Chinese Naval Expansion Hits High Gear: China’s Navy Acquires 15 Warships in 7 Months

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Ticonderoga Class cruiser USS Lake Champlain CG-57. Decommissioning of these vessels will begin in 2019, with no viable replacement. The U.S. Navy command has proposed keeping half of the 22 vessels in service. Despite the largest defense budget of any nation in the world, and larger than that of Russia and China combined, the U.S. Navy cited budget constraints as a key factor in being unable of replacing the vessels.

 

While there was much fanfare and attention given to the July 3rd launch of two Type 055 guided missile destroyers at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. (DISC) shipyard in Dalian, very little mention has been made of the many other warships that the PLAN has launched or commissioned since the beginning of the year. Although the Type 055 DDG is the PLAN’s most powerful surface combatant, and the largest such vessel constructed by an Asian nation since World War II, they are one component in a steadily growing naval force structure. While the addition of three Type 055 DDGs this year, added to the first vessel in class which rolled into the water from Dalian just over a year ago in June of 2017, showcase China’s growing capabilities not only in producing powerful and modern warships, they also illustrate the maturity and  stunning capacity of the Chinese ship building industry. This industry has launched and/or commissioned 15 modern warships in just the first seven months of 2018. Continue reading

Leaked Chinese Memo Warns Of “Thucydides Trap” With US, “War Is Unavoidable”

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A series of leaked internal documents reveal that China’s military reforms are aimed at allowing Beijing to “manage a crisis, contain a conflict, win a war” and overtake the United States in military strength, according to the Express.

The leaked documents were published by the Central Military Commission in February for the purpose of spreading President Xi Jinping’s “thought on strengthening the armed forces”.

If the reforms go ahead, they will lead to heightened tensions with China’s neighbouring countries, including Japan, in the East and South China Seas and the US. –Express Continue reading

China begins testing electronic warfare assets in South China Sea: report

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View of Spratly Islands. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters

 

Word of US intelligence report comes after assessment that equipment was installed on the contested Spratly islands earlier this year

As the US and China plunge into a trade war, Beijing is apparently preparing for a different type of warfare that some fear may be on the horizon. Continue reading

Iran Threatens Gulf Oil Producers

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(Photo Credit: Asharq al-Awsat English Archive)

 

Wednesday, while most Americans were otherwise preoccupied with the Independence Day holiday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened an open act of war against his neighbors:

“The Americans have claimed they want to completely stop Iran’s oil exports. They don’t understand the meaning of this statement, because it has no meaning for Iranian oil not to be exported, while the region’s oil is exported. The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero… It shows they have not thought about its consequences.” Continue reading

Struggle for Influence in the Western Pacific (I)

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The US-led RIMPAC 2018, the world’s largest naval maneuver, began yesterday with German soldiers participating. According to the US Navy, the naval exercise will also include operations in the Western Pacific. The region of the Southwest Pacific islands will thus come into focus, which – even though largely ignored by the European public – has been gaining significant global influence. On the one hand, the influence of Western countries has shrunk recently, while that of their strategic rivals, such as Russia and China, has significantly grown. Some Pacific island nations have since then been seeking to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West. On the other hand, the Southwest Pacific has become even more important also for Australia and the Unites States: as the political economic backyard for Australia and “gateway to the Indo-Pacific” for the U.S.A. Germany is also attempting to increase its activities in the region.

Continue reading

China Adds Advanced Missiles to South China Sea Islands

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Pentagon plans major response to Chinese hegemony

China’s military has stepped up militarizing disputed islands in the South China Sea by deploying advanced missile systems on the Spratly islands, according to the Pentagon.

Defense officials disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that the militarization has raised alarm bells about China’s creeping takeover of the strategic waterway used for some $5 trillion annually in international trade. Continue reading

US struggles to counter Chinese maritime hegemony

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

But what consequences? Two successive US administrations – Barack Obama’s and now Donald Trump’s – have failed to push back credibly against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, which has accelerated despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling invalidating its territorial claims there. Instead, the US has relied on rhetoric or symbolic actions. Continue reading

USS Truman airborne strike group in place opposite Syria

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DEBKAfile

 

In position off the Syrian coast is the nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier – from which the US, UK and France launched their April 14 attack on the Syrian army for launching a chemical attack. The US Navy strike group entered the eastern Mediterranean over last weekend. US task force commander Rear Adm. Eugene Black announced that its arrival “sends a powerful signal to our partners that we are committed to maintaining peace and security in the region and everywhere that there is a threat of terrorism.” Continue reading

China hacked a Navy contractor and secured a trove of highly sensitive data on submarine warfare

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China’s sole operating aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China for sea trials last month. (Li Gang/Xinhua/AP)

 

Chinese government hackers have compromised the computers of a Navy contractor, stealing massive amounts of highly sensitive data related to undersea warfare — including secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines by 2020, according to American officials.

The breaches occurred in January and February, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The hackers targeted a contractor who works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a military organization headquartered in Newport, R.I., that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry.

The officials did not identify the contractor. Continue reading

War Games in the Pacific

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.

Continue reading

The US Navy Is Developing Mothership Drones for Coastal Defense

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ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 28, 2016) Sailors assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, launch an underwater unmanned vehicle in the Arabian Gulf during routine testing operations. (U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

 

The service is looking to accelerate the way it buys, builds and drills drones and robotic ships.

The U.S. Navy and researchers from Florida Atlantic University are developing robotic boats that can launch aerial and sub drones to protect U.S. coastal waters.

Our focus will be on developing a multi-vehicle system that can safely and reliably navigate coastal waters with a high level of autonomy while performing assigned tasks,” Manhar Dhanak, director of SeaTech, the Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering in FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, said in a press release. Continue reading

US Carrier Strike Groups Locations Map – May 29, 2018

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This is the newst update of the ‘U.S. Carrier Strike Groups Locations Map’ exclusive series showing the approximate locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups on a weekly basis. SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence tracks locations of U.S. aircraft carriers using the available open-source information. No classified information was used in production of the map. Continue reading

WAR FOOTING: US Navy warships in ‘serious incident’ with China after sailing into disputed waters

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China has been busy building up power in the region in a bid to oust the dominance of the US Navy [Reuters]

 

It comes after experts warn the biggest Pacific land and sea grabs since the Japanese invasions of 1930s and 1940s are ‘almost complete’

CHINESE warships have confronted US Navy vessels today in what has been described as a “serious incident”.

The tense naval drama unfolded after the American warships sailed near a group of South China Sea islands claimed by China.

The presence of the US warships was slammed by Beijing just as President Donald Trump seeks to make peace with North Korea to avoid war breaking out.  Continue reading

How Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology

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(Strategic Culture Foundation)

 

A hot topic in military prognostications regarding China, Russia and the United States revolves around the development and use of hypersonic technology for missiles or UAVs as an invulnerable means of attack. As we will see, not all three countries are dealing successfully with this task.

The United States, China and Russia have in recent years increased their efforts to equip their armed forces with such highly destructive missiles and vehicles seen in the previous article. Putin’s recent speech in Moscow reflects this course of direction by presenting a series of weapons with hypersonic characteristics, as seen with the Avangard and the Dagger. Continue reading

U.S. Carrier Strike Groups Locations Map – May 11, 2018

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This is the newst update of the ‘U.S. Carrier Strike Groups Locations Map’ exclusive series showing the approximate locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups on a weekly basis. SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence tracks locations of U.S. aircraft carriers using the available open-source information. No classified information was used in production of the map. Continue reading