Saturday, December 4, 2010

Venezuela buying 10-12 Chinese Y-8 medium-range transport aircraft

Agencies: Venezuela will purchase from China between 10 and 12 medium-range Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, after taking delivery in recent weeks of 18 K-8 training aircraft previously acquired in the Asian country, a senior military official said.

"These Y-8s will provide support for the operations of our C-130 Hercules transport planes...that have a range covering South America and to the north of Spain," Maj. Gen. Jorge Oropeza said Friday.

He said that negotiations for the purchase of the Y-8s are in the hands of the Defense Ministry and it is hoped that these aircraft will be delivered to Venezuela sometime next year.

The Y-8 is a medium-size, mid-range transport aircraft with a capacity for carrying 88 passengers and 20 tons of cargo during 7.3 hours of autonomous, uninterrupted flight, Oropeza told the state-run ABN news agency.

Oropeza said that the 18 K-8s "will be on view tomorrow at the main ceremony of the 90th anniversary of the (Venezuelan military aviation)," along with the JL11 radars that were also purchased from the Asian giant earlier in 2010.

The defense minister, Gen. Carlos Mata, also told ABN that since President Hugo Chavez came to power in February 1999, Venezuelan military aviation "has made technological progress in terms of the defense of air space, being equipped with new aircraft and the modernization of this branch of the military."

"Notable among the achievements of this military branch is its technological development and the acquisition of new aircraft and equipment," he said.

About the cost of recent military purchases, the socialist head of state said at midyear that he had approved the spending of $82 million "to make a partial payment" for the 18 K-8 aircraft.

"This is an aircraft for basic training able to employ armament including light bombs, rockets and machine guns, while fulfilling all the requirements for training pilots," air force commander Gen. Luis Berroteran said in October 2008.

The Venezuelan government recently purchased from Russia 24 Sukoi fighters, 50 MI helicopters and 100,000 AK-103 rifles, for some $3 billion, according to Russian sources.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

First L7 trainer aircraft to debut in Airshow China 2010

The first domestically-made L7 model trainer aircraft is expected to debut in the upcoming the Eighth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, which is also known as Airshow China 2010.

The L7 is a newly-designed sport and training aircraft model made by the Hong Du Aviation Industry Group, a huge backbone enterprise subordinated to the China Aviation Industry Corporation. It is used for pilot selection and primary training in air forces as well as for civil aviation clubs.

The aircraft cabin has a digital integrated screen, an emergency ejection system and a comfortable cockpit in line with international practice. All of the technical indicators of the L7 model were further improved over the previously-made L6 model.

The L7 aircraft project was approved by the National Defense Commission in 2007 and a prototype was displayed at Airshow China 2008. The detailed design of the L7 aircraft was completed in March of this year to start full trial.

It is reported that the first L7 aircraft will be unveiled during the air show, which will last from Nov. 16 to Nov. 21, after the assembly and painting is completed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Obama proposes to sell China C-130s

By Hao Zhou

US President Barack Obama has proposed to Congress terminating the suspension of C-130 cargo aircraft export licenses to China, according to a letter published Friday on the White House's website.

This proposal, which is regarded by some Chinese analysts as blandishments to China after the US stiffly pressed China to revaluate its yuan, is still subject to review and approval by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The White House didn't release the quantity or price of the C-130s in the proposal.

If it gets the green light, the C-130 transport aircraft, nicknamed "Hercules," would become the first heavy military equipment that the US has exported to China since 1989.

Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 family found uses in a variety of roles, including cargo transportation, troops and medical evacuation, airborne assault, search and rescue, maritime patrol and even aerial firefighting.

However, Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military expert, downplayed the significance of Obama's proposal.

"I don't think Beijing is very much in need of such an aircraft model, though the China-made military transport planes, compared with C-130, are still left behind in terms of engines and electronic aviation equipment," Song told the Global Times, adding that the C-130s that the US intends to export to China is only for civilian use.

He said the motives behind Obama's proposal might be aimed at "blandishing China after recent tensions caused by the US, such as pressing for the yuan's appreciation, arms sales to Taiwan and military exercises in waters close to China."

In the mid-1980s, when China-US relations enjoyed a short honeymoon period, the US sold China a bunch of S-70 helicopters, a model of the UH- 60 Blackhawk designed for civilian use.

After bilateral ties soured, Washington suspended the exports of parts for the S-70s, so China could hardly fly those S- 70s anymore, another military expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

"What Beijing wants to buy from Washington is always blocked, and what the US wants to sell to China is always something that China doesn't need," he added.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

China to launch next lunar space mission

BEIJING — China is on track to launch its second lunar satellite by year's end, as the country pursues its plans for a manned mission to the moon by 2020, state media said Friday.

Preparations for the launch of the Chang'e-2 probe, which will go into orbit within 15 kilometres (nine miles) of the moon, are going smoothly, People's Daily said, citing Wu Weiren, a senior engineer overseeing the programme.

The Chang'e-2 mission "is currently undergoing pre-launch testing and preparations -- the plan is to carry out a trial flight mission by the end of the year," the paper quoted Wu as saying.

Space programme officials had said previously that the mission would be launched in October, but no precise date has been given.

The lunar probe will test soft-landing and other technologies in preparation for the launch of the Chang'e-3, which is slated for launch in 2013 and aims to be China's first unmanned landing on the moon, the report said.

The Chang'e programme, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, is seen as an effort to put China's space exploration programme on a par with those of the United States and Russia.

China launched Chang'e-1, which orbited the moon and took high-resolution pictures of the lunar surface, in October 2007 as part of China's ambitious three-stage moon mission.

China's lunar programme hopes to bring a moon rock sample back to earth in 2017, with a manned mission foreseen in around 2020, according to state media.

Chinese scientists ultimately plan to build an observatory on the surface of the moon, previous reports said.

China became the world's third nation to put a man in space independently -- after the United States and Russia -- when Yang Liwei piloted the one-man Shenzhou-5 space mission in 2003.

In September 2008, the Shenzhou-7, piloted by three astronauts, carried out China's first space walk.

The Americans have achieved the only manned lunar missions, making six trips from 1969 to 1972.

Beijing has other significant Asian competitors to reckon with as it vies to become the second nation to put a man on the moon.

India landed a lunar probe in 2008, and a top official said in January it was targeting a manned space mission in 2016. Japan, meanwhile, launched its first lunar satellite in June last year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

China launches high resolution mapping satellite

BEIJING: China today successfully launched its first high resolution, stereoscopic mapping satellite for accurate surveys of its land resources.

The satellite 'Mapping Satellite-I', which was launched on a Long March 2-D carrier rocket from the northwestern Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre at 3:10 pm (local time), has successfully entered into the preset orbit, the centre said.

The civilian use of the satellite will start in the second half of 2011.

The launch came just in two months of successfully transporting a navigation satellite, its fourth orbiter, into space.

Mapping Satellite-I, developed by a company under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), would be mainly used to conduct scientific experiments, carry out survey on land resources and mapping, said a statement posted on Ministry of National Defence website.

The remote sensing information and test results from the satellite would promote the country's scientific research and economic development, it said.

The launch was the 128th for China's Long March series of rockets since April 24, 1970, when a Long March-1 rocket successfully sent the country's first satellite Dongfanghong-1 into the space.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Azerbaijan interested in purchase of JF-17 Thunder fighters

Pakistani fighter Catic JF-17 Thunder has been demonstrated at an airshow in Farnborough.

It has attracted the interest of a number of countries including Azerbaijan.

JF-17 Thunder fighter was initially developed by Chinese engineers for the needs of the Pakistani army. First fighters JF-17 Thunder (Chinese FC-1 Saolun) were supplied to the Pakistani armed forces in 2007.

Now the project is entering a new level and the Chinese-Pakistani producers are searching ways to the international market.

Among potential customers who demonstrated interest to the innovation are Azerbaijan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Venezuela and a number of other countries.

Earlier, the press spread information about an agreement with Azerbaijan regarding the purchase of at least 24 JF-17 fighters estimated at about $17m each, which envisions the volumes of supply at about $500,000,000.

The JF-17 fighter is 14 m in length, the wing span is 8.5 m and it is equipped with RD-93 engine.

The capacity of the plane is 3720 kg, the battle radius at the fighter version is 1200 km, maximal flight range is 3000 km. It can be equipped with different types of air-air and air-land rockets, as well as air bombs.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pakistan offers JF-17 jet to Indonesian Military

Pakistan Defense Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar offers his Indonesian counterpart the latest jet fighter called the JF-17 during his visit to Jakarta on Wednesday.

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro responded to the offer, saying that further discussion would be conducted in October.

Minister Mukhtar was here to sign the Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries at the Defense Ministry.

“We will see it first before we decide if we have an interest in purchasing the aircraft,” Purnomo said.

He said the JF-17 jet fighter was the product of a joint production between Pakistan and China. The manufacturers claimed the jet to be cheaper and stronger than the US F-16.

Purnomo said he learned there had been 500 JF-17 jet fighters produced; 350 are allocated for Pakistan and the remaining 150 are for China.

“I have been informed that Pakistan’s jet fighter’s level is above the US F-16 jet fighter, as well as Russia’s Sukhoi. But we need to see it first hand,” he said.

Minister Mukhtar said the jet fighter project was a result of years of engineering improvements that was made by the Pakistan defense industry back home.

“We have developed our defense industry properly, we have prepared for those who plan to disrupt our peace,” he said.

Pakistan Ambassador to Indonesia Sanaullah, who also attended the press conference, promoted the product, saying the aircraft had met the requirements to be used by the Indonesian military.

The Defense Ministry is currently developing its own jet fighter project with South Korea. Dubbed the KFX project, the project is aimed at providing both countries with five jet fighter prototypes before 2020.

Mass production of the KFX jet fighter is expected to take place after the project reaches its break-even point of 200 aircraft units.

Bhatara Ibnu Reza, Imparsial’s research coordinator, warned that the Indonesian military should prioritize the improvement of its own defense industry.

He said if offers like that from Pakistan contributed to the reinforcement of the country’s defense industry, then Imparsial suggested Indonesia take advantage of it.

“I strongly suggest that we pay serious attention to rebuilding our defense industry so it becomes a strong backbone for the future,” he told The Jakarta Post.

In addition to offering the jet fighter, the Pakistan defense minister also tightened cooperation in the field of education and sharing intelligence on counterterrorism.

Both countries have also planned to conduct a joint naval exercise in December this year.

“We face similar internal security problems here. Therefore cooperation will enable us to tackle these problems,” he said.

The Pakistani defense minister visit is the latest, after China’s Central Military Commissioner, Guo Boxiong, visited the country in May.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beijing Military Region's 2010 Military Competition

The Beijing Military Region is currently hosting the PLA's largest ever military competition.

There are a total of 2110 participants in this month long contest competing in 27 categories and 78 individual events.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

China sends sixth naval escort flotilla to Gulf of Aden

China today dispatched its sixth Naval flotilla to Gulf of Aden whose top priority would be to rescue 19 Chinese sailors aboard an India-bound ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

The flotilla left as officials here said the 19 sailors aboard the hijacked ship were safe.

Li Jingzhong, spokesman of the Shanghai Dingheng Shipping Co which owns the ship said the company was able to contact the captain of the hijacked ship on Monday.

"The captain told us the crew was all safe. But we have not heard from them again since. It seems the pirates may have unplugged the telephone on board, and we haven't been able to reach them," Li told the official China Daily.

"Our company will try our best to ensure the safe release of the Chinese sailors onboard," Li said.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Burma to buy 50 K-8 jets from China

The Burmese air force continues to expand with the recent procurement of 50 K-8 jet trainer aircraft from China, according to sources within the air force in Meikhtila.

“Parts of the K-8 aircraft were transported by cargo ship from China and are being assembled at the Aircraft Production and Maintenance Base in Meikhtila,” said one of the sources.

The purchase of the 50 aircraft comes after Burma’s air force chief Lt-Gen Myat Hein traveled to China in November to negotiate an upgrade to the fleet of Chinese-made military aircraft already owned by Burma.

“There are two reasons to purchase K-8 trainers,” said the source. “Either for training exercises or for counter-insurgency.”

The K-8 jet trainer, sometimes called the K-8 Karakorum or the Hongdu JL-8, is a joint venture between China and Pakistan, and is fitted with air-to-air missiles and rockets.

In 1998-9, the Burmese air force bought 12 K-8 jet trainers from China, which are now stationed at Taungoo Air Base in Pegu Division.

In addition to purchasing Chinese-made fighters and trainer aircraft, Naypyidaw signed a contract in late 2009 to buy 20 MiG-29 jet fighters from Russia at a cost of nearly US $570 million.

“The parts of the MiG-29 jet fighters will arrive in July and September by cargo ship and by plane,” said an officer close to Col. Tun Aung, a key figure in the Burmese air force. He said that the 20 Russian aircraft will be assembled in Meikhtila.

Meanwhile, Burma's main air base for maintenance, the Aircraft Production and Maintenance Air Base (APMAB) in Panchangone in Mingaladon Township has been relocated to Nyaunggone, close to the regime's Flying Training Base in Shante in Meikhtila Township, according to a source from the air base.

“The APMAB got the order from Naypyidaw in January to relocate to the new location,” he said, but said he did not know why the relocation took place.

Military sources from Rangoon said that Burmese ruling military council upgraded the air force’s facilities and expanded airfields, as well as two air force bases in Bassein and Homemalin in 2006, to fulfill operational capabilities.

Burma has brought 280 aircraft from China, Russia, Yugoslavia and Poland, including trainers and fighters, since the military took power in 1988.

The Burmese air force was founded in 1947 before Burmese independence. Its main objective has since been counter campaigns against the Communist Party of Burma and several ethnic armies.

Burma has 10 air force headquarters: Bassein Air Base in Irrawaddy Division; Mingaladon Air Base in Rangoon Division; Myitkyina Air Base in Kachin State; Myike Air Base in Tenasserim Division; Namsang Air Base in Shan State; Taungoo Air Base in Pegu Division; Meikhtila (Shante) Flying Training Base; Meikthila Grounding Training Base in Mandalay Division; Magwe Air Base in Magwe Division; and Homemalin Air Base in Sagaing Division.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

China Steals The Abandoned Su-33

For over five years, China has been developing a carrier version of the Russian Su-27, calling it the J-15. There is already a Russian version of this, called the Su-33. Russia refused to sell Su-33s to China, when it was noted that China was making illegal copies of the Su-27 (as the J-11), and did not want to place a big order for Su-33s, but only wanted two, for "evaluation." China eventually got a Su-33 from Ukraine, which inherited some when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. The first prototypes of the J-15 have been under construction for two years, and the aircraft is believed to have taken its first flight in the last few months. The Russians are not happy with this development. Russian aviation experts have openly derided the J-15, casting doubt on the ability of Chinese engineers to replicate key features of the Su-33. That remains to be seen, as the Chinese have screwed up copying Russian military tech in the past. But the Chinese have a lot of experience stealing foreign tech, so the J-15 may well turn out to be at least as good as the Su-33. Meanwhile. Russia itself has stopped using the Su-33.

Late last year, the Russian Navy ordered 24 MiG-29Ks (for about $42 million each) to replace the Su-33s currently operating from the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov. It was two years ago that the carrier version of the Russian MiG-29, the MiG-29K, made its first flight, about fifteen years later than originally planned. India is buying 30-40 of these for use on at least two aircraft carriers. The Indians are already receiving the first sixteen. The reason for dropping the Su-33 is the order from India. It's cheaper to build 64 (or more, for planned Russian carriers) MiG-29Ks, than just 16 more Su-33s to replace the ones already on the Kuznetsov (and wearing out). The MiG-29Ks are lighter and cheaper than the Su-33s.

In the early 1990s, work began on creating a variant of the MiG-29 for carrier use. These were to be used on the Kuznetsov class carriers, originally 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 (322 meter) long carrier ended up carryings a dozen Su-33s, 14 Ka-27PL anti-submarine helicopters, two electronic warfare helicopters and two search and rescue helicopters. The ship was designed to carry up to 36 Su-33s and sixteen helicopters.

The 33 ton Su-33 is larger than the 21 ton MiG-29K, and both types of aircraft were to operate from the three 65,000 ton Kuznetsovs. But when the Cold War ended, only the Kuznetsov was near completion. The second ship in the class, the Varyag, was sold to China. The smaller Gorshkov is being rebuilt and sold to India (who believed the smaller MiG-29K was more suitable for this carrier.).

The MiG-29K modifications included arrestor gear and stronger landing gear for carrier landings, folding wings and rust proofing to reduce corrosion from all that salt water. Anti-radar paint is also used, to reduce the radar signature. Fuel capacity was increased 50 percent and more modern electronics installed. A more powerful engine is used, which enabled the aircraft to carry over five tons of weapons (air-to-air and anti-ship missiles, smart bombs).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

China launches 4th Beidou navigational satellite

China successfully launched the 4th Beidou navigational satellite into the pre-designated orbit with the “Long March 3C” carrier rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, symbolizing that China has made another important step forward in building the Beidou satellite navigational system.

According to introduction, the building of China’s Beidou satellite navigational system is being steadily pushed forward in accordance with the “three-step” development strategy.

The first step is basically realized. China launched 3 Beidou experimental navigation satellites from 2000 to 2003, established a sound Beidou experimental navigation system and thus became the third country possessing an independent satellite navigation system following the U.S. and Russia.

In the second step, the Beidou satellite navigational system will possess the capacity to provide position, navigation, time and short message communication service in the Asia-Pacific region by 2012. So far, China has successfully launched 3 Beidou navigational satellites and got into the stage of building a network for frequent satellite launches.

In the third step, the Beidou satellite navigational system consisting of 5 geostationary satellites and 30 non-geostationary satellites which covers the whole globe will be established around 2020.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pakistan to get Chinese AEW&C aircraft ZDK-03 later this year

ZDK-03 is based from Yun-8 transport plane.

Pakistan has received its second Erieye radar-equipped Saab 2000, and will also accept its first Shaanxi ZDK-03 airborne early warning and control system aircraft before year-end.

Islamabad has four ZDK-03s on order, with deliveries due to start later this year, say air force sources. The type is a new variant of the Shaanxi Y8 AEW&C aircraft designed specifically for Pakistan.

The Chinese aircraft is powered by four turboprop engines and has a greater range than offered by the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye, the sources say.

The air force recently received its second Saab 2000 surveillance aircraft, and anticipates that it will receive its remaining two in the second and third quarters of this year.

Islamabad signed a mid-2006 contract for Erieye radar-equipped Saab 2000s

Pakistan's move to source AEW&C aircraft from both China and the West is indicative of its strategy to refrain from being overly reliant on any one ally. The USA imposed military sanctions against Pakistan from 1990 to 2005 in response to its testing nuclear weapons.

The air force's current fleet includes Lockheed Martin F-16s, Dassault Mirage III and 5 fighters, Chengdu F-7s and JF-17s; a new type developed jointly by China and Pakistan.

In terms of military transports, Pakistan flies Lockheed C-130s, but also operates Ilyushin Il-78 tankers.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

China seeks Soviet technology from other states in Former Soviet Union

Soviet Secrets Still For Sale

China, which has bought several billion dollars worth of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, has approached Belarus about getting a better deal on spare parts and maintenance services. How can this be? Because the Soviet Union distributed its defense plants throughout its territory, many of these factories ended up in foreign countries, when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Belarus inherited some S-300 manufacturing capabilities, which it continues to operate. This gives China another opportunity to take advantage of the murky patent situation that resulted from the demise of the Soviet Union. While the new countries (that were once part of the Soviet Union) owned the weapons plants, the question of who owned the intellectual property (the patents on the weapons produced) is still not nailed down.

Thus, while Russia has been a major victim of China's program of stealing military technology, other countries have been more willing to share Russian military technology. This provided China with many more opportunities to get Soviet military technology without having to deal with Russia (which is quite unhappy with China's plundering ways.)

Even Belarus, the former part of the Soviet Union that is most closely allied with Russia, has been eager to peddle Soviet military technology to China. Former Soviet factories in Belarus manufactured heavy trucks for transporting and launching large ballistic missiles. Thus Belarus is selling components and technology to assist China in building a transporter for its four ton DF11 ballistic missile. The Chinese WS2400 8x8 heavy duty truck used to carry the DF11 is very similar to Russian models. So the new interest in S-300 components and services sales is welcome in Belarus.

Ukraine, which has frosty relations with Russia, has been exporting engines for China's K8 jet trainer, as well as engines for Chinese helicopters. Ukraine is also willing to sell technology, and send personnel to teach the Chinese how to build it. The Central Asian nations that were formerly part of the Soviet Union have also sold Soviet military technology to China.

Monday, April 26, 2010

China Opens Missile Plant In Iran

China inaugurated a missile plan in Iran last month, even as the United States and its allies were pressing Beijing to support a new round of tough economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, Jane's Defense Weekly reports.

It's a military relationship that goes back two decades and, in light of Russia's reluctance to provide the Iranians with advanced air-defense missile system to counter possible U.S. or Israeli airstrikes, is set to expand.

Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, reported that the factory for assembling and producing Iran's Nasr-1 -- Victory 1 -- anti-ship missile was opened March 7.

The Nasr is identical to China's C-704 anti-ship missile, Hewson says. Iran's burgeoning defense industry, much of it controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has been producing Chinese-designed anti-ship missiles such as the C-801 since the early 1990s.

The C-704, developed by China Aerospace Group, targets ships of 1,000-4,000 tons displacement and is the equivalent of the U.S. AGM-119 anti-ship missile. With a range of 106 miles and a 240-pound warhead, the C-704 has a kill probability of 95.7 percent.

The Iranians, possibly with Chinese assistance, have even developed improved versions such as the Noor, an upgraded version of China's C-802, with a longer range than the original and over-the-horizon capabilities.

Indeed, Hewson observed that "Iran has gone further than China in fielding the C-802, taking what was previously a land- and ship-launched weapon and producing an air-launched version that can be carried by Mi-17 helicopters and fast-jet types."

Over the years Iran has developed a range of anti-ship missile systems from the Chinese weapons that gives the Islamic Republic's regular navy and the IRGC's naval arm the capability to exert a considerable degree of control over waters in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

This is the area from which U.S. naval forces would strike if hostilities erupt.

On Saturday, the IRGC concluded its annual three-day Great Prophet exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, the choke point gateway to the Gulf and a key energy artery, in a show of defiance against the United States.

The Nasr is a medium-range weapon that can be launched from warships or shore batteries and its development and planned mass production has been trumpeted by Tehran at a time when Iran's military forces are making preparations to counter possible attacks.

"In a methodical and deceptively modest manner China has helped Iran take charge of all its surrounding waters and this work between the two nations continues," Hewson reported.

"Follow-on versions of the Nasr are being developed to include an air-launched variant.

"There are other cooperative tactical missile programs under way and China's design bureaus have displayed several 'export only' weapons (such as the C-705 lightweight cruise missile) that would seem set to follow the established route into Iran," Hewson added.

"With such a solid relationship established between the two countries it is not difficult to see why China has been reluctant to commit to the Western push for sanctions against Iran."

China, ever hungry for energy sources to fuel its expanding economy, imports around 12 percent of its oil from Iran and seeks to secure Iranian natural gas through overland pipelines -- another reason it has shown little enthusiasm for new U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Hewson said no Chinese envoys were seen at the opening of the Nasr factory conducted by Iran's hard-line defense minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, but the event marked "another milestone in the continuing military/industrial bond between the two countries."

Hewson observed that unlike Russia, China "has been very successful in offering Iran technology and capabilities that are actually wanted, as opposed to those that might be 'nice to have.'

"A path has been found through the factions within Iranian officialdom (and its armed forces) to deliver products that build trust in Beijing. In return, China gains influence with Tehran that can be parlayed into access to Iran's natural resources."

While these Chinese-origin systems have provided Iran with invaluable missile technology, this has had little or no impact on the development of its ballistic missile capabilities.

"Iran's strategic weapons can only (ultimately) involve it in a losing battle with the United States,' Hewson concluded, "but its tactical weapons have already altered the regional balance of power in a much more practical way."

Monday, April 19, 2010

China deploys S-300 SAM system in Tibet

The PLA Air Force (PLAAF)’s Surface-to-Air Missile Corps has been operating the S-300 (NATO reporting name: SA-10 Grumble) family of surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed by Russian Almaz Central Design Bureau since the mid-1990s. The S-300 missile system was regarded as one of the world’s most effective all-altitude regional air defence system, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system. The PRC remains the largest export customer of the S-300, mainly due to its incapability to produce a similar system domestically or acquire it from another country.

By the end of 2008, the PLAAF operates a total of 160 S-300 launchers grouped into 10 SAM battalions (40 batteries). These launchers include 32 S-300PMUs, 64 S-300PMU1s, and 64 S-300PMU2s. Each launcher is equipped with four ready-to-launch missiles and 4~8 spare missiles. If taking additional spare and practice missiles purchased from Russia into account, the total number of missiles received by the PLAAF has amounted well above 1,000.

Recent photos indicate China has deployed S-300 SAM batteries in Tibet, to defend against India's growing air power.

Monday, April 12, 2010

China to provide Bangladesh with two frigates and two large patrol crafts

PM reveals plans to modernise Navy

Govt to buy submarine, missile, frigate

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday revealed the government's mega plan for building Bangladesh Navy as a deterrent and three-dimensional force by incorporating submarines, helicopters, missiles, new frigates and other necessary modern equipment and vessels, reports UNB.

Addressing the officers and sailors at Naval Headquarters, the Prime Minister said soon, two more frigates will be included to Bangladesh Navy fleet.

Sheikh Hasina said during her recent China visit, she had requested the Chinese government to provide Bangladesh Naval Force with two newly-constructed frigates including helicopters, and the Chinese government gave consent in this regard.

Besides, naval ship Bangabandhu, decommissioned during the last BNP-Jamaat government on political ground, will be made fully operational again, she said.

The Prime Minister further disclosed that agreement signing has already been completed to buy two helicopters and missiles, while the process for collecting two offshore petrol vessels from the United Kingdom is at the last stage.

Moreover, work is also proceeding to collect a Hydrographic Survey Vessel from the UK, and process is ongoing in China to equip two Large Patrol Crafts with missiles, Hasina added.

Monday, April 5, 2010

PLA naval warships on maiden visit to Dubai

PLA naval warships on maiden visit to Dubai

ABU DHABI // Two Chinese warships docked in Port Zayed yesterday, the first time a naval contingent from the country has berthed in the Middle East.

The FFG-525 Ma’anshan, a 135-metre frigate, and the supply vessel Qiandaohu arrived from a six-month mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea where they were part of the international force protecting commercial ships and oil tankers from Somali pirates.

“We came for peace and friendship, for mutual understanding and for expanding mutual exchange,” said Senior Captain Quu Yanpeng, the deputy chief of staff of China’s East Sea Fleet.

“Our friendly co-operation is not only in the interest of our people but also conducive to the global peace and stability. The friendly exchange between our navies is an important component of our bilateral relations.”

He was speaking during a brief ceremony at the port that was attended by Sheikh Saeed bin Hamdan Al Maktoum, the deputy chief of Naval Operations.

The visit is viewed as a reflection of China’s growing ability to protect its interest beyond its borders. Beijing has dispatched five groups of ships since early last year to protect its vessels in the Gulf of Aden, a move that was largely anticipated alongside China’s sustained economic growth and energy demands.

The visiting ships, which will leave for home on Sunday, have escorted more than 600 Chinese and foreign vessels, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.

“The ships have succeeded in repelling attacks against many ships. They’ve contributed to protecting Chinese and non-Chinese ships,” said the Chinese ambassador, Gao Yusheng. “The Gulf is an area that has enjoyed close ties with China. Maintaining security in the Gulf is vital to the area and the world, including China.”

Mr Gao said his country’s navy had chosen the UAE as the first country in the region to visit “because of the strength of political ties between our two countries, and the development that has been witnessed by the Emirates in recent years”.

During a visit to Beijing last summer by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the countries signed several agreements, including two on military ties and one relating to the oil industry.

“Now we’re negotiating,” said Mr Gao said. “This year, we will sign an agreement to import oil” from the UAE, he added.

According to the United States’ Energy Information Administration, China will import nearly six million barrels of oil per day from the Middle East by 2030. In 2008, the figure was 1.8m barrels, making the region the largest supplier of crude oil to China. Most is supplied by Saudi Arabia, with the rest from Kuwait and Oman.

China is also expanding in other sectors, mainly construction. In the past two years, Chinese companies have won 18 major projects in the UAE, worth Dh4.8 billion (US$1.3bn).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pakistan tests firing C-802 cruise missile on a target ship

Pakistan Navy test fires missiles in Arabian Sea manoeuvres

In this handout picture released by the Pakistan Navy, a target ship is hit by a missile during a naval firepower test conducted by the Pakistan Navy in the north Arabian Sea on Friday.

Islamabad: The Pakistan Navy on Friday fired a variety of missiles and torpedoes from warships, submarines and aircraft in an intensive firepower drill in the north Arabian Sea. It said the exercise was a message to “nefarious” forces, an apparent reference to India.

“While [giving a reassurance about the] Pakistan Navy's commitment to defending the motherland, this strike capability would also send a message of deterrence to anyone harbouring nefarious designs against Pakistan,” a Navy statement said after the manoeuvres.

The manoeuvres were aimed at assessing the lethality, precision and efficacy of weapon systems, the statement said.

Newly-inducted weapons systems, including anti-surface missiles on Chinese-made F-22 P frigates and air-to-surface missiles of the P3C maritime surveillance aircraft were among those tested.

An important feature of the drill was the firing of subsurface-to-surface missiles by Agosta 90B submarines.

“The target set was successfully engaged,” the statement said.

Naval Chief Admiral Noman Bashir, who witnessed the event, expressed satisfaction at the operational readiness of the Pakistan Navy fleet, and commended officers and men for their commitment and professionalism.

Area cleared

The weapon firing zone, spread over hundreds of miles, was cleared of all merchant ships and fishing craft during a special operation to ensure the safe conduct of the drill. The missiles fired included the French-acquired SM 39 surface-to-surface missiles, and the AM 39 air launched version of the same missile.

The naval exercise comes after Pakistan reportedly recently acquired 120 Chinese C802 long-range anti-ship cruise missiles to counter the Indian Navy's BrahMos missiles. — PTI

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Venezuela receives K-8 trainer planes from China

Venezuela has received its first shipment of six Chinese-made K-8 trainer planes. The K-8s will be used to train Venezuelan pilots, as well as intercepting drug traffickers who use Venezuela as a stop-off point to take Colombian cocaine to the US.

President Hugo Chavez attended the plane-delivery ceremony, which was held at an air base in the city of Barquisimeto. He thanked China for delivering the advanced planes, saying the country will receive 12 more such planes later this year.

Chavez said Venezuela will use them to train pilots and defend the country from external or internal threats. Venezuela has been under a US arms embargo since 2006. It relies mainly on Russia for the import of weapons and other military hardware.

Monday, March 8, 2010

China's defense spending to increase 7.5% in 2010

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China plans to increase its national defense spending by 7.5 percent to 519.082 billion yuan (about 76.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010, according to a draft budget report.

The figure, about 36 billion yuan more than that of last year, consists of 518.577 billion yuan of central government spending and 505 million yuan of transfer payments to local governments.

These funds will be used mainly to modernize the army, according to the draft submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, which started its annual session Friday morning.

Ding Jiye, deputy head of the General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), offered a more specific breakdown of the defense spending.

"These funds would be used for the PLA's mechanization and informationization, to support the reform of army and improve its capability to deal with varied threats and complete diversified tasks," Ding told Xinhua Friday.

Part of the money would also be spent to improve the servicemen's living standards, as well as basic military facilities, Ding said.

Although China's defense expenditure had been on rise over the past years, "its growth was still limited and the defense spending still fell short," he said.

The PLA would make more efficient use of the defense expenditure to further improve its capabilities, Ding said.

Friday's draft budget report added that China's national defense spending in 2009 came to 482.985 billion yuan, 102.1 percent of the budgeted figure and a year-on-year increase of 72.844 billion yuan or 17.8 percent.

These funds were also used to improve the living conditions and benefits of army officers and enlisted personnel, intensify the development of informationization, increase the army's equipment and supporting facilities by an appropriate amount, and improve its ability to respond to emergencies and disasters.

Monday, March 1, 2010

China mulls defence industry subsidies

China would give subsidies and preferred treatment to companies that manufacture products for national defence under a draft law now under review, state-run Xinhua news agency said Wednesday.

The report comes amid a major expansion and modernisation of the nation's massive armed forces in recent years that has raised concern overseas over China's military intentions.

Xinhua said the subsidies were part of a national defence mobilisation bill under consideration this week by a committee of the National People's Congress, the nation's rubber-stamp legislature, ahead of its full meeting next month.

Firms that invest in product research, development, or the manufacture of major defence-related items will "enjoy subsidies or other preferential policies", it said.

The annual meeting of the full congress opens on March 5.

The smaller Standing Committee, which actually approves legislation, is meeting this week to consider various proposals.

After relying for decades on purchases of Soviet weapons or on homegrown arms based on Soviet designs, China has in recent years developed advanced weapons systems of its own, military analysts say.

Beijing has announced a series of double-digit military budget increases over the past several years and is expected to announced its 2010 budget next week.

The United States and some of China's regional neighbours have expressed concern about the build-up, which Beijing stresses is defensive in nature.

China last month suspended military and security contacts with the United States out of anger over a 6.4-billion-dollar US sale of Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters, mine-hunting ships and other weaponry to Taiwan.

China claims the self-ruled island as its own.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pakistan Air Force Inducts First Squadron of JF-17 Thunder Jet

ISLAMABAD - The first squadron of fighter jet JF-17 Thunder, a joint Pakistan-China production, was on Thursday inducted in Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fleet.

A special ceremony was held for this purpose at PAF airbase near Kamra Aeronautical Complex, about 50km from here. Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman formally received the squadron.

In his address, the Air Chief congratulated the nation and said it is a historic day for PAF and entire nation.

JF-17 Thunder aircraft is an advanced multi-role light combat aircraft jointly developed by Chengdu and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex under a strategic collaboration project. The aircraft is designed to be cost-effective and can meet the tactical and strategic needs of the Pakistan Air Force, and various other air forces.

The production facilities have been set up for the aircraft in Pakistan. The first batch of 50 JF-17 Thunder aircraft has been equipped with the Chinese/Pakistani avionics and missiles, while the later aircrafts are to be equipped with more advanced radars and missiles.

France offered Pakistan its RC-400 radar and MBDA MICA missile for the aircraft.

The serial production of JF-17 Thunder has already started and the production capacity would be gradually taken to 25 aircraft per year by 2011.

About 60 per cent of the aircraft’s frame and 80 per cent of its avionics have 
been manufactured in Pakistan.

Monday, February 8, 2010

India-Pakistan: China Takes Sides

Pakistani officials continue to press the U.S. for missile armed UAVs, so Pakistan can go after targets it selects, and ease the American UAVs out of Pakistan. The U.S. doesn't trust the Pakistanis, who can be bribed, and often have divided (pro-Taliban) loyalties. Pakistani politicians don't care, or at least have learned to live with these two problems, and want control of UAVs so they won't continue getting criticized for allowing American UAVs to deal with hunting down and killing terrorist leaders. This is considered humiliating by many, if not most, Pakistanis. But if the Pakistani government were in charge, the bad guys could bribe, or intimidate officials, to get off the target list. You can't do that with the Americans. What the Taliban can do is try and find who is supplying the location information of targets. The Americans actually use a wide array of sources, but the only ones the Taliban can get at are suspected spies. More are killed each month, and most are apparently innocent. This sort of thing angers a lot of people, as do a lot of Taliban policies. So the Taliban are taking note of growing public anger against them, and have, for example, allowed music to be sold again. For the last year, the Taliban had waged open, or guerilla, war against merchants who sold music CDs. The Taliban increasingly must use force to control populations, and this eventually backfires because most of the population is armed. If enough angry tribesmen get together, the Taliban are driven out of another town or valley. This has been happening a lot in the last year.

In Quetta, the largest city in Pakistani Baluchistan, two policemen were wounded when they questioned a suicide bomber equipped with a defective bomb. The bomber was wounded and captured. Baluchistan has its own tribal uprising, which has little to do with the Taliban (although the Baluch tribes allow the Taliban to hide out in Baluchistan).

China and Pakistan are becoming closer allies, and this worries India. For example, China is increasingly taking Pakistan's side in the Kashmir dispute. While Pakistan and India occupy most of Kashmir, China also grabbed 22 percent of Kashmir, and wants a settlement that will confirm their ownership. But India disputes the Chinese claim, and many other such claims along its 4,000 kilometers border with China.

India continues to mass police and troops for a major campaign against Maoist rebels. In the last year, Maoist violence have been responsible for over a thousand deaths (most of them civilians). The Maoists are a combination of political rebels and bandits. Their activities are as often just criminal (stealing and extortion) as political (trying to influence elections or intimidate politicians.) The Maoists have been at it for two decades, and have worn out the support they long had with leftist political parties. The Maoists want a communist dictatorship, with Maoists in charge, and their former leftist allies are not keen on this.

February 3, 2010: In northwest Pakistan, a suicide car bomber rammed the specific vehicle in a convoy of five, that contained three U.S. Army Special Forces troops, killing the Americans. For years, there have been about a hundred of these American troops in Pakistan, used to train NCOs of the Frontier Corps, who then improve the training of these paramilitary troops, recruited from the tribes, who are the primary security force along the border. The accuracy of this attack (the killers knew where the Special Forces troops were headed and which car in a convoy) indicates corruption in the Pakistani security or intelligence forces. The corruption has always been there, and it would have cost a lot of cash to buy this kind of information. It may indicate the Taliban are desperate to strike back at any cost. The three dead Americans are the first to die in Pakistan in a decade of operating there. The three were travelling to a girls school that had recently been rebuilt (after having been damaged by the Taliban) with American aid.

February 2, 2010: In Pakistan (North Waziristan) American USVs fired over a dozen missiles at four villages, killing about 17 suspected Taliban and al Qaeda members.

February 1, 2010: In the Bajaur area of the Pakistani tribal territories, about 4,000 people fled their homes as troops sought, and attacked, nearby bunkers and other hiding places used by the Taliban. At least 22 of the Islamic terrorists were killed. This operation is one of several in which the army is chasing down groups of Taliban who were part of larger forces that were defeated when the army broke Taliban control in the tribal territories.

January 31, 2010: The U.S. announced that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, was dead, having died of wounds received in an American UAV missile attack two weeks ago. This conclusion is based on reports coming out of the tribal territories of Hakimullah Mehsud's burial, after two weeks of futile attempts to tend his wounds. Hakimullah Mehsud, replaced, after some internal fighting, the Pakistani Taliban leader who was killed by a missile strike last Summer.

January 30, 2010: In the Pakistani tribal territories, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 17 people and wounded nearly 50. The Taliban have also used several roadside bombs recently, attacking civilians in most cases. In response, the military has increased its air strikes and ground operations against the scattered Taliban groups still operating in the tribal territories.

Monday, February 1, 2010

China mulls military bases in Pakistan

China has signaled to set up foreign military bases including one in Pakistan, a Chinese government website said.

“Setting up overseas military bases is not an idea we have to shun; on the contrary, it is our right…it is baseless to say that we will not set up any military bases in future because we have never sent troops abroad,” said the report.

The report also said, “As for the military aspect, we should be able to conduct the retaliatory attack within the country or at the neighbouring area of our potential enemies. We should also be able to put pressure on the potential enemies' overseas interests. With further development, China will be in great demand of the military protection".

It is clearly aimed at piling up pressure on India and to counter US influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"As for the military aspect, we should be able to conduct the retaliatory attack within the country or at the neighboring area of our potential enemies. We should also be able to put pressure on the potential enemies' overseas interests. With further development, China will be in great demand of the military protection," said the report.

A military base in Pakistan will help China keep a check on Uighurs who are fighting for an independent nation in Xinjiang, which borders the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

China launches third Beidou navigation satellite

XICHANG: China took one step forward in its ambition to build an independent global navigation network capable of rivaling foreign congeneric systems with the successful launch of a new orbiter into space early Sunday morning.

China launches orbiter for navigation system
The Long-March-3III carrier rocket lifts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Jan 17, 2010.

Boosted by a Long-March-3III carrier rocket into a geostationary orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, it was the third orbiter China has launched for the network, also known as Beidou, or COMPASS system.

It will join another two already in orbits to form a network which will eventually have a total of 35 satellites, capable of providing global navigation service to users around the world around 2020.

The new orbiter and the carrier rocket were researched and developed by Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and Chinese Academy of Carrier Rocket Technology respectively.

The network will have five satellites in geostationary orbit and another 30 in non-geostationary orbits, according to a plan for the COMPASS system.

According to the plan, the system will firstly provide navigation, time signal and short message services in the Asia and Pacific region around 2012.

The COMPASS system will provide both open and authorized services, according to China's satellite navigation project center.

The open service will be free of charge for the system's users within service area with a resolution of 10 meters for positioning, an accuracy of 10 nanosecond for time signal and an accuracy of 0.2 meter per second for speed measurement.

The authorized service will provide more accurate services for authorized users.

China started to build up its own satellite navigation system to break its dependence on the US Global Positioning System (GPS) in 2000 when it sent two orbiters as a double-satellite experimental positioning system, known as the Beidou system.

The Beidou system, China's first-generation satellite navigation and positioning network, made the country the third in the world after the US and Russia to have an independent satellite navigation system.

Monday, January 11, 2010

China successfully tests missile interception system

China's HQ-9 medium and long-range air-defense system

China announced its first test of a ground-based mid-range missile interception system Monday within Chinese territory, a move that military experts claim is a breakthrough in the air defense capabilities of the nation's military.

Details were sparse, but the official Xinhua News Agency said the test achieved the "expected objective" without elaborating further.

The missile is "defensive in nature" and did not "target any country," Xinhua said.

Yang Chengjun, a senior military strategist of missile studies, told the Global Times that the test ushered China into a new phase in terms of missile interception technologies.

"China needs an improved capability and more means of military defense as the country faces increasing security threats," Yang said, adding that it is China's legitimate right to carry out such tests.

"Compared with a previous test of anti-satellite technologies, the missile interception system is more advanced as the targets are moving objects and the satellite was flying within a preplanned orbit," Yang said.

China said it successfully tested its anti-satellite system in 2007.

The United States and Russia are the only two countries that have missile interception technologies.

Yang said China should display its determination and strength in national defense and the capability to safeguard its core interests on appropriate occasions.

Jin Canrong, a deputy director of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, said the development of missile interception technologies is a step further on the country's course to military modernization.

"China has been pursuing a defense strategy. The missile interception system will not alter such a discipline, but strengthens the national defense strategy," Jin said.

The report of the Chinese missile test followed the Obama administration's approval last week to sell PAC-3, an upgraded Patriot air-defense missile system, to Taiwan. The PAC-3 can shoot down Chinese short-range missiles.

Monday, January 4, 2010

China Seeks A Naval Base West Of India

Chinese admirals are pushing their government to help them establish a support base near the Persian Gulf. The immediate need is for an easier way to supply the Chinese warships working with the anti-piracy patrol off Somalia. This could be done by negotiating basing rights, where some Chinese naval personnel would set up shop at a port in the area, and make arrangements for resupplying and repairing any Chinese warships operating in the area, as well as allowing the Chinese warships to tie up in the local port for extended periods of time. Such arrangements are basically a commercial undertaking, but must be negotiated government-to-government because military forces are involved. Many nations have such arrangements in the region, particularly the Persian Gulf. Chinese sailors coming ashore would basically be treated like tourists, and subject to local law. This can get sticky if sailors misbehave, as sailors sometimes do, and get arrested. Many sailors on Chinese warships have access to classified information, and no navy likes having their sailors under the control of a foreign government. It's feared that the police investigation will include agents from a local, or foreign, intelligence, agency.

Thus there is a tendency for the basing rights to evolve into a naval base, complete with a "status of forces" agreement which allows the Chinese navy to discipline misbehaving sailors, in cooperation with local authorities (so the sailors don't get away with anything, especially in the eyes of the locals.) Allowing a foreign navy to establish themselves on your territory is a touchy subject, and must be handled carefully. The Chinese would be expected to be generous and useful guests. But, at the same time, the full time presence of the Chinese navy would mean a military relationship with the local host, and a willingness to help the host out in the event of any diplomatic trouble or military threat. This works both ways, as a major rationale for a Chinese naval base in the region is to protect the growing traffic in sea traffic of raw materials headed for China, and manufactured goods coming in from China. Everyone has an interest in insuring that this sea traffic moves unhindered by pirates, or any other manmade threat. Well, almost everyone.

India is not enthusiastic about a Chinese naval base in the region. India sees China as a military, diplomatic and economic competitor. India sees itself as the master of the Indian Ocean, and China as an unwelcome interloper. Thus any Chinese effort to establish a naval base in the Western Indian Ocean would be opposed by India, and many existing Indian allies in the area.