PLA VTOL fighter could turn reefs into ‘unsinkable carriers’

China is planning to continue developing its short-range vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fighter, according to Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik International, cited by the military news web portal of China’s state-run Reference News.

Vasily Kashin, a researcher with the Moscow-based non-governmental research organization the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said that the aircraft will be mainly used for maritime combat.

Theoretically the fighter could be used in areas without airports, including difficult and mountainous terrain, according to the report. The Soviet Union tried to use vehicle-towed platforms to allow its VTOL Yakovlev Yak-38 strike fighter to operate in Afghanistan in the 1980s. However, in mountainous regions the aircraft’s lift jets were ineffective, so such a large aircraft found vertical take-off difficult, according to the website. Continue reading

PLA join exercises with Australia, US

SYDNEY — Members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) joined Australian and United States troops on Tuesday in the the first joint military exercise to be staged in Australia.

The PLA soldiers are part of Exercise Kowari, which is scheduled to run until October 25, and has been hailed as a milestone in defence co-operation between Australia, China and the US.

“Exercise Kowari 14 will provide participants with an understanding of the basic principles, procedures, techniques and equipment that can enhance survival prospects in the harsh Australian environment,” Australian Defense Minister David Johnston said in a statement. Continue reading

2,000 PLA troops could invade Diaoyutai in 5 hours: WSJ

China has the ability to deploy 2,000 troops to the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) in just five hours using its four Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft purchased from Russia, according to an Apr. 2 report in the Wall Street Journal.

Although Lieutenant General John Wissler, the commanding general of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa, says that the United States is capable of wiping out invading Chinese forces without mobilizing ground forces, Western military expert have begun to question whether Washington and Tokyo are capable of defending Okinawa from a potential PLA invasion. Continue reading

US could retake Diaoyutai if China invades, says US general

The United States could overcome a potential Chinese invasion of the disputed Diaoyutai (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) islands without even mobilizing ground forces, reports the Stars and Stripes operated by the US military, citing Lt Gen John Wissler, the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan, on Apr. 11. Continue reading

Exclusive: Pentagon report faults F-35 on software, reliability

(Reuters) – A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps’ plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015.

The latest report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, provides a detailed critique of the F-35’s technical challenges, and focuses heavily on what it calls the “unacceptable” performance of the plane’s software, according to a 25-page draft obtained by Reuters. Continue reading

Homeland Security Taps Generals to Run Domestic Drone Program: The Rise of Predators at Home

DHS decided – with virtually no reviews or evaluations – to purchase unarmed versions of the Predator drones used abroad for “signature strikes” (targeted drone killing). The department, whose mission includes “border security,” has also relied on military bases along the land border and coastal waters to host its own drone fleet.Since DHS began acquiring Predators, along with Predator variants called Guardians, from General Atomics nine years ago, this domestic drone program has proved an abysmal failure – whether measured by its effectiveness in immigration enforcement, drug control, or counterterrorism.  A series of reports by the General Accountability Office, Congressional Review Service, and the DHS Inspector General’s Office have documented the paltry achievements, the alarming strategic confusion, and near-systemic logistical and technical shortcomings of the DHS drone program.

These government reports pointed to the complete absence of any cost-benefit evaluations and efficiency assessments of the DHS drone program.

Yet these official reviews failed to shed any light on the department’s controversial decision to deploy only the hugely expensive military-grade Predator drones and to enter into sole-source contracts with General Atomics to provide, maintain, and even operate the federal government’s domestic drone fleet. Continue reading

U.S. missiles infected with Chinese fakes — Report confirms ‘84,000 suspect electronic parts installed’

WASHINGTON – Fake electronic components from China have been discovered in thermal weapons sights delivered to the U.S. Army on mission computers for the Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missiles and on military aircraft, including several models of helicopters and the P-8A-Poseidon, according to federal investigators.

Suspected electronic parts were found in the Forward Looking InfraRed, or FLIR, Systems being used on the Navy’s SH-60-B. The counterfeit parts were delivered by Raytheon, which alerted the Navy.

The military aircraft that have been affected include the SH-60B, AH-64 and CH-46 helicopters; and the C-17,  C-130J, C-27J and P-8A Poseidon airplanes

A defense subcontractor in Texas had sold the components to Raytheon. The components prior to that sale traveled through four states and three countries, originating with a company called Huajie Electronics Ltd in Shenzhen, China.

Suspect parts also were found in the C-130J and C-27J, two military cargo planes equipped with display units that provide the pilot information on aircraft performance, engine status, fuel use, location and warning messages, according to documentation from Senate investigators.

The display units were manufactured by L-3 Display Systems, a division of L-3 Communications. L-3 Display Systems manufactures the display units for Lockheed Martin, which is the prime contractor for the C-130J. For the C-27J, L-3 Display Systems manufactures the display units for Alenia Aeronautica, a subcontractor to L-3 Integrated Systems.

Display Systems, however, learned that a memory chip used in the display units was a suspect counterfeit. By the time it was noticed, however, the company had installed counterfeit components in more than 500 display units, including in units for the C-27J, the C-130J and C-17 aircraft, and the CH-46 helicopter used by the Marine Corps.

Full article: U.S. missiles infected with Chinese fakes — Report confirms ‘84,000 suspect electronic parts installed’ (WND)

REPORT: China Is Selling Tons Of Counterfeit Military Equipment To The Department Of Defense

A fictitious company set up by U.S. government investigators bought 16 electronic parts for weapons from China online and every single item was counterfeit, according to a Government Accountability Office investigation as reported by Reuters.

The congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) published the report at the behest of the Department of Defense (DOD) because “counterfeit parts—generally the misrepresentation of parts’ identity or pedigree—can seriously disrupt the DOD supply chain, harm weapon systems integrity, and endanger troops’ lives.”

To investigate the practice, GAO created a fictitious company and gained membership to two Internet platforms providing access to vendors selling military-grade electronic parts.

The company requested quotes from numerous vendors to purchase parts (“new in original packaging, not refurbished”) from three categories: (1) authentic part numbers for obsolete and rare parts; (2) authentic part numbers with postproduction date codes (date codes after the last date the part was  manufactured); and (3) bogus, or fictitious, part numbers that are not  associated with any authentic parts.

It turned out that 334 of 396 vendors who offered to sell parts to the fictitious company were from China. All 16 parts eventually purchased came from 13 China-based vendors and all were determined by an independent testing laboratory to be counterfeit.

From Reuters:

It said it bought seven parts with authentic part numbers that were out of production, including parts used on the Air Force’s F-15 fighters, the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and the Navy’s nuclear submarines. All of those parts failed inspection and were determined to be counterfeit.

It also purchased five parts with authentic part numbers that were stamped with date codes beyond the item’s last actual production date and all of those were determined to be counterfeit as well.

The agency also bought four parts with made-up numbers that are not associated with any authentic parts, which it said showed the willingness of the vendors “to supply parts that do not technically exist.”

The report noted that all 40 of the responses it received for the bogus part numbers also came from China, the GAO said.

Full article: REPORT: China Is Selling Tons Of Counterfeit Military Equipment To The Department Of Defense (Business Insider)