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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
Yemen: A Nation Divided

 

March 8, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The Shia rebels have declare themselves the legitimate rulers of Yemen, but they only control about a third of it. Shia militiamen occupy nearly half the country but in central Yemen the majority Sunnis are resisting with demonstrations and armed violence. The last elected leaders have set up a new capital in the southern port of Aden. There are now frequent attacks against Shia rebels in Baida, Marib, Ibb and Hadramout provinces. The Shia rebels are now trying to obtain aid, investment and diplomatic support from Russia and China, two countries that have long supported Iran. Over 80 percent of the 77 million people living in the Arabian Peninsula are Sunni and they are heavily armed and, at the moment, violently opposed to Shia Iran (the de facto head of Shia Islam). Over 80 percent of all Moslems are Sunni and the most holy shrines for all Moslems are in Saudi Arabia under the control of a very Sunni monarchy. The Yemeni Shia are aware of this which is why so many of them back making a peace deal with the Yemeni Sunnis and accepting as much as they can get. While the Sunni government in Aden is willing to talk, they are also asking for military assistance from the GCC. Many foreign embassies that had left the capital have now reopened in Aden. The U.S. “embassy” for Yemen is now being run out of the American consulate in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea port of Jeddah. Arab and Western nations are mobilizing economic support for the Aden government.

 

All this Shia success comes from the fact that the Shia rebels from the north allied themselves with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh (who is from a small Shia tribe near the capital) who was forced out in 2012 and refused to leave the country. Saleh supported (secretly at first but now openly) the Shia rebels and now he has called on military officers who were close to him (many of the senior ones were) to get their troops to join the Shia. Many of the Sunni troops refused or simply deserted. With many army bases undermanned Shia rebels have, pro-Hadi tribesmen and AQAP have been scrambling to take as many bases (and the weapons and other supplies they hold) as they can before all have new, and more determined, owners. Saleh’s successor (Hadi) proved unable to reassemble the coalition Saleh relied on for decades to run the country. Then again, when the Arab Spring came along in 2011 the Saleh coalition showed its age and crumbled.

 

The northern Shia have been fighting for years to get back the autonomy they enjoyed for generations. When Saleh was in power, he fought this autonomy movement. Now that Saleh is out of power, he backs his fellow Shia to get, many believe, Saleh back in power. There are still many Yemenis who have a grudge against the government formed after the civil war that ended, sort of, in 1994. That war was caused by the fact that, when the British left Yemen in 1967, their former colony in Aden became one of two countries called Yemen. The two parts of Yemen finally united in 1990, but a civil war in 1994 was needed to seal the deal. That fix didn't really take, and the north and south kept pulling apart. This comes back to the fact that Yemen has always been a region, not a country. Like most of the rest of the Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa region, the normal form of government, until the last century or so, were wealthier coastal city states, nervously coexisting with interior tribes that got by on herding or farming (or a little of both). This whole "nation" idea is still looked on with some suspicion by many in the region. This is why the most common forms of government are the more familiar ones of antiquity (kingdom, emirate or modern variation in the form of a hereditary dictatorship.)

 

Many southerners feel they got shortchanged by the 1990 unification deal, and were harshly put down in 1994 when they rebelled. The southern separatists were always disunited and unable mount a strong resistance to government control. The government kept the peace by paying off enough southern dissidents to prevent another civil war. The Shia tribes up north have been demanding more autonomy for decades, and the Sunni tribes up there oppose that for obvious reasons. For centuries the Shia tribes of the north were largely autonomous but in the 1960s that officially ended. The reality was that many of the Shia tribesmen continued to act like they still had their traditional violence and the national government ignored that as much as they could. The Shia violence got worse after 2004 and escalated further when most Yemenis joined the Arab Spring movement in 2011 and removed a long-time government headed by a northern Shia. While the north has several entirely Shia tribes, Sunnis and Shia had lived together peacefully throughout Yemen for centuries and usually used the same mosques (some led by Shia clergy, most by Sunnis). That tradition was now being attacked by Yemeni Sunnis who are using violence or threats of violence to drive Shia from mosques throughout the country. This is a widely unpopular move, but the Sunni Islamic radicals are on a Mission From God not a popularity contest. The Sunni radicals also accuse Yemeni Shia of being agents for Iran which was for a long time only true in a few instances. Until recently the Shia tribes renounced any Iranian connection because they were caught between a Sunni majority to the south and a Sunni (and very anti-Iran) Saudi Arabia to the north. Just across the border there are related Shia tribes in Saudi Arabia, who have long since learned to keep quiet and enjoy the slice of Saudi oil wealth they receive from the government. Moreover the Saudi Shia are a smaller fraction of the population and separated, not concentrated as the Yemeni Shia are. In Yemen Shia are about a third of the 24 million population and most of them live in the north.

 

 It is unclear when the military and the Sunni tribes will succeed in resisting and defeating the growing Shia power. This is far from a sure thing since needs a new coalition to run the country because the one that existed until September 2014 ceased to function long before president Hadi was forced out in January 2015. Once the Shia rebels occupied the capital in late 2014 and then a growing number of cities and provinces to the south it was obvious the Shia would have a lot to say about the next government. Now the Shia claim they are the government and Iranians worry that this will turn into another expensive foreign obligation (like Hezbollah and the military aid efforts in Iraq and Syria, not to mention financial aid to Hamas in Gaza and several similar entanglements). All this military foreign aid is unpopular with most Iranians who would rather see the money spent at home. Iran officially has nothing to do with what is going on in Yemen but Arabs know that the “victory” in Yemen is being celebrated in the streets of Iran (at least in conversation) and increasingly in Iranian media as well. This is humiliating for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab oil states in the Persian Gulf) members and Sunnis in general. Iran has not directly intervened (but is suspected of supplying the Yemen Shia with cash and advice). Now Iran is officially an ally and supporter of the new Shia government. The Sunni hope and the Shia nightmare is military intervention by the Saudis, but that’s not the Saudi style. The Saudis don’t want to see their armed forces tied down in Yemen, not when Iran remains a major, and growing, threat. Then there is the ISIL threat in Syria and Iraq (and, to a lesser extent, inside Saudi Arabia itself). There is no easy way out of this mess for anyone. The customary way these things are settled in Arabia is by making deals. The Yemeni Shia have made it clear that Iran is their friend and expect help from that direction. Most Yemeni Shia don’t want the religious fanaticism of Iran but are willing to accept aid from Iran and work to make Sunni majority Yemen a “friend“ of Iran (much like the Shia minority has done in Lebanon and Syria). The Saudis and GCC are very hostile to this sort of thing but reluctant to go to war over it. That may change now that the Yemeni Shia rebels have officially declared themselves the rulers of Yemen even though they control only the capital and the north (about a third of the country).

 

And then there’s the oil. Revenue from oil exports in 2014 was $1.67 billion. That’s down from $2.66 billion in 2013.  Falling oil prices and pipeline attacks by angry tribesmen cost Yemen a billion dollars in lost oil income in 2014. Normally Yemen produces 270,000 barrels of oil a day and most of it is exported (accounting, with natural gas, 90 percent of export income). The 320 kilometer long pipeline extends from oil fields in Marib province to the Red Sea export terminal. Such attacks cost the government a billion dollars in lost revenue in 2013. Tribesmen loyal to deposed president Saleh are often blamed. President Hadi caused some bad feeling in Marib when he cut cash payments going to pro-Saleh tribal leaders and instead gave it to those he trusted more. The tribesmen who lost out responded in the traditional way, by attacking the assets of those they saw as responsible; namely the oil fields and pipelines. AQAP has been popular in Marib because the Islamic terrorists will hire local tribesmen and promise a larger share of gas and oil income for the local tribes once AQAP takes control of the country.

 

Marib is where local Sunni tribes have assembled a large force of gunmen to defend or destroy those valuable oil and gas facilities. Worse yet tribal leaders say that if the Shia enter Marib this will mean the shutdown of energy supplies to key power plants that keep the lights on in most of the country. In January tribal leaders called for up to thirty thousand armed tribesmen to gather in Marib to fight the Shia rebels. This buildup was not completed as the Shia rebels quietly agreed to maintain the November peace deal. Back then three of the most powerful tribes in Marib province united and worked out a peace deal with the approaching Shia rebels. In essence the deal guaranteed the safety of Shia in Marib and in return the Shia rebels would not try to enter Marib and take over. The three tribes in Marib are powerful and have a reputation for being determined fighters. The Shia rebels are still nearby but are less likely to advance now that Marib is the assembly point for anti-Shia tribesmen. To further complicate matters tribal leaders in what is locally known as the “Sheba region” (Marib, Baida and Jawf provinces) have apparently united, despite the many feuds and disagreements among them. The Shia are seen as a common threat. Recently the Sunni tribes of Marib closed the border with Baida province, which is largely controlled by Shia rebels.

 

March 1, 2015: For the first time since 1990 a direct flight from Iran landed in Yemen. The transport was carrying medical supplies and arrived in the capital at the same time that Arab countries were moving their embassies south to the port city of Aden, which is not yet under control of the Shia rebels who have been advancing south since 2014. On February 21st the elected president (Hadi) of Yemen fled the capital and, in effect, moved the government to Aden. At the moment the Shia rebels have control of northern Yemen but the Sunni majority, in the form of the armed Sunni tribes, are preventing a Shia advance any farther south. Meanwhile Iran announced that it will now carry out regular (14 flights a week) service between Iran and the Yemeni capital. Iranians have been warned that Sunni Islamic terrorists (ISIL and al Qaeda) are very active in Yemen and will be seeking to kill or kidnap Iranian visitors.

 

March 7, 2015: The Defense Minister of the elected government fled house arrest in the capital and is believed headed for the new capital in Aden. The Defense Minister was arrested by Shia rebels on February 6th when the rebels took complete control of the capital. In Aden the last elected president (Hadi) declared Aden the national capital and that the traditional capital (Sanna) an occupied (by Shia rebels) city. Hadi declared that five of the countries six regions had pledged allegiance to the Aden government and support for armed opposition to the Shia rebels. There are now frequent attacks against Shia rebels in Baida, Marib, Ibb and Hadramout provinces. Shia living in southern Yemen have held pro-Shia demonstrations, which are not interfered with. The anti-Shia demonstrators often face gunfire and sometimes arrest (which the Sunnis call kidnapping, which is what is sometimes turns into because a large payment is demanded for the release of these demonstrators).

In the south (Ibb province) Shia rebels used gunfire to disperse an anti-Shia protest in the provincial capital. There were casualties among the demonstrators and some were arrested by the Shia.

 

March 6, 2015: A second air freight flight from Iran landed at the airport outside Sanna. Both of these transports were said to contain “humanitarian cargo.” Yemeni Shia envoys in Iran asked Iran to set up cultural centers and a museum of Persian art in Yemen.

 

March 5, 2015:  An Iranian diplomat captured by AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) Islamic terrorists in Yemen in 2013 arrived back in Iran. He was freed by Iranian commandos who now operate openly in Sanna. The Yemeni rebels denied that Iranian commandos are in Yemen.

 

March 3, 2015: In the south (Baida province) two AQAP attacks on Shia rebels left three Islamic terrorists and twelve Shia dead. In February the Shia rebels took control of much of Baida province.

 

March 2, 2015: A Saudi diplomat held by AQAP was freed by the unspecified actions of the Saudi intelligence services. Back in August 2012 the captive was to be released after everyone had agreed on a $10 million ransom. But at the last minute al Qaeda leaders changed their mind and demanded $20 million. At that point negotiations stalled. The Saudi diplomat was kidnapped last March. AQAP needed cash to keep its terror campaign going and the Saudis decided to explore other options to get their diplomat back.

 

March 1, 2015: An Iranian commercial flight from Iran landed at the airport outside Sanna. This was the first Iranian aircraft to land in Yemen since 1990.

 

February 28, 2015: In Yemen the Shia rebels in control of the capital and most of the north signed an agreement with Iran to enable, for the first time, commercial air traffic between the two countries.  At the same time the Shia rebels withdrew from UN sponsored talks over the future of Yemen until a location for the talks outside Yemen could be found and agreed on. In the south (Lahj province) Shia rebels fired on an army convoy and wounded nine soldiers. This was believed another attempt to kidnap some soldiers to hold as hostages in an effort to get the army to turn over a nearby army base to Shia control. Elsewhere in the south (Shabwa province) three Islamic terrorists were killed by missiles from an American UAV. This is the fifth such attack in February. These attacks have left at least a fifteen Islamic terrorists and at least one civilian (a 12 year old boy travelling with one of the Islamic terrorists) dead.

 

February 27, 2015: In the south (Lahj province) AQAP ambushed an army truck at night and killed four soldiers.

 

February 26, 2015: The Shia rebel leader openly blamed Saudi Arabia for all the chaos in Yemen. The Saudis have been involved but not nearly as much as Yemeni Sunnis (and Arabian Sunnis in general) would prefer. The Saudis are slow to act but when they do move it is usually with great impact and resolve (as with their current efforts to keep the world oil price low to hurt Iran and Russia).

 

February 25, 2015: In the south (Lahj province) AQAP gunmen shot dead an intelligence colonel. Later in the day two AQAP men were shot dead in a separate incident. 

Shia rebels took control of an army base in the capital and a coast guard base on the Red Sea coast. Soldiers resisted at the army based but surrendered after six hours of fighting and at least ten dead. There was less fighting and no casualties at the coast guard base.

The UN declared that it backed the elected government of president of Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi was the only legitimate national government in Yemen. The Shia rebels ignored this.

 

February 24, 2015: In Sanna Shia rebels began arresting many Sunni politicians, especially those associated with the last elected government. The arrests are also the result of many Sunni politicians to join a new Shia controlled “unity government.” Meanwhile there are several anti-Shia demonstrations in Sanna each week. Elsewhere in Sanna a French female employee of the World Bank was kidnapped. Western government have been warning their citizens to stay out of Yemen in general and Sanna in particular.

 

February 23, 2015: In the south president Hadi held a meeting with the governors of most provinces.

Egypt closed its embassy in Sanna. Elsewhere in the city a bomb exploded outside a military facility that had been taken over by the Shia rebels.

 

February 21, 2015: President Hadi fled house arrest in Sanna and made his way to the southern port city of Aden.

 

February 18, 2015: In the south (Hadramout province) Sunni tribesmen attacked a convoy supplying an army base near an oil field, sparking a battle that left eight soldiers and a number of attackers dead. In nearby Baida province a bomb killed one Shia rebel and wounded three others. Further south in Aden gunmen killed an army intelligence officer.

 

February 17, 2015: Three Russian ground attack jet aircraft were delivered to the Shia controlled port of Al Hudaydah. These were bought from Belarus.

In Sanna Shia rebel leaders fired one of their top commanders for failing to settle a long-standing dispute he had with other senior leaders. This is the result of growing disputes within the Shia rebel leadership over whether to seek gaining control of the entire country or negotiating a compromise with the Sunni majority.

In the south (Hadramout province) two gunmen shot dead a police colonel.

 

February 16, 2015: In Yemen the Shia rebels officially claimed to be the only legitimate government of the country. This new Shia Yemeni president was not elected but the Yemeni rebels control the capital and most of the north so they can get away with this. The rebels say they will eventually take the largest city in the country, the port of Aden in the south. That will require defeating a larger number of very angry and heavily armed Sunni tribesmen and some of the armed forces.

In the south (Lahj province) AQAP gunmen shot dead two soldiers. Further south in Aden soldiers and tribal gunmen loyal to president Hadi seized control of government buildings and began setting up checkpoints. There was some fighting with soldiers working for an officer who had pledged loyalty to the Shia rebels.

Japan shut down its embassy in Sanna.

 

February 15, 2015: The UN demanded that the Shia rebels return control of the capital and the government to the elected officials. The Shia ignored this, pointing out that Hadi won an election in which he was the only candidate and that most Shia boycotted.

 

February 14, 2015: In the south (Baida province) fighting between Shia rebels and Sunni tribesmen left at least 26 dead.

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8 mars 2015 7 08 /03 /mars /2015 13:30
Crédits G. Gesquière Armée de Terre

Crédits G. Gesquière Armée de Terre

 

08.03.2015 i24news (AFP)

 

La crainte d'un rapprochement entre les USA et Téhéran pousse l'Arabie saoudite à importer plus d'armes

 

L'Arabie saoudite a dépassé l'Inde pour devenir en 2014 le premier importateur mondial d'équipements militaires dans un marché dont le volume a atteint un niveau record, nourri par les tensions au Moyen-Orient et en Asie, indique un rapport d'experts publié dimanche.

En 2014, les ventes d'armes "ont augmenté pour la sixième année consécutive", atteignant 64,4 milliards de dollars, contre 56 milliards en 2013, soit une augmentation de 13,4%, affirme ce document rédigé par le cabinet d'experts IHS Janes, basé à Londres.

"Ce chiffre record a été alimenté par une demande sans précédent des économies émergentes pour des avions militaires et la hausse des tensions régionales au Moyen-Orient et (dans la zone) Asie Pacifique", explique Ben Moores, de IHS Janes.

Le rapport, qui couvre quelque 65 pays, indique que Riyad est désormais le plus gros acheteur d'armes au monde, avec des importations atteignant 6,4 milliards de dollars.

 

Suite de l’article

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8 mars 2015 7 08 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
Leadership: China Builds A Better Wargame

 

March 6, 2015: Strategy page

 

China surprised Western military professionals in 2009 when Chinese media ran stories, with photos, of Chinese developed professional wargames in action. The photos and text included enough detail for Western military wargamers to discern what was going on. The wargame shown was the TCCST (Tactical Command and Control Simulation Training System), and it was being used by members of the 6th Armored Division for a training exercise. It's a typical "blue versus red" (where "red" is the good guys and "blue" is the enemy) type game but few in the West expected China to be developing and producing stuff like this on their own. Over the next few years more Chinese wargames for media attention, if only because these were now widely used in the Chinese military and there was no point in trying to keep them secret.

 

The Chinese games looked comparable to simulations used by U.S. troops, and those of other Western nations. The United States has been the leader in this field, and since the late 1990s professional wargames have absorbed much of the graphics and realism commercial games (not just wargames) have developed. It's obvious that the Chinese have adopted much of the technology available in the West and stuff that commercial game companies have created. Since the late 1990s there have been a growing number of commercial wargames available that are useful for training battalion and brigade commanders, but designed mainly for a civilian gamer market. Some of these were designed by active duty and retired military personnel, and some are used by professionals, as well as civilians, interested in military affairs. The same thing was happening in China, where computers became enormously popular (and increasingly common) after 2000. China banned (until recently) game consoles so if Chinese wanted wargames they had to be written to run on PCs. The Internet spread even faster than PCs in China and young officers were soon in tough with their civilian peers discussing how to adapt civilian wargames for military use.

 

During all this China reinvented a lot of wargaming technology, largely because while wargames were an ancient Chinese military planning tool all that knowledge had been dismissed by the new communist government that took over in the late 1940s. During the “Cultural Revolution” from the mid-1960s t0 mid-1970s all professional military education was shut down, in part because if was considered “counter-revolutionary.” When China cast aside that revolution in the late 1970s and decided to adopt a market economy (while keeping the communist police state) all resources were devoted to economic development and the military budget was cut. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that military education for officers and planners was resumed and at this point it was realized that the West had done great things with wargaming.

 

China had revived military staff analysis capabilities in the early 1990s and one of the first things studied was the 1991 Gulf War. The results of that study horrified Chinese military and political leaders. It was now obvious that the West had used modern technology, new training techniques and wargaming to create armed forces of unprecedented capabilities. From this point on China decided to reform their armed forces to be able to do what the Westerners did in 1991. One of the more obvious results of that are Chinese troops wearing combat uniforms similar to those of Western troops and Chinese made weapons that were also similar. What got little attention in Western media was the rapid development of effective wargames. In part this was because the Chinese began with nothing. The communists had eliminated their own wargaming past and the easiest examples of wargames to copy were from the West. The Chinese were helped by the fact that the U.S. Army had abandoned traditional wargames from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s and also had to start from scratch, using commercial wargames (which had become a hobby in the late 1950s) to revive their professional wargames program. Although the U.S. tried to prevent the Chinese from getting these wargames by declaring them “munitions” and thus illegal to export to China, there were plenty of other ways for China to send someone into a store and just buy them and get them shipped back to China one way or another.

 

The officers put in charge of developing Chinese wargames were smart guys with a technology background. They had one major advantage in that traditional Chinese wargames were always heavily influenced by what the senior commanders wanted, not what the situation really was. The new Chinese wargames were developed by officers who were scientists and their games were based on reality. The senior officers respected that as did the senior political leaders. All this was kept secret because the higher level (strategic) games showed that China was weak and vulnerable. But Chinese leaders used their wargame results to more effectively rebuild Chinese military power. The main reason China has not become a military superpower by now is the long tradition of corruption in the military continues to resist efforts to eliminate these bad habits.

 

Westerners were not surprised that the Chinese obtained, and adopted, Western wargames technology, but were unclear about what reality the Chinese were simulating. Put simply, that means how effective were Chinese and Western weapons, equipment and, most importantly, the subordinate leaders whose effectiveness is built into the game, portrayed.  Some Western games allow the users to set these qualitative values at different levels. But Westerners knew that in East Asia in general free (let the chips fall where they may) play is not acceptable to most senior military commanders. There's more a tendency for the generals to want their forces to be portrayed in a positive light. So there were suspicions that the Chinese forces are portrayed, in their wargames, as more powerful than they actually are. This would be consistent with the large scale military exercises are organized, where the good (Chinese) guys are programmed to win. It was only recently that it became known that the Chinese wargame developers had managed to avoid that trap.

 

Winning and losing is not the main goal of professional wargames, or military exercises. The Department of Defense has always insisted that wargames are not to be used, "to validate courses of action or specific tactics and techniques." In other words, testing tactics or "fighting to win" is not allowed, or at least not encouraged. Despite the generally accepted idea that a wargame is a competitive exercise, this is not the way it works in the Pentagon. The higher level wargames tend to be driven by procedures, not a war of wits on a simulated battlefield. While this sounds absurd, it's a long used practice. There is a purpose to this approach, and that is to make sure the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of officers involved planning and carrying out a major operation, know the many procedures required to get such a large organization functioning smoothly. In effect, this kind of "wargame" is used to see if everyone can follow the same script. Winning or losing is measured by how well everyone communicates and executes administrative drills. Or, as the military puts it, the main objective is to perfect ones "tactical decision making process" (TDMP). Thus much Department of Defense wargaming results in showing our commanders and staffs how to lose neatly, rather than how to scrape and scramble to a victory. Real world battlefields favor the latter, peacetime perfectionists favor the former. Military training for officers concentrates on learning procedures, not investigating different, and perhaps better, tactics.

 

Thus it would appear that the Chinese wargames showing up in Chinese media were more about training staff officers to work together effectively. Other screen shots show games similar to Western wargames that operate more at a tactical level. No doubt Chinese troops, and junior officers, like their counterparts in the West, were using commercial wargames that showed what looked like battlefield video. These began showing up in the late 1990s giving the Chinese military plenty of time to incorporate them into official tactical training wargames.

 

The Chinese now use their wargames in much the same way Western armies do. A lot of wargaming is just to train staffs and commanders to work together while at lower (tactical) levels officers and troops learn tactics and what to avoid in combat.

Leadership: China Builds A Better Wargame

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
China‬ builds scale model aircraft carrier on land to test future chinese navy‬ equipment - Google Earth

China‬ builds scale model aircraft carrier on land to test future chinese navy‬ equipment - Google Earth

 

March 4, 2015: Strategy page

 

Satellite photos show China making rapid progress in building new islands in the Spratly islands. Some of these new islands are large enough for airstrips long enough to support warplanes, but most are suitable only for light transports and helicopters. This, however, makes these new islands suitable as staging areas for helicopter raids on nearby small islands claimed, or even occupied, by another nation. In effect, these new islands have become permanent aircraft carriers dotting the disputed islands of the South China Sea.

 

In the last year or so China has rapidly gone from building platforms to bringing in dredging ships and piling up sand into new islands. Thus Hughes reef, which has had a 380 square meter (4,100 square feet) raised platform since 2004 has in the last six months had that expanded by dredging to a 75,000 square meter (18 acre) island with an airstrip and buildings now under construction. Similar platform building and island creation is under way at other reefs (Johnson South, Gaven Reefs and Fiery Cross Reef) in the Spratlys.

 

China is particularly concerned about gaining control of the Spratlys, a group of some 100 islets, atolls, and reefs that total only about 5 square kilometers (1,200 acres) of land, but sprawl across some 410,000 square kilometers of the South China Sea. Set amid some of the world's most productive fishing grounds, the islands are believed to have enormous oil and gas reserves. Several nations have overlapping claims on the group. About 45 of the islands are currently occupied by small numbers of military personnel. China claims them all, but long occupied only 8 while Vietnam has occupied or marked 25, the Philippines 8, Malaysia 6, and Taiwan one. Now China is building platforms and new islands all over the Spratly chain giving it a legal (at least according to China) claim to all of the Spratly Islands.

 

All these new islands have to be supplied with food, water, fuel and other necessities from the mainland. Most of this is by ship but the addition of airstrips provides the ability to make emergency deliveries by air. The platforms are kept because during major storms these low lying artificial islands are often flooded. The platforms provide an emergency refuge for the small garrisons on these islands. Other nations believe all this platform and island building can mean only one things, an eventual Chinese attack on the claims (and island garrisons) of other claimants.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
China Air Force Lijian Sharp Sword UCAV

China Air Force Lijian Sharp Sword UCAV

 

March 4, 2015: Strategy Page

 

After years of pressure from manufacturers, and allies, the United States has finally reduced most of the prohibitions for exporting large (a ton or more) UAVs (like the Predator and Reaper). The restrictions were largely based on media misinterpretation of what the UAVs actually do. Over the last two decades the media myth was created that depicted UAVs, especially armed UAVs, as a horrific new weapon. The reality was that the only advantage UAVs had was in surveillance and stealth. As a surveillance aircraft (what the military first, and still, used aircraft for) UAVs were a major step forward because they created an unprecedented level of “persistence” (spending lots of time watching some area below) or literally following (“tailing” in detective lingo) an individual or group. Adding guided missiles to the UAV enabled the attack to be made as soon as the identity of the target was confirmed (often after dozens or more hours of observation) and before the target could get away (into a forested or urban area where tracking was much more difficult).

 

This sort of thing could have been done before UAVs using manned aircraft but it would have cost more than ten times as much and not have been as effective. What is also missed in the enormous reduction in civilian casualties when using UAVs. Until precision bombs and missiles came along military targets anywhere near residential areas led to high civilian casualties when attacked. The use of precision weapons and UAVs has reduced civilian casualties over 90 percent. For some reason all this never became news. But the myth did force American politicians to bar exports of UAVs.

 

What really changed minds about UAV exports was the fact that China was now offering similar (in some cases what appear to be copies) of American UAVs to anyone who can pay. These UAVs come with a Chinese version of the American Hellfire missile, and no restrictions on how the buyer will use the UAVs.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
La Chine porte son budget militaire à 145 milliards $ US, le 2e plus élevé au monde

 

5 mars 2015 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca

 

Malgré le recul au chapitre de sa croissance économique, la Chine porte son budget militaire à 145 milliards $ US, une augmentation de 10 %, pour faciliter la modernisation de ses capacités de défense, a indiqué un porte-parole du Congrès national du peuple.

 

Le budget de la défense chinoise est déjà le deuxième plus élevé du monde, derrière celui des États-Unis, et l’Armée de libération du peuple, avec 2,3 millions de membres, est la plus imposante au monde en termes d’effectifs.

«La modernisation de la défense fait partie de la modernisation de la Chine et nécessitera un financement adéquat», a déclaré le porte-parole , Fu Ying, lors d’une conférence de presse.

Pékin a prévu investir dans des équipements high-tech tels que les sous-marins et des avions furtifs.

Malgré un taux de croissance relativement faible de 7,4 % l’an dernier, le plus bas en 24 ans, le président chinois Xi Jinping a appelé à un développement plus rapide des systèmes d’équipements militaires pour construire une armée forte, affirmant que les armes de pointe sont «un support essentiel pour la sécurité nationale».

Il s’agira tout de même d’une légère baisse par rapport à la hausse enregistrée l’an dernier (12%), après cinq années de croissance à deux chiffres. La hausse de 10 pour cent serait ainsi en ligne avec l’augmentation des dépenses globales de Pékin, aussi autour de 10 % cette année.

Mais le Pentagone et des organismes spécialisés estiment quant à eux que les dépenses chinoises dans le secteur militaire seraient dans les faits de 40 à 50% supérieures au budget que les autorités politiques ratifieront aujourd’hui, jeudi.

C’est que le budget militaire chinois ne comprend pas les coûts associés aux importations d’armes sophistiquées, la recherche et le développement et d’autres programmes clés.

L’an dernier, le Pentagone a publié un rapport affirmant qu’on assistait, notamment, à une « modernisation sans précédent » de l’armée armée de l’air chinoise.

Et ce n’est pas prêt d’être fini. Une étude du cabinet américain IHS soulignait en décembre dernier qu’avec la dégringolade des cours du brut qui influe sur les budgets de défense dans le monde, restreignant les marges de manœuvre des pays producteurs, mais élargissant celles des pays consommateurs comme la Chine, cette tendance à la hausse du budget militaire chinois devrait se poursuivre encore dans les années qui viennent.

Ce qui n’est pas sans inquiéter les puissances occidentales, en particulier les États-Unis, alors que Pékin est engagé dans des revendications et des querelles territoriales en mer de Chine méridionale avec des pays d’Asie du Sud alliés des Américains, sans même parler de Taiwan, que Pékin revendique toujours comme lui appartenant.

D’autant plus que, pendant que les puissances occidentales se battent contre le terrorisme et des groupes armés comme l’organisation l’État islamique, les forces armées chinoises ne cessent de gagner en puissance et en sophistication.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:25
CZ-11W Light Attack Helicopter

CZ-11W Light Attack Helicopter

 

March 3, 2015: Strategy Page

 

China is making a major effort to become the largest exporter to Latin America (South America and the Caribbean). One of the major offerings is not cheap consumer goods but military equipment. This stuff is not only cheaper than anything the Americans have but is also sold without any restrictions. Over the last few decades the United States has added a growing list of conditions to its military exports. All these are directed at withholding weapons from any nation who that does not meet current American standards for political correctness. China has long ignored that sort of thing sold to anyone (openly or clandestinely) to anyone who could pay. China also realizes (as do most South American military leaders) that these countries do not need the best (as in American) weapons just something as good as or a little better than what their neighbors have.

 

China is so eager to get into and dominate the Latin American market that it is willing to ignore the credit worthiness problems. Thus China has offered Argentina armored vehicles, warplanes and warships on easy terms. China also wants to open factories in Argentina to produce Chinese military equipment. All this in a country that, over the last few decades, has stumbled from one fiscal crises to another and is now a pariah to most foreign investors. But China sees a long term opportunity and wants to sustain spectacular growth in trade with Latin America. This grew from $18 billion a year in 2002 to nearly $300 billion now. That is still a third of the trade the United States does with Latin America but it is still impressive growth. It will take deals like the one with Argentina to keep the growth going.

 

China isn’t going blind into Argentina. Back in 2011 China licensed an Argentinian firm to build military versions (CZ-11Ws) of the Chinese Z-11 helicopter. Despite a Western arms embargo, China was able to buy Honeywell LTS101-700D-2 engines for its Z-11 light helicopter. Normally, American military grade equipment cannot be sold to China, but the Z-11 is considered a civilian helicopter. This despite the fact that there is a military version, which is armed with four anti-tank missiles, two 12.7mm machine-guns or four rocket launchers. The 2.2 ton Z-11 can carry up to six people, cruises at 259 kilometers an hour and has an endurance of 4-5 hours. There was no such embargo on Argentina, so they will be able to buy American equipment for their Chinese designed helicopter gunships. However, because of the way American export laws work, these Argentinian gunships could not be sold back to China. Argentina planned to build about 40 CZ-11Ws. That deal was eventually cancelled, in part because the Americans would not play along and China got tied up in the Argentinian bureaucracy. China did not consider all that a failure but rather a learning experience and are proceeding more confidently into the new deal.

 

Before the 2011 Chinese helicopter deal Argentina sought, for the first time, to buy Russian military equipment in the form of two Mi-17 helicopters. The main reason for this 2010 move was price. American or European helicopters would cost more than twice as much. Russia also offers lower rates for training pilots and mechanics. Russia is keen on establishing good relations with new South American customers, and has been increasingly successful selling weapons in this region during the last two decades. This deal fell apart because the Russians were put off by the fiscal anarchy rampant in Argentina and the poor prospects of ever getting paid.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 07:25
bateau "Da Dan Xia" - photo Ulf Kornfeld

bateau "Da Dan Xia" - photo Ulf Kornfeld

 

Pékin, 4 mars 2015 Marine & Océans (AFP)

 

Après l'immobilisation par la Colombie d'un navire battant pavillon chinois et transportant des stocks d'armes non déclarées à destination de Cuba, Pékin a répliqué mercredi qu'il s'agissait d'une "cargaison de matériaux militaires ordinaires".

 

Le bateau "Da Dan Xia", avait été intercepté samedi dernier dans la baie du port de Carthagène (côte des Caraïbes) avec à son bord un important stock de munitions et quelque 100 tonnes de poudre, ont rapporté mardi les autorités colombiennes.

 

Le commandant du navire, Wu Hong, a par ailleurs été interpellé et devait être déféré devant un juge pour répondre de l'accusation de trafic d'armes.

 

Mais Mme Hua Chunying, porte-parole du ministère chinois des Affaires étrangères, a dénoncé mercredi une telle procédure, assurant que le bateau respectait bien les lois chinoises et internationales.

 

"Le navire transportait une cargaison de matériaux militaires ordinaires pour Cuba. Il n'y avait à bord aucune substance +sensible+", a-t-elle dit lors d'un point presse régulier.

 

"Il s'agit d'une coopération commerciale militaire absolument normale" qui "n'enfreint pas les lois et règlements chinois, pas plus que les obligations internationales auxquelles la China a souscrit", a poursuivi Mme Hua.

 

La Chine est le quatrième plus gros pays fournisseur d'armements dans le monde, selon l'Institut international de recherche sur la paix de Stockolm (Sipri).

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 17:35
Chine : Le budget défense va augmenter de quelque 10% cette année

 

PEKIN, 4 mars lesechos.fr (Reuters)

 

Le budget défense de la Chine augmentera cette année de quelque 10% par rapport à 2014, soit davantage que l'économie du pays, à la faveur d'une hausse des investissements dans équipements de haute technologie, a déclaré mercredi la porte-parole du Parlement.

 

Lors d'une conférence de presse, Fu Ying, porte-parole de l'Assemblée nationale populaire, a précisé que le chiffre officiel serait publié jeudi, jour d'ouverture de la session annuelle du Parlement.

 

L'an dernier, les dépenses de défense de la Chine avaient augmenté de 12,2% pour atteindre 130 milliards de dollars (116 milliards d'euros), deuxième plus important budget de défense au monde derrière celui des Etats-Unis.

 

"Parmi les recommandations pour 2015 (..) le budget de défense et la hausse des dépenses de défense, l'ampleur est probablement d'une augmentation d'environ 10%", a dit Fu Ying.

 

Cela fait 20 ans que le budget défense chinois enregistre chaque année une augmentation à deux chiffres. Certains experts pensent même que les dépenses en la matière vont bien au-delà des chiffres officiels.

 

"Par rapport aux grandes puissances, le processus de modernisation de la défense chinoise est plus compliqué. Nous dépendons de nous-mêmes pour la plupart de nos équipements militaires et la recherche & développement", a encore déclaré Fu Ying.

 

"En outre, nous devons renforcer la protection de nos officiers et de nos soldats. Mais, d'un point de vue fondamental, la politique de défense de la Chine est défensive par essence. Ceci est clairement établi dans la constitution (..)."

 

Les dirigeants chinois lient généralement la hausse des dépenses de défense par celle du produit intérieur brut (PIB). Ceci étant dit, la croissance n'a été que de 7,4% l'an dernier, la plus faible en 24 ans, et elle pourrait encore ralentir cette année, à 7%.

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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 17:35
Indonesian Navy Mulls Chinese 30 mm CIWS Fit for Corvettes, LPDs

 

17 February 2015 by Maki Catama

 

JAKARTA, -- The Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) is exploring the possibility of equipping its Kapitan Pattimura (Parchim I)-class corvettes and Makassar-class landing platform dock (LPD) ships with the Chinese-developed Type 730 close-in weapon system (CIWS), a source close to the TNI-AL informed IHS Jane's on 18 February.

 

Read more

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
 US naval official overstated strength of PLA sub fleet

 

02 March 2015 Pacific Sentinel

 

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of US naval operations, has been criticized in China's Global Times for comments which exaggerate the strength of the People's Liberation Army Navy, in the view of a Chinese expert interviewed by the paper.

 

"China is building some fairly amazing submarines and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States," Mulloy told the US House Armed Services Committee's seapower subcommittee on Feb. 25, according to Reuters. Mulloy said China is expanding the geographic areas of operation of its submarines and the length of their deployment. The PLA Navy deployed its submarines to the Indian Ocean about three times last year and also kept vessels out at sea for 95 days, Mulloy said.

 

Even though China's submarines cannot match those of the United States, the size of the PLA Navy's sub fleet is catching up. The United States Navy has 71 submarines in commission while the Pentagon in its last annual report to Congress said that the PLA Navy now operates more than 60 submarines.

 

Read the full story at Want China Times

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1 mars 2015 7 01 /03 /mars /2015 12:45
144 Casques bleus chinois à Juba, 520 autres en route


27.02.2015 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense
 

Xinhuanet a publié ce vendredi un article annonçant l'arrivée d'un premier détachement de casques bleus chinois à Juba (Soudan du Sud). Ce contingent, qui sera suivi d'un second groupe de 520 autres militaires, appartient à l'unité d'infanterie mécanisée que la Chine déploie dans le cadre de l'UNMISS.

Ces soldats avaient quitté Jinan, la capitale de la province de Shandong, le 26, visiblement ravis de leur toute prochaine escapade africaine:

 

Dans un post du 13 janvier, j'avais montré l'embarquement de leur matériel (à lire ici).

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26 février 2015 4 26 /02 /février /2015 21:35
Les faiblesses de l’armée chinoise

 

26 février 2015 par Daniel Ventre -45eNord.ca

 

La RAND Corporation vient de publier un long rapport (184 pages) portant sur les faiblesses de l’armée chinoise (China’s incomplete military transformation. Assessing the weaknesses of the People’s Liberation Army. Février 2015).

 

La « faiblesse » militaire (military weakness) y est définie (p.2) comme l’impossibilité totale de remplir une mission ; le risque élevé d’échec d’une mission ; toute inefficacité susceptible de dégrader les résultats attendus d’une mission.

Le rapport propose tout d’abord un regard sur le processus de modernisation engagé dans les années 1990 et programmé jusqu’en 2025 ; puis s’intéresse aux missions de l’armée ; se focalise sur les faiblesses organisationnelles, en termes de ressources humaines, en termes de capacités de combat ; et enfin s’intéresse aux faiblesses de son industrie de défense.

Il est question du cyberespace (p.114-119) dans le chapitre consacré aux faiblesses capacitaires. Les domaines y sont traités un à un (terre, mer, air, nucléaire, espace, cyber et électromagnétique).

La Chine a lancé ces dernières années de nombreux satellites, renforçant ainsi ses capacités ISR, navigation, positionnement, communications. Pour protéger ces capacités satellitaires, la Chine déploie aussi des moyens de défense spécifiques. L’armée développe également d’importants moyens de guerre électronique (radio, radar, infrarouge, optique, informatique, systèmes de communication). Les capacités cyber pour le combat sont au cœur de cette politique de développement capacitaire (collecte d’information, perturber l’action de l’adversaire, multiplicateur de force).

Mais si le développement des capacités offensives semble suivre une courbe ascendante, il n’en va pas de même des capacités de protection des intérêts chinois dans les domaines spatiaux et électro-magnétiques, qui resteraient relativement vulnérables.

Les études chinoises s’inquiètent de la dépendance croissante aux systèmes spatiaux (satellites) et retiennent que dans ce domaine l’offensive prime sur la défense. Les questions cyber sont englobées dans les considérations sur l’usage du spectre électromagnétique : la Chine se définit dans ce domaine comme vulnérable. Les faiblesses ne procèdent pas seulement des obstacles techniques, technologiques, qu’il faut surmonter pour mettre en œuvre des systèmes C4ISR, mais aussi des procédures (faible coordination entre les agences de renseignement, les opérationnels et les décideurs au plus haut niveau).

Soulignons que ces constats, formulés par les auteurs du rapport, s’appuient principalement sur des publications chinoises, ce qui oblige à relativiser l’analyse. Les quelques lignes dédiées au cyberespace restent assez générales dans leur propos, et nous ne voyons là rien de véritablement spécifique aux forces chinoises.

Le rapport souligne, pour terminer ce chapitre (p.117), l’absence de considération, par les analystes chinois, de la problématique des effets non intentionnels et des risques d’escalade non maîtrisés. Les analystes chinois auraient tendance à insister sur les avantages, sur les aspects positifs des gains de la guerre de l’information, mais à ignorer ses limites et ses risques.

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26 février 2015 4 26 /02 /février /2015 17:35
China outpaces America in sub numbers – US admiral

 

February 26, 2015 RT.com

 

The Chinese Navy now has more diesel and nuclear attack submarines than America does, a US Navy admiral told lawmakers. Some of them are “fairly amazing” and Beijing is exploring new ways of projecting its power on the seas.

 

The Chinese are experimenting with new geographic location, length of missions and new weapons, Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee's Seapower Subcommittee on Wednesday.

 

“They may not be the same quality, but their submarine forces are growing at a tremendous rate. They now have more diesel and nuclear attack submarines than we have,” the admiral told the lawmakers. “They are producing some fairly amazing submarines and they are actually deploying them.”

 

The Chinese naval missions included at least three deployments into the Indian Ocean, Mulloy told the committee. They can also send strategic ballistic missile submarines on missions lasting for 95 days.

 

“We don't think they have nuclear weapons on board, but we've seen them producing the missiles and testing them,” the admiral said. "We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines.”

 

The US Navy reported having 71 commissioned submarines. The Chinese, according to Pentagon estimates voiced last year, has 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.

 

Despite having world largest defense budget, the US has been looking wearily at other nations building up their armed forces. China is investing heavily in new technology, seeking to project its military power in the Pacific region.

 

Washington has repeatedly criticized Beijing, saying it’s using its military to put leverage on other regional players, including US allies like Japan and South Korea, in territorial disputes.

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26 février 2015 4 26 /02 /février /2015 12:30
Chinese S-300 (HongQi 9 [HQ-9]) launcher during China's 60th anniversary parade, 2009. photo Jian Kang

Chinese S-300 (HongQi 9 [HQ-9]) launcher during China's 60th anniversary parade, 2009. photo Jian Kang

 

25/02/2015 lorientlejour.com

 

"La Turquie s'efforce de conclure un meilleur accord, non seulement commercialement mais aussi politiquement".

 

La Turquie a relancé la controverse autour de l'appel d'offres lancé pour équiper son armée de missiles sol-air dernier-cri en agitant à nouveau la perspective d'une victoire de la Chine, à seule fin semble-t-il d'arracher des concessions des autres prétendants.

 

En 2013, le gouvernement islamo-conservateur turc a créé la surprise en annonçant avoir retenu pour ce contrat de 3 milliards d'euros la firme China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC), de préférence à ses concurrents américains Raytheon et Lockheed Martin et le consortium franco-italien Eurosam.

 

Cette décision a provoqué la levée de boucliers des alliés de la Turquie au sein de l'Otan. Tous ont regretté l'absence de compatibilité du matériel chinois avec leurs propres systèmes et rappelé que CPMIEC faisait l'objet de sanctions de Washington pour avoir livré des armes à la Syrie et à l'Iran sous embargo. Sous pression, Ankara a donc été contraint de revoir sa position en repêchant les deux autres candidats, priés de reformuler leurs propositions. A en croire les confidences du président Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ce nouveau tour de piste semblait devoir bénéficier aux Européens. Mais une série de récentes déclarations et de confidences sont venues rebattre les cartes.

 

La semaine dernière, le ministre de la Défense Ismet Yilmaz a ainsi suggéré que les Chinois allaient l'emporter en indiquant, en réponse à la question d'un député, que le système retenu par les Turcs ne serait pas intégré au système de l'Alliance atlantique. Dans la foulée du ministre, les autorités turques ont insisté sur les mérites de l'offre chinoise, même si elles ont précisé qu'aucune décision n'avait encore été prise. "La Chine est un candidat sérieux et se trouve dans une position plus avantageuse que celle de ses concurrents", explique à l'AFP une source gouvernementale, "elle propose un prix inférieur de moitié et elle accepte de partager sa technologie".

 

"Dans la course"

 

Si certains ont rapidement conclu de ces sorties que les Turcs avaient fait leur choix, les analystes n'y ont vu qu'une péripétie des négociations en cours."Il est faux de présumer que la Turquie a choisi d'acheter ses missiles aux seuls Chinois. Les Américains et les Européens sont toujours dans la course", assure Sinan Ülgen, du Centre d'études économiques et de politique étrangère (Edam) d'Istanbul. "La Turquie s'efforce de conclure un meilleur accord, non seulement commercialement mais aussi politiquement", renchérit Nihat Ali Özcan, du centre d'études Tepav d'Ankara.

 

La presse proche du gouvernement a ainsi rapporté récemment que les autorités n'attribueraient pas le contrat avant le 24 avril, date de la commémoration du centième anniversaire du génocide arménien, afin de s'assurer des bonnes dispositions de Paris et Washington sur ce dossier sensible. "Un accord pourrait être signé avec la Chine si les gouvernements américain et français adoptent des positions pro-arméniennes", a écrit le quotidien Sabah.

 

Un projet de loi français, finalement annulé, pénalisant la négation du génocide arménien a suscité une sérieuse crise entre Paris et Ankara en 2012 et le président français François Hollande a déjà annoncé sa présence à Erevan le 24 avril. Les Turcs s'inquiètent également du dépôt au Congrès américain d'un texte reconnaissant le caractère de génocide aux massacres d'Arméniens par l'Empire ottoman pendant la Première guerre mondiale. Ankara réfute catégoriquement cette qualification.

 

L'Otan comme les pays en course se sont refusés à commenter l'état des discussions. "Chaque nation est libre de décider de l'origine de ses équipements militaires mais il est important que tous puissent fonctionner ensemble", a toutefois rappelé sous couvert de l'anonymat à l'AFP un responsable de l'Alliance atlantique.

 

Le porte-parole du président Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, semble avoir entendu ces inquiétudes et a affirmé lundi que son pays assurerait "l'intégration" de son futur système d'armes avec celui de l'Otan.

 

Même si la Turquie fait monter les enchères, donc, les experts restent persuadés qu'elle privilégiera au final les offres occidentales. "Comment pouvez-vous espérer que le système radar de l'Otan basé à Kurecik, dans l'est de la Turquie, puisse fonctionner à pleine capacité avec un système chinois ?", s'interroge Sinan Ülgen, "ce serait un paradoxe". "Européens et Américains font la course en tête, pas les Chinois", confirme M. Özcan.

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24 février 2015 2 24 /02 /février /2015 08:35
Treuillage du Panther de la 36F sur la frégate Yuncheng photo Marine nationale

Treuillage du Panther de la 36F sur la frégate Yuncheng photo Marine nationale

 

18 Février 2015 Source : Marine nationale

 

Le 13 février 2015, l’aviso Commandant Birot a retrouvé la frégate chinoise Yuncheng qui a quitté le port de Toulon après une escale de cinq jours.

 

Ce fût l’occasion pour l’aviso, qui avait accueilli la frégate dans les eaux françaises quelques jours plus tôt, de conduire quelques activités de coopération opérationnelle. Après avoir simulé une rencontre inopinée à la mer, les bâtiments ont mené des entraînements croisés à la visite. Chaque équipe a ainsi pu échanger sur sa façon de mener une investigation sur des bâtiments suspectés de trafic.

 

Après le retour des équipes, alors que les deux bâtiments conduisaient des évolutions tactiques, l’hélicoptère Z9 chinois, (« cousin » de nos Dauphin et Panther) a pris quelques photos des deux unités en formation. Enfin, un treuillage par un Panther de la flottille 36F, sur la plateforme hélicoptère du Yuncheng, puis un hélitreuillage du plongeur de l’hélicoptère Z9 sur la plage arrière du Commandant Birot ont clos cette série d’exercices.

 

Cette matinée de manœuvres inhabituelles sous nos latitudes, a permis aux marins du Birot de découvrir, avec la frégate Yuncheng, une unité d’une marine chinoise en plein renouveau.

 

Entraînement franco-chinois pour l’aviso Cdt Birot

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22 février 2015 7 22 /02 /février /2015 17:25
Two J-10 fighters at the Zhuhai Airshow on Nov. 5, 2008. (Photo Xinhua)

Two J-10 fighters at the Zhuhai Airshow on Nov. 5, 2008. (Photo Xinhua)

 

February 22, 2015 By Wendell Minnick – Defense News

 

TAIPEI — London's successful blocking of the Gripen fighter sale to Argentina appears to have done little to stop Buenos Aires' determination to replace its aging attack and fighter fleet. Nor has it halted its threats to use force to "liberate" the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands from British control.

 

In October, Argentina's Defense Minister Agustin Rossi announced plans to procure 14 Saab Gripen fighters to replace its single-engine Dassault Mirage III/5, which saw combat during the 1982 Falklands War.

 

However, London quickly killed the deal. When that was nixed, Argentine's President Cristina Kirchner traveled to Beijing, Feb. 2-5, and announced Argentina and China were creating a working group to facilitate the transfer of a variety of military equipment, including fighters. To further sweeten the pot, China takes Argentina's position on the Falkland Islands and has compared the dispute to China's sovereignty claims over disputed islands in the East and South China Seas.

 

Two types of Chinese fighters are candidates: The FC-1/JF-17 and the J-10, both built by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC).

 

The JF-17 is the Pakistan-built variant of the FC-1. Both fighters have their advantages and disadvantages, said Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. The Chengdu FC-1 represents the cheaper and less-capable combat aircraft, he said. Argentina could purchase significantly more FC-1s, "although in capability terms this would not represent as great an increment in overall performance compared to the J-10," he said.

 

The Argentinean Air Force could face difficulties acclimating to non-Western equipment, but "we should understand that such a sale will have a special political importance for the Chinese. It brings prestige and opens doors to new combat aircraft sales to the region," said Vasily Kashin, a China military specialist at Moscow's Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. "They will likely provide good financing conditions and will probably pay special attention to subsequent maintenance and training work."

 

Logistics and follow-on support is still a question, and China's reputation with past fighter exports is dubious, said Roger Cliff, nonresident senior fellow, Asia Security Initiative, Atlantic Council. He said Argentina might have no choice in the matter since London will no doubt block any Western fighter sale. Russia could also be a contender, but also has a poor history in fighter support, Cliff said.

 

However, China's JF-17 fighter program in Pakistan has proven a reasonably successful test bed for joint fighter production programs. The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and CAC developed the JF-17 and CAC's FC-1 in a joint program begun in 1995. Like Argentina, the Pakistan JF-17 replaced its Mirage III/5 fighters.

 

Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, said that in 2013 CAC was in discussions with the Argentine aerospace company Fabrica Argentina de Aviones to co-build the FC-1 in a similar fashion as the CAC/PAC deal. Fabrica did not respond to requests for information on the issue.

 

China has been working hard to placate Buenos Aires. In 2011, Fabrica and the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) signed a co-production deal for the CZ-11 single-engine light multi-purpose helicopter.

 

Future cooperation could cover co-production with China's Norinco for 100 eight-wheeled VN1 eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers, and joint development with China's Shipbuilding Corp. for five corvettes modeled after the P18 (to be dubbed the Malvinas-class after the Falklands dispute).

 

These agreements could complicate London's ability to protect the Falklands from another invasion.

 

Fisher said that with aerial refueling, which will be available from Argentina's new Embraer KC390s, "the FC-1 is able to carry two CM400AKG-derived hypersonic anti-ship missiles out to a reasonable strike range." With the element of surprise and a minimum of 20 fighters, "there is the potential they could launch up to 40 of these missiles at the likely single aircraft carrier that Britain would send to defend the Falklands from a second attack."

 

London does not have an aircraft carrier that can operate fixed-wing aircraft. The famed AV-8 Harrier jump jetss that made their name during the Falklands War were retired in 2010. However, two 70,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are under construction, with the first to be completed in 2017 with an air wing operational in 2020, Cliff said. The carriers will be equipped with short take-off and vertical landing F-35B joint strike fighters. "So the UK might be especially vulnerable at the moment, but that situation will not last long."

 

Fisher said the issue is more complicated today than it was during the war.

 

The other new element is that Argentina and China are now partners in space cooperation. China is building a strategic Southern Hemisphere tracking and control facility, and Argentina could get access to China's growing surveillance satellite network.

 

The scenarios Fisher paints are dark. "What if Venezuela gave Argentine aircraft base access to mount an early strike against a British task force? This could become a realistic option with Chinese ISR. This Chinese-Argentine military relationship is just beginning to blossom. Anti-ship ballistic missiles, over-the-horizon radar, and submarines could quickly join the list of possible Chinese exports.

 

"Look, there does not have to be a second war," Fisher continued. "If China sells Argentina enough weapons, a future British government could opt for a lengthy face-saving Hong Kong-like transfer. But in Latin America, such a 'surrender' would be viewed as much a Chinese as an Argentine victory."

 

The political and economic consequences for Argentina of making another grab for the Falklands would be severe, and even threatening to do so would not be in the country's interest. But that does not mean it could not happen, "as people in the country are still passionate about the issue", Cliff said.

 

"Argentina made things pretty dicey for the UK back in 1982 and probably could do so again, especially if they prepared carefully for it."

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14 février 2015 6 14 /02 /février /2015 12:35
The Truth About China's Aircraft Carriers

 

10 February 2015 Pacific Sentinel
 

The hype surrounding Chinese aircraft carriers disregards PLAN budget realities.

 

According to public reports (PDF), China is building two aircraft carriers, with plans to increase that to four, according to one report, and possibly a new class of helicopter carrier for amphibious assault. For many in China, this has been a necessary evolution for a country of such wealth and international power. For the government, it is part of a techno-nationalist campaign designed to show that the country is arriving at the highest level of international power. The idea is that China can do anything the other great powers do. It can land jet aircraft on a carrier, it can put a rover on the moon, and it can put a man in space. This is the decade of impressive and inspiring achievement we have seen from China.

Yet the challenge China faces is that it is copying innovations first undertaken more than a few decades earlier (China was four decades late for manned space travel and six decades late for a jet aircraft landing on an aircraft carrier). When China puts a person on the moon later this decade it will be five decades after the United States did so. In those four to six decades, the innovation of the United States and other countries did not stand still. So we should not automatically assume that mere replication of such technological milestones is a good idea for China.

There has been some debate in the pages of The Diplomat about the expansive ambitions of China in the naval domain and about the contemporary value of aircraft carriers in naval forces in general. The view I identify most with is that from Harry Kazianis, “Why to Ignore China’s Aircraft Carriers” (January 28, 2914). He said: “There is a lot of Chinese hardware that could challenge U.S. primacy in the Pacific — but carriers are not one of them.” But I don’t even agree that Chinese hardware can challenge U.S. primacy. It takes a lot more than technology. It is about intent and allies, among many factors to consider. I don’t believe that Chinese leaders have it in their heads or in their budgets to challenge U.S. naval primacy in the Pacific.

I also take issue with the speculation about China building naval bases in the Indian Ocean. It is possible at some point that they might do so, but it is not likely to be in the leaders’ plans for the foreseeable future. Why do they need foreign naval bases? 

 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 17:35
Russia 'stole' Chinese Zubr contract from Ukraine

 

13 February 2015 Pacific Sentinel

 

An agreement is thought to have been reached between Russia and China under which the former will construct Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC) in China. This much is assumed from a piece entitled "Russia Steals an International Defense Contract from Ukraine" on Russian online news site Vzglyad.

 

The contract was originally signed by China and Ukraine. The ships were to be constructed at Feodosiya Shipyard in Ukraine under an agreement with the state-owned Ukrainian Defense Industry, according to a Russian shipbuilding industry source cited in the article. Now, it seems, Russia's state-run Rosoboronexport will be responsible for the project.

 

Ukraine does not have exclusive rights to build and sell the air-cushioned craft, as the technology belongs to Russia, according to the online paper. In order to prevent protests from Russia, Ukraine made slight adjustments to the landing craft and renamed it the Project 958 Zubr LCAC from its previous designation of Project 1232.2. Under the terms of the contract, last spring Ukraine delivered two of the craft to China.

 

Read the full story at Want China Times

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 17:35
3 Goals of China's Military Diplomacy


30 january 2015 Pacific Sentinel
 

China seeks to accomplish three things with its military diplomacy: deterrence, agenda-setting, and reassurance.
 

On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping (who is also the chairman of China’s Central Military Commission) said that China will place a greater emphasis on military diplomacy as a part of its overall foreign policy strategy. Xi made the comments at a meeting of military attaches and other military officials in charge of diplomatic work. Officers in attendance included Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission; Xu Qiliang, another vice chairman as well as the head of China’s air force; Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan; Chief of PLA General Staff Fang Fenghui; and Wu Shengli, China’s naval chief.

Xi exhorted the military officers in attendance to “start a new phase of military diplomacy.” Xi noted that the CCP has always viewed military diplomacy as an important tool for advancing China’s overall diplomatic goals, safeguarding national security, and promoting the construction of China’s military. Today, military diplomacy is even more prominent in China’s national diplomacy and security strategy, Xi said.

China’s emphasis on military diplomacy was evidenced last year, as China stepped up military exchanges, visits, and joint drills. A spokesman from the Defense Ministry recapped China’s 2014 military diplomacy in the final press conference of the year. According to the spokesman, Yang Yujun, China participated in 31 bilateral or multilateral joint exercises. Notably, Yang said, the focus of the exercises “expanded from non-traditional security to traditional security.” Exercises in 2014 were “more real combat oriented” than in the past, Yang added. 

 

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 12:35
Resolute Support - photo Nato

Resolute Support - photo Nato

 

12.02.2015 Le Monde.fr

 

La Chine est prête à jouer les intermédiaires entre les talibans et Kaboul, a annoncé jeudi 12 février le ministre des affaires étrangères chinois, Wang Yi. Pékin est un acteur économique majeur en Afghanistan, notamment dans les mines. Il y est cependant resté jusqu'ici politiquement effacé. L'annonce a été faite non à Kaboul, mais au Pakistan, qui abrite les bases arrière et les principaux dirigeants des talibans afghans.

« Nous soutiendrons le gouvernement afghan dans sa recherche de réconciliation avec plusieurs factions politiques, y compris les talibans », a dit M. Wang, qui s'exprimait à Islamabad au côté du conseiller à la sécurité pakistanais Sartaj Aziz. M. Wang a également annoncé que le président chinois, Xi Jinping, effectuerait sa première visite au Pakistan « bientôt cette année ».

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:35
Minsk a Kiev class aviation cruiser

Minsk a Kiev class aviation cruiser

 

13 February 2015 by Pacific Sentinel

 

China's ability to modify its two decommissioned Soviet era Kiev-class aircraft carriers which now serve as hotel-theme parks in Tianjian and Shenzhen has been discussed in a recent article on Beijing-based website Sina Military Network on Feb. 10.

 

The Kiev and the Minsk were the first two vessels of four Kiev-class aircraft carriers built for the Soviet navy back in the 1970s. Also known as aviation cruisers, the 45,000-ton vessels can be equipped with 80 to 200 surface-to-air missiles, two dual-purpose guns, eight close-in weapons systems and 10 torpedo tubes. The ships have a speed of 32 knots and are capable of carrying between 12 and 13 Yak-38 fighters with vertical take-off and landing capability. The ships can also carry 14 to 17 Ka-25 or Ka-27/29 helicopters.

 

Read the full story at Want China Times

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11 février 2015 3 11 /02 /février /2015 08:35
La Chine construit des îles artificielles pour revendiquer des zones maritimes

 

10/02/2015 Par Julien Licourt – LeFigaro.fr

 

La République populaire entend asseoir son influence sur des ilôts inhabités mais stratégiques de la mer de Chine.

 

Une île artificielle en forme de porte-avion. La Chine est en train d'agglomérer des milliers de tonnes de terre sur un récif corallien afin de le transformer en piste d'atterrissage. L'objectif: asseoir sa domination sur une zone stratégique très disputée, la mer de Chine.

Jusqu'à présent, la majeure partie de l'île de Fiery Cross, ou Yongshu, en Chinois, se trouvait sous l'eau, à l'exception de quelques rochers et d'une surface de béton artificielle, servant à héberger une petite garnison de soldats. Des images satellites, analysées par des experts anglo-saxons de l'IHS, ont montré que depuis quelques mois, des navires chinois draguaient les fonds environnants. Les images ont également montré que ces derniers rassemblent les sédiments sur la barrière de corail, afin de faire émerger des eaux une piste de 3000 mètres de long sur 300 mètres, au plus, de large. Un port, à l'est de l'île, serait également en train d'être créé par les dragues chinoises. Il serait suffisamment grand pour «accueillir des pétroliers ou de grands navires de guerre», selon les experts de l'IHS.

 

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10 février 2015 2 10 /02 /février /2015 13:55
Le Birot et le Changbai Shan photo MT Bisson Marine nationale

Le Birot et le Changbai Shan photo MT Bisson Marine nationale

 

10 Février 2015 Source : Marine nationale

 

Le 7 février 2015, l’aviso Commandant Birot, jusque-là en patrouille de surveillance dans les approches maritimes, est allé au-devant de trois navires chinois afin de les accueillir dans les eaux françaises.

 

Le groupe composé du bâtiment de transport de chalands de débarquement Changbai Shan, de la frégate Yuncheng et du pétrolier-ravitailleur Chao Hu, actuellement en déploiement en Europe, est entré dans les eaux territoriales françaises en fin de matinée. Le bâtiment français a escorté les unités chinoises et leur a ouvert la voie jusqu’à la rade de Hyères, où les trois bâtiments ont mouillé en attendant leur entrée dans le port de Toulon. A cette occasion, trois officiers chinois sont venus à bord afin d’échanger et de préparer les activités de coopération opérationnelle qui auront lieu après l’escale.

 

Escorte du LPD Changbai-Shan dans les eaux territoriales - photo MT Bisson Marine nationale

Escorte du LPD Changbai-Shan dans les eaux territoriales - photo MT Bisson Marine nationale

Le 9 février au matin, les quatre bâtiments ont appareillé en direction de Toulon en franchissant les petites passes de l’île de Porquerolles. Une fois le groupe chinois arrivé à bon port, l’aviso Commandant Birot a fait route vers le large, reprenant sa mission.

 

 

 

Le Birot et le Chao Hu au mouillage en rade d'hyere - photo MT Bisson Marine nationale

Le Birot et le Chao Hu au mouillage en rade d'hyere - photo MT Bisson Marine nationale

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10 février 2015 2 10 /02 /février /2015 13:35
MAPL : 1 + 1 + 2 porte-avions


09.02.2015 par Le Fauteuil de Colbert
 

L'information est à recherchée dans les sources ouvertes, ces dernières constituent la plus grande réserve de cette matière première. En tous les cas, c'est l'une des rares manières de procéder quand nous n'avons pas accès à un service de renseignement. Ce serait donc par le fait d'un élu trop heureux et/ou maladroit que nous aurions pu apprendre la construction d'un porte-avions de conception nationale en Chine.

 

Revenons donc à notre point de départ favori : en 2006, Mer et Marine évoque, selon les informations de la rédaction, que la Chine ambitionne de se doter de quatre porte-avions. Le premier est celui qui a été achetée à l'Ukraine en 2000. Les deux suivants seraient de construction nationale. Le dernier serait un porte-avions à propulsion nucléaire. En 2015, les médias chinois fournissent des arguments à un tel format, et c'est loin d'être une première...

 

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