spending, although Beijing says it is purely for defense.

The Web site — in English and Chinese — will run on a trial basis starting Aug. 1, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest with 2.3 million members, the official China Daily said.

Its editors say they hope to make it as informative as the U.S. Defense Department's Web site, the newspaper reported.

The Web site appears aimed at reassuring Asian and Western nations that the PLA is becoming more accessible to the outside world, dxperts told the China Daily.

"As more attention is being given to online information, the Chinese army has moved one step forward in its public diplomacy," Professor Li Xiguang, dean of Tsinghua University's journalism school, was quoted as saying.

The Web site's launch "is a major step for the PLA to open up to the outside world," Sr. Col. Huang Xueping, deputy director of the ministry's information office, said in an interview with the newspaper. The office was only set up last year.

The site will "cover a large amount of information," featuring regular activities and background of the Chinese military.

China's military spending has jumped by double-digit percentages for nearly two decades. This year, Beijing announced a 14.9 percent rise in military spending to 480.68 billion yuan ($70.27 billion), though it was a smaller increase than previous years.

That spending puts it on par with Japan, Russia and Britain, but it is still dwarfed by the U.S., which spends nearly 10 times as much.

In recent years, China has been increasing its international military ties as it attempts to modernize its army. Earlier this year, Chinese warships were sent to patrol waters off Somalia as part of the international effort against piracy.

But China's military growth has also been the source of friction, with multiple confrontations at sea this year between Chinese vessels and U.S. naval ships, including a collision between a Chinese submarine and a U.S. sonar device.

In March, the U.S. Defense Department released a report saying Beijing's rapidly growing military power was shifting the military balance in the region and could be used to enforce its claim in disputed territories. While tensions have eased between the two sides, it warned that "much uncertainty surrounds China's future course, particularly regarding how its expanding military power might be used."

The military is also planning to establish more information offices nationwide and hold more press conferences, spokesman Huang said.

The first batch of military press officers, selected from the different armed forces, graduated in March from a boot camp on public relations, the China Daily reported.


Monday, July 20, 2009

China successfully tested a new rocket engine for Long March 5 heavy lift rocket

Long March 5 is a Chinese next-generation heavy lift launch system that is currently under development by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). Currently, six CZ-5 vehicle configurations are planned for different missions, with a maximum payload capacity of 25,000 kg to LEO and 14,000 kg to GTO. The CZ-5 rocket is due to be first launched in 2014 from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan island.

The CZ-5 rockets will be comparable to the Delta IV Heavy, Atlas V, Ariane 5, Angara A5, Proton, and Falcon 9.

Estimate spec:
Height 60.5 metres
Diameter 5.2 metres
Mass 643,000 kilograms
Stages 3
Payload to LEO
25,000 kilograms
Payload to GTO
14,000 kilograms

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chinese Military to establish a space force

China's PLA eyes 4th branch of military: Space

Chinese military experts are calling for setting up military space forces, an indication that Beijing’s military is moving ahead with plans to wage space war in a future conflict.

The Beijing Zhongguo Xinwen She, the official news service for overseas Chinese, reported recently that space, dubbed “sky” by Chinese, is now a fourth domain after land sea and air.

“The vast and boundless space has become the arena of rivalry and contention between various countries, and warning signals have emerged everywhere,” the report said. “Before long, the ‘heavenly troops’ in Chinese classical myths will become reality.”

Wang Faan, researcher in the PLA Academy of Military Science, told the news outlet that “in accordance with the development trend in the future and the changes in the international situation, while planning the building of services and arm[ed] branches, the Chinese military should consider and plan the establishment of the space force in due course.”

In January 2007, China tested an anti-satellite weapon by firing a ground-based missile that destroyed a Chinese weather satellite. The ASAT test shocked U.S. military planners because it demonstrated a strategic asymmetric warfare capability that could be used to cripple the U.S. military in a conflict.

The report said China’s military modernization efforts are aimed at producing high-technology forces. “The establishment of a space force should be planned in due course,” it declared.

The comments, appearing in an official state-run news organization, appear to contradict China’s public position of seeking to ban space weapons.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chinese Army is equipped with crossbow in Xinjiang

Xinjiang riots: Modern Chinese army displays ancient preference for crossbow

By John Bingham

A staple of warfare in medieval Europe, they are believed to have been used in China since about 400BC, appearing in Greece slightly later.
Despite the telescopic sights and gun-like triggers which give them more than a passing resemblance to a modern sniper rifle, the crossbows wielded by members of the military units operating in Urumqi retain a striking resemblance to their ancient counterparts.
A staple of warfare in mediaeval Europe, they are believed to have been used in China since about 400BC, appearing in Greece slightly later.
Featured in Sun Tzu's The Art of War, remnants of crossbows were even found in the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, among his Terracotta Army.
Although they are believed to have been first used for hunting, the military potential of the crossbow was quickly appreciated.
Firing short dart-like missiles known as bolts further and faster than a traditional bow, they proved capable even of piercing armour.
Modern varieties can fire sleek metallic bolts or bullets.
In Europe, crossbows were used by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, where they were said to penetrate English shields.
Replacing the longbow, they remained in use for a further 400 years, after which they were superseded by guns.
In China, large, catapult-like versions were developed, employing basic mechanics to string the bow, line up the bolt and fire it in a single motion.
The repeating crossbow was widely used until the late 19th Century.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Iran to buy China's HQ-9 SAM air defense system

News source from Aviationweek. Seems like China is developing closer military relationship with Iran. What other military equipment China can sell to Iran ?

Iran to buy China's HQ-9 SAM air defense system

Iran will turn to China instead of Russia to acquire an advanced air defense system after relations between Iran and Russia hit rock bottom, the official Iranian news agency PressTV reported. For years Iran has been trying to purchase the S-300 anti-aircraft missile, which is considered to be one of the most advanced systems available on the market and would dramatically increase Iran's air defense capabilities against any attacks on its nuclear installations.

HongQi-9/FD-2000 system

The S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which can track targets and fire at aircraft 75 miles away, features high jamming immunity making it harder to incapacitate the system electronically, and is able to engage up to 100 targets simultaneously.

Teheran will now turn to China for the HongQi-9/FD-2000 system which combines elements "borrowed" from the Russian S-300 and the American MIM-104 Patriot system, according to the Iranian news agency. Although experts estimate that the Chinese system does not perform as well as the Russian S-300, it still presents an effective addition to bolster the Iranian air defense, which is virtually obsolete against any modern air attack on its vital strategic installations. There is no unclassified information regarding the effectiveness of western countermeasures against the HongQi-9/FD-2000 system, nor against the Russian S-300. There was unconfirmed speculation over possible electronic countermeasures used during the 2007 attack on the alleged Syrian reactor.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vietnamese navy visits China

Vietnam and China try to improve military relationship between the two countries,
despite the on going dispute in South China Sea.
A Vietnamese patrol boat visits Chinese Navy port in Kanjiang, Guangdong province.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Venezuela may buy more Chinese military equipment

Good news on Chinese military exports, Venezuela can provide much oil to fuel China's economy.

Venezuela to get Chinese military planes in 2010

Venezuela may add Chinese-made fighter jets to a wish list of planes it plans to buy from China as it strengthens trade ties with its Asian ally, officials from both countries said Thursday.

The K-8 flight training and light attack aircraft are due for delivery in January 2010, Chinese aerotechnology official Yang Yng told Venezuela's state-run Bolivarian News Agency. He didn't confirm how many planes Venezuela was buying or how much it would pay for them, but Venezuelan Army Gen. Jesus Gonzalez in September said his country would purchase at least two dozen of the aircraft, with options for more.

China will provide logistical support for the planes for three years and Chinese technicians will service the planes for as long as they're in use, Yang said.

Venezuela may also buy advanced trainer aircraft such as the Chinese-made L-15, said Luis Reyes Reyes, an aide to President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez's government has in recent years fed fears in Washington of a military buildup, signing contracts with Russia to purchase more than US$4.4 billion worth of arms since 2005 _ including 24 Russian Sukhoi fighter jets and 53 attack helicopters. Venezuela also plans to install a radar system with China's help.

A 2007 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service warned of a potential Latin American arms race, citing "concern" that Venezuelan purchases "could stimulate other states in the region to seek comparable weapons systems as a counterweight to Chavez's military buildup."

Trade with China reached more than $10 billion in 2008, up 13 times from $742 million in 2003, Venezuelan Trade Minister Eduardo Saman said. Much of the trade flows are made up of Venezuelan oil exports.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chinese Military Firm Reports Major Increase in Sales

Recent reports within the Chinese press revealed that sales of a Chinese state-owned military conglomerate that produces equipments and arms for both civilian and military applications have rose substantially in the first quarter of 2009. A case in point is the Beijing-based China South Industries Group Corporation (CSIGC), one of the country's largest civilian-military firms, which stated that its first-quarter sales rose 8.4 percent year on year to $5.73 billion (38.99 billion Renminbi). According to the official Xinhua report, CSIGC reportedly earned over $100 million (710 million Renminbi) in profits in the first quarter—with profits increasing month-on-month—citing data released by the company in late April (Xinhua News Agency, April 26).

The figures in the report only cited sales for civilian products such as small cars and motors, and no details were given on the composition of total sales from military products. "In the first quarter, the company sold 300,000 sets of vehicles, up 13.2 percent year on year. The growth was more than 9 percent higher than a 3.88-percent growth in the country's overall domestic auto sales in the same period." Moreover, "sales from its power transmission and transformation, as well as new-energy sectors, jumped almost 60 percent year on year to 3.44 billion yuan [approximately $500 million]. The company's sales of transformers surged 73 percent" (Xinhua News Agency, April 26).

CSIGC is a state-owned enterprise under the direct administration of the Chinese State Council. The company was re-structured in the landmark reforms of 1998, which divided China's defense industrial base into civilian and military components. CSIGC is comprised of 64 large-and medium-sized industrial enterprises, 13 research institutes and other corporations. According to a Chinese government website, CSIGC holds 11.6 percent and 50 percent of shares of North lndustries Finance Company Ltd. (NORFICO) and China North lndustries Corporation (NORINCO), respectively (Techinfo.gov.cn). While CSIGC produces equipment for civilian uses, it is known for its research and development of "special equipment" for the country's armed forces.

The growth in sales of CSIGC and its sister organizations in recent years have increased in line with the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) military budget, which analysts say creates a feedback loop for PLA defense modernization. The PLA's overall budget has been increasing by double-digits annually for the past two decades, and the modernization of the Chinese military is stoking concerns of a regional arms race and raising international awareness about the impact of Chinese arms sales toward conflict zones.

Andrei Chang, the editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense Weekly, noted in a January report that the quantity of Chinese military arms and equipment transferred to Africa is expanding. According to Chang, the arms and equipment are being “traded for oil, mineral resources and even fishing rights.” For instance, “Zambia has used its copper resources to pay China in a number of military deals, for instance, and Kenya has been negotiating with China to trade fishing rights for arms” (UPIAsia, January 26).

While China’s military exports are soaring, Russian arms sales on the other hand have been in decline. According to a Russian official, Moscow’s sales of weaponry and military technology to Beijing continue to drop from previous years. Anatoly Isaikin, general director of Rosoboronexport—a Russian arms export monopoly—told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta that “sales have dipped about $1 billion a year” (The Moscow Times, April 19; UPI, April 11). The Moscow Times reported that Russia has pulled in $16 billion from arms sales to China since 2001, and this includes Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets, Kilo class diesel submarines and air defense systems. Yet, Isaikin said that the Chinese share of Russian arms exports fell to 18 percent last year and could continue dropping to 10-15 percent in the future. Isaikin attributes this to Russia's expansion into other arms markets (The Moscow Times, April 19). The Russian arms industry, however, has been trying to lobby for stronger Sino-Russian defense ties due to concerns about the 62 percent drop in Russian arms sales to China in 2007 (SIPRI's online Arms Transfers Database, March 31, 2008; Moscow News Weekly, March 27, 2008; China Brief, April 16, 2008).