Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Great Wall Battlements Are Back, Baby.

Chinese can leave China, but they can't seem to leave their Chineseness behind -- this is particularly  the case when they are building fortifications again.   They bother not to look further into the Great Wall  for architectural inspiration.

First up:  China's first overseas support base in Djibouti, the front gate and the surrounding wall is totally reminisce of the Ming period Great Wall battlements.

Here is a Japanese NHK report on the Djibouti support base:

Second up:  The newly reconstructed border defense forts.  As you can tell, they are also sporting the same Great Wall style battlements.  This is great in both form and substance; there's no mistaken who they are for!

PLA border troops fortified
By Shan Jie and Huang Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/31 23:43:39 Last Updated: 2017/8/1 7:40:04
Defense crucial ‘in areas near NK, India, other hotspots’


Even in peacetime, China's border troops are tasked with protecting the country's sovereignty and security under some of the most challenging conditions.

Unlike many other countries such as the US, China shares a border with 14 countries with different political orientations, Xu Guangyu, a retired rear admiral and a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Monday.

With a border stretching more than 22,000 kilometers and a coastline of more than 18,000 kilometers, China is one of the countries with the largest number of neighbors and the longest land borders, according to a national defense white paper released by the State Council Information Office of China in 2013.

Border defense troops were set up in 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded. Since some regions in the country were not liberated at the time, the main border forces were located in Northeast China, North China, and the southeast seashore opposite Taiwan, Xu noted.

The border is mainly defended today by border security forces of the People's Armed Police Force, together with local PLA troops, stationed at border posts and remote islands, Xu said.

"Border defenses have been fortified along China's border with North Korea, Mongolia, India, as well as in the Nansha Islands and the border area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is threatened by the three forces of evil - separatism, extremism and terrorism," Xu noted.

China has signed border cooperation agreements with seven countries, and established mechanisms with 12 countries for border defense talks and meetings, according to the white paper.

The PLA's border and coastal defense forces promote friendly cooperation in joint patrols, guard duties and joint control-management drills with those from Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Vietnam.

They also organize annual reciprocal inspections to supervise and verify the implementation of confidence-building measures in border areas with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, the white paper said.

"Besides maintaining regular entry and exit work, border defense troops are also required to crack down on international crimes like terrorism and illegal drugs trade," Xu noted.

Arduous task

China's armed forces defend China's land borders and maritime areas, and the task of safeguarding border and coastal security is arduous and complicated, the white paper said.

"The border troops are working and living under very tough conditions. For instance, in the southern border, troops have to stay in jungles and mountains, and those stationed in the highlands of western China have to endure extremely low temperatures," Xu noted.

"Plateaus form the border areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Some places we patrol are as high as 6,000 meters above sea level," an officer surnamed Xu said, who has served for 12 years in the army.

"It snows frequently in summer and in winter, with temperatures dropping to as low as -40 C," Xu said.

"Each patrol covers as much as 200 kilometers over three to four days. We eat together and stay in small clay houses or tents," he said.

"However, the living conditions of border defense troops have been improving with the increase in subsidies. The soldiers are also entertained by visiting cultural troupes," Xu added.

The border troops in the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, more than 1,000 kilometers away from the Chinese mainland, have been stationed there for more than 30 years, the Peoples' Daily reported on Sunday.

Recent developments have led to an improvement in living conditions on the islands. These include the construction of airports, cinemas and a modern hospital, which have improved morale.

Meanwhile, an officer from the Xinjiang border defense force told the Global Times that living conditions for border troops have also improved.

"My colleagues and I readily go to work in the tough environment, because we take pride in guarding the border," Xu said, adding that "we live a harsh life, but we face the difficulties together."

In peacetime, China's border defense troops deserve the understanding and support of Chinese people, Xu Guangyu noted.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The new PLAAF Air Brigade.

Together with the ground force, the PLAAF is also moving away from her traditional Division/Regiment orbat structure to a smaller Brigade/Dadui one.   Under each Dadui is a Zhongdui/squadron.  The smallest unit is a Zhandou Fendui / Combat Detachment, which is under a Zhongdui

Air Brigade > Dadui > Zhongdui > Fendui

Also noted that a Dadui leader in this new Brigade structure has a "battalion grade" while the deputy commander of the air brigade has a "regiment grade".  

Picture of J-10C of the 131st Air Brigade, Southern Theater Command (Number 74528)

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Say hello to "Seal" China's answer to the "WaterCar Panther" Amphibious 4x4 Jeep

WaterCar Panther vid here

Low-res photo of the day: FC-1/JF-17 Xiaolong Fighter Two-seat variant (JF-17B) prototype number 2

In addition for being a trainer, this new JF-17B variant could be used as an enhanced ground attacker with the second crew acting as the Weapon Systems Officer (WSO).  To accommodate this secondary attack role, the B variant is sporting an larger nose to house an AESA radar, it's wingspan is enlarged and strengthen to increase its weapon payload. 

Hi-Res PR photos of the day: J-10 mid air refueling

Friday, December 08, 2017

PLAN conducts a 40-warship drill near North Korea

Slow news cycle -- just another routine drill next to the DPRK with 40 ships from all three fleets.

The guided-missile frigate Suqian (Hull 504) deploys its missile to intercept a simulated target missile during a missile competitive assessment conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in waters of the East China Sea on Dec 7. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Hu Wei)

A simulated target missile is successfully hit by a missile launched by a participating frigate under the PLA Navy during a missile competitive assessment conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in waters of the East China Sea on Dec 7. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Hu Wei)
EAST CHINA SEA, Dec. 8 (ChinaMil) -- The missile competitive assessment of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy kicked off in waters of the East China Sea on the morning of Dec 7, 2017.

More than 40 vessels attached to the three naval fleets of the PLA Navy carried out live-fire anti-missile and air defense training exercises. The competitive assessment was aimed to test the air defense and anti-missile training quality of the Chinese PLA Navy's surface vessel troops.

As the assessment began, the guided-missile frigate Putian (Hull 523) entered the designated sea area first, launched the target missile and left quickly, and then the guided-missile frigate Huai'an (Hull 509) was ordered to search for and fend off the incoming target missile.

Chen Shengqi, staff officer at the staff department of the PLA Navy, told the reporter that the competitive assessment used a kind of mainstream anti-ship missile as the target missile and aimed to test the terminal anti-missile capability of a certain type of surface vessel.

According to Chen, the participating vessels were randomly selected from the three fleets of the PLA Navy. They had to continuously fight against multiple targets at ultra-low altitude, judge the air defense effects by themselves, and organize intercept operation again based on the actual situation.
During the assessment, a number of experts from the PLA Navy's training departments, research institutes and colleges analyzed in real time the data transmitted back from the target missiles, target planes and vessels, and accurately judged the launch time, flight status and interception effect of the air defense missiles.

"The assessment yielded concrete results and also revealed some problems of the commanders' judgment on battlefield status and of the sailors' skills in operating weapon and equipment," said Cheng Dewei, deputy director of a bureau of the PLA Navy's staff department.

He added that, based on the assessment results, the PLA Navy will urge its troops to make up for deficiencies, adjust views and practices that don't conform to realistic combat requirements, and continue to enhance the air defense and anti-missile capabilities.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Photos of the day: Sino-Russian "Cooperation-2017" anti-terror drill

Chinese and Russian special operations soldiers jointly search mock enemies in tactical march formation after fast-roping from a transport helicopter during the third day's training of the "Cooperation-2017" joint anti-terrorism training between the Chinese People's Armed Police Force (APF) and Russian Federation National Guard on December 5, 2017

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Norinco SP-9 truck mounted 120mm gun/mortar system (Sino Zauralets??) in PLA color

If adopted the SP-9 gun/mortar system will be a battalion level asset of a PLA airborne or wheel-based RRU.  It's task is to provide organic, rapid deployment fire support, in both direct and indirect roles to PLA first responders. Light-weight and air-lift friendly, those are some important considerations to the PLA war planners regarding this system.

"It is better to be on hand with ten men than absent with ten thousand" -- Timur

The SP-9 truck-mounted 120mm gun/mortar concept was first revived at the 2016 Zhuhai Air Show. Back then it was mounted on a Dongfeng EQ2025 4x4 flatbed chassis targeting for export.  According to Norinco, it can adjusted to firing rounds from either Russian or NATO, tailoring to customer's requirements. 

The recently spotted domestic example is on a larger 6x6 Dongfeng allowing a greater structure support.  It is in a similar arrangement as the Russian Zauralets-D of the same caliber.

Here is the export variant on display at the 2016 Zhuhai Air Show

 Russian Zauralets

Photo of the day: The 6th Type071 LPD fitting out in Shanghia

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Photos of the day: Freshly minted H-6K rolling out of production.

Yes, they are still building more Tu-16 variant as of Dec 2017.   Additionally, the PLAN-AF is getting ready to receive their own, a new navalized H-6KH in due course.

Friday, May 06, 2011

First in service photo of H-6K, "god of war, with a small g"

It appears that the PLAAF's latest ALCM carrier, the H-6K, has finally entered service with the 8th Bomber Division.  Each H-6K is powered by a pair of Russian D-30KP-2 designed to carry up to 6 CL-10 ALCM, a major improvement over the older M model.

Yup, old Tu-16s never die, they just become ALCM carriers.

On a related news, the fifth batch of 11 D-30-KP-2 engines was delivered on March 25th.







Thursday, November 23, 2017

Photos of the day: China Air force (PLAF) in South China Sea

Once again the PLAAF is training in South China Sea, an area of operations (AO) traditionally reserved to the Naval Air force (PLAN-AF).  It is clear - for sometime now - that in time of a South China Sea crisis, the OpForce will have to deal with both Chinese air arms operating in a coordinated manner.

Photos from the Nov 24th drill that are missing from the Reuters report below:

     China air force again flies round Taiwan, over South China Sea

Reuters Staff

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s air force has again flown bombers and other warplanes through two strategic channels near Taiwan and also over the disputed South China Sea during training drills, state media said on Thursday.

Numerous H-6K bombers and other jets recently flew through the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines and the Miyako Strait in Japan’s south, and also over the South China Sea on a “combat patrol”, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke.

Shen did not say when the drills began but said all planes had finished their patrols on Thursday, which were intended to “improve maritime real combat capabilities and forge the forces’ battle methods”.

China has been increasingly asserting itself in territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. It is also worried about Taiwan, run by a government China fears is intent on independence.

Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to bring proudly democratic Taiwan under its control, and has warned that any moves towards formal independence could prompt an armed response.

China is in the midst of an ambitious military modernization program that includes building aircraft carriers and developing stealth fighters to give it the ability to project power far from its shores.

Taiwan is well armed, mostly with U.S. weaponry, but has been pressing Washington to sell it more high-tech equipment to better deter China.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

H-6K going ole school.

H-6K, China's only long-range strategic bomber is better known for carrying six CJ-10A cruise missiles geared for long-range and stand-off attacks.  It also made news recently for its "routine" drills over the West Pacific.   What is being overlooked here is its ole-school, iron bomb payload --  increased by the pair of Soloviev D-30 turbofans and extra fuel capacity -- it's 9-ton can of whoop ass can make short work of any "new structure" in the South China Sea.


Case-in-point:  Cavite, Luzon Island, Philippines after being bombed by American B-24 Liberators, January 1945 
Before and After