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2 juillet 2015 4 02 /07 /juillet /2015 16:35
VN1 vehicle launched bridge

VN1 vehicle launched bridge

 

June 7, 2015: Strategy Page

 

China recently offered (for export) another new variant in its line of ZBL 09 8x8 wheeled armored vehicle; the VN1 vehicle launched bridge. This is an old concept that goes back to World War II. What it amounts to is a 15-20 meter (46-66 foot) bridge than can quickly be deployed from the vehicle over obstacles allowing similar (in size and weight) vehicles to quickly cross.

 

China introduced the ZBL line of armored vehicles in 2006 after more than a decade of development. The first model was a personnel carrier but other variants quickly followed. For example the ZBL 09 ST1 is equipped as a tank-destroyer with a high velocity 105mm gun. This appears to be a variant on the 2007 version that had a lower velocity 105mm gun that was intended to give infantry front line artillery support. The Germans called this an “assault gun” when they invented the concept (as the “Sturmgeschütz” during World War II. These vehicles are particularly useful for infantry attacking as an assault gun could quickly take out enemy opposition with one or two shells.

 

The assault gun version of its ZBL 09 had a smaller turret than the ST1. The larger turret of the ST1 is apparently to hold the additional recoil and fire control equipment for the more powerful and longer range 105mm gun. In 2009 there was already an artillery version of the ZBL 09, carrying a 122mm howitzer in a larger turret similar to the one used by the ST1.

 

Since 2012 the Chinese Army has been using the ZBL 09 with the turret and 105mm gun as a wheeled light tank. That appeared to indicate that an anti-tank version was already in the works. The ZBL 09/105mm assault gun could, with some extra training, be capable of shooting up other armored vehicles. The 105mm gun carried is not powerful enough to destroy most modern tanks, but could knock out most other armored vehicles.

 

The basic ZBL 09 is a 21 ton vehicle that has a crew of three and carries seven passengers. The ST1 apparently has a crew of four and weighs over 25 tons. All ZBL 09s are 8 meters (25 feet) long, three meters (9.2 feet) wide, and 2.1 meters (6.5 feet, to the hull roof) high. It's amphibious and has a top water speed of 8 kilometers an hour. On roads, top speed is 100 kilometers an hour, and max road range on internal fuel is 800 kilometers. The infantry carrier version has a turret with a 30mm autocannon.

 

The infantry version of the ZBL 09 entered service in 2009, and a growing number of combat brigades are being equipped with it, to operate somewhat like the American Stryker brigades. China has been developing new wheeled armored vehicles for over a decade. Until recently, these were all based on Russian designs. The ZBL 09, however, borrows more ideas from the West. Still, some of the more recent (since 2009) Russian type designs were interesting and instructive.

 

The Chinese have observed NATO success in Iraq with the Stryker and LAV wheeled combat vehicles. Chinese designers eventually concluded that the roomier internal layout of Western vehicles did serve a useful purpose, and the ZBL 09, and all the electronics installed in it, are an example of what the Chinese learned.

VN1 vehicle launched bridge

VN1 vehicle launched bridge

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25 juin 2015 4 25 /06 /juin /2015 07:45
photo SGC K. Congini - FFDj

photo SGC K. Congini - FFDj

 

20 juin 2015 par Tomi Oladipo – BBC Afrique

 

Djibouti, un pays de 23 200 km2 situé sur la mer Rouge, abrite déjà des bases militaires des Etats-Unis et de la France, l'ancienne puissance coloniale, mais l'intérêt de la Chine pour ce pays est de plus en plus évident.

 

La stabilité de Djibouti dans une région agitée est l'un de ses plus grands atouts.

 

Djibouti se trouve sur le détroit de Bab el-Mandeb, une voie vers le canal de Suez qui est l'une des routes maritimes les plus fréquentées du monde.

 

Djibouti offre aussi un port maritime vital pour l'Ethiopie son voisin enclavé , et c'est encore plus important maintenant qu'un chemin de fer entre leurs deux capitales est achevé.

 

Des projets d'infrastructures gérés par des Chinois, dont des aéroports et des ports maritimes, sont présents ici comme ailleurs en Afrique.

 

Mais c'est la proximité de Djibouti avec des régions en crise en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient qui fait que ce pays est stratégique pour l'installation des bases militaires des superpuissances militaires.

 

Pendant des années, la Somalie, au sud-est, a été un foyer de troubles aux implications mondiales, avec les pirates de la mer et les militants d'al-Shabab qui constituent une grave menace pour la région.

 

Le Yémen, actuellement en guerre, est à moins de 30 kilomètres au nord-est, de l'autre côté du détroit de Bab-el-Mandeb.

 

C'est également un accès facile vers le Moyen-Orient sans avoir à y être basé.

 

Ces crises ont justifié des interventions internationales et la nécessité de disposer de bases militaires à proximité.

 

Djibouti accueille la plus grande base militaire américaine permanente en Afrique, le Camp Lemonnier, qui héberge plus de 4000 hommes - qui font partie pour la plupart de la Force conjointe combinée dans la Corne de l'Afrique.

 

Le récent voyage en Afrique du Secrétaire d'Etat américain John Kerry, qui comprenait une escale à Djibouti, soulignait l'importance de cette petite nation, par rapport même aux puissances du continent les plus en vue .

 

Même si la France et le Japon lancent également des opérations depuis l'aéroport international de Djibouti-Ambouli, ce sont les ambitions militaires de la Chine qui attirent l'attention.

 

Le Président djiboutien Ismaël Omar Guelleh a récemment révélé à l'agence de presse AFP que les négociations étaient en cours entre les deux pays sur la création de la première base navale officielle de la Chine à l'étranger.

 

Pékin a refusé de confirmer ou de démentir ces informations, mais cette amitié grandissante n'est pas vue d'un très bon oeil par les Américains.

 

Un membre du Congrès américain a protesté avant la visite de John Kerry à Djibouti, disant que les intérêts américains dans la région pourraient être compromis par la présence croissante et "inquiétante"de la Chine.

 

C'est encore plus flagrant si la base chinoise est établie dans la région d'Obock au nord, où elle éclipserait de petites installations militaires américaines qui s'y trouvent déjà.

 

La Chine y aura même accès à un aéroport, qui serait déjà en construction par une entreprise chinoise, bien sûr, selon la publication de renseignement La Lettre de l'Océan Indien.

 

La principale base américaine restera au Camp Lemonnier, le bail a été récemment renouvelé pour 10 années supplémentaires.

 

La Chine a récemment déployé une force de 700 hommes pour protéger ses intérêts pétroliers au Soudan du Sud. C'est un signe qu'elle est soucieuse de protéger ses échanges avec l'Afrique qui représentent deux cents milliards de dollars.

 

Cela vaut aussi pour lutter contre les attaques de pirates sur les routes commerciales cruciales entre l'océan Indien et la mer de Chine du Sud.

 

Les ressortissants chinois travaillant sur des projets d'infrastructure dans la région bénéficieraient également de la proximité d'une base militaire dans la région.

 

Des centaines d'entre eux ont été récemment évacués du Yémen déchiré par la guerre, ainsi que de la Libye en 2011 face à l'escalade de la violence.

 

Mais les Américains ne sont pas convaincus que Pékin n'a pas d'arrière-pensées.

 

Ils payent 63 millions de dollars par an en loyer pour leur base et ce sera 100 millions de dollars pour les Chinois, en plus de leurs projets d'infrastructure en cours de sorte qu'il n'est pas difficile de réaliser pourquoi Djibouti va au delà des rivalités des puissances mondiales et profite de son rôle lucratif de propriétaire.

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4 juin 2015 4 04 /06 /juin /2015 07:35
LG5 40mm Precision Grenade Launcher

LG5 40mm Precision Grenade Launcher

 

June 3, 2015: Strategy Page

 

A Chinese manufacturer recently announced a 40mm grenade launcher with a computerized sight and computer controlled 40mm rounds that the weapon could program to explode over a specific target being aimed at. At one weapons sales expo this LG5 system was touted as an anti-sniper system for police. Closer examination of the system indicated that the LG5 was actually designed for long range (over 500 meters) targets, especially structures or vehicles that had to be hit on the first shot. There have been no reports of the reports of the LG5, which looks like a large (40mm) rifle with a round magazine allowing for multiple shots and an impressive looking computerized sight, complete with laser range finder. The LG5 may have been just some misdirected hype, but it shows you how far Chinese weapons development has come since the 1990s.

 

Chinese weapons manufacturers have been developing more and more 20mm-40mm grenade launchers for infantry and mechanized units since 2000. Many of these systems are offered for export, to military and police units as well as, unofficially, anyone with the money to pay for the weapons and extra for “special delivery.” There are multiple manufacturers of these weapons and for most weapons in China and the competition is pretty intense.

 

This began by producing cheaper versions of existing grenade launchers. One example of this was the QLB06. Introduced in 2006, by 2012 the Chinese QLB06 35mm semi-automatic grenade launcher had apparently become a standard weapon for many Chinese infantry units. It weighs 9.1 kg (20 pounds) empty and is 1046mm (41 inches) long. A drum magazine can hold 4-6 rounds, giving the weapon a maximum weight of 9.6 kg (27 pounds). It's semi-automatic and effective up to 1,000 meters.

 

The QLB06 is but the latest of a growing number of similar weapons. All these portable grenade launchers have an interesting past. While the U.S. developed (in the 1960s) a 40mm grenade, launched from a single shot (resembling a shotgun) hand held weapon and later a heavier vehicle mounted machine-gun type weapon, China developed something unique in its line of 35mm grenade launcher weapons. The earlier QLB87 has a magazine system that can hold 6, 9, or 12 35mm rounds. It weighs 12 kg (26.5 pounds). It looks, and is used like a light machine-gun. This weapon has not been used in combat yet and Western armies have stayed away from this design because it's easier to mount automatic 40mm machine-guns (weighing over a 50 kg/110 pounds) on armored vehicles or light trucks. The Chinese, however, have more light (few vehicles) infantry. So for them the W87 makes a lot of sense. But apparently Chinese troops, and weapons developers, thought better of the QLB87 and came up with the lighter QLB06.

 

Automatic grenade launchers, firing low speed 30-40mm shells, became popular in the 1960s when the usefulness of the American single shot M79 40mm grenade launcher was noted. Many troops today want the M79 back. But back then Russia and the United States proceeded to develop automatic grenade launchers. This was actually the second generation, as the Russians originally developed such weapons in the 1930s. By 1939 the Russian Navy was testing a 40.8mm weapon and the army followed a year later. The 21 ounce shells were based on the Djakonow rifle grenade and were fired at 129 meters (400 feet) per second (about 40 percent the speed of a pistol bullet) for a maximum range of 1,200 meters. The weapon weighed 24 kg (53 pounds) and was used in the 1940 Winter War with Finland. For political reasons (the weapons designer fell out of favor) the weapon was withdrawn from service before the Germans invaded in 1941 and was forgotten. This sort of thing happens a lot in military history.

 

In 1965, the U.S. developed and put into service the M18 40mm automatic grenade launcher. This weapon used the same 40mm round as the M79. The 8.6 kg (19 pound) M18 used a hand crank to load rounds (from a belt). Work on this weapon actually began in 1962, but it took the popularity of the M79 in Vietnam to spur production. Some 1,200 M18s were built through 1968, and it was a popular weapon on U.S. Navy river patrol boats, where ambushes were frequently encountered. Starting in 1966, the M18 was replaced by the heavier M19 that was truly automatic but weighed 34 kg (75 pounds). This was also developed by the U.S. Navy. Russia followed in 1974 with the AGS17, a 30mm grenade launcher weighing the same as the M19 but firing a 285 gram (ten ounce) shell instead of the 458 gm (16 ounce) 40mm shell used in American weapons.

 

The U.S. and other nations have since come out with lightweight grenade launchers that fit under the assault rifle barrel. But the appeal of a dedicated grenade launcher for a "grenadier" has always been popular. One skilled grenadier with a weapon like the QLB06 or LG5 can be very effective and the Chinese are determined to come up with more effective and cheaper weapons of this type.  

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4 juin 2015 4 04 /06 /juin /2015 07:35
Weapons: The China Solution

 

May 26, 2015: Strategy Page

 

China has arming its troops with the new ZH-05, a weapon that combines a 5.56mm assault rife with a computer controlled 20mm grenade launcher (with a max range of 700 meters). The ZH-05 has been seen with Chinese marines sent abroad warships working with the Somali anti-piracy patrol. Chinese special operations troops have the ZH-05 and the army ordered several thousand of them so that each four man infantry fire-team will have one. That puts China ahead of the other two countries (United States and South Korea) with similar weapons. The Chinese version is lighter, simpler and cheaper and the Chinese feel the ZH-05 is worth buying and issuing to the troops. There’s not been similar enthusiasm with the American and South Korean versions.

 

The U.S. began working on this type of weapon back in the 1990s as the OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) and that mutated into the XM25 (the “X” in XM25 designates a system that is still in development). The South Korean one is the K11. The three weapons are different in important ways. The American and South Korean weapons both have a magazine for the computer controlled grenades while the ZH-05 is a single shot weapon, requiring 20mm rounds to be loaded manually each time. This makes the ZH-05 the lightest of the three weapons, weighing five kg (11 pounds) loaded (with a single 20mm round and a magazine with 20 rounds of 5.8mm ammo). The M25 got rid of the assault rifle element and upped the caliber to 25mm. Thus an M25, with a four round magazine, weighs 5.5 kg while the K11, loaded with a 20 round 5.56mm and five round 20mm magazines weighs 7.2 kg. The M25 is the only one of three to have been tested extensively in combat but because of misfire during a demonstration, budget cuts and troops finding there were not really that many situations calling for the M25, the system was cancelled (development funding was eliminated) in 2013.

 

XM-25

XM-25

The initial spectacular success and popularity of the XM25 grenade launchers in Afghanistan led the army to request that the weapon enter regular service as the M25 in 2014. But Congress, looking for ways to reduce military spending in 2013 cut all money for the M25. The army managed to scrounge enough cash to keep the M25 on the books and hopes to get the money to build 1,100 of them. Currently the M25 cost $35,000 each with the 25mm ammo going for $55 per round. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) apparently has some M25s but with few American troops in combat there is not a lot of demand for a weapon like this.

 

When the first evaluation models of the XM25 arrived in Afghanistan in 2011 the weapon soon became much sought after by infantry troops. There were never more than a few dozen XM25s in Afghanistan and limited supplies of ammunition. Despite that the weapon quickly developed a formidable reputation. The Special Forces have priority on the weapon because it is very useful for special operations missions. The army planned to buy enough so that they could issue one per infantry squad. There are 27 squads in an infantry battalion.

 

The XM25 grenade launcher went through several major design changes and it wasn’t until 2005 that the first XM25s were delivered to the U.S. Army for troop testing. In 2007 a few were sent overseas for testing in combat situations. While the troops have been very enthusiastic about the new weapon, there were a lot of suggestions, mostly about minor items. So the army kept tweaking and refining the weapon. It appeared that the XM25 was a success after only 55 of the 25mm rounds were fired in combat. The users protested having to give them up after the few months of field testing. All this was because the XM25s worked as advertised, firing "smart rounds" that exploded over the heads of Taliban hiding behind rocks or walls, or hiding in a cave or room. Enemy machine-guns have been quickly knocked out of action and ambushes quickly disrupted with a few 25mm shells. Encounters that might go on for 15 minutes or longer, as U.S. troops exchange fire with hidden Taliban, end in minutes after a few 25mm, computer controlled rounds were used. But over time it was found that there were not that many situations in combat calling for an M25 and some troops left them behind most of the time.

 

The XM25 was originally one of two weapons (the other being a 5.56mm rifle) incorporated in the 8.2 kg (18 pound) XM29 OICW. The OICW was originally developed as a replacement for the 40mm grenade launcher attached to the grenadiers M16 as well as providing a more accurate and capable grenade launcher. Didn't work out as intended. The big problem was effectiveness. The older 40mm, unguided, grenade rounds weigh 540 grams (19 ounces) each, the original 20mm OICW round weighed half that. This was one of the several major problems with the OICW. It was too heavy and ungainly, and the 20mm "smart shell" it fired did not appear capable of effectively putting enemy troops out of action consistently, especially compared to the 40mm shell it was replacing. So, in August, 2003, it was decided to take the 5.56mm portion out of the OICW and develop it as a separate weapon (the XM8) while the grenade launcher part that fired the "smart shell" continued development as the XM25. But the XM-25 would now use a 25mm shell, which would generate 50 percent more fragments (and heavier ones at that) than the 20mm shell of the OICW. China and South Korea insist that their 20mm grenades inflict sufficient hurt on the enemy to be effective. The U.S., with lots of combat testing believes that 25mm is the only way to go. China disagrees and insists its 20mm shell is quite lethal.

 

The 20mm and 25mm "smart shells" both use a computer controlled fuze. The XM25 operator could choose one of four different firing modes via a selector switch on the weapon. The four modes include "Bursting" (airburst). For this to work, the soldier first finds the target via the weapons sighting system. The sight includes a laser range finder and the ability to select and adjust the range shown in the sight picture. For an air burst, the soldier aims at an enemy position and fires a round. The shell is optimized to spray incapacitating (wounding or killing) fragments in a roughly six meter (19 foot) radius from the exploding round. Thus if enemy troops are seen moving near trees or buildings at a long distance (over 500 meters), the weapon has a good chance of getting them with one shot. M-16s are not very accurate at that range, and the enemy troops will dive for cover as soon as M-16 bullets hit around them. With smart shells, you get one (or a few) accurate shots and the element of surprise. The smart shells can be used out to 700 meters, but not as accurately. At those longer ranges, you can't put a shell through a window, but you can hurt a crowd of gunmen standing outside the building.

 

The other modes are "PD" (point detonation, where the round explodes on contact), PDD (point detonation delay, where the round detonates immediately after it has gone through a door, window or thin wall) and "Window", which is used for firing at enemy troops in a trench, behind a stone wall or inside a room. The round detonates just beyond the aiming point. For buildings, this would be a window or door frame, cave entrance or the corner of a building (to get enemy troops thought to be around the corner.)

 

The XM25 is still a heavy weapon, with the final version coming in at 5.5 kg (12 pounds). The 25mm shells weigh over half a pound each (270 grams). On the plus side, there is already a 25mm armor piercing round (using a shaped charge capable of penetrating over 50mm of armor) available. This makes the XM-25 capable of knocking out light armored vehicles. Then there are the types of 25mm ammo, like fuel-air explosive (or "thermobaric"). Such a shell would cause greater blast effect in an enclosed space, and actually suck most of the oxygen out of a cave or closed room long enough to make surviving troops at least a bit groggy. This gives the attacking troops an opportunity to rush in and kill the enemy or take prisoners. In combat, every little advantage helps. With the XM-25, hiding behind rocks, trees, walls or in caves will no longer protect you. There is also a flechette ("shotgun") round. The XM-25 also has a 4x thermal sight.

 

K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon

K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon

It was only in 2009 that South Korea revealed it had developed the K11, a $14,000 20mm/5.56mm weapon which appeared to be identical in concept to the U.S. Army XM29. The South Korean version weighs 6.1 kg (13.4 pounds) empty and combines a 5.56mm rifle, with one firing 20mm computer and laser controlled shells. The South Korean weapon appears to operate the same way as the 20mm shell of the XM-29. The South Koreans plan to issue the K11, on the basis of two weapons per squad (an infantry unit containing 10-12 men). The K11 was both cheaper and lighter than the XM29.

 

It's unclear if the South Koreans found solutions to the problems the XM29 and XM25 encountered, or simply developed an improved XM29 and decided it was useful in small numbers. South Korea used some K11s in Afghanistan and there were lots of complaints about reliability and effectiveness. This did not result in the K11 being cancelled, but the weapon does not have a good reputation among the troops. The South Koreans have found that the 20mm smart shell is effective out to about 500 meters. South Korean troops began receiving the K11 in 2010. In 2011 South Korea halted production of the K11 for a while because nearly half of those already distributed to the troops had design or manufacturing problems. This included some that had been sent to South Korean troops in Afghanistan. The K11 problems were fixed and so far over 4,000 have been built. The K11 manufacturer insists that problems have been fixed but troops and many commanders are not so confident.

 

The Chinese ZH-05 has three types of 20mm ammo. One is impact detonation, the second is air burst and the third is a shotgun type shell. The computerized fire control system only provides for the user to select at what range the air burst round will detonate. Because these 20mm rounds have fewer electronics in them they carry more fragments and the Chinese believe (but don’t know from combat experience) that this supplies adequate wounding capability.

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4 juin 2015 4 04 /06 /juin /2015 07:35
Armor: Argo In China

source military-today.com

 

May 28, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Chinese airborne and light infantry units are being equipped with a Chinese made amphibious ATV (All Terrain Vehicle). This is an 8x8 vehicle apparently based on the Canadian Argo design, which has been around since the 1960s and has been regularly upgraded, refined, improved and extensively used all over the world. The Chinese ATV can carry six people (including the driver), weighs 1.7 tons and has a max payload of about a ton. If used amphibiously the ATV can only carry about a third of a ton. Max road speed is 60 kilometers an hour. The ATV is 3.9 meters (12.7 feet) long and 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) wide. The Chinese military has several thousand of these vehicles, many (if not most) of them with non-combat units.

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3 juin 2015 3 03 /06 /juin /2015 16:35
3M14E Sizzler / Klub LACM (Novator)

3M14E Sizzler / Klub LACM (Novator)

 

May 31, 2015: Strategy Page

 

China is making angru noises to the UN, Vietnam and Russia about the little publicized Russian sale of Klub submarine launched cruise missiles to Vietnam. China wasn’t happy about Russia selling Vietnam six Kilo class diesel electric submarines in 2009. Russia and Vietnam were quiet about the sale of 50 Klub missiles but the news eventually got out, in part because 28 of the Klub missiles have already been delivered, along with three of the Kilos. Another two Kilos are being delivered in 2015 and the last one will be completed in 2016 about the same time the rest of the Klub missiles arrive. Vietnam is one the many nations in the region threatened by Chinese claims to most of the South China Sea and given the long (over a thousand years) hostility between China and Vietnam, there is understandable fear that, even in defeat, Vietnam would use Klub missiles for one last attack on China.

 

The Russian 3M54 (also known as the SS-N-27, Sizzler or Klub) anti-ship missiles can also be aimed at targets on land and that’s what really bothers the Chinese. Klub is now used on Indian, Algerian and Vietnamese subs and is considered very effective. But it was not always that way.  India (a major customer for the Klub) has feuded with the Russians in the past because of repeated failures of the Klub during six test firings in 2007. These missile tests were carried out off the Russian coast, using an Indian Kilo class submarine, INS Sindhuvijay. That boat had gone to Russia in 2006 for upgrades. India refused to pay for the upgrades, or take back the sub, until Russia fixed the problems with the missiles (which it eventually did).

 

Weighing two tons, and fired from a 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tube on a Kilo class sub, the 3M54 has a 200 kg (440 pound) warhead. The anti-ship version has a range of 300 kilometers, but speeds up to 3,000 kilometers an hour during its last minute or so of flight. There are also air launched and ship launched versions. The land attack version does away with the high speed final approach feature and that makes possible a larger 400 kg (880 pound) warhead.

 

What makes the 3M54 particularly dangerous when attacking ships is that during its final approach, which begins when the missile is about 15 kilometers from its target, the missile speeds up. Up to that point, the missile travels at an altitude of about 30 meters (a hundred feet). This makes the missile more difficult to detect. That plus the high speed final approach means that it covers that last fifteen kilometers in less than twenty seconds. This makes it more difficult for current anti-missile weapons to take it down.

 

The 3M54 Klub is similar to earlier, Cold War era Russian anti-ship missiles, like the 3M80 ("Sunburn") and P700 ("Shipwreck") which entered service at the end of the Cold War. These missiles are considered "carrier killers," but it's not known how many of them would have to hit a carrier to knock it out of action, much less sink it. Moreover, Russian missiles have little combat experience, and a reputation for erratic performance. Quality control was never a Soviet strength, but the Russians are getting better, at least in the civilian sector. The military manufacturers appear to have been slower to adapt. It is believed that Chinese warships have no effective defense against missile like Klub, which why they are so outspoken about Russia selling them to Vietnam. 

 

The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface displacement), have six torpedo tubes and a crew of 52. They can travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five kilometers an hour. Top speed underwater is 32 kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or Klub anti-ship or cruise missiles (launched underwater from the torpedo tubes.) Kilos can stay at sea 45 days at a time. It can travel at periscope depth (using a snorkel device to bring in air) for 12,000 kilometers at 12 kilometers an hour. The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very dangerous to American carriers. North Korea, China, India, Indonesia, Romania, Algeria, Vietnam and Iran have also bought Kilos. The main reason for purchasing Kilos is that they cost about half what equivalent Western subs go for. Kilos are very similar to the world-standard diesel submarine, the 1800-ton German Type 209.

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3 juin 2015 3 03 /06 /juin /2015 16:30
Armor: China Unofficially Arms The Kurds

 

May 27, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Kurdish forces fighting in Iraq and Syria have been seen using the Chinese HJ-8 ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles). This is the Chinese version of the American TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) system has been in service since 1970. Over 500,000 TOW missiles have been manufactured since its introduction and it remains in service with the United States and many other countries. All versions of TOW are shipped and fired from a sealed launch tube. That tube is placed on a MGS (Missile Guidance Set) that contains the gunner sight, with night vision, and operator guidance electronics. The MGS weighs 25 kg (55 pounds). The 1970 version of the missile weighed 19 kg (42 pounds) and had a 3.9 kg (8.6 pound) warhead. The latest version (TOW 2B or BGM-71F) weighs 22.7 kg (50 pounds) and has a 6.2 kg (13.5 pound) warhead that can defeat ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) at targets up to 4,000 meters away.

 

The HJ-8 is nearly identical to TOW 2 in size, weight, range and, according to the Kurds, performance. Both TOW and HJ-8 use SACLOS (semi-automatic command line-of-sight) guidance. This system works by having the operator hold the target in the MGS sights and the missile will be guided to the target via wires that connect the missile to the launcher. The big problem is that the operator is often under fire and that sometimes makes it difficult to maintain aim. The next generations of anti-tank missiles were wireless and “fire-and-forget” which allows the operator to duck as soon as the target is identified by the MGS and the missile fired. Nearly all ATGMs use shaped-charge warheads that penetrate most tank armor and are also effective against structures and unarmored vehicles.

 

 The Kurds have a hard time getting weapons from the Iraqi government (because of disputes over control of oil and corruption in the Shia Arab dominated government) and have sought weapons from all available sources. Chinese weapons are widely available in the international black market for arms. If you have the money, there are groups that can get you all sorts of relatively cheap and pretty effective Chinese weapons, which are often pretty good copies of Western and Russian weapons.

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2 juin 2015 2 02 /06 /juin /2015 18:35
WZ-10 Attack Helicopter

WZ-10 Attack Helicopter

 

May 25, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Pakistan has apparently received the first three of twenty Chinese WZ-10 helicopter gunships. Pictures of two of them together have appeared. These first three were announced as a gift and were quickly delivered so Pakistan could try them out. This appears to have led to an order for 17 more. Or not, as the WZ-10 sale has been kept quiet. If Pakistan does buy 17 more WZ-10s it would be the first export customer. The sale is apparently a done deal as Pakistan is to receive two more WZ-10s by the end of the year.

 

China has been developing the 7 ton WZ-10 helicopter gunship since the 1990s. After 14 years of development there were several prototypes and a lot of unresolved problems. Attempts to buy or steal helicopter gunship technology from Russia and South Africa failed. In 2010 some of the prototypes were sent to Chinese Army aviation units for field testing. While not a failure, there were problems and at one point the WZ-10 was in danger of being abandoned. The Chinese persevered and fixed most of the defects by 2012 and put WZ-10 into production. The WZ-10 is armed with an autocannon (23mm to 30mm) and has four hard points that can carry 16 HJ10 laser guided missiles (similar to Hellfire) or even more unguided rockets.

 

Meanwhile China also put the smaller (4.5 ton) WZ-19 armed scout helicopter into production, partly as a backup if the WZ-10 failed. China wanted something more like the American AH-64 Apache and the WZ-10 was equipped to operate like the AH-64 or earlier AH-1 (which Pakistan has been using for a long time). The WZ-19 has been spotted in the air since 2010 and by 2012 was seen painted in military colors, meaning it was out of development and in service. The WZ-19 was earlier known as the Z-9W. The WZ-19 is yet another Chinese helicopter based on the Eurocopter Dauphin (which has been built under license in China since the 1990s. The WZ-19 is a 4.5 ton, two seat armed helicopter. It can carry a 23mm autocannon and up to a ton of munitions (missiles, usually). Cruising speed is 245 kilometers an hour and range is 700 kilometers. The WZ-19 is basically an upgraded Z-9W.

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21 mai 2015 4 21 /05 /mai /2015 16:35
photo CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

photo CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

 

19.05.2015 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense
 

Les Américains l'appellent Fiery Cross Reef, les Vietnamiens Da Chu Thap, les Philippins Kagitingan. Pour les Chinois, c'est le Yongshu Reef, un bout de rocher qui se transforme résolument  en "porte-avions" ou en base avancée.

 

La Chine contrôle ce caillou depuis 1987 et est en désaccord avec le Vietnam depuis 1988. Faisant fi des tensions et des mises en garde, Pékin a entrepris des travaux titanesques pour faire de ce rocher une plate-forme militarisée.

 

Pour en savoir plus, découvrir l'avancement des travaux et mieux appréhender la stratégie chinoise, l'Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative propose un excellent diaporama interactif (à découvrir ici).

 

On notera aussi les pages "Island Tracker" qui listent les îles occupées et bétonnées par les Chinois.

Un porte-avions en béton baptisé Yongshu Reef par les Chinois

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13 mai 2015 3 13 /05 /mai /2015 11:35
photo Marine nationale

photo Marine nationale

 

12 Mai 2015 Source : Marine Nationale

 

Mercredi 6 mai 2015, le groupe Jeanne d’Arc navigue en mer de Chine. A bord du bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC) Dixmude, deux cadets de la Marine chinoise participent à un exercice MACOPEX dirigé par les officiers-élèves de la promotion 2012 de l’Ecole Navale.

 

Un mois auparavant, du 30 mars au 3 avril 2015, l’amiral Bernard Rogel, chef d’état-major de la Marine, se rendait en visite officielle en Chine où il était accueilli par son homologue chinois, l’amiral Wu Shengli. Cette visite a été l’occasion pour le CEMM de se rendre à Qingdao, base de  la flotte du Nord pour visiter plusieurs unités opérationnelles dont  le porte-avions Liaoning et d’être reçu également par le chef d’état- major général de l’armée de libération, le Général Fang Fenghui.

 

C’est dans cette dynamique de coopération et dans le cadre de la mission Jeanne d’Arc 2015 que les deux cadets chinois ont embarqué pendant une dizaine de jours à bord du BPC Dixmude entre Singapour et Shanghai.

 

Ils viennent de la Naval University of Engineering fondée en 1949 et située à Wuhan. Accompagnés chacun d’un officier-élève qui leur sert de guide, ils sont amenés à côtoyer les officiers-élèves de la promotion 2012 de l’Ecole Navale à l’occasion des multiples activités menées à bord du BPC Dixmude. Observateurs ou acteurs, les deux cadets chinois sont notamment présents lors des exercices de sécurité, des opérations de visite et lors des exercices de tir (armes légères ou 12.7). A l’occasion de quarts au PC Machine Electricité Sécurité, c’est aussi pour eux l’opportunité de découvrir la manière de travailler de leurs homologues français.

 

Les relations entre les marines française et chinoise s’inscrivent dans un dialogue stratégique militaire basé sur des réunions d’état-major et portent sur des sujets d’intérêt commun comme la lutte contre la piraterie maritime. La régularité des relations navales entre les deux marines permet d’augmenter progressivement le niveau d’interaction avec un renforcement de la connaissance mutuelle. Récemment deux officiers français ont embarqué entre Toulon et Athènes à bord d’un bâtiment de la FFG Yun Cheng et deux autres entre Papeete et Cairns sur le navire école Zheng He.

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9 avril 2015 4 09 /04 /avril /2015 12:35
Visite officielle du chef d’état-major de la marine en Chine

 

7 Avril 2015 par Marine nationale

 

Du 30 mars au 3 avril l’amiral Rogel s’est rendu en Chine en visite officielle.

 

Il a tout d’abord été accueilli chaleureusement par son homologue chinois à Pékin, l’amiral Wu Shengli avant de se rendre à Qingdao, base de la flotte du Nord pour visiter plusieurs unités opérationnelles dont le porte-avions Liaoning.

 

De retour à Pékin, l’amiral Rogel a été reçu par le chef d’état- major général de l’armée de libération, le Général Fang Fenghui.

 

Les relations entre nos deux marines s’inscrivent dans un dialogue stratégique militaire basé sur des réunions d’état-major et portent sur des sujets d’intérêt commun comme la lutte contre la piraterie maritime.

 

La Chine est un acteur militaire majeur qui souhaite renforcer ses capacités navales. Elle assure la permanence d’un groupe naval en océan Indien et déploie régulièrement ses bâtiments jusqu’en Méditerranée ou en Atlantique.

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3 avril 2015 5 03 /04 /avril /2015 12:35
Solar impulse 2 : escale en Chine

 

02/04/2015 Armée de l'air  - Economie et technologie

 

Lancé le 9 mars 2015, l’avion du projet Solar impulse 2, premier tour du monde en avion solaire, a quitté la Birmanie direction la Chine. Charly, l'un des deux élèves de l’École de l’air intégrés au projet, fait le point sur cette nouvelle étape.

 

Lundi 30 mars 2015, à 3h30 du matin, l’HB-SiB, l’avion de Solar impulse 2, a décollé de Birmanie. Après plus de 20 heures de vol et le survol des chaînes himalayennes, l’avion s’est posé à Chongqing (Chine) pour un arrêt technique. Ne devant durer qu’une nuit, cette étape a finalement été prolongée en raison des mauvaises conditions météorologiques qui ont contraint à retarder le départ pour Nanjing (Chine). L'avion et une partie de l'équipe resteront donc quelques jours supplémentaires à Chongqing.

 

Lors de cette étape, Axel et moi avons participé aux opérations sur piste, au démontage du hangar mobile et aux chargements des avions cargo. Nous avons ensuite embarqué à bord d'un Ilyushin 76 russe qui nous a conduit à Nanjing. Les prochains jours seront consacrés à la préparation de l'arrivée de l'avion, ainsi qu’à l'inspection et au contrôle du hangar mobile, qui a été utilisé plus longtemps que prévu en Birmanie.

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2 avril 2015 4 02 /04 /avril /2015 11:35
Shaheen III missile - Photo Rafay15

Shaheen III missile - Photo Rafay15

 

April 1, 2015: Strategy Page

 

On March 9, 2015 Pakistan successfully launched its Shaheen 3 IRBM ballistic missile for the first time. This missile, now proven to work, has the longest range (2,700 kilometers) of any Pakistani missile and can reach all of India. Shaheen 3 is a solid fuel missile while most of Pakistan’s earlier long-range missiles were liquid fueled. Shaheen 3 was developed in secrecy, perhaps because Pakistan was unsure if they could perfect the technology for producing large solid fuel rocket motors. Pakistan had to obtain this tech from somewhere else because Pakistan does not have the industrial infrastructure to do it themselves. China was the most likely donor and China would do this largely because Pakistani ballistic missiles aimed at India make Indian anti-missile defenses less effective against Chinese ballistic missiles.

 

Meanwhile Pakistan has continued work on its liquid fuel missiles. In early 2012 Pakistan successfully tested a new version of its Shaheen 1 (Hatf IV) missile. The new one is being called Shaheen 1A and it has a range of 1,500 kilometers. The Shaheen 1 weighs 9.5 tons and carries a one ton warhead, to a maximum range of 700 kilometers. The 10 ton Shaheen 1A carries a smaller warhead and has more rocket fuel. The Shaheen 1A could cover most of northern India. The Shaheen 1A technology is considered more reliable than that used in the longer ranged Shaheen 2.

 

The Shaheen 1 entered service in 2003, and is apparently a variant of the Chinese M-9 missile. Pakistan is believed to have received the solid fuel M-9 in the 1990s, and since then modified it somewhat. Pakistan began producing the Hatf IV in the late 1990s, although it was not tested until 1999. The design appears to be well thought out, for the Hatf IV has had several successful tests. It's not known if Pakistan has a nuclear warhead of equal reliability. Such warheads are difficult to design, manufacture, and test. China has long been selling military technology to Pakistan but it appears that nuclear warhead technology has not been offered.

 

Until the successful test of the Shaheen 3 the largest Pakistani ballistic missile was the Shaheen 2, which is believed to be an upgraded Pakistani version of the Chinese M-18, which was originally shown at the 1987 Beijing air show as a two-stage missile with a 1,000 km range and carrying a half ton warhead. This M-18 missile has the longest range of any of the current M/DF-series missiles. There have been over half a dozen successful test launches of the Shaheen 2 since 2004. These missiles now have a range of 2,000 kilometers and can cover all but the southern tip of India. Satellite photos of a Pakistani factory 30 kilometers southwest of the capital show transporter erector launchers (TELs) being assembled for the Shaheen 2 ballistic missile. It appears that fifty or more of the 16.1 meter (fifty foot) long, six axle vehicles have been built there in the last five years. Shaheen 3 also uses a TEL.

 

Pakistan has a full range of solid fuel rockets. In addition to those mentioned above, there is the 1.5 ton Hatf I, which has a range of 80 kilometers, followed by larger and longer range models until Shaheen 3. In response to all this India has developed, and is about to deploy, an anti-missile system that can knock down some of the long range Pakistani ballistic missiles.

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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 16:45
Defense Minister Chang Wanquan with Namibia's President Hage Geingob in Windhoek, Namibia, March 30, 2015. (photo Xinhua - Wu Changwei)

Defense Minister Chang Wanquan with Namibia's President Hage Geingob in Windhoek, Namibia, March 30, 2015. (photo Xinhua - Wu Changwei)

 

01 April 2015 by defenceWeb

 

China’s defence minister Chang Wanquan has visited Namibia, where he announced the donation of N$58 million worth of military equipment to the Namibian government.

 

Wanquan was accompanied by a delegation comprising 15 army, navy and air force officials. He said the decision to donate the equipment is part of an effort to improve defence cooperation with Namibia.

 

Wanquan said suggestions that China plans to establish a naval base in Namibia were just rumours and that rumours “can destroy a country”.

 

Namibian President Hage Geingob met Wanquan in the capital Windhoek on 30 March, saying the two countries are “all-weather” partners with solid cooperation in political, economic and military affairs.

 

Namibia is willing to make joint efforts with China to push forward state and military relations between the two countries and the two militaries, Geingob told his Chinese guest, Xinhua reports.

 

Also on Monday, Wanquan visited Sam Nujoma, the founding president of Namibia, and held talks with his Namibian counterpart.

 

Last week Wanquan visited Zimbabwe as part of a goodwill visit to Namibia and Zimbabwe.

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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 16:35
Unit-61398 Chinese Army Cyberwarfare

Unit-61398 Chinese Army Cyberwarfare

 

March 31, 2015: Strategy Page

 

After years of denying any involvement in Cyber War or having organized units for that sort of thing, China suddenly admitted that it was all true. This was all laid out in the latest (March 2015) issue of a Chinese military publication (The Science of Military Strategy). This unclassified journal comes out about once a year and makes it possible for all Chinese military and political leaders to freely discuss new military strategies. The March edition went into a lot of detail about Chinese Cyber War operations. Most of these details were already known for those who could read Western media. Many details of Chinese Cyber War activities are published in the West, if only to warn as many organizations as possible of the nature and seriousness of the threat. Apparently the Chinese leadership decided that the secrecy about their Cyber War activities was being stripped away by foreigners anyway so why bother continuing to deny. Publish and take a victory lap.

 

Since the 1990s China has continued to expand its enormous Internet Army (as it is called in China). Not all these programs are successful. For example since 2011 there has been an effort to force companies to organize their Internet savvy employees into a cyber-militia and inspire these geeks to find ways to protect the firm's networks. But by 2013 it was clear this project was not turning out exactly as expected, as many of the volunteers had become successful, but unpopular, censors. It’s now widely accepted that one of the most annoying things for the new Chinese middle class is the censorship (especially on the Internet). The most annoying censorship is the online version that is carried out by paid and volunteer censors at your company or in your neighborhood. This use of “local activists” to control discussions and inform on possible troublemakers (or worse, like spies or criminals) is an old Chinese custom and one that was highly refined by the 20th century communists (first the Russians, who passed it on to their Chinese comrades). The old-school informer network suffered a lot of desertions and other damage during three decades of economic freedom. But the government has been diligent about rebuilding the informer and censor network online, where it’s easier for the busybodies to remain anonymous and safe from retribution. The on-line informers are also useful for keeping an eye on foreign businesses.

 

Internal and external espionage is one of the main reasons the Chinese government took an interest in the Internet back in the 1990s. This resulted in nearly two decades of effort to mobilize the Chinese people as an Internet army. It was in the late 1990s that the Chinese Defense Ministry established the "NET Force." This was initially a research organization, which was to measure China's vulnerability to attacks via the Internet. Soon this led to examining the vulnerability of other countries, especially the United States, Japan, and South Korea (all nations that were heavy Internet users). NET Force has continued to grow, aided by plenty of volunteers.

 

In 1999, NET Force organized an irregular civilian militia, the "Red Hackers Union" (RHU). These are several hundred thousand patriotic Chinese programmers and Internet engineers who wished to assist the motherland and put the hurt, via the Internet, on those who threaten or insult China. The RHU began spontaneously (in response to American bombs accidentally hitting the Chinese embassy in Serbia), but the government gradually assumed some control, without turning the voluntary organization into another bureaucracy. Various ministries have liaison officers who basically keep in touch with what the RHU is up to (mostly the usual geek chatter) and intervene only to "suggest" that certain key RHU members back off from certain subjects or activities. Such "suggestions" carry great weight in China, where people who misbehave on the web are very publicly prosecuted and sent to jail. For those RHU opinion-leaders and ace hackers that cooperate, there are all manner of benefits for their careers, not to mention some leniency if they get into some trouble with the authorities. Many government officials fear the RHU, believing that it could easily turn into a "counter-revolutionary force." So far, the Defense Ministry and NET Force officials have convinced the senior politicians that they have the RHU under control. Meanwhile, the hackers (or “honkers” after the Chinese word for “visitor”) became folk heroes and the opportunity to join your company’s contingent of the “Online Red Army” appealed to many as a chance to be like the honkers.

 

NET Force was never meant to be just volunteers. Starting in the late 1990s, China assembled the first of what eventually grew to 40,000 Ministry of Public Security employees manning the Golden Shield Project (nicknamed as The Great Firewall of China). This was an effort to monitor and censor Internet use throughout the country and punish those who got out of line. In the last decade, over a billion dollars has been spent on this effort. While the Great Firewall cannot stop someone who is expert at how the Internet works but it does greatly restrict the other 99 percent of Internet users. And it provides a lot of information about what is going on inside all that Internet traffic. Foreign intelligence agencies are beginning to find the Great Firewall of China is going from nuisance to obstacle. This has put government intelligence organizations in a difficult position. In the U.S. the feds feel compelled to seek assistance from, and work with, hackers who are developing new ways to tunnel through the Golden Shield. There are several non-governmental outfits that are involved with this effort, and most are hostile to intelligence agencies. Nevertheless, some relationships have been formed, to deal with mutual problems.

 

It's not only the intel agencies who are keen to learn their way around, and through, the Great Firewall. Cyber War organizations see the Great Firewall as a major defensive weapon as well. The Chinese have a much better idea of what is coming into their country via the Internet, and that makes it easier to identify hostile traffic and deal with it. Some American Cyber War officials are broaching the idea of building something like Golden Shield, just for military purposes. But that would be difficult in most Western countries because of privacy issues. But with Golden Shield China could unleash worms and viruses on the Internet and use their Great Firewall to prevent Chinese systems from becoming as badly infected. China needs every advantage it can get because it has the worst protected, and most infected, PCs in the world. This is largely the result of so many computers using pirated software and poorly trained operators.  Meanwhile, the thousands of people running the Golden Shield are gaining valuable experience and becoming some of the most skillful Internet engineers on the planet.

 

The Chinese military also has a growing number of formal Cyber War units, as well as military sponsored college level Cyber War courses. Western Internet security companies, in the course of protecting their customers, have identified a growing number of Chinese hacking organizations. Some work directly for the military, secret police or other government agencies. These Cyber War units, plus the volunteer organizations and Golden Shield bureaucrats apparently work closely with each other and have provided China with a formidable Cyber War capability. NET Force, with only a few thousand personnel, appears to be the controlling organization for all this. With the help of RHU and Golden Shield, they can mobilize formidable attacks, as well as great defensive potential. No other nation has anything like it and now the Chinese are bragging about it.

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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 11:35
JDS Izumo DDH183 helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD

JDS Izumo DDH183 helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD

 

March 28, 2015 By Franz-Stefan Gady – The Diplomat

 

Japan now has all the building blocks to field a powerful carrier strike group.

 

This week, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned the JDS Izumo (DDH-183), a helicopter destroyer, in a ceremony at the JMSDF Yokosuka naval base in Yokohama.

The new carrier’s principal task, although touted as a multi-purpose vessel, will be anti-submarine warfare and command-and-control operations to protect Japanese territories in the East China Sea.

“This heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect,” one Japanese official noted. According to other  JMSDF officials, the ship will also be used for humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) operations.

With a 27,000 tons displacement when fully loaded (some sources state 24,000 tons), the 248 m-long  Izumo-class helicopter carrier is the largest surface combatant in the Japanese fleet to date, and substantially bigger than its predecessor, the Hyūga-class, which yielded 19,000 tons.

The ship will have a crew of around 470 and also can carry up to 400 JSDF troops.  IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes about the vessels’s specifications:

Izumo is equipped with an OQQ-22 bow-mounted sonar for submarine prosecution while air defence is provided by two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers and two Phalanx close-in weapon systems. (…)

[I]t can embark Sikorsky/Mitsubishi SH-60K Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopters and the Izumo class’s air wing will also include two airborne mine countermeasures versions of the Kawasaki Heavy Industries/AgustaWestland MCH-101 helicopter – JMSDF officials claim that the ship will be deployed mainly for border surveillance and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. (..) Officials in Tokyo have also suggested it will embark Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The ship is designed to accommodate up to 14 helicopters (seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60k ASW helicopters and seven Agusta Westland MCM-101 mine countermeasure helicopters), five of which can simultaneously take off and land, given the Izumo’s large flight deck and five landing spots.

USNI News notes that the Izumo could also accommodate fixed wing aircraft – perhaps up to 27 total:

The ship would also be able to field American MV-22s and potentially the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), however Japanese defense officials have repeatedly said they have no plans to use the JSF on the Izumo.

The new carrier is slightly larger than other light carriers, such as the Italian Cavour and the Spanish Principe de Asturias – both of which carry fixed wing aircraft. Total costs of the ship are billed at about 120 billion yen ($1 billion), although they may be as high as $ 1.5 billion.

The naming of the vessel caused some controversy. “[T]he name Izumo itself has historical baggage: the original Izumo, an armored cruiser that participated in the Battle of Tsushima, was purchased with reparations from the first Sino-Japanese War. There is little doubt all parties, particularly the Chinese, are aware of the lineage,” one analyst noted.

The new carrier joined the MSDF’s Escort Flotilla 1 based in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The JS Izumo’s sister ship, also constructed by the IHI Marine United Yokohama Shipyard (which already built the Hyūga-class helicopter destroyers), will be launched this August and is scheduled to be commissioned in March 2017.

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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 07:35
JDS Izumo helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD

JDS Izumo helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD

 

March 26, 2015 Spacewar.com (AFP)

 

Beijing - China dismissed Japanese concerns about its defence spending as "ridiculous" on Thursday after Tokyo commissioned its biggest-ever helicopter carrier.

 

Both sides are boosting their military budgets as they grow increasingly wary of each other's ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region, facing off over a maritime territorial dispute and how to interpret Japan's motivations and actions during World War II.

 

Japan is uneasy about what it sees as China's growing assertiveness, including through regular double-digit increases in its defence spending, and on Wednesday commissioned its biggest warship since World War II, the helicopter carrier Izumo.

 

The 248-metre (810-feet) Japanese-built vessel can carry nine helicopters and is aimed at beefing up Tokyo's maritime defences in the East China Sea.

 

In 2012, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and has said its plans more.

 

Tokyo has repeatedly called on Beijing to be more transparent about its military outlays but Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hit back, saying that despite Japan's far smaller number of people it spends a hefty amount on defence.

 

"Japan's population accounts for only about one-tenth that of China," Hua told a regular briefing on Thursday.

 

"But its per capita national defence spending is about five times that of China," she added.

 

"Given this, Japan's criticism of China's national defence is quite ridiculous."

 

It was unclear on what figures Hua based her comparison.

 

Earlier this month China unveiled a military budget of 886.9 billion yuan ($142.9 billion) for 2015. With a population of 1.37 billion, that equates to about $104 per person.

 

Japan's defence spending for fiscal 2015 has been set at 4.98 trillion yen ($42.1 billion), or about $329 per capita, just over three times as much as China.

 

Kyodo news agency said the Izumo cost around 120 billion yen.

 

Beijing is suspicious of moves by Tokyo to increase its defence profile under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has called for his country to throw off the constraints of its "peace" constitution imposed by the United States after World War II, which ended 70 years ago this year.

 

Asked about the Izumo, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly briefing on Thursday: "Due to historical reasons, any move or actions by Japan in the military and security field is worth the vigilance of its Asian neighbours."

 

Separately, Geng criticised reported comments by the commander of the US Seventh Fleet suggesting it would back efforts by Southeast Asian nations to form a combined maritime force to patrol areas of the South China Sea.

 

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, a position that conflicts with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as with Taiwan.

 

US officials have called for a multilateral agreement to end all actions that risk further inflaming tensions in the region, which includes US allies.

 

"If ASEAN members were to take the lead in organising something along those lines, trust me, the US 7th Fleet would be ready to support," Bloomberg News quoted Vice Admiral Robert Thomas as saying.

 

"We urge the US side to stop making irresponsible remarks", Geng said, adding it should "respect the efforts made by the relevant countries in finding a peaceful solution" to the issue.

 

"We hope that the United States will stop their provocative remarks and actions."

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30 mars 2015 1 30 /03 /mars /2015 07:30
La coalition mène de nouveaux raids contre Sanaa

 

30.03.2015 Romandie.com (ats)

 

La capitale du Yémen, Sanaa, a été la cible dès l'aube de nouvelles de frappes aériennes. Les raids de la coalition menée par l'Arabie saoudite se sont poursuivis dans la matinée. Ils semblaient viser le quartier diplomatique.

 

Le royaume wahhabite et ses alliés sunnites ont lancé jeudi passé une campagne de raids contre les milices chiites houthies opposées au président Abd-Rabbou Mansour Hadi qui tiennent Sanaa et cherchent à s'emparer d'Aden, le grand port du sud du pays. De violents affrontements ont été signalés dans sept provinces du sud et de l'est du pays.

 

Durant le week-end, les avions de la coalition arabe ont notamment frappé des objectifs militaires dans les aéroports de la capitale Sanaa et d'Hodeïda, grand port sur la mer Rouge. Des camps militaires des Houthis et de l'ex-président Ali Abdallah Saleh ont également été visés dans la région de Saada, bastion des Houthis proche de la frontière saoudienne.

 

Dans ce contexte, des centaines d'étrangers ont été évacués ces derniers jours. Un navire de guerre chinois est entré dans le port d'Aden dimanche afin d'évacuer des diplomates et autres expatriés chinois, a déclaré à Reuters un responsable portuaire.

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26 mars 2015 4 26 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
Unit-61398-Chinese-Army Cyberwarfare

Unit-61398-Chinese-Army Cyberwarfare

 

25 mars 2015  par Daniel Ventre – 45eNord.ca

 

La Chine parle de l’existence de ses unités dédiées à la cyberdéfense (les médias anglo-saxons retiennent le vocable «cyberwarfare»). Selon McReynolds, chercheur au CSIS (Washington), la reconnaissance officielle de l’existence de ces unités serait contenue dans la dernière version de «The Science of Military Strategy » (décembre 2013).

 

On y apprendrait que les forces de cyberdéfense sont de trois types.

– les forces militaires spéciales de guerre sur les réseaux (specialized military network warfare forces) qui sont des unités militaires opérationnelles
– des équipes de spécialistes du monde civil (le ministère de la sécurité publique, le ministère de la sécurité d’Etat…) autorisées par l’armée à mener des opérations de cyberdéfense ;
– et des entités extérieures au gouvernement, qui peuvent être mobilisées, organisées pour de telles opérations.

 

Toujours du point de vue de McReynolds, cette reconnaissance officielle:

– vient conforter les Etats-Unis et nombre d’autres nations qui ont depuis plusieurs années mené des enquêtes sur les cyberattaques et concluant souvent à l’implication des acteurs étatiques chinois.
– vient mettre un terme à des années de déni de la part de la Chine, qui a toujours jusque-là refusé de reconnaître à la fois l’existence de structures de type cybercommandement ou le soutien des forces armées dans de quelconques cyberattaques, notamment à des fins d’espionnage industriel.
– Nécessite de repenser les coopérations engagées par la Chine en matière de lutte contre la cybercriminalité (on apprend au passage que la Chine aurait collaboré avec près de 50 pays dans le cadre d’enquêtes sur des milliers de cas de cybercriminalité au cours des 10 dernières années ; et conclu une trentaine d’accords bilatéraux, dont des accords avec les Etats-Unis et le Royaume-Uni). On ne saurait en effet, selon lui, faire confiance à des institutions étatiques chinoises qui d’un côté prétendent lutter contre la cybercriminalité, mais de l’autre soutiennent des opérations de hacking contre les intérêts des États avec lesquels elles coopèrent…

 

Cette analyse appelle des commentaires. La «révélation» de l’existence d’unités de cyberdéfense chinoises n’est pas véritablement un scoop. Les Etats modernes se dotent de capacités cyber, et la Chine a fait du cyberespace, on le sait depuis longtemps, l’un de ses domaines stratégiques. Que cela soit écrit dans un document officiel est certes important. Mais reconnaître l’existence de structures de cyberdéfense n’est pas l’aveu des cyberattaques qu’on leur attribue.

 

De l’organisation décrite, il ressort que se multiplient, comme ailleurs, les acteurs de la cyberdéfense. Et même si le tout peut paraître parfaitement hiérarchisé, des tensions au sein même des institutions étatiques pourraient gripper la machine. McReynolds évoque ce risque lorsqu’il affirme que des signes de tensions sont apparus, pour savoir qui de l’armée ou des institutions sécuritaires civiles doit assurer le leadership sur les cyber-opérations.

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 12:20
Is the Pentagon Losing the Arms Race in Space?

 

March 18, 2015 By Franz-Stefan Gady – The Diplomat

 

Pentagon officials are deeply worried about Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons. Are their concerns justified?

 

This year, the Pentagon will try to step up its weapons modernization programs and boost investments in cutting-edge defense technology. As the principal rationale behind the Pentagon’s push, top Department of Defense officials cite the fear that the United States will lose its relative technological superiority thanks to the burgeoning technical capabilities of the Chinese and Russian militaries .

Yesterday, speaking at the McAleese/Credit Suisse Defense Programs Conference, Robert O. Work, deputy U.S. secretary of defense, noted that “because of budget uncertainty and restrictions imposed by Congress, and because of our unrelenting focus on the readiness of forward deployed forces, we’re chronically underinvesting in new weapons and capabilities.”

He further emphasized, “That should give all of us pause because our technological dominance is no longer assured (…) We see several nations developing capabilities that threaten to erode our long-assured technological overmatch and our ability to project power.” Chinese and Russian growing military capabilities are  particularly worrisome for the Pentagon’s leadership.

The American military’s chief weapons buyer, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, said during his presentation at the conference that the erosion of the U.S. technological edge in the space domain is “particularly bad” due to Chinese and Russian growing anti-satellite capabilities.

These capabilities potentially include cyber and electromagnetic attacks, jamming operations, and ground-based lasers as well as anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles. For example, China destroyed a defunct weather satellite with a missile in 2007. In addition, Beijing tested a missile-fired anti-satellite kill vehicle in the summer of 2014, disguising it as a ballistic missile defense test. Russia is allegedly developing a satellite hunter — a spacecraft able to track enemy satellites and destroy them — according to media reports.

U.S. officials are especially concerned about threats to U.S. Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites. “If an adversary were to take out one, just one satellite in the constellation, a geographic hole is opened and we potentially have a situation where the president can’t communicate with forces in that part of the world,” one official underlined.

However, many analysts note that the current threat scenarios have much more to do with the ongoing debate about sequestration — across the board budget cuts — and the fiscal year 2016 defense budget request (see: “The Defense Budget Debate Rages On”) than the actual danger to U.S. satellites from Chinese and Russian weapons.

As Diplomat contributor Jaganath Sankaran noted back in 2014: “While these concerns have some validity, all U.S. military satellites are not equally vulnerable to a Chinese ASAT attack. Furthermore, the benefits from an ASAT attack are limited and would not confer decisive military advantage in every plausible conflict.”

“The substantial range of orbital altitude — 1,000 kilometers to 36,000 kilometers — from which satellites operate poses a challenge to China’s ability to attack U.S. military satellites (…) Unlike the U.S., China has a very limited satellite tracking capability, most of which are based in its territory and possibly a few ships,” he adds.

More importantly he emphasized that “the presence of alternate platforms and built-in redundancies substantially limit the advantages that China can obtain from anti-satellite operation against the U.S.”

In November 2014, the Pentagon launched the Defense Innovation Initiative (DII), an initiative to maintain America’s military dominance for the 21st century and to develop a new third offset strategy. “The DII’s leading focus is to identify, develop and field breakthrough technologies and systems and to develop innovative operational concepts to help us use our current capabilities in new and creative ways,” Deputy Secretary Work said.

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Think Tank: Hainan Island and China’s South Sea Fleet

 

20 March 2015 By David McDonough* – Pacific Sentinel

 

Recent reports talk about China’s possible establishment of a ‘fourth’ naval fleet with jurisdiction over the Indian Ocean region (IOR), joining the existing North Sea Fleet, East Sea Fleet, and South Sea Fleet. This mysterious fourth fleet will supposedly be based on Hainan Island—even though the island falls under the jurisdiction of the South Sea Fleet and is some distance away from the IOR. For that reason, many see a prospective Chinese fleet covering the IOR to be either entirely speculative or, at best, a hollow force existing in name only.

 

One should certainly be wary of overstating China’s military capabilities or, indeed, ambitions. Taking a worst-case view of a Chinese naval fleet in the IOR could overshadow more modest but also more plausible concerns about other possible roles for a fourth fleet based out of Hainan Island.

 

The island faces the South China Sea (SCS), over which Beijing has proffered expansive historical claims, such as the famous nine-dash line which encompasses nearly all of this maritime zone. Maritime incidents between China and its neighbours, especially Vietnam and the Philippines, are increasingly frequent.

 

The People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) is undoubtedly moving to buttress its presence on the island. On Yalong Bay near the island’s southeastern tip, China’s recently constructed Longpo naval base is a deep-water port complete with submarine piers, an underground submarine facility with tunnel access, and a demagnetising facility to reduce the magnetic residuals on ship hulls. This new nuclear submarine base is expected to be serve as a home for the PLAN’s new Jin-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). It also features long piers designed for surface combatants, making it a multi-purpose base. The PLAN has an existing base at Yulin, situated just west of Longpo and designed to service PLAN’s conventional submarines. Facilities for surface ships and construction of new piers have also been reported there.

 

The Hainan complex underpins the PLAN’s rapidly growing South Sea Fleet. Once the least important of China’s three fleets, the South Sea Fleet has since become the primary recipient of China’s more advanced naval warships, including the Shang-class nuclear attack submarine, conventional submarines (Kilo-, Song- and Yuan-class), the above-mentioned Jin-class SSBN, and a dozen of China’s more advanced guided-missile destroyers and frigates and three new amphibious warfare ships, bringing its total to 29 major surface combatants.

 

Moreover, according to John Patch (PDF), China’s fast-attack Houbei-class missile catamarans are also primarily based with the East Sea and South Sea Fleets. Those small, cheap vessels might have limited range and defensive capabilities but they have an impressive anti-surface warfare capability, each being armed with eight long-range anti-ship cruise missiles.

 

The South Sea Fleet may be based out of Zhanjiang on the Chinese mainland. But, given the new submarine and surface warship facilities on the Hainan naval complex, it’s clear the island plays an increasingly important role in its fleet operations. On one hand, it can be seen as a potential SSBN bastion for the undersea leg of China’s nuclear deterrent—in which attack submarines, fast attack ships, and a surface fleet heavy with both anti-ship and air-defence capabilities would be geared towards providing a protective cover for its Jin-class SSBNs against potential anti-submarine warfare (ASW) assets.

 

On the other hand, this naval build-up could be construed in more offensive terms; less about protecting SSBNs and more about magnifying the country’s sea control. While allowing for greater power projection in the IOR, they’re more likely geared for operations in strategically vital locations like the dispute-laden SCS. Attack submarines provide a particularly formidable capability against both submarines and surface ships, while guided-missile destroyers/frigates could provide protection for China’s fleet of missile catamarans and amphibious warships.

 

Such a possibility puts a worrisome light to recent revelations about land reclamation and construction on numerous reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands. Reports indicate a possible airstrip and anti-aircraft tower being constructed, which could strengthen China’s capacity to operate around these disputed islands. That would be especially true if some of those facilities are capable of providing logistical support for the short-range Houbei catamarans, thereby eliminating one of the key weaknesses of this ‘thoroughbred ship-killer‘.

 

It’s difficult to determine which interpretation of China’s naval activities is correct, and it’s possible (and likely) that both approaches are being pursued simultaneously. China would, after all, need protective cover for its SSBNs for its bastion strategy to succeed, requiring a capacity for sea control equally usable against other maritime claimants in the South China Sea. Indeed, an SSBN bastion near Hainan Island logically places a premium on China’s capacity to control the surrounding ‘near sea’.

 

Rather than being distracted by an unsubstantiated red herring, like a putative fourth PLAN fleet over the Indian Ocean, attention needs to be rightly placed on these more immediate and concrete developments. To do otherwise wouldn’t only be detrimental from a security perspective, but strategically foolish as well.

 
* David S. McDonough is research manager and senior editor at the Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) Institute in Ottawa, Canada. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the CDA Institute

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 17:35
Une flotte chinoise revient des eaux somaliennes suite à une mission d'escorte

 

20.03.2015 ( Source: Xinhua )

 

A l'issue d'un voyage en mer qui a duré sept mois et après avoir parcouru plus de 110.000 milles nautiques, une flotte chinoise a mis fin jeudi à sa mission d'escorte.

 

La 18e flotte d'escorte, qui avait été envoyée par la Marine de l'Armée populaire de Libération (APL), a accosté dans un port militaire à Zhanjiang, dans la province chinoise du Guangdong (sud).

 

La flotte, qui comprend un navire de débarquement, une frégate et un navire de ravitaillement, ainsi que trois hélicoptères et 800 membres d'équipage, a quitté la Chine le 1er août 2014 pour des missions d'escorte dans le golfe d'Aden dans la mer d'Arabie et dans les eaux somaliennes.

 

Selon la marine, la flotte a escorté avec succès 135 bateaux chinois et étrangers, dont le navire Yuanwang III chargé du suivi de la sonde lunaire chinoise.

 

La flotte a également procédé à des échanges avec l'Union européenne, l'OTAN et d'autres partenaires internationaux. Elle a organisé des exercices anti-piraterie et a effectué de l'aide humanitaire avec les marines des pays tels que les Etats-Unis, la France et la Grèce, ce qui a permis à la Marine de l'APL d'acquérir une expérience en haute mer et de renforcer sa capacité militaire.

 

La flotte s'est également rendue dans cinq pays, dont le Royaume-Uni, l'Allemagne et les Pays-Bas.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 13:35
China may get Top Radar, Air-to-air Missile technology through Pakistan

 

March 22, 2015 asian-defence.net

 

According to Britain’s Jane’s Defense weekly, China may get through Pakistan the technology in Franch MICA air-to-air missile and RC-400 radar, which the EU bans sales to China. Such technology may constitute a threat to the Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets that Taiwan has got from France.

 

Pakistan is to get the above-mentioned missiles and radar from France for its JF-17 fighter jets. As JF-17 is jointly developed by Pakistan and China, when Pakistan has got the missile and radar, it is quite possible that China will get the technologies in the missile and radar.

 

MICA is as good as US advanced AMRAAM air-to-air missile. It is well-known for its accuracy and controllability. China may obtain its technology through reverse engineering from a MICA missile provided by Pakistan.

 

In developing its J-10 fighter jet, China has reference to the technologies in American F-16 fighter jet as it was able to study in details an F-16 provided by Pakistan.

 

To prevent China from obtaining French weapon technologies with similar approach, the US will strongly oppose French sales of the weapons to Pakistan. For the same reason India, a major buyer of French weapons, will also oppose.

 

To avoid such oppositions, MBDA spokesman denied what he previously told Associated Press about its competition with others to get an order for MICA. French defense ministry, however, told Associated Press, there were no reasons that France should not cooperate with Pakistan though it had not confirmed the existence of such transactions.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
Type 093 midget submarine

Type 093 midget submarine

 

March 19, 2015 by asian-defence.net

 

Beijing has revealed a version of the Type 093 midget submarine, known as the 093T, suggesting that more vessels in this class may be produced, reports news website Cankao Xiaoxi.

 

The 093B midget submarine reportedly has a vertical launch system that can launch 16 missiles, including the supersonic anti-ship YJ-18 and the DH-10 cruise missile.

 

Such a submarine can carry up to nine special ops members and is ideal for covert transportation and surprise attack. It can also launch laser-guided missiles or sneak combat divers into military ports to perform recon or destroy high-value targets such as aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines.

 

The United States was developing a midget version of its Ohio-class submarines but reportedly stopped development after a fire in 2008. The submarines used a dry-deck shelter system which allows the midget submarine to dock completely inside of its larger cousin. The 093T submarine adapts a wet-deck shelter system, which means only two thirds of the submarine are secured to the mother submarine and the rest is exposed to water.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Images suggest upgrades to China's early series J-11s

 

March 19, 2015 by asian-defence.net

 

Images have emerged on Chinese military web forums suggesting sensor upgrades to Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-11A combat aircraft, with reports noting that two regiments have received these modifications so far.

 

Upgraded J-11As appear to have four new missile approach warning systems (MAWS), two just aft the cockpit facing forward and two pointing aft on the vertical stabilisers. Similar systems have previously been fitted to the H-6M and H-6K strategic bombers.

 

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