Asitimes

Friday, August 14, 2015

Taiwan unveils its biggest ever military drone


A photographer takes photo of the latest home-made MALE Unmanned Aircraft Systems during a press conference of the 2015 Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition at the World Trade Center in Taipei on August 12, 2015. Taiwan will unveil the prototype of its largest military drone to the public at a Taipei convention, a chance for the island to flex its muscles in the face of China’s growing military might. AFP PHOTO/SAM YEH

TAIPEI–Taiwan unveiled the prototype of its largest ever military drone on Wednesday as it seeks to boost its defense forces in the face of a perceived threat from China.

The sleek, white unmanned aircraft is designed for intelligence gathering and surveillance missions, according to the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), an arm of the Ministry of National Defense that is developing the drone.

It is more than twice the size of any of the existing fleet of 32 “Sharp Kite” drones used by Taiwanese forces.

“Our research and development capabilities are definitely not inferior (to China’s),” said Ma Wan-june, director of the aeronautical systems research division at CSIST.

Ma did not say when the prototype is to be put into use or give any further specifications.

“It’s equipped for automatic takeoff and landing, communications, optical detection, among others,” Ma said.

The drone was shown to reporters ahead of the biennial Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition which starts Thursday and is open to the public.

Taiwan in December launched its largest-ever missile ship, the 500-ton corvette named “Tuo Chiang”–the first of its kind to be produced locally.

The ship is armed with 16 missiles including eight supersonic Hsiung-feng III (Brave Wind) anti-ship missiles.

Self-governing Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949 after a civil war. But Beijing still sees the island as part of its territory and does not rule out force to achieve reunification at some stage.

According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, China has more than 1,500 ballistic and cruise missiles trained on the island.

Inquirer.net

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China air force conducts west Pacific drill

A bombardment aircraft participates a drill of China air force in the western Pacific, Aug. 14, 2015. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a drill involving "multiple types of aircraft" in the western Pacific on Friday. PLA aircraft flew over the western Pacific via the Bashi Channel and returned on the same day, reaching 1,000 km beyond the First Island Chain, spokesperson Shen Jinke said at a news briefing. "The drill is in line with international laws and practices, and doesn't aim at any specific country, region or target," Shen said. (Xinhua/Feng Xiang)

GUANGZHOU, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a drill involving "multiple types of aircraft" in the western Pacific on Friday, a military spokesman has said.

PLA aircraft flew over the western Pacific via the Bashi Channel and returned on the same day, reaching 1,000 km beyond the First Island Chain, spokesman Shen Jinke said at a news briefing.

The First Island Chain refers to a series of islands that stretch from Japan in the north to Taiwan and the Philippines to the south.

"[The drill] is in line with international laws and practices, and doesn't aim at any specific country, region or target," Shen said, adding that aviation troops have improved their maneuvering and combat abilities over the open sea.

File photo shows a bombardment aircraft participates a drill of China air force. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a drill involving "multiple types of aircraft" in the western Pacific on Friday. PLA aircraft flew over the western Pacific via the Bashi Channel and returned on the same day, reaching 1,000 km beyond the First Island Chain, spokesperson Shen Jinke said at a news briefing. "The drill is in line with international laws and practices, and doesn't aim at any specific country, region or target," Shen said. (Xinhua/Shen Jinke)
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PLAAF must pay double Russian Air Force's price for Su-35 fighter


China's People's Liberation Army Air Force must pay double what the Russian Air Force pays to purchase the country's Su-35 fighter, a source from Russia's aviation industry told the Moscow-based Vedomosti in a report published Aug. 11.

A contract for a new batch of Su-35 multirole air superiority fighters for the Russian Air Force will be signed between the Moscow-based United Aircraft Corporation and Russia's defense ministry at the opening ceremony of the Russian Worldwide Air Show, or MAKS 2015, on Aug. 25. Under the contract, UAC will supply 48 Su-35 fighters to the Russian Air Force before 2020. Sergey Shoigu, the country's defense minister, ordered that all tests and trials for the plane must be completed before the end of this year.

The total price for the 48 fighters will be US$1.58 billion, sources told the newspaper. Konstantin Makiyenko, an analyst from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, said this is the largest deal between UAC and the defense ministry this year, since the air force may not purchase additional Su-30SM fighters and Su-34 tactical bombers in near future.

Russia has also approved the sale of 24 Su-35 fighters to China for a reported price of US$1.5 billion. With China apparently made to pay double what the Russian government pays per unit, this may be one of the reasons the two sides have yet to reach an agreement on the terms of the sale.

Russia to provide Irbis-E radar to China for Su-35 fighters


Russia is likely provide the Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array radar system to China's PLA Air Force along with 24 advanced Su-35 fighters, according to the Sputnik News based in Moscow on Aug. 12.

Yury Bely, director of the Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design, told Sputnik News that Russia is negotiating with China about providing the radar systems to the PLA Air Force for use with the 24 Su-35 fighters which will also be purchased from Russia. Rosoboronexport, the state intermediary agency for Russia's imports and exports of military hardware, confirmed in June that the contract regarding the sale of Su-35 fighters to China will be signed before the end of 2015.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chinese motorists spot enormous new missile transport and launch vehicle


Pictures have surfaced of what is believed to be the largest ever Chinese military vehicle for transporting and launching missiles.Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) vehicles are used to quickly transport and fire surface-to-air, cruise and ballistic missiles.

Chinese drivers have recently spotted a new version of the vehicle, which appears similar to the military's standard TEL, except that the latest model is "much, much larger," according to Popular Science."There's an extended section above the first and second axles, which would likely hold additional personnel and equipment for missile launch and flight corrections. Also, it has a satellite communications dome, suggesting that it requires higher bandwidth for datalinks necessary to operate a more sophisticated missile," Popular Science reported.Most notable about the new TEL are its two giant mystery missiles. While the standard vehicle carried three missile canisters, the new TEL carries only two missile canisters, suggesting a much wider missile.

Also, even though the new TEL vehicle is longer, its missile canisters still extend to its rear bumper, showing that the new missile is wider and two to three meters longer, Popular Science reported.
The new TEL is speculated to transport the YJ-18 anti-ship missile, a Chinese adaptation of Russian Klub rocket/cruise missile technology. The Klub missile uses a discardable turbofan engine to cruise at subsonic speeds for most of its flight, and then uses a rocket engine to reach supersonic speeds of Mach 3 in its final 50 kilometers of flight.

However, greater diameter of the new missile could point to other possibilities, such as the long-range surface-to-air and anti-ballistic HQ-26 missile, an ultra-long-range cruise missile, or another large supersonic cruise missile, Popular Science reported.The new missile launch vehicle – its increased sophistication, along with a likely larger missile it will carry – shows China is dedicated to its goal of developing and deploying new weapons as it extends its reach in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sputnik News
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

PLA targets Vietnam in S China Sea exercise, US in E China Sea

The People's Liberation Army Navy last week held large-scale military exercises in the East China and South China seas, according to Sina's military news web portal.


A warhead on China's warship readied for launching

On July 28, the South Sea Fleet led a live-fire exercise in an area of the South China Sea measuring several tens of thousands of square kilometers, along with the other PLA Navy fleets, the Guangzhou Military Region and the Second Artillery Corps; on July 30 and 31, the PLA Navy dispatched a fleet of electronic-warfare aircraft and Xian H-6 twin-engine jet bombers on several missions flying over the Miyako Strait, the waterway between Japan's Miyako Island and Okinawa Island, into the Western Pacific.

The targets of the two military exercises were not announced in the PLA press release. Military affairs websites have suggested that the South China Sea exercise is likely aimed at territory within what China calls the "first island chain" — the term the Chinese military uses to refer to the string of archipelagos extending from the Kuril islands south through Japan and its Ryukyu islands, Taiwan and the Philippines — likely in preparation for a potential scenario in which a US aircraft carrier war fleet break through the first island chain. Although this is a reasonable assumption, in a real combat scenario, relying on anti-ship missiles, conventional submarine-launched missiles and air-launched cruise missiles with a range of just 300 kilometers to take on a carrier fleet means that all the warships, planes and submarines would have to penetrate the carrier fleet's outer defenses and approach its inner defenses to fire their payload. This kind of scenario is hard to imagine playing out in reality, given the naval power of the US.

Reports on the exercise included the following paragraph:

"In the exercise, the [enemy] blue army troops attacked the red army ships with ballistic missiles. Several supersonic anti-ship missiles attacked the red army ships from different directions and different altitudes. The red army early warning system was able to identify the sources of the attacks; however, they were then subject to electronic interference from the blue army. The red army fleet immediately launched anti-electronic interference measures and rapidly locked on targets. Ballistic missiles were then launched from the [Guangzhou-class] Wuhan [Type 052B destroyer] and the [Type 054A Jiangkai II-class] Hengyang [frigate] which intercepted the attacking missiles, leading them to explode in mid-air."

This suggests that one of the most important objectives of this exercise was the interception of supersonic missiles, but both the US McDonnell Douglas Harpoon anti-ship missile currently in use and the stealthy Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) currently under development in the US are both subsonic and in addition to this the US Navy also makes use of a range of guided bombs. This suggests that the exercise is unlikely to have had the US in mind as a potential target.

Another important objective of the exercise was anti-submarine measures. The head of the General Staff Department of the South Sea Fleet said that during the exercise, "submarines fired torpedoes under anti-submarine conditions" and in the footage posted of the exercise, the navy not only fired anti-submarine torpedoes, but anti-submarine helicopters also searched for submarines. There was also footage of a Type 054A frigate firing an anti-submarine missile for the first time. The electrically powered Yu-8 torpedo has been announced to the public on several occasions, but this is the first time that footage of the torpedo being fired has been released. This suggests that whichever nation is the target of the exercise, they have quite an impressive submarine fleet.

A large fleet of Type 022 missile boats also took part in the exercise, as well as the South Sea Fleet's Kilo-class conventionally powered submarine. If these ships, along with ground-to-ship missiles, coast defenses and supersonic anti-ship missiles, were used by one of the enemy "blue army," then it makes it clearer that the exercise was designed with Vietnam in mind, as the Philippines has nowhere near this amount of naval power.

Sino-Vietnamese relations chilled last year during an extended stand-off between Vietnamese and Chinese ships over the deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil exploration platform to the Paracels, an area of the South China Sea that Vietnam considers its exclusive economic zone. The stand-off led to widespread protests throughout Vietnam and the exit of many Chinese companies from the country, until relations normalized again after the Chinese withdrawal of the platform. Tensions continue over territorial disputes between the two nations, as well as several other countries, over sovereignty over reefs and islands in the region.

The exercise involving the fleet of electronic-warfare aircraft and Xian H-6 twin-engine jet bombers flying over the Miyako strait, on the other hand, was clearly carried out with a US carrier fleet in mind. As well as the Shaanxi Y-8J airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and the newer Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare and surveillance aircraft, the KJ-200 airborne early warning and control, with its expanded surveillance capabilities, also took part in the exercise.

Want China Times
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Vessels donated by Australian gov't to Philippines seen in Manila

Photo taken on Aug. 10, 2015 shows the BRP Batak docking at a bay in Manila, the Philippines. BRP Batak and BRP Ivatan are the decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy vessels donated by the Australian government to the Philippines. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

A member of the Philippine Navy stands on board at the BRP Batak docked at a bay in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 10, 2015. BRP Batak and BRP Ivatan are the decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy vessels donated by the Australian government to the Philippines. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

Members of the Philippine Navy stand on board at the BRP Batak docked at a bay in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 10, 2015. BRP Batak and BRP Ivatan are the decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy vessels donated by the Australian government to the Philippines. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

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In pics: Philippine newly-acquired AW109 helicopters

One of the two newly-acquired AW109 helicopters is seen in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 10, 2015. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

The AW109 Power is a versatile aircraft that offers the highest level of benefits for commercial, government and military markets, combining optimum performance with cost-effectiveness," design and manufacturing firm AgustaWestland says.

Members of the Philippine Navy stand beside one of the two newly-acquired AW109 helicopters in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 10, 2015. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

The new assets, manufactured by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland, are part of the P1.3-billion aircraft deal signed by the Department of National Defense in 2013 and of another P3.44 billion project.

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China's Self-devoloped amphibious plane


China has begun assembling its self-developed amphibious aircraft—one that might be the world's largest.

Work on the aircraft began last month and is being undertaken by Chinese manufacturer Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company, in the southern city of Zhuhai.

Workers are still busying with the fuselage of the amphibious aircraft-AG600. The manufacturer’s vice president, Hu Zhian, said it will take another four months to finish the whole assembly. This aircraft will play a key role in forest fire control and maritime search and rescue.


Workers are still busying with the fuselage of the amphibious aircraft-AG600. The manufacturer’s Vice President Hu Zhian said it will take another 4 months to finish the whole assembly. This aircraft will play a key role in forest fire control and maritime search and rescue.

"To extinguish forest fires, it can take on 12 metric tons of water from a lake or sea within 20 seconds to pour on the fire. The aircraft can carry 50 people on a maritime search and rescue mission. It will have an operational range of above 4,000 kilometers," Hu said.

Powered by four turboprop engines, it will be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, as far as its maximum takeoff weight and flight range are concerned.

"This amphibious plane is one of the three big plane projects approved by the State Council. It is a key facility of national rescue mission projects. It’s multi-functional. The making of this plane also fills a gap in China's general aviation industry," Hu said.

The aircraft maker has already received 17 domestic orders. Many global buyers have also shown their interests.

The entire aircraft is likely to be ready by the end of 2015 and will undertake its first maiden flight by the first half of 2016.

Because of its overall advantages, the company is confident that the aircraft will take a big share in the global market in the years to come.

CCTV.com
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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Chinese navy releases promo video



BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese navy has released a promotional video for its 2015 recruitment period. The 4 minute energy-filled video features naval drill footage which is being shown for the first time. The video also contains some powerful messages like, "Anywhere in the world, as long as there's blue water, there's our guard. "

And, "A strong nation needs a strong navy. The Navy needs you to accomplish the great dream of rejuvenation." China's military has began a two-month drive to recruit young people. The Ministry of National Defense said it's looking mostly for people with a high school degree or higher. The ministry also said it is seeking recruits from ethnic minorities who have bilingual skills or other specialities.
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