China’s New Airstrip to Heighten Underwater Rivalry

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Chinese dredging vessels purportedly seen in waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands (Reuters photo)

 

Hong Kong:  China’s apparent construction of a third airstrip on its man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea could fill a gap in Beijing’s anti-submarine defences, complicating operations for the US Navy and its allies, Chinese and Western experts said.

While most attention has been on the power projection China would get from its new islands in the Spratly archipelago, China could also use them to hunt rival submarines in and beyond the strategic waterway, they said. Continue reading

North Dakota nuclear missile base struggles to recover from scandals

It’s a little difficult to say which is more alarming: The chronic degredation in general of the U.S. strategic nuclear forces or the fact that the ‘latest’ missles at Minot were built and designed in the 1960’s.

 

A bitter wind relentlessly whips across acres of frozen prairie at this remote base, where hundreds of airmen and women stay on alert around the clock to do the unthinkable: launch a nuclear attack.

This is the only installation in the nation that hosts both intercontinental ballistic missiles and B-52 bombers, two legs of the so-called nuclear triad with submarines. Yet it has been besieged by scandals and mishaps that have marred its historic role.

In August 2007, crews at Minot mistakenly loaded six cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads onto a B-52 heavy bomber that flew to another base in Louisiana. The warheads were not properly guarded for 36 hours before anyone realized they were missing. Partly as a result, the secretary of the Air Force was forced to resign.

In the last two years, two commanders have been dismissed at Minot and one reprimanded after Pentagon brass lost confidence in their ability to lead. In addition, 19 officers were stripped of their authority to control and launch the nuclear-tipped missiles that sit in silos, and did not get it back until they completed additional training.

Now the vast base, close to the Canadian border, is struggling to recover. Continue reading

China’s secret submarine caves extend Xi Jinping’s naval reach

We will never really know how many submarines China actually has, let alone what types until they expose themselves.

A couple weeks dated, yet still relevant:

 

Hong Kong: Beneath the surface of the South China Sea off the tropical Chinese resort island of Hainan, an underwater tunnel guides submarines into a lair reminiscent of a James Bond spy movie.

From this pen the subs can venture in and out of the contested South China Sea hidden from the prying eyes of reconnaissance planes deployed by the United States Navy, which for the past half century has enjoyed almost unfettered access to the waters, say military watchers who cite satellite images of the area.

The fleet of diesel and nuclear-powered submarines reflects President Xi Jinping’s efforts to ensure the security of sea lanes vital for feeding the economic growth on which the nation’s stability rests. It’s also provoked discomfort among neighbours bruised by China’s approach to territorial disputes. Continue reading

Hedge Fund Hackers Expose Another Vulnerability

Six years ago, during that fateful summer of 2008 when everything began to unravel, we first raised issues of financial terrorism as a risk to the stock markets, our economy, and indeed our way of life. In hindsight, it should be obvious that an attack on our markets does indeed have the potential to attack the very heart of America. Our initial research, later confirmed in a formal Pentagon report, served as the basis for the 2012 bestseller, Secret Weapon; How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market and Why It Could Happen Again.  Overall, we documented a variety of vulnerabilities that could be exploited through hidden market activity, cyber-manipulations, and other subversive efforts. As with any new concept, there was a considerable amount of skepticism. Since then, however, virtually every concept we described has been documented or validated. Continue reading

UAVs, Stealth, Carriers, Amphibs: DoD Report Details China’s Weapons

WASHINGTON: The People’s Liberation Army has practiced jamming GPS signals, according to a Pentagon report today. The Chinese are testing those and other electronic warfare weapons and they have “proven effective.”

China plans to launch 100 satellites through 2015, including “imaging, remote sensing, navigation, communication, and scientific satellites, as well as manned spacecraft,” says a special section headlined  ”Special Topic: Reconnaissance Satellites” in the annual Pentagon report to Congress about China’s military capabilities and intentions. (Note: that includes manned spacecraft and most of the satellites mentioned are weather, agriculture and related satellites — not advanced spy satellites.)

In another “special section,” this one about low observable technology, the Pentagon report lists weapons “demonstrated” last year: Continue reading

US unsettled by China’s ‘three warfares’ strategy: Pentagon report

The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ”three warfares” strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.

It says the People’s Liberation Army is using what it calls ”legal warfare”, ”media warfare” and ”psychological warfare” to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas. Continue reading

Iran Spy Network 30,000 Strong

If Iran has 30,000 strong, one can only imagine what their handlers and enablers (Russia and China) have — and they’ve been in this game for over 70 years.

Iran’s intelligence service includes 30,000 people who are engaged in covert and clandestine activities that range from spying to stealing technology to terrorist bombings and assassination, according to a Pentagon report.

The report concluded that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, known as MOIS, is “one of the largest and most dynamic intelligence agencies in the Middle East.” Continue reading

Growth in China’s Drone Program Called ‘Alarming’

HONG KONG — At China’s biennial air show in Zhuhai this month, an imposing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles was on display — drones bearing a striking resemblance to the American aircraft that have proved so deadly in attacks on insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Israel, Britain and the United States have pretty much had a corner on the global drone market, but the recent Chinese air show and a Pentagon report have exploded that notion.

“In a worrisome trend, China has ramped up research in recent years faster than any other country,” said the unclassified analysis published in July by the Defense Science Board. “It displayed its first unmanned system model at the Zhuhai air show five years ago, and now every major manufacturer for the Chinese military has a research center devoted to unmanned systems.”

The report, which said “the military significance of China’s move into unmanned systems is alarming,” suggested that China could “easily match or outpace U.S. spending on unmanned systems, rapidly close the technology gaps and become a formidable global competitor in unmanned systems.Continue reading

Iran’s War Games Showed Missile Accuracy

Several Iranian news websites reported on Friday that 90 percent of the missiles hit their targets and said this showed their increased accuracy.

Another achievement, the reports said, was Iran’s capability of firing multiple missiles within seconds. The reports said this would create a challenge for the U.S. or Israel to intercept incoming missiles should a war break out.

“Within 10 minutes, a considerable number of missiles were fired at a single target. The achievement, called high firing density, makes it impossible for anti-missile systems to intercept and destroy them. In the end, the target is definitely hit,” said a report on irannuc.ir.

A June 29 Pentagon report to Congress said that Iran’s military continues to improve the accuracy and killing power of its long- and short-range ballistic missiles, including designing a weapon to target vessels.

“Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead, the report signed by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says.

Full article: Iran’s War Games Showed Missile Accuracy (Arutz Sheva 7)

Pentagon: Iran improving missiles to target vessels

Report submitted to Congress also reveals Tehran has ‘methodically cultivated network of sponsored terrorist surrogates capable of targeting US, Israeli interests’

WASHINGTON – The Iranian army is continuing to improve the accuracy and destructive power of its long-and-short-range ballistic missile force, according to a Pentagon report that was submitted to the US Congress.

The report, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, said that as part of the improvements, Iran’s military is designing a maneuvering weapon to target vessels.

The June 29 report, which was signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, states that Tehran “has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that extend the destructive power over a broader area than a solid warhead.

According to Bloomberg, the report found that the improvements are in tandem with routine ballistic- missile training that “continues throughout the country” and the addition of “new ships and submarines.”

Bloomberg said the report also addresses the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and the assistance it offers to Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iraqi Shiite groups. It also repeated the US assessment that Iran with “sufficient foreign assistance may be technically capable of flight-testing” an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015.

Full article: Pentagon: Iran improving missiles to target vessels (Ynet News)

Report: Chinese military able to operate far afield

China’s military is developing capabilities to conduct “new historic missions” far beyond the communist country’s borders, according to an annual Pentagon report to Congress.

Described as “military operations other than war,” the missions include counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, U.N. peacekeeping, protecting sea lanes and protecting space-based assets, the report states.

For example, the People’s Liberation Army in December deployed its 10th task force to the Gulf of Aden to support international counter-piracy efforts.

The report estimates China’s defense budget as $106 billion in 2011, an 11.2 percent increase from the year before. The report notes that the budget could be as high as $180 billion.

Mr. Helvey said there could be associated defense spending not included in China’s reported budget, such as research and development, nuclear force modernization, foreign acquisitions of weapons systems, and local contributions to local military forces.

Full article: Report: Chinese military able to operate far afield (New York Times)