Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Clear-cut image of China's New SSBN "celebrates" the initiation of CPC congress

When Chinese President Hu Jintao was delivering his report on 17th CPC National Congress, he was unimaginable that at the same time an extremely close shot of China's New Ballistic Nuclear Submarine was being shared in Internet.

Not a satellite image, the clearest picture of this new submarine is found from an online college photo album of Tsing-hua University and was photographed on September 7, 2007. The location is probably the submarine manufacturing base in Dalian HuluDao shipyard, Liaoning Province.

In the images, 2 nuclear Subs can be found. The front one is a Type 092 similar Submarine, but some exterior features differentiate it from previous model.

Firstly, the Sub's sail has some tiny differences with the well-known No.406 "Xia" SSBN, including the diving wing position and observing window. Secondly, this sub has a bulged tip of the tail fin, which perhaps plays as a long-wave communication device for receiving commanding code. Third, the array of drainage on the missile launch compartment is modified.

The rear one has no details but its sail displayed on the image, it can be primarily judged to be the same one with the front.

Type 092

Besides, the lids of 12 SLBM launch tubes of the submarine have been swung open. The inner side of tube cover is looks more hollow than before and it can be reasoned out that Chinese SLBM has less launching impact and better tube-space-saving after using “self-rupturing convex membrane” technologies, which learned from Trident C4 SLBM.

The exact model of these two SSBN can not be confirmed, but these two subs are the main roles which were discovered on Google Earth in October 2007 and discussed in western strategic analyzers. Actually, one photo of new Chinese SSBN has been unleashed in the year of 2006, but it can not be identified from previous type 092 model.

Chinese resources have different voices about this new model, some believed that they are new Type 094 Ballistic Submarine and dissenters insisted that they are just the modified model of Type 092. The exact model or type of these two submarines is nor important. But one truth is clear that China has at least held 3 SSBNs to carry 36 JL-2 Missiles. Under the estimation of 3 MIRVs of JL-2, PLA has really established a basic naval-based nuclear deterrence of over 100 nuke warheads.

Since 80th anniversary of PLA, some PLA's key naval underwater combat systems has emerged to public, including so-called "Type 093 and Type 094" submarines, which have been esteemed as powerful “Sha-Shou-jian” weapon by western countries. But the fact is that these new systems have no distinct advancement: Type 093 still in 1970s level and Type 094 (if it is) remain 12 SLBMs and inherit an outdated design in missile compartment.

Those indicated that China top heads are eager to establish reliable nuclear forces under U.S. pressure and have no patience to wait for low-efficiency state-run military industries providing world-class fighting systems. The negative influence of great degeneracy in 1970s "cultural Revolution" and "Economic Development First" Policy in early 1990 still exist in China military industries.

On his report on 17th CPC national congress, President Hu Jintao said that "China will enhance our capacity for independent innovation in R&D of weapons and equipment with better quality and cost-effectiveness" His words mean that after 20 years’ reform China has determined to erase its weapon systems’ disrepute of “Poor Quality”, “low additional value” and “Pirate Copy”.

PLA's new Type 920 Hospital Ship launched

August 29 (Wednesday), PLA's one new Hospital Ship was launched in Guangzhou. PLA navy listed this ship as "Type 920" hospital ship. This vessel was launched in the ship yard of CSIC (Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Limited), which is a subsidiary of CSSC (China State Shipbuilding Corporation).

Type 920 Hospital Ship has a transom stem, a bulbous bow, an extended deckhouse with a forward bridge. And a helicopter landing deck can be found on rear part of the vessel. Six Large Red-crosses have been painted on the ship body. The ship is approximately 170 meter length and 25 meter in beam and about 20000 tons displacement.

The model of Type 920 Hospital Ship was once displayed in Chinese Military Revolution Museum in Beijing for PLA's 80th anniversary. Resources said Type 920 hospital ship is a variant of Type 904 multi-product replenishment ship. This year early, China also bought a retired hospital ship from Russia, which will possibly be recovered as appropriative hospital ship.

Before the appearance of PLA's new hospital ship, PLA did not has any professional hospital ships in its fleets. Since the "Paracel Islands Conflict" in 1974 between China and South Vietnam navies, PLA navy notice the hospital ship's importance in modern naval warfare. But the economic ability makes that the building hospital ship converted by other boats is the first step.

In 1980, a cargo ship named "Qiongsha" was converted to a hospital ship and was renamed as Y833 "Nan Kang", which was provided to South Sea Fleet. Later PLA navy transferred two other ships to hospital ships, Y832 "Bei Kang" and Y834 "Dong Kang", and separately pointed to North Sea Fleet and East Sea Fleet. In 1990s, PLA South Sea Fleet also accepted a medical training ship “Nanyi 09” converted by a roll on/roll off ship.

Since CPC heads' call of "Strengthen the Military Preparation against Taiwan Island" in the end of 1990s, PLA navy enter a speedy development. Beside the combat ships, PLA navy also built auxiliary military ships. And hospital ship is the necessary equipment in amphibious invasion to Taiwan.

In 1996, PLA Navy Medical Research Institute successfully developed a "Ship-used Medical Module System". The system is based on international standard container and can quickly set up a fully-functional ship-borne hermetical medical system in civilian ships. According to China’s great power on ship-building, PLA will definitely get sufficient container ships to service as the supplementary to military hospital ship.

Type 920 Hospital ship is one part of PLA Navy’s “Marine Medical Ambulance System” concept. While PLA Navy is going to select some civil 150~500-ton class high performance passenger ships as medical ambulance boat, which transfer the wounded from the landing zone to the rear large hospital ships. Now Hi-speed SWATH, Sidewall Hovercraft and Air Cushion Catamaran are the options for PLA navy.

Chinese Space Experts unveil details of “ZY-1” 02B Star

On September 19, "ZY-1"02B Satellite was successfully launched by CZ-4B Rocket from Taiyuan Launch Center. 10 days after, Chinese aeronautics experts show some interested information about the newest sino-brazil remote sensing satellite.

With ZY-1 No. 01 and 02 stars, 02B satellite's most noticeable improvement is a high-resolution CCD imaging camera, which has a 2.37 meter resolution on 778-kilometer high orbit. The image width is 27-km. Although the 2-meter level resolution is only available in black-and-white panchromatic images, it still can be reverted as false-color image under clients' demands.

From the mono-color 2-m resolution satellite image displayed by Chinese experts, people can clearly differentiate automobiles running on the highways, vessels on Yangtze River and airplanes on ground. Chinese experts even told that CRESDA (China Center for Resource Satellite Data and Applications)is going to be follow the lead of "GoogleEarth" to produce a country-scale image database and 3D Simulation map for Internet surfers' browsing.

Beside greatly improved image resolution, "ZY-1"02B satellite also has distinguished upgrade in positioning precision of ground objects. Previous "ZY-1"01 and "ZY-1"02's image has about 5-km warp to real world position and "ZY-1"02 has shrunk this error under 3-km level. But now "ZY-1"02B has technological breakthrough to realize 350-meter level. The main reason is that satellite is installed with a space-borne GPS receiver and star sensor。GPS can strictly locate exact position and orbit of satellite, then satellite star sensor can determine the star's posture to help project the picture on the right geometry position

Obviously, ZY-102B's excellent performance of hi-resolution imaging CCD camera and ground accurate position system bring a fairly meaning strategic value.

In Chinese experts' opinions, China's R&D of civilian remote sensing satellite is equal to France. And from this estimation, it can be extracted that Chinese military imaging satellite, such as recently launched "Yaogan-2" satellite, is about in 0.6-1 meter resolution level and compares with French's Helios 1B imaging satellite.

The production of ZY-102B totally incorporates 16 sub-systems, which are separately taken charge by China and Brazil. Now it has been known that China is responsible for observing device and satellite control, and Brazil for structure design and satellite-borne power system. The agreement of zy-103 and Zy-104 satellites has been affirmative in both countries’ governments. So far ZY-103 star has been assembly a sampler star for thermal control test and electrical measurement in Brazil. INPE (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) has eagerly expressed its wish of continuous cooperation with China in ZY-1-05 and ZY-1-06 satellites in future.

China to Build its New Satellite Launch Center in Hainan

Chinese Governmental Xinhua News Agency on September 22 announced that China will build a new Satellite launch center in Wenchang City, Hainan province. The Wenchang Launch center is China's 4th Rocket Launch center after Jiuquan Launch Center, Xichang Launch Center and Taiyuan Launch Center. Wenchang Launch center will be finished in China's "12th-five-year-plan" and to be in service in about 2012.

Although Wenchang Launch center is affirmative in Chinese central government and CPC Central military Commission, China still hold 3 main launch bases in future. Xichang Launch center will play back-up role in China's space power and be merged into Wenchang Launch Center, and main Staff and experts in Xichang will be transferred to Wenchang Center, which will replace Xichang to be the main commercial launching center. Obviously, Wenchang's Geographic advantages will certainly increase China's competence in global commercial launch market.

The exact location of Wenchang Launching Center is in Longlou and Dongjiao Counties of Wenchang city's east direction. In 2004, Hainan province once advised to establish new base in Changsi county, which is north-east of Wenchang city.

Xinhua News did not provide the precise location of Wenchang Center, but Chinese resources showed that the new launch center is on the east coast of Hainan Island, not expanded from a former missile test base, which is now often mistakenly cited and located in the heart of the Island.

One launching facility is called as "Launching Pad I 2k1" and located in the West Diyuan village (19°37'10.59"N 110°56'51.76"E), another one is "Launching Pad II 2k2" and in Wuhu Village(19°37'31.25"N 110°57'13.91"E). Just being a neighbor of Longlou county, Dongjiao's some villages will be moved to other places for constructing "Residence District for Staff and Experts"

The new Wenchang center will utilize its low latitude advantage to raise Chinese rocket's payload and then extend satellite's life for less orbit maneuver. Generally, Wenchang Center will primarily used to launch GTO satellite, polar orbit satellite, space station cell and deep-space exploration satellite. Since China's CZ-5 rocket will use recyclable engine for its first stage rocket, so Wenchang, which is near southern China Sea, is proper for CZ-5 family.

Now CZ-5 is still in development, and its 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engine in September just successfully passed its 78th full-engine hot-fire test. And the accumulated test time is up to 13500 seconds.
Besides, Chinese official media also indicate that its pre-developing Aerospace vehicle will initiate in Wenchang launch center.

H-6K: China is continuously improving H-6 for Air-Striking Platform

In September, a screenshot of XAC (Xi'an Aircraft Corporation) internal CATV news showed that China is producing a newest variant of H-6 bomber family to satisfy PLA Air Force's demands of long range strategic bombing and air striking.

This variant is called as H-6K in PLA Air force. Letter "K" represents the "Air Striking Platform" (Chinese Pinyin: Kongzhong-daji-pingtai). The distinguished improvements include: new 6 under wing Hardpoints, more powerful engine, round glass-in nose replaced by radar radome (new PD radar inside), Datalink Device and Infrared recognition Pod under aircraft nose.

The new H-6K has 6 under-wing pylons to carry China's 3000 km land-attack cruise missile. With imported Russian D-30 engines, H-6K can patrol in the air defense circle in China inner mainland for longer lime and use long-range cruise missile to attack U.S.'s Bases located in Guam. Certainly, XAC modified H-6 fuselage to contain larger turbofan engines.

Besides, H-6K also has ability to fire YJ-12 anti-ship missile at stand-off ranges to attack U.S. Aircraft Carrier Groups in west pacific. Noticeably, PLA's H-6K can carry 6-8 ultra-long-range Air-to-Air missiles to hunt enemy's Airborne Early Warning systems, like E-2 and E-3.

The glass-in nose is replaced by a lightning-proof radar radome so H-6K has a re-designed aircraft nose. Inside the radar radome, H-6K equipped with a powerful PD radar, which integrates navigation, terrain following and aiming for launching missiles. And H-6K has an upgraded cockpit than before and incorporates a more advanced avionics integrated with power, flight and fire control.

On the H-6K's back near cockpit, XAC installs 2-3 blade antennas, which are probably are parts for datalink system for launching ultra-long-range Air-to-Air missile, called as "ShaShoujian" weapon in PLA. Via Datalink, H-6K can receive object information from KJ-2000 AWACS and silently fire AA missiles to attack Air Boren Early-Warning Systems.

Strangely, H-6K has an Electro-optical detecting pod to replace former cylindrical radome under the nose. The device is eventually some kind of forward looking infrared system for navigation and recognition and weapons delivery. Another choice is that H-6K will use forward looking infrared system for anti-submarine warfare.

Named with "Air Striking Platform", H-6K can use its bomb capacity advantage to carry PLA's air launched torpedo for detecting and destroying underwater submarines in Chinese East Sea and South Sea areas. And H-6K can also share its information with PLA Navy's Ka-28 and Z-9 helicopters in fleet anti-submarine warfare.

Since lots of design modifications and imported power plant, the production is in a very low speed on 2-3 H-6K in one year. According to resources, XAC has produced 2 H-6K for PLA’s evaluation and testing. Although basing on a 40-year-old design, H-6K is still a remarkable platform for its multi-performance in modern warfare when PLA adding new technologies on it.

Chinese Armed Police evaluates special weapons in Sino-Russia Drill

In Sino-Russia "Cooperation 2007" three-day anti-terror drill, Chinese Armed Police (CAP) Commando Unit got a great opportunity to evaluate Kinds of special anti-terror weapon systems. the Commando Unit actually is the SPU (special police unit) of CAP Beijing Division's 13th team and is named with "Snow Leopard" before Leaving to Russia.

The most noticeable is that members of "Snow Leopard" select one kind of helical-feed SMG (submachine gun) for close combat. According to previous Chinese resources, the standard individual self-defense weapon of SPU member is Type 92 pistol and Type 97 Assaulting Rifle, and the latter is usually believed to be unsuitable in close anti-terror combat. Comparing western well-known Special Forces and SWATs, Chinese SPU has been puzzled by Type 79 SMG's ultra-high fire rate, low accuracy and low magazine capacity.

For the upcoming Beijing Olympic Game, Chinese Government focuses on the security protection, which is mainly responsible by CAP Beijing Division. And CAP once planned to arm its SPUs with western weapons like MP5 SMG, but the plan was terminated for price and political reasons.

And Chinese state-run weapon manufactures all eyes on this chance brought by Olympic Game and in succession introduce new SMGs to Armed Police SPUs. Changfeng helical-feed submachine gun is the newest competitor.

Changfeng helical-feed SMG is developed by Chongqing Changfeng Machinery LTD, which is under China South Corporation. Its designer is the same people (Mr. Qing Shangsheng) who design Type 92 pistol. And Changfeng helical-feed SMG was inspired by U.S.'s Calico Weapon in early 1990s and Chinese designer invented a new helical magazine to realize rapid manual loading. At beginning, Changfeng helical-feed SMG is developed for PLA special forces, but PLA finally pass off this weapon for its experimental design.

"Snow Leopard" testing Changfeng SMG proved the rumor that Chinese People's Armed Police had been interested in this weapon for years. Chinese media's photo showed that "Snow Leopard" 4-man-team use 3 Changfeng SMGs with 0ne Type 97 Assaulting rifle. And with this compacter individual weapon, special armed policemen can make more complicated tactic action when fighting against "terrorists".

After its birth, Changfeng SMG is criticized for no boltstop decive, but Chinese designer explained that the top-mounted magazine can be made by translucent polymer to allow the shooter to see how much ammunition he has. However, China's polymer quality is not very good so magazine often get jammed after impacts in action. "Snow Leopard" uses a conventional metal cartridge and no detail can be found about boltstop device.

Besides, "Snow Leopard" demonstrated lots of other "anti-terror" equipments, including climbing attack vehicle(modified by Ford F-350 and adding MARS Tension-leg Platform), handy laser dazzler and "Hunter" Net Shooter. It is interested that Israel ODF’s EyeBall R1 Surveillance Ball is found in "Snow Leopard" team. And O.D.F. Optronics Ltd never declares this business.

China opens its 120mm Guided Mortar Munition

China just unveiled its 120mm Guided Mortar Munitions via a state-run magazine in beginning of September. This kind of 120mm guided munition can be fired from PLA's existing 120 Mortar systems. A typical Mortar company includes 6 120mm mortar system with additional laser guidance system (for frontier observer), fire-control computer (for commanding vehicle), synchronous communication devices and battlefield fiber digital commanding network.

Chinese official resource also describes the 120mm Guided Mortar Munition's operation sequence:

Step 1: When commanding vehicle receive fire request and the company prepare to fire in 60 seconds
Step 2: gunners receive firing characters from fire control computer and then manually load laser code, fuse mode and flight time through the setting button on the round body and finally adjust direction. Meanwhile, forward observers also receive these firing characters.
Step 3: The mortar system fired and flies to the target acquisition area.
Step 4: The forward observer designates the target with a laser guidance system and the mortar seeker begins to find laser energy.
Step 5: Seeker find laser radiation and lock the target.
Sept 6: By means of embedded impulse thrust motors, the mortar round maneuvers ballistic trajectory to impact the target

The specifications of China's 120mm Mortar munition can be described as:

Weight: 17-20KG
Kill radius: 20m
Range: <13km>5km
Fire-control computer weight: 1-3kg
Computing time: 1 second

Chinese resources said that the seeker is a simplified device also installed on 122mm, 152mm and 155mm howitzer munition. For this reason , the 120mm Guided Mortar probably can not reach the declared 2-3m CEP but 7-9m because the seek is fixed on the round body head without a gyroscope platform.

Unlike U.S XM395 PGMM (Precision Guided Mortar Munition)'s DASALS (Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker) and Israel IMI's DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) for its Guided Mortar Bomb, China's 120mm Guided Munition can not be ranged into so-called High precision weapon but competitive for cheaper price.

Clearly, China unleashed its 120mm Guided Mortar Munitions for overseas markets in Middle East, South Asia and South America. If Iraq or Hizballah militants can get this killing weapon in black-market, U.S. and Israel land forces will have to deal with a more formidable game.

Z-11W passes National Qualification for Seeking Buyers

China's Z-11 Armed helicopter (Z-11W), which is a Copy of AS350 Helicopter and jointly produced by Changhe Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and China Helicopter Design and Research Institute, has successfully passed the technological pre-qualification on August 31. The website of COSTIND released this piece of news on September 4.

Z-11W helicopter is a variant of Z-11 2-ton class light Utility Helicopter which is usually believed to be a Chinese "pirate" of French AS350 "écureuil (Squirrel)". Since the Birth of Z-11 in 1994, it has been facing a converging attack from domestic and international Markets.

Actually, PLA army needs light Utility helicopter but not the early inferior Z-11, which can not catch up its original French model born 20 years ago. So Z-11W is modified from an enhanced Z-11MB1 platform powered with ARRIEL 2B1A engine and is equipped with systems for air assaulting, like fire control system, V/UHF frequency-hopping radio and improved VEMD (Vehicle and Engine Multi-function Display) avionics. Besides, CAC once announced that Z-11W armed helicopter can carry 4 HJ-8 anti-tank missile and rocket launching pods.

And in overseas market, Z-11 is still in constraint for its indigenously copy design without any license from Eurocopter. It makes a truth that Z-11's exportation was indeed in embarrassing position for searching steady-going clients.

From 2005, CAC has been contacting foreign countries for Z-11's selling. November 22-23 2005, Argentina Air force 3-member delegation once visited CAC for consulting Z-11's exportation and building localized assembly line.

But resources said that the project was frozen under the pressure from Eurocopter. But CAC did dot abandon this opportunity and recently organized a Z-11MB1 helicopter flight demonstration on June 10 2007 in Argentina for its Air Force.

Photographed by Juan Carlos Cicalesi

And Z-11W's passing qualification showed that CAC is speeding in looking for domestic or international buyers for its Z-11 families. And CAC hope that Z-11W can win PLA army's appreciation to play reconnaissance role like OH-58D for ground forces and attract potential foreign buyers from third-world developing countries.

When Z-11W passed the qualification, resources from Philippine in September says that its Air force will spend 460 million RMB to replace its Vietnam-war-time copters from 8 multi-function helicopters from China. Although the exact model is unclear, but the unit price tells that it is probably Z-9, which is manufactured from HAC (Ha'erbin Aircraft Corporation).

AVIC-I boldly invests for Civilian Aircraft Manufacturing

August 28 Chinese AVIC I in Beijing announced to establish SAC Civilian Aircraft LTD and CAC Civilian Aircraft LTD.SAC Civilian Aircraft LTD is located in Shenyang and jointly ventured 500 million RMB by SAC (40%), XAIC (45%) and CATIC IC (15%). While CAC Civilian Aircraft LTD is registered in Chengdu and invested with 500 million RMB by CAC and other same two investing parties in identical contribution.

SAC (Shenyang Aircraft Corporation) and CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Corporation) are the most powerful manufactures of military fixed wing aircraft, such as J-10 and J-11 fighter.

AVIC I's action in civilian manufacturing area indicated that Chinese aviation industries are drastically abandoning its previous planned economic operation mode in military system production. Since 1980s, SAC and CAC have been producing aviation components under sub-contract with western aircraft manufactures like Boeing and Air Bus. What ever SAC or CAC, has tasted the sweet in oversea cooperation and hope to gain bigger part in the big cake of China future aviation market.

After market research, AVIC I believed that in next decade China's domestic air transportation will boom over 4 times and need other 1600 airliners, which presume 150-180 billion US$ market, only next to U.S.; and in 2050 China will be supposed to demand 3000 jetliners and freights, which valued to about 350-400 billion US$.

XAIC (XI'AN AIRCRAFT INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION SZSE:000768) is the first public listed enterprise initiated by XAC (Xi'an Aircraft Corporation) in 1997. XAIC is a foregoer in Chinese aviation Industry to extend civilian production in a separated firm.

Under China's rules of aviation products exportation, SAC, CAC or XAC has no permission to direct provide products to foreign buyer but via the CATIC (China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation). CATIC IC (CATIC Investment Co,) is a subsidiary of CATIC to deal with investment and management consulting. The involvement of CATIC IC proves that the CATIC's influence in aviation products & technology import and export.

The merge of new entities implied that AVIC I still can not fully integrate its all commercial productive capacity just because of the contention between SAC and CAC. Resources showed that these two giants are stealthily running in PLA General Armament Department and Administration for capturing China's next generation fighter.
In civilian range, SAC and CAC are both in confrontation without any fallback. In the birth of new JVs, SAC unleashed that it has signed contract with one of Top Utility Aircraft Manufactures to produce sport aircraft. And 2 weeks ago CAC has already built up an “Aerospace Hi-Tech Industrial Zone” in Chengdu for transferring advanced Aeronautical technologies to civil field.

Further, manufacturers in China are apt to trade with foreign corps and cast off CATIC's manipulation and taking percentage of deals. But it is still unrealistic in exist system. The newly founded set-ups can be deemed as a compromise among different sides in AVIC I.

China ingeminates "no first use" nuclear policy to US congressman

On Monday August 27, General Jing Zhiyuan, Commander of PLA Second Artillery Corps, reaffirmed "China's policy of 'no first use' nuclear weapons will be persistent and never be changed", when he met U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, who is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Ike Skelton headed a seven-member delegation of US lawmakers to visit Headquarter of Second Artillery Corps in Beijing. The delegation is the first batch of us congressmen to visit the second artillery force.

During his visiting, Gen. Jing briefed China's nuclear policy & strategy, Nuclear Weapon Commanding system and the construction and application of nuclear forces.

"China and United States are constructive partners and 'stakeholders' in global world." Gen. Jing said, "At present, China holds a positive attitude toward the ties between two armed forces, and is willing to make joint efforts with the US side to push forward exchanges and cooperation."

Rep. Ike Skelton believed that both armed forces should strengthen the dialogues and exchanges for boosting friendship and peace between two countries.

China's policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons on non-nuclear countries and zones at any time under any circumstances" was stated in 1960s. In fact, PRC was the first to pledge no-first-use of nuclear weapons for possessing a minimal deterrent.

Under the context of China's rising, other great powers and western countries are always wondering whether China will alter its policy on nuclear weapon using. Although China has been announcing a unshakable adherence on "no first use" in several "White Papers", the aggressive officers are doubting the validity of Chinese previous nuclear policy designed by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

Most of hawkish shade is from PLA academic organizations but not commanding officers like Jing Zhinyuan. Professor Zhu Chenghu, a military analyzer from PLA National Defense University, becomes most famous for comments of warning "U.S. to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese nuclear weapons" in 2005.

Actually, one year before, Jin Yinan (deputy director of the Strategic Research Department at the PLA National Defense University), addressed in a military college that China has to reconsider its nuclear policy because of a transformed world situation and PLA’s greatly improved nuclear Arsenal.

Since 2000, it usually believed that China has greatly enhanced its nuclear striking power, especially in ICBM, SLBM and nuclear cruise missile. Comparing land Second Artillery Corps’ medium rage missile aiming Taiwan, PLA’ sea-based nuclear weapon becomes greater role in deterrence to U.S. forces. The merge of Type 094 SSBN in “google earth” is just a hint of PLA’s intention.

Under western politicians’ criticism for being lack of transparency, PLA is trying to open some non-sensitive units for high-class generals and non-military-background lawmakers for getting a candid status.

AVIC II and Yak announced a joint program on basic Trainer

August 21 in Russian MAKS 2007 Airshow, Liang Zhenhe, who is the senior vice president of AVIC II, announced that China and Russia has reached an agreement to jointly develop a fresh new basic trainer for defense and civilian market.

Liang says that the Chinese AVIC II and A.S. Yakovlev Design Bureau will cooperate under the rules of joint investment and co-development but risk and profit sharing. AVIC II and Yakovlev will separately invest 50% of the program and respectively build an assembly line in China and Russia. But Liang did not provide the aircraft model and detailed investment amount.

According to Liang's words, the prototype of new basic Trainer will be produced in the year of 2008 and be finished its first flight in the first half of 2009. The roadmap of Sino-Russia trainer program is to achieve airworthiness certificates in correspondent domestic markets, then the aircraft will got FAA's EAC(Experimental Airworthiness Certificate) and JAA's JAR-23(Joint Aviation Requirement) certificates so as to enter international trainer market with full capacity.

Liang Zhenhe expresses that great potentiality exists in Sino-Russia aviation cooperation just because China has expanding aviation market excited by speedy economic growth and Russia has obvious technological predominance to support China's requirements. Liang says that the China domestic market will at least demand over 300 basic trainers but some common problems need to be resolved, such as building up a full after service system for aircrafts.

The assembly line in China will probably be constructed in HongDu Aviation Industry Group, which was previously called as "Nanchang Aircraft Company" and has been the main trainer manufacturer for PLAAF. The well-known CJ-6 basic trainer has been produce over 3000 aircrafts by Nanchang Company and its exported variant BT-6 won good public praises in western users.

Although Liang did not tell the aircraft model, his announcement still verified HongDu's three years before cooperative proposal on YAK-152 with Yakovlev. But no information about YAK-152K can be found from the official website of Yakovlev Design Bureau.

From Hongdu's inside reports, it can be discovered that Hongdu had organized experts to evaluate the program of YAK-152K (YAK-152's Chinese Version, K means China) in 2004. The report estimated that the whole investment was about 6.8 million US$ and Target cost of single aircraft would be 179,200 US$ (RMB 1.36 million) then price to be 224,000 US$ (RMB 1.7 million).

Chinese analyzer warning a gloomy future on U.S. military power

Song Yichang, a Chinese well-known civilian defense affairs analyzer, in a month ago interview held by a Chinese magazine, expressed his opinion that Iraq War had seriously weaken the military ability of United States and a financial black-hole in middle east has shaped dark clouds upper American defense industries.

Song admitted that U.S. still leading the global RMA (Revolution of Military Affairs). NMD, combat UAV and FALCON program are all the land-marks of America’s great advantages in military technologies and innovative concepts.

However, Song also pointed that the huge expenditure on Iraq War has jeopardized the maintenance and renewal of U.S.' aged combat systems. He summarized that most military aircrafts in US Air Force and Navy have been in service for over 20 years and some of them, such as A-10, will continuously be kept until 2030; fleets of SSN "Los Angels" class and SSBN "Ohio" Class have been deployed for over 20 years and puzzled for keeping the normal operation of old reactors.

Song thought that U.S. has technological ability to upgrade its gadgets, but U.S. can not afford the higher cost of equipment purchase. In his opinion, the Achilles's heel is sky-high manpower cost, which limits U.S. defense Industrial giants, like Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, in the profitable but confined defense market.

In his research, Song believed that the “military-industrial complex” has been behind the U.S. defense policies making since end of Cold War. U.S' urge on NMD and TMD is not for "Rogue States" but for keeping the running of military industrial giants.

Beside the strategic defense system, U.S. must face the cost rising of conventional weapon and accept a decrease of military power to keep U.S' global leadership. Under this condition, Song said that the emergence of China has become the most complicated puzzle to Americans.

Song's judgment is: if U.S believes that China's development is under the single-pole international system, it is not necessary to hold a large scale conventional military power so as to supporting an acceptable expenditure on military industrial investment. On the other hand, in case China is willing to challenge America's leadership in Asia-pacific area, U.S. has to hold a considerable conventional or even nuclear arsenal, which is unbearable to U.S. defense fiscal.

Song even predicted that if China achieves breakthrough in comprehensive system like large jet plane and aircraft carrier then use its advantages in low manpower cost and mass production, U.S. administration will be in a financing disaster when keeping a military balance.

But Song thought that insightful people in U.S. have wakened up to this point and U.S. still has great superiority in air and naval forces but Iraq War has limited America's response ability in facing future challenge. Bush Administration has no time to think about tomorrow but enjoying predecessors’ heritage. Finally, Song sited Brzezinski’s words: America will have a second chance after 2008, but there definitely won't be a third chance.

Song Yichang’s father is Song Ping, who was once one of general member of CPC Political Bureau in 1989 and was the first supporter for President Hu’s preferment in CPC system. Mr. Song has published several works on western countries’ strategy.

China is developing Enhanced Third Generation MBT

published on JDW

A Chinese magazine named "Modern Weaponry", which is run by No.201 institute of China North Industries Group Corporation(CNIGC), in its 8 issue published a photo of an unusual Type 99 MBT. The note about picture is "Chinese Enhanced Third Generation MBT"

The No.201 institute is an intelligence organization to gather information of foreign land warfare system.

Through the picture, people can see a Type 99 MBT is in ground maneuvering. It can be clearly found that the power module in the rear part is more compact than the previous ones. It indicates that China has accepted the concept of "Integrated Propulsion System" from U.S. AIPS for M1A2 MBT.

Noticeably, the picture is not photographed in recent time and the pictured vehicle is only a technological testing platform based on Type 99 MBT hull. The real “Enhanced MBT” has been existed for 1-2 years and suffered the rough testing with PLA’s fresh 8*8 wheeled vehicle family around China’s inner land.

The variants of Type 99 MBT are similar to M1 Abrams. The Type 99 MBT, which was once demonstrated in Tian'anmen Square parade in 1999, is the basic mode of Type 99 and only few were serviced in 38th mechanized division for testing. And the Type-99 A1, whose improvement is the conspicuous arrow shaped armor, has entered the PLA main force mechanized divisions in Beijing and Shenyang Combat Districts.

Meanwhile, China is researching the so-called "Enhanced third generation MBT"----Type 99-A2 MBT with an integrated propulsion system, powerful active protection system, Shaped ERA armor, reaction improved aiming system and digital battlefield information terminal.

The "Integrated Propulsion System" is a module includes engine, transmission, cooling system and fuels tank. Besides, the modified 1500HP transverse mounted engine brings a smaller sized module and changes the inlet and exhaust position of tank.

The well-known feature of Type 99 MBT is the laser-countermeasure device, but the actual performance is unclear. And in Type 99-A2 MBT, the laser-countermeasure will be replaced by other active protection system (APS), such as a Chinese copy of Russian Arena tank APS. In the picture, a bulged device fixed on turret right side is believed to be a part of experimental protection system.

Of course, the APS can not be an alternative of all other conventional protections. It has been known that Type 99-A2 MBT has arrow-shaped ERA armor instead of former spaced armor covered by ERA liner.

As alike as the improved “Hunter-Killer” fire control system of Type 99-A2 MBT, the digital battlefield information terminal can not observed from the appearance. But PLA Daily recently has reported that most of divisions have built primary battlefield information network in different existing combat vehicles, such as Type 88C MBT, Type 59D MBT and Type 86 ICV. Apparently, PLA is gathering experiences for entering digital army time.

Presumably, Type 99-A2 MBT will enter service in 2008-2009 and its final number can reach 400.

Building Aerial Strategy Platform: China's Future Airlifter to be assembled in Xi'an

In August, news from COSTIND website showed that Zhang Yunchuan, minister of COSTIND(Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense), recently visited Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group for inspecting the proceeding of Heavy Airlift Assembly Line Construction. His visit indicated that the Final Assembly Line of PLA future Heavy Airlift has been obtained by Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group, which is the manufacturer of well-known JH-7A attack fighter.

China's aspiration for large Air Transporter is pursued in both ways of military and civilian uses. The civilian aircraft, is to satisfy the boom of China's future civilian air transportation. Provinces with Aviation Industries, such as Shanghai, Shanxi, Tianjin, Sichuan,etc, all aim the Large Jet Plane or Heavy Airlift as a great opportunity to upgrade their industrial and economic system. ACAC(AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Company), based in Shanghai, became the developer and manufacturer of ARJ21, a 70-80 seats class regional Jet. ARJ21 is seen as China's first step in 100 ton class civilian aircraft. And in 2006, An A-320 final assembly line project was introduced in Tianjin.

Being an inland military Aircraft and Electronic Industries base, Shanxi had been in embarrassed position since Tianjin and Shanghai's rising in aircraft manufacturing. Shangxi local authority even urged "Input Provincial Power to get the project of Heavy Transport Aircraft". Now Shanxi is seemed to realize its final goal. ShanXi province and Xi'an city will use this occasion to speed the military industrial base development in Western area of China inland.

The military heavy airlift is defined by administration as "National Significant Project", not as usual "National Key Project". In fact some Chinese resources showed that China central government has counted military airlifter as a future strategic military system and a crucial decision for fully waking China's Aviation Industries in next decade.

In his visit, Minister Zhang urged that the R&D on Heavy Airlifter should be based on the mature and reliable technologies, but its performance can approach the international advanced transport aircraft with Chinese independent innovative technologies. From his words, it can be summarized that China's future Military Heavy Airlifter Prototype will be designed on Russia's IL-76MD. But China's airlift aircraft will has an expanded size and payload capacity, and then equipped with 4 high-Bypass ratio turbofan engines (from FWS-10), improved electronic devices.

In general, PLA's next generation lifter will exceed Russia's IL-76 and Japan SDF's being developed C-X transport aircraft and be close up to the "Globalmaster III". PLA’s Heavy Lifter’s Possible Specifications can be described as below:
Crew: 3
Payload Capacity: 60,000-65000 kg
Length: 49 m
Wingspan: 50 m
Height: 15 m
Wing area: 310 m2
Empty weight: 100,000 kg
Max takeoff weight: 220,000 kg
Power: 4× Chinese-made High-bypass turbofans
Maximum speed: 750-800 km/h
Range: (with max payload) 4,400 km
Service ceiling: 13,000 m

For years, Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group has been absorbing foreign aviation technologies and QC(Quality Control) & QA(Quality assurance) measurements by industrial subcontracting with Boeing and Airbus. Meanwhile, AVIC I is preparing the correspondent attached technological projects. Such as CARDC (China Aerodynamics Research & Development Center) has achieved breakthrough in "Turbofan Engine low-speed Simulating Testing Technologies" for Airlifter high bypass engine. Besides, in 2008 China's research on Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based carbon fibers will reach its milestone to produce high-performance aviation materials. PLA's future heavy airlifter will realize the shrunk aircraft empty weight by CF Compound Material made fuselage and wings.

The strategic value of China's Heavy Airlifter, is not only the great improvement PLA's forces long distance projection, but also an air platform for China's New concept Strategic Weapon System. A great conventional weapon gap between PLA and U.S. forces usually shrivels China leaders’ purpose of taking Taiwan back by forces. So Heads in China Government has been focusing on unconventional "Shashoujian" weapon system for strategic striking back.

Now PLA is very interested to Boeing ABL project and FALCON Small Launch Vehicle. Resources in PLA unleashed that the future heavy transportation aircraft will play as important air platform in fighting against with U.S. advanced stealth fighter and cruise missiles. It can be speculated that High-power microwave weapon and some kind of directed energy weapon will be installed on aircraft to jam and destroy air objects, like F-22, F-35 or Tactical Tomahawk.. Base on technological obstacle, Chinese air platform can not use COIL laser for anti-ballistic missile but will have compact laser self-defense system to defend enemy air-to-air missiles.

Like FALCON program tested on U.S. Air Force C-17, China's transport aircraft will become a rocket or ballistic missile aerial launching platform. China has demonstrated its air-launched ballistic missile in 2006 Zhuhai Airshow. In a possible conflict with U.S. in west pacific, PLA will have more striking options by strategic aerial platform, such as anti-craft carrier ballistic missile or anti-satellite space weapon.

PLA will buy 2100 BJ2022JC Light Utility Vehicles

this article once published on JDW

August 2rd, Beijing Automobile Works (BAW) announced that PLA will purchase 2100 BJ2022JC “Brave Warrior” light utility vehicles for the troops. Resources said that the 1000 vehicles will provided to Fujian sub military district where the frontline of Taiwan Strait is.

BJ2022JC is the successor of classic “BJ212” light wheeled vehicle (a Chinese copy of the Soviet UAZ469B), which has been used in PLA for over 40 years. In 1999, PLA invited a public bidding for its generation utility vehicle in China automobile manufactures. After 3 contends, “Brave Warrior” beat other competitors and won the final bid

BJ2022JC series has 0.5 ton class and 0.75 ton class chassis for providing a wide using role in battlefield commanding, materials transportation, personnel carrier, communication and ground assaulting (with light weapons).

BJ2022JC is a full- time 4WD vehicle, which has HMMWV-kind differentials for both and rear to power the wheels. And its independence suspension system learned from Land Rover for greatly improved control in off-road conditions.

The Engine, a 3.2L turbo-charged inter-cooling diesel engine, has output 101.5 KW at 3600 RPM and can reach the biggest torque 313 N·m at 2000 RPM. This diesel engine also has an excellent performance in low temperature. The vehicle can be initiated and run in 20 seconds when lowering than -30, and by some assistant measures, the engine can be operated in 45 seconds when in condition between -30and -45.

“Brave Warrior” has a creative design: dual-fuel-tank. The main tank has capacity of 85L and the back-up tank’s capacity is 18L. The fuel feeding can be easily manually switched from different tanks. BAW claims that the engine fuel efficiency is average 6L /(100 km) and BJ2022JC can reach max range over 1000KM. But some resources from users said that the engine fuel economy is very hard to be complimented.

In the research of the vehicle, BJ2022JC passed the endurance testing in Hei Longjiang Province (High latitude area), Yunnan Province (hot-humidity area), Gansu Province (Desert area) and Tibet (High altitude area). The vehicle was also actualized in an air-drop test for Air-borne performance evaluation. The total test driving range is over 350000 km.

Actually, BJ2022JC is manufactured in the Shunyi District factory owned by Beijing Benz-Daimler Chrysler Automobile Co,Ltd, which was once the Beijing Jeep Automobile (a BAW- Chrysler company) and now is a joint-venture by BAW and Daimler-Chrysler. And BAW also acknowledged that most technologies in BJ2022JC are from BAW’s over 20 year cooperation with western automobile manufactures.