Chinese carrier sails between Okinawa islands for second time in April
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Chinese aircraft carrier sailed between two islands of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture for the second time this month, according to Japanese defense officials.
The Chinese carrier Liaoning and its five-ship strike group were spotted at around 9 a.m. Tuesday approximately 50 miles southeast of Miyako, a Japan Ministry of Defense Joint Staff statement said Tuesday. The ships sailed north, passing between Okinawa itself and Miyako at about 10 a.m. before traversing the East China Sea later that day.
The Liaoning strike group was spotted by the JS Kongo, a guided-missile destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the destroyer JS Umigiri and a P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, the statement said. The Liaoning was accompanied by two Chinese guided-missile destroyers, two multi-role warships and one supply-class fast combat support ship.
It was the second time the strike group had traveled through the 155-mile-wide strait this month and just the fifth time since the Liaoning was commissioned in 2012.
“This is the first time the Chinese Navy made round-trip passage through the Miyako Strait,” a spokesman from the Joint Staff told Stars and Stripes Wednesday. “The coronavirus will not affect our mission. We will keep eyes on them very closely.”
The spokesman declined to comment on the Chinese flotilla’s exact location, except to say it was in the East China Sea. He also declined to comment on where it appears to be headed.
“They are not intending to come closer at this moment,” he said. Some Japanese government spokespersons traditionally speak under the condition of anonymity.
The Liaoning strike group last passed through the Miyako Strait on April 11, the Joint Staff statement said. The strait, though a passageway between two Japanese islands, is an international waterway. The United States and its allies in the region viewed the April 11 transit cautiously due to the flotilla’s passing east of Taiwan.
The earlier Liaoning passage occurred after a coronavirus outbreak sidelined the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam, leaving the U.S. without a carrier on patrol in the western Pacific. Meanwhile, the Navy moved to control an outbreak among the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan in port at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, for scheduled maintenance.
For the moment, the Liaoning is the only active carrier in the Western Pacific.
In addition to its trips through Miyako Strait, Chinese vessels have sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea, deployed maritime militias around the contested Spratly Islands and established new “research stations” on the disputed Fiery Cross and Subi reefs, all in the past six weeks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement last week.
Chinese naval vessels reportedly passed between Taiwan and the Philippines on April 23, according to the Japanese outlet Sankei News. China has maritime territorial disputes with the Philippines as well.
Chinese navy puts two new nuclear submarines into service Two new upgraded nuclear-powered strategic submarines have gone into service in China in time for the 71st anniversary of the navy, according to Chinese military sources.
The vessels are revamped versions of the Type 094, or Jin-class, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) and will bolster the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s underwater combat strength, two military sources told the South China Morning Post.
Another source close to the navy said two more Type 094s had probably been handed over to the navy since then.
The growth of China's military power over the past 40 years. The Type 096, China’s next generation of SSBN, is under development.
Unlike the Type 095 nuclear attack submarines, the SSBNs are armed with powerful submarine-launched ballistic missiles, allowing them to go into combat alone.
The Type 094 is designed to carry 16 JL-2 ballistic missiles, which have a range of about 7,000km (4,350 miles).
But the Type 096 will be able to carry 24 JL-3s, which have an estimated range of more than 10,000km (6,200 miles), putting the United States, Europe, India and Russia within range, according to the most recent Pentagon report on China’s military.
In its “2019 China Military Power Report”, the Pentagon said that construction of the Type 096 would probably begin in the early 2020s.
In addition there have been the Type 055 destroyer, a new strategic nuclear-powered submarine, and a new anti-submarine patrol aircraft, according to the Global Times, a daily tabloid newspaper under party mouthpiece People’s Daily.
The second source said the new anti-submarine patrol aircraft was the Gaoxin-9 maritime anti-submarine warfare plane, which debuted at last year’s military parade on Tiananmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic.
The Gaoxin-9 anti-sub warfare planes were developed on the platform of the country’s Y-8 and Y-9 cargo planes.
How This Chinese Submarine Crew Died Is Sickening
The spokesperson ruled out any theories of foul play by explaining that the 361 was on routine patrol, “submarine 361 was a major loss for the People’s Navy. We express our deep condolences to all officers and soldiers of the submarine who were unfortunately killed in the execution of training tasks, and sincere condolences to the relatives of the killed officers and soldiers.”
The 361 had been on patrol for approximately 10 days. PLA Navy investigators towed 361 to land, and found the entire crew, plus 14 naval cadets who had been aboard for training, slumped over at their stations. Oddly, the 361 had not sunk to the ocean floor, indicating there hadn’t been an onboard explosion. There were no signs of a struggle—or even any indication that the crew members realized something was wrong.
The People’s Liberation Army is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to military affairs, so speculation on the cause of the disaster remains just speculation. One of the leading theories is that the 361’s onboard diesel generator malfunctioned and did not shut down correctly, which could have used up all of the onboard oxygen. The crew likely suffocated at their posts without any indication of the danger that was present.
Two Advances for Chinese Navy after Monthlong Aircraft Carrier Voyage near Japan, Taiwan
China’s navy apparently kept its carrier flotilla virus-free while learning more about a sea region where it might actually face conflict, analysts say.
China’s navy just learned from a monthlong aircraft carrier training mission how to keep troops safe from COVID-19 and what it would be like to spar with Japan or Taiwan, analysts believe.
The Liaoning aircraft carrier returned to port in eastern China April 30 after passing through western Pacific waters near Taiwan and Japan – putting both on alert due to their political differences with Beijing. Though hardly a first for the carrier, the rising maritime power sent it out for longer this year for more rigorous training.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy probably did “intensive” logistics and medical support work, with civilian help, to keep its flotilla disease free during the global COVID-19 pandemic, said Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies think tank in Taiwan.
Naval vessels from Taiwan, the United States and three European countries have been infected this year. The coronavirus that causes COVI9-19 had spread on board because multiple people were stationed there in close quarters.
A disease-free voyage means “they can actually cope with very unique and unusual conditions and at the same time they can still make warships operational,” Yang said.
More longer-term, China’s navy took a lesson over the past month in what it would be like to fight Japan, Taiwan or countries that claim the adjacent South China Sea, said Derek Grossman, senior defense analyst with RAND Corp. research institution. China has not fought a war since the 1979 conflict with Vietnam, Grossman noted.
“The best place to prepare for realistic combat conditions is in the place where you’re going to actually do it, and I think that’s a really important aspect that tends to get lost,” he said.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency described the mission as annual with “trans-theater training in the far seas” this year. It featured a “long duration, many subjects, high intensity and complicated air and sea situations,” Xinhua said.
The flotilla’s “far seas training in real combat conditions has improved and its integrated combat capability has (been) tested,” the news agency added.
The Liaoning has technical obstacles to overcome, too. It lacks the parts for regular maintenance, Yang said. The 8-year-old vessel is shorter than U.S. carriers, as well.
Defense ministries in Taiwan and Japan noted the Chinese carrier’s passing in mid-April but did not challenge it.
Japan and China dispute sovereignty over tracts of sea east of Shanghai. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, despite the island’s self-rule and public opposition to unification. It has threatened to use force against Taiwan if needed.
Around the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam contest Chinese claims to waters that are rich in oil, gas and fish.
The Chinese naval exercises could spark responses from the U.S. and Australian navies, Grossman said. Both hope to check Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea.
In Southeast Asia itself, few people are talking about the Chinese carrier, said Alan Chong, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. That’s because they’re taking face masks and medical aid from China to treat domestic cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, he said.
China for example sent 12 medical experts to the Philippines in early April, Chinese television reported. The carrier passed just north of the main Philippine island Luzon.
“Because everybody is using Chinese aid, you can’t speak too loudly about it,” Chong said, referring to the aircraft carrier.
Chinese Navy Steps Closer To New Generation Of Nuclear Submarines
New evidence at the Bohai shipyard in China points to the construction of the next generation of nuclear submarines for the Chinese Navy (known as the PLAN). While many have argued that the new Type 095 and 096 subs will be built there, it is only now that the infrastructure is largely ready. The new submarines will be important if the PLAN wishes to patrol the open Pacific, or routinely venture into the Indian Ocean. Analysis of commercial imagery shows a new launch barge has recently been completed at the site. From an intelligence standpoint, this is an important indicator.
In an unclassified analysis, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) says it expects China’s submarine fleet to grow from around 66 boats today to 76 by 2030. This will include 6 more nuclear-powered attack submarines, which is what the Bohai yard at Huludao builds. So the work at the new Huludao facility will play a key part in the expansion. The ONI points to this fact, stating, “Current expansion at submarine production yards could allow higher future production numbers.”
So it is not a great leap to say that the new construction halls and dry dock at Huludao will be used to build new nuclear-powered attack submarines. These are expected to be the all-new Type-095 Tang Class which may be China’s answer to the Virginia Class. I estimate that at least nine will need to be built to reach the 2030 projection. This is because three of the existing boats are reaching the end of their operational lives. The Type-091 Han class were China’s first generation nuclear submarines and entered service in the 1970s. Three of the class, laid down in the 1980s, are still in service. The rest are the newer Type-093 Shang class which first entered service in 2006. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed/2020/06/19/banned-from-american-airlines-face-mask-holdout-plans-flight-to-tulsa-for-trump-rally/
Work on the Huludao expansion started in 2014 with large new construction halls built on reclaimed land. The hall has three construction bays, each large enough to house two submarines. The buildings themselves were complete by 2017, but it is only recently that they have been connected to the dry dock where the submarines will be launched. A new launch barge has been put in place to transfer the submarines from dry land into the water. So China now has the facilities lined up to start launching Type-095 submarines.
Chinese Navy Submarine construction site at Huludao.
According to Captain Chris Carlson, a former senior U.S. intelligence officer and technical intelligence expert, the driver for the new construction facility may not be the Type-095. Instead he sees the next generation ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the Type-096, as benefiting more. This is because he expects it to be larger and heavier than the current Type-094 Jin class SSBN. “The original construction hall is probably too small to house both new submarines, but this assumes the submarines’ beam (width) is the constraining issue – the Type 096's expected greater length is a definite problem. The original launch barge also likely has inadequate lifting capacity to get a much larger Type 096 submarine into the water.”
Carlson believes that the new submarines will be wider than the current generation. “Despite all the blog blustering, the current Type 093 attack submarine is a noisy boat. And the 093A, while better, isn't the equivalent of a 688 (Los Angeles Class)”. This is largely because of size. Carlson continues, “The pressure hull diameter of a Type-093 is just too small for a full entablature raft along with compound isolation to house the entire propulsion plant and the necessary auxiliaries. This is the same constraint the Russian’s experienced with the Victor III Class that has a less effective ring raft.” In layperson’s terms, the pressure hull needs to be bigger to provide space to insulate the submarine’s steel hull from the vibrations of the machinery.
If high levels of stealth are desired, then the new submarines will likely have a similar hull diameter to the Russian Improved Akula class. According to ONI documents, the Improved Akula-I is reputed to be quieter than a U.S. Navy Improved Los Angeles (688I) Class submarines. The new Chinese boats will also have a special outer hull treatment, known as an anechoic coating, which improves stealth.
Of course the new submarines are expected to have the latest in Chinese sonar and weapons. But the biggest capability leap might be a larger crew. This will enable much longer patrols because, despite ever-improving automation, crew fatigue remains a major constraint for at-sea endurance. So these bigger boats are seen as a step in the journey for a PLAN with global ambitions.
I assess that the PLA Navy by 2030 will consist of a surface force of over 450 ships and a submarine force approaching 110 submarines, an almost 10% increase from my 2015 estimate. It may still be a low estimate. In June 2018, I stood aboard the fantail of the PLA Navy guided missile frigate...
Now Please convince me that we still
Do not need an alliance with US
Which I have been advocating for many days now
Chinese Navy has commissioned Z-20F/J SAR naval version of Z-20 helicopter
According to pictures released by the China Defense Blog on June 20, 2020, the Chinese Navy has commissioned Z-20F also called Z-20J by other Chinese sources, a naval version of the Chinese-made Harbin Z-20 medium-lift utility helicopter produced by the Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG). A picture of the naval version of the Z-20 was unveiled on the Twitter account of Mike Yeo on October 14, 2019.
The new Z-20F helicopter is a modified version of the Z-20 designed to perform Search And Rescue operations like the American SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter. The Z-20 layout is very similar to the Black Hawk helicopter but there are several key differences including a five-bladed main rotor and more angular tail-to-fuselage joint frame, giving it greater lift, cabin capacity, and endurance than the Black Hawk, as well as a fly-by-wire design.
The Z-20 helicopter is powered by two Chinese-made WZ-10 turboshaft engines. The engine is expected to deliver a maximum power of 1,600kW. It can fly at a maximum altitude of 4,000 m.
The Z-20 has a crew of two and can accommodate around 12-15 fully-equipped troops. It has a payload capacity of around 5 000 kg. It can carry around 1,000 kg internally and 4,000 kg externally. It can transport various loads, such as vehicles and artillery pieces underslung externally.
The Z-20J can be operated from the small decks of warships. According to information released by the Drive website, it features apertures for a missile approach warning system (MAWS) and it has a landing gear arrangement similar to SH-60B/F and MH-60R Seahawks.
A square hole similar to those found on Seahawk and other maritime-optimized helicopters that use the RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse) system for recovery is also clearly seen.
The helicopter's tail boom holds a number of features, including a downward-facing UHF communications antenna and a directional data-link antenna under a dome. These are key components that give the Z-20F the capability to send large amounts of information to receivers that are located on the surface of the earth within line-of-sight.
China's new-generation fighter jet is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2021, an aviation industry report revealed on Monday. Analysts speculate that it will be China's new aircraft carrier-based fighter jet.
A team at China Aero-Polytechnology Establishment under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has resumed work while fighting the COVID-19 epidemic with the aim of supporting the scheduled maiden flight of a new-generation fighter jet in 2021, according to a statement the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment released on its WeChat public account on Monday.
The statement was removed by its publisher as of Tuesday evening.
This team is responsible for the new fighter jet's basic technology project, and other institutes, including AVIC Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute and the Chengdu-based No.29 Research Institute under the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), are also involved in its development, according to the statement.
The statement did not elaborate on the details of the new fighter jet, but the Shenyang institute is known for the development of the J-15, China's first type of aircraft carrier-based fighter jet, and the FC-31, China's second type of stealth aircraft rumored to be under deep modification to become a new aircraft carrier-based fighter jet.
Based on available information, it is possible that the new fighter jet introduced in the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment statement is indeed a new aircraft carrier-based fighter jet developed from the FC-31, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Fu said that while the Chinese Air Force may eventually require a medium-sized stealth fighter jet to accompany the heavy J-20 stealth fighter jet, the Chinese Navy is in more urgent need of a stealth fighter jet on China's future aircraft carriers, as the US has already developed F-35B and F-35C stealth fighter jets for amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers.
If this is the case, it will likely take another five years or so of testing following the maiden flight in 2021 to put the new fighter jet into active service, Fu said, noting that this time period could be shortened because the FC-31 has been tested as a technical demonstrator for many years.
According to a statement released by the Shenyang institute in December 2019, it has started developing a new type of fighter jet jointly with AVIC Manufacturing Technology Institute since 2018. This older report did not elaborate on the specifics of the new aircraft.
China is reportedly building its third and more advanced aircraft carrier at Shanghai's Jiangnan Shipyard, which is expected to be launched and commissioned in the 2020s. A more advanced fighter jet could greatly enhance the carrier's combat capability, analysts said.
There has also been speculation online by military enthusiasts claiming the new fighter jet could be a drone fighter jet or a space fighter jet.
Party on the Bridge: Political Commissars in the Chinese Navy
The Chinese navy follows U.S. warships operating in the East and South China Seas, sometimes creating tense situations between the two military powers. With the potential for future aggressive maneuvers by Chinese warships and their desire to operate continuously near U.S. warships, there is an increased chance for miscalculation. To avoid future miscues that could lead to further confrontation, a better understanding of the Chinese navy’s planning and decisionmaking process aboard vessels can reduce the likelihood of a conflict. As a component of the Chinese Communist Party-led (CCP) political system, the Chinese navy, unlike the U.S. Navy, utilizes political commissars aboard its warships and submarines. This report explores the political commissar’s influence and function aboard Chinese naval vessels.
By Jeff Benson and Zi Yang Download the Report The Chinese navy follows U.S. warships operating in the East and South China Seas, sometimes creating tense situations between the two military powers. With the potential for future aggressive maneuvers by Chinese warships and their desire to...