July 25, 2017
Sources close to the PLA, the world’s largest army, have told the South China Morning Post that President Xi Jinping will make his first known visit to the Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base, 400km northwest of Beijing in Inner Mongolia, to observe war games involving cyberwarfare, special troops, army aviation and electronic countermeasures.
There had been speculation the anniversary would be marked by a parade in Beijing, but Xi, who as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) has been pushing the PLA to modernise, will instead be guest of honour at Zhurihe to see how that effort is progressing.
There will not be a military parade on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on August 1 this year as rumoured, but a full-scale, head-to-head military manoeuvre in Zhurihe to celebrate the army’s birthday,” a military insider told the Post, adding that Xi would observe the war games from the base’s command centre. He might also inspect the team that won the exercise.
“The full-scale military manoeuvre will test the PLA’s capability to integrate and coordinate land forces, army aviation, the newly established rocket force, strategic support units and logistics between different troops, with more hi-tech weapons being displayed.”
He said a squadron of China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20, which went into service with the PLA Air Force in March, was very likely to feature. “All participant units will grab this opportunity to show off state-of-the-art development,” he said.
Another source close to the army said Xi would wear a camouflage uniform at the war games, as he did in April last year when he assumed the title of commander-in-chief of the PLA’s new Joint Battle Command, a strategic command unit directly under the CMC’s Joint Staff Department, during a visit to its command centre in Beijing.
The PLA has undergone a comprehensive overhaul since Xi took the helm in late 2012, with the aim of transforming it into a nimble and modern fighting force.
The reforms saw the army’s four former general headquarters dissolved and replaced by 15 new entities, including the Joint Staff Department, while the seven military commands were reshaped into five theatre commands. In September 2015, Xi announced 300,000 personnel would be shed by the PLA, cutting its size to 2 million troops.
“The war games this year were supposed to be the biggest ever to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, but developments on China’s borders, such as the current military stand-off between Chinese and Indian troops in the Himalayas and Pyongyang’s missile tests, may affect its scale,” the first source said.
Indian troops forced the halting of a Chinese road-building project in a disputed border area close to Bhutan in late June, with both sides sending about 3,000 soldiers to the area.
North Korea’s missile tests have seen the United States, Japan and South Korea push China to increase pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme.
“Security uncertainties have caused the PLA to raise its vigilance for war preparedness, so the army may not be able to deploy too many personnel and put too many resources into war games,” the source said.
Elite troops from different military commands have held large-scale war games at the 1,066 sq km Zhurihe base, almost the same as the land area of Hong Kong, every summer since 2012. The annual Stride manoeuvres see tens of thousands of troops fight each other as blue and red armies.
The blue force – the 195th Mechanised Infantry Brigade – is a dummy Western force established in 2012 that was given the prairie wolf logo. State-controlled China Central Television says it has defeated just about every elite “red force” sent by different military commands to oppose it over the past five years.
In order to better imitate the US Army, the blue force was given upgraded weapons and artillery last year, including the advanced ZTZ-96A battle tank, the Type-07 self-propelled artillery and an early warning system, CCTV reported.
A CCTV video clip of the 2015 exercises showed 5,000 PLA soldiers storming a dummy city centre featuring with reproductions of many Taipei landmarks. The buildings targeted included a structure similar to Taiwan’s five-storey Presidential Office Building, two nearby car parks, a replica of Taipei’s central Ketagalan Boulevard, a building similar to the self-ruled island’s foreign ministry office and five blocks near the government headquarters.
imilar drills took place last year, with military analysts saying the PLA was refining its urban combat skills with the aim of being able to paralyse Taipei’s traffic.
Taipei’s defence ministry lodged a protest with Beijing in 2015, saying such exercises “hurt the feelings of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait”, but its mainland counterpart denied the drill was aimed at Taiwan.
The biggest military parade in China’s modern history was held in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war. More than 10,000 servicemen and servicewomen marched down Changan Avenue past Tiananmen Square, along with about 500 military vehicles, as nearly 200 PLA aircraft flew overhead.
Overseas media had speculated Beijing would host a similar parade for the PLA’s 90th birthday, but the Ministry of Defence refused to confirm it.
“There is no sign any military parade will take place in Beijing because so far we haven’t seen any marching training inside or outside the capital,” Beijing-based military expert Li Jie told the Post, adding that such training always started several months before a parade.
Another source said it was “too cramped to hold another military parade equivalent to 2015’s in the capital this year” because the authorities had received many complaints after the 2015 parade.
The first source said the extensive traffic controls in the capital for that parade had “caused so many people to be stuck on their way home”.
Retired PLA major general Xu Guangyu said live war games could be part of the PLA’s birthday celebration.
“Strictly speaking, the manoeuvres in Zhurihe can’t be described as a military parade,” he said. “Traditionally, military parades will only be held on National Day in the capital.”
Xu said the unscripted manoeuvres at Zhurihe would add authenticity to the army’s training because the encounters would be closer to actual battles.
“In order to get good results, the red forces were planned to be the winners in previous military drills under mendacious scenarios, but that has changed since the establishment of counter battles with the blue army,” he said.
“President Xi always demands the PLA be combat-ready and capable of winning battles, so the Zhurihe war games will be a good chance for the new units to show their fruit of their endeavours over the past years after the massive military reforms.”
Macau-based military commentator Antony Wong Dong said that based on video footage and reports provided by state media, the scale of war games in Zhurihe had been closer to real battles in recent years, indicating the PLA ground force’s determination to abandon its previous single force operation and move to joint operation involving different units.
“Zhurihe is also a military exchange platform between the PLA and its Western counterparts since it opened the base to foreign troops [in 2004], turning it into an incubator to help the PLA explore more skills in joint-operation strategies,” Wong said.
July 24, 2017
July 23, 2017
Egypt - Video released by the Ministry of Defense on the military base of Mohamed Naguib and the graduation ceremony
The United States intends to sign a memorandum of understanding with Australia in March so the country can purchase up to seven MQ-4C Triton unmanned systems to complement its P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft fleet, according to a selected acquisition report obtained by Inside Defense.
The document also says Germany plans to sign a letter of offer and acceptance in late 2018 for up to four Tritons to replace its Euro Hawk fleet.
The SAR reveals other foreign governments interested in Triton include Canada, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Triton is outfitted with a de-icing capability that works well for countries operating in cooler climates.
"The mission sensors installed on the MQ-4C Triton provide 360 degree radar and Electro-Optical/Infrared coverage," the document states. "Additional functionality that optimizes the system for maritime search operations includes an Automatic Identification System and an Electronic Support Measures system."
The SAR shows the Northrop Grumman-built MQ-4C's average procurement unit cost of $171.7 million is below the initial development estimate of $177.3 million.
Inside the Navy recently reported the Navy's plan to establish in August the first-ever Triton detachment outside the continental United States.
Both the U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Fleet Forces Command chiefs asked the office of the chief of naval operations to allow the detachment to be based in Guam to support U.S. Pacific Command.
Bidding for Acquisition of 2 Patrol Aircraft for Department of National Defense (DND)-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Fails, Again
The bidding for Department of National Defense (DND)-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 2 Long-range Patrol (LRP) aircraft acquisition project under the First Horizon of Revised AFP Modernization failed during today’s Submission and Opening of Bid.
According to MaxDefense Philippines, PAL Aerospace of Canada, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) Indonesian Aerospace, and Elbit Systems of Israel were the only firms that submitted their bids – all of them were disqualified for different reasons.
It said that Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Leonardo, Embraer, Saab, Boeing, Raytheon, Elta, and Field Aviation were present but did not join the bidding.
MaxDefense also noted that the Approved Budget for Contract (ABC), P5.976 billion, is a key factor.
“The weak PH Peso vs US Dollar/Euro convertion rate, plus escalations due to inflation and time-cost issues are also main issues, with the budget formulated several years ago, which is also a perido when the exchange rate was US$1 = Php45,” MaxDefense said.
This is the second time this acquisition project failed. The first was in August 2014 where 7 bidders including Saab Asia Pacific, L3 Mission Integratio, IAI Elta Systems, Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Indonesian Aerospace), and Airbus were all declared ineligible.
At MAST Asia, C-MAX introduced its CM2 side scan sonar to MONS: “We provide both the hardware and the software for the for the CM2 system,” says Hugh Frater, from C-MAX, “which has multiple applications, including hydrographic survey work, port security and, in its military application, mine counter measure (MCM).”
The CM2 exists in two configurations: the DF (100/325kHz) and EDF (325/780kHz). In 100kHz mode, the DF is particularly useful for searching larger objects such as wrecks or freight containers, whereas in 325kHz mode it can distinguish smaller objects such as mooring ropes, anchor chains, anchors, rock or even seabed texture. The EDF on the other hand offers a higher resolution and gives the most detailed images.
“Compared to a multibeam sonar, the CM2 provides real data information that can be analysed and acted upon immediately, as opposed to being processed later,” continues Mr Frater. The system scans the seabed and provides a high-resolution picture that appears on the monitor of the operator and is also recorded for later viewing. It facilitates the detection of objects of interests and is therefore particularly useful for MCM in the naval domain.
“We have sold systems to the Royal Australian Navy, the Indonesian Navy and the Malaysian Navy,” concludes Mr Frater, “which represents approximately 30% of our business.”
Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan officially launched the Sayyad-3 surface-to-air missile production line on Jul. 22.
July 22, 2017
The son of Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada died on Thursday carrying out a suicide attack in the province of Helmand in southern Afghanistan, one of the insurgent movement's main spokesmen said.
Abdur Rahman, 23, also known as Hafiz Khalid, died driving a vehicle laden with explosives into an Afghan military base in the town of Gereshk, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, the Taliban's main spokesman for southern Afghanistan, said.
He said Abdur Rahman had been a madrassa student but had wanted to carry out a suicide attack. "He succeeded in his mission last Thursday," he said.
Taliban fighters drove three captured Humvee vehicles into checkpoints during heavy fighting around Gereshk on Thursday.
One senior Taliban member, close to Haibatullah's family, said Abdur Rahman had enrolled as a suicide bomber before his father became leader of the Taliban last year and had insisted on continuing after his father took office.
Mullah Haibatullah took over leadership of the Taliban after his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour died in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in May, 2016.
"Before this, a number of close relatives and family members of previous supreme leaders had conducted suicide bombings but Sheikh Haibatullah has become the first supreme leader whose son sacrificed his life," the senior Taliban member said.
A government official said security authorities were investigating the incident and could not confirm that Mullah Haibatullah's son had been killed.
The incident in Gereshk came as fighting in Helmand, source of most of Afghanistan's opium crop, has intensified in recent days following the end of the harvest season.
The insurgents control much of the province and threaten Lashkar Gah but government forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, have launched an operation to drive them back from around the provincial capital.
In addition to the fighting in Helmand, there have also been reports of heavy fighting in other areas of the country, from Kunduz and Baghlan province in the north to Farah province in the west.
Imagery of #Russia Typhoon class SSBN 'Dmitriy Donskoy" navigating through Danish straits from #Denmark TV https://t.co/uqeywQ1MMJ pic.twitter.com/Vfjnw3oKvb— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) July 21, 2017
Russian submarine Dmitriy Donskoi (TK-208) in Danish waters near Djursland Peninsula #DK— Tom Antonov (@Tom_Antonov) July 21, 2017
Pics by #Flyvevåbnet - Royal Danish Air Force pic.twitter.com/NKlNh84ks4
July 21, 2017
チベット自治区・亜東県にある中印国境の哨所、海抜4655m pic.twitter.com/Yz7S3Kz388— OedoSoldier (@OedoSoldier) July 21, 2017
Taiwan intercepts Chinese H-6 bomber
Истребитель AIDC F-CK-1 ВВС Республики Китай перехватил бомбардировщик Xian H-6 ВС НОАК Китайской народной республики via @alert5 pic.twitter.com/hYpo4Rfckw— Рогозин-на-орбите (@LyapunovS) July 21, 2017
Russian defence company Kronstadt Technologies is showing in public for the first time at MAKS-2017 its latest medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) Orion-E unmanned air system (UAS).
According to the company, the Orion-E is the first UAS in Russia with long-range drones, corresponding to the international classification of the MALE class. The new Russian drone looks like a U.S. MQ-1 Predator developed by General Atomics and AVIC’s Wing Loong Block 1.
According to the promo video of Orion-E, the aircraft features a slender, 8m-long fuselage, high-aspect ratio wings, and a V-tail. The drone has 16m wingspan in flight.
The aircraft is “intended” to carry a payload of 60kg, but can lift a maximum load of 200kg, according to a production information card.
Kronstadt will work with Rosonboronexport to market the Orion-E abroad, with a specific interest in sales to Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.