Neighbors wary as China’s PLA modernizes, builds capability

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the People’s Liberation Army is undergoing massive changes as it is reorganized, resized and mobilized. On one hand, the PLA is also getting a bigger role in China’s strategic and foreign-policy outreach. On the other hand, it is shedding weight and becoming a leaner and more information-driven army.

These far-reaching changes will have implications for the region, as neighbors India, Japan and Vietnam and powers like the US and Australia watch closely. Continue reading

China Reveals Images of New Hypersonic Strike Aircraft

 

Ultra high-speed vehicles shown for first time on state-run television

China has disclosed the first images of secret hypersonic strike aircraft that are being developed to deliver nuclear warheads through U.S. missile defenses. State-run CCTV on Oct. 8 broadcast images of four different vehicles or missiles that U.S. intelligence agencies believe are mockups of hypersonic strike vehicles, including one known as DF-ZF.

It is the first time images of the hypersonic aircraft were made public. Continue reading

China to build naval dock at Djibouti base

China intends to build a pier at its base in Djibouti so that People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels can dock there, the South China Morning Post reported military sources as saying on 27 September. Continue reading

Satellite images reveal massive underground bunker at China’s naval facility in Djibouti

Satellite image shows bunker complex at China’s base in Djibouti. / Stratfor / Twitter

 

Satellite images show that China may be gearing up to use its new military base in Djibouti as far more than just the naval logistics hub Beijing claims it to be, analysts say.

Other than a noticeable lack of docks at the facility, one feature that stood out in the images was a 250,000-square-foot underground bunker complex. Continue reading

Why communist China’s first foreign military base? Location, Location, Location

Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy troops march in Djibouti’s independence day parade on June 27.

 

UNITED NATIONS — Nearly six hundred years ago, huge Chinese fleets plied the Indian Ocean sailing as far as Arabia and the East African coast.

The epic seaborne expeditions carried out between 1405 and 1432 under Adm. Cheng Ho and during the glorious Ming Dynasty were larger and far more encompassing than subsequent Portuguese and Dutch voyages almost a century later. China’s Imperial Court sought trade, tribute, and exotic treasures, not formal colonization nor religious conversion. Continue reading

China Makes First Step in Shifting Naval Balance of Power in Pacific

Please see the source for the video.

 

The Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) launched the first Type 055 Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG) on June 28th, 2017. The vessel represents a major technological step forward for China’s navy. The Type 055 meets and likely exceeds the capabilities of the U.S. Arleigh Burke Class DDG, the Japanese Atago Class DDG, and just about any other DDG in service in the world today. Continue reading

China’s maritime Strategic Realignment

A simplified view of the PLAN maritime lines of communication between its major naval bases in southern China and its newly established oversees bases. The major island bases in the South China Sea are omitted from this map, but should be considered in gaining an accurate picture of Chinese maritime defense posture.

 

Introduction

China has begun construction of the first Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) at the Shanghai based Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Company. Construction most likely started in January or February of this year, with some satellite imagery and digital photos appearing online of at least one pre-fabricated hull cell. The Type 075 will be the largest amphibious warfare vessel in the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), with similar displacement and dimensions as the U.S. Navy Wasp Class LHD. The PLA has also made it known through non-official channels that the force plans to expand the current PLA Marine Corps from 20,000 personnel to 100,000. As China completes preparations for its new military base in Djibouti, located in the strategic Horn of Africa, it has also continued its substantial investment in developing the port of Gwadar, Pakistan. Not only will Gwadar become a key logistics hub as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative, but will also be a key naval base in providing security for China’s maritime trade in the region. Continue reading

Pentagon report highlights Chinese submarine buildup

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier is seen during its launch ceremony in Dalian. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

 

The large-scale buildup of China’s naval forces is the most visible part of a major rearmament campaign that has been under way for more than a decade. But Chinese development of modern and increasingly quiet submarines poses one of the more serious strategic challenges for the United States and other nations concerned about Beijing’s growing hegemony in Asia.

The increasing size of the People’s Liberation Army Navy fleet of surface vessels captures most international attention, based on the sheer numbers and advanced weapons on an array of new warships. Continue reading

Pentagon report: China advances in taking military control of strategic Pacific sea lanes

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers patrol Woody Island in the Paracel Archipelago. / Reuters

 

China is using non-military “coercion” in an effort to gain control of strategic waters in the Asian Pacific, the Pentagon said in its annual report to Congress released on June 6.

“China continues to exercise low-intensity coercion to advance its claims in the East and South China Seas,” the report said, adding that Beijing’s tactic involves the use of “timed progression of incremental but intensifying steps to attempt to increase effective control over disputed areas and avoid escalation to military conflict.” Continue reading

Geography and the coming Sino-American war at sea

A member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force takes part in an amphibious drill on May 13 during joint military exercises on Guam involving Japan, the U.S., France and Britain that were intended to show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid concerns China may restrict access to the South China Sea. | AP

 

Geography is determinate in military plans, a fact that planners understand at all levels, from tactical to strategic. While tailored combat elements may traverse difficult environments on land and at sea, heavily laden logistics craft that follow and enable them can rarely do the same. This is what pushes armies and fleets toward certain immutable routes, resulting in battles occurring at the same locations, over and over, throughout recorded history. Much as the ridge at Megiddo, better known as “Armageddon,” played witness to strife no less than 13 times since the 15th century B.C. because it stood astride the route from Mesopotamia to Egypt, key maritime straits such as the waters of the South China Sea and the Sunda and Malaccan Straits will provide the backdrop for future naval battles. Geography and geopolitics are intermeshed and unavoidable. Unfortunately for China, they sit upon the wrong side of the former and are rather poor at the latter. Western advantages in both must not be squandered. Continue reading

Satellite Images Suggest China Is Arming Strategic South China Sea Base With Missiles

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy recruits chant slogan during a parade to mark the end of a semester at a military base of the North Sea Fleet, in Qingdao, Shandong province December 5, 2013. (REUTERS/China Daily)

 

Satellite imagery of the People’s Liberation Army’s Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea shows the deployment of multiple missile launchers, which observers believe are for launching anti-ship ballistic missiles, reports Defense News.

“The direction in which the launchers are facing leads us to believe these are shore-to-ship missiles,” ImageSat International imagery analyst Amit Gur told reporters. Continue reading

Images emerge of possible new Chinese anti-ship weapon

An image of what appears to be a brochure marketing the ‘ground-effect unmanned aerial vehicle’ appeared on Chinese online forums in early May. (sina.com.cn)

 

China may be developing a new anti-ship weapon that combines technologies derived from developments in cruise missiles and ground-effect vehicles (GEVs).

An image of a brochure marketing the weapon, the latter of which is shown painted in blue Chinese navy camouflage, appeared on Chinese online forums in early May. Continue reading

China may build up to 10 bases for future aircraft carriers, says report

China may be planning to build around 10 new bases for its future aircraft carriers, the state-owned Global Times newspaper reported on 20 April, amid speculation that the Asian country will operate at least six carriers in the coming years. Continue reading

China’s Xi restructures military, consolidates control

China’s President Xi Jinping inspects honour guards during the welcoming ceremony for Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

 

Centred around a new, condensed structure of 84 military units, the reshuffle builds on Xi’s years-long efforts to modernize the PLA with greater emphasis on new capabilities including cyberspace, electronic and information warfare.

All 84 new units are at the combined-corps level, which means commanders will hold the rank of major-general or rear-admiral, the official China Daily reported Wednesday, adding that unit members would likely be regrouped from existing forces given the Chinese military was still engaged in cutting its troops by 300,000, one of the wide-ranging military reforms introduced by Xi in late 2015. Continue reading

China Plans Massive Increase to Marine Corps to Pursue Global Ambitions

Delegates from Chinese People’s Liberation Army / AP

 

China is preparing a five-fold surge to the size of its Marine Corps as Beijing moves to further exert its influence abroad.

The plan would increase the number of Marine Corps personnel from about 20,000 to 100,000 people, the South China Morning Post reported Monday, citing military insiders and experts. The move will be accompanied by cuts to the Chinese military’s land forces in an attempt to modernize the People’s Liberation Army. Continue reading