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.