Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Medio Oriente

Siria. Situazione al 14 ottobre. Mappa delle forze in campo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-10-19.

2019-10-17__Siria 001

Handelsblatt ha pubblicato una interessante mappa, ripresa e rielaborata da Liveuamap, che sembrerebbe essere molto chiara ed intuitiva per comprendere l’attuale situazione.

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The Current Situation in Syria

The situation is tense in Northern Syria after President Trump ordered U.S. troops into a shock withdrawal to facilitate a Turkish incursion across the border. The move abandons Kurdish fighters who bore the brunt of the long fight against ISIS. Ankara has threatened to attack Kurdish militias along the border on numerous occasions and it considers the YPG a terrorist organization.

Turkey’s offensive marks the end of an arrangement which saw soldiers from both countries carrying out joint patrols along the border which kept Kurdish and Turkish forces apart. This push from Turkey sets up a potential clash with the Syrian army as both forces advance into the Kurdish-controlled area. The following map is based on Liveuamap data published by the German newspaper Handelsblatt, and shows the current situation in Syria, focusing on which territory is controlled by which faction.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina

Cina. Alla sfilata del 1° ottobre ci saranno grandi sorprese.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-09-30.

Pechino-Cina

Si resta stupefatti nel constatare i livelli di sviluppo sociale, economico e militare raggiunti dalla Cina nel breve volgere di trenta anni.

Alla parata militare del 1° ottobre sfileranno almeno otto grandi novità negli armamenti.

* * *

                         DF-41 missile

«The Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says the DF-41 will have a range of up to 9,320 miles (15,000 kilometers), more than any missile on Earth, and will be capable of carrying 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads. From launch in China, it could theoretically hit the continental United States in 30 minutes, the Missile Defense Project says.»

«Mobile-launched DF-41s can be carried by trucks and trains. Satellite photos taken earlier this year showed DF-41 mobile launchers in the PLARF Jilintal training area in Inner Mongolia, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), which monitors world nuclear arms developments»

«The DF-41 is solid-fueled, like the Russian missiles. Solid-fueled missiles are easier to deploy and quicker to launch than liquid versions.»

«China may be ready to deploy the DF-41 in numbers. At least 18 of them appeared to be at the Inner Mongolia training ground in satellite photos earlier this year»

* * *

                         JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)

«This is the main weapon aboard China’s Jin-class fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Four of the subs are in service, with two more under construction.»

«Each sub can carry 12 of the single-warhead JL-2 missiles. With an estimated range of 4,473 miles (7,200 kilometers), it is regarded as more of a regional than global weapon»

* * *

                         DL-17

«This is an example of a hypersonic glide vehicle, or HGV. It is launched via a standard missile rocket — but after reaching the desired altitude, the booster rocket is jettisoned and the HGV carries the missile payload to target.»

«China has been testing HGV technology since 2014 and is expected to deploy it in 2020, according to the Missile Defense Project. The DF-17 will be capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads, it added.»

«HGVs can fly low and fast — at least five times the speed of sound, or 3,800 mph (6,115 kph), according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance — with maneuverability to avoid enemy radar detection and air defenses.»

* * *

                         H-6N bomber

«The H-6 has been Beijing’s core long-range bomber for years, but images taken during flyover rehearsals for Tuesday’s parade show what could be a significant upgrade.»

«These could be DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missiles, …. »

«The ability to carry the DF-21 would give the bomber “an impressive stand-off capability against large enemy warships, especially aircraft carriers,”»

* * *

                         DR-8 drone

«This stealthy drone is drawing lots of attention leading up to the parade, much of that due to its sleek shape and supersonic speed.»

«Thought to be able to fly up to five times the speed of sound, the main mission of the DR-8 could be to get close to foreign aircraft carriers during conflict and send targeting information back to missile launchers»

* * *

                         Sharp Sword drone

«China military watchers have been tweeting images of what they speculate is the Sharp Sword, a bat wing-shaped drone designed for use from aircraft carriers.»

«The drone is thought to have two internal bomb bays and its stealthy design indicates it’s built for a new type of drone warfare»

«“What makes Sharp Sword different … is that it is stealthy, which means it is built not for Afghanistan-type scenarios, where the enemy is equipped with little more than rifles, but for situations where it might have to evade sophisticated air defenses”»

* * *

                         Drone submarine

«More mysterious was an image of a large autonomous underwater vehicle. Its mission remains unknown»

* * *

                         Tanks

«There was no indication as to why the camouflage scheme was changed, but it prompted speculation about whether China sees a new mission for its ground forces»

* * * * * *

Non si può fare politica estera senza delle efficienti forze armate.


CNN. 2019-09-27. China is preparing to show off some incredible weaponry. Here’s what it could be

Hong Kong (CNN)Powerful, domestically-built and in the People’s Liberation Army arsenal right now — China is expected to show off some of the most advanced weaponry the world has ever seen during a special National Day military parade in Beijing on Tuesday, October 1.

About 15,000 personnel, more than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of weaponry and equipment will be part of the 80-minute procession through the Chinese capital, which will highlight the country’s military advances in the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Key among those is drone technology — of which Beijing boasts some of the world’s best — and advanced missile systems.

Maj. Gen. Tan Min, executive deputy director of the Military Parade Joint Command Office and deputy chief of staff of the Central Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said at a press briefing this week that all weapons to be on display were in service and made in China, highlighting the country’s ability to innovate in defense research and development.

Here are some of the key items to look out for Tuesday.

DF-41 missile

Much of the parade hype has focused on this powerful intercontinental-range ballistic missile, thought to be the mainstay of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Forces (PLARF) arsenal for years to come — and, by some estimations, the most powerful missile on the planet.

Under development since 1997, the DF-41 was rumored to appear in parades in 2015 and 2017, but instead was kept under wraps.

Rumors that it will get a showing this around were sent into overdrive following reports in China’s state media that the missile was spotted during parade rehearsals in Beijing earlier this month.

The Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says the DF-41 will have a range of up to 9,320 miles (15,000 kilometers), more than any missile on Earth, and will be capable of carrying 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads. From launch in China, it could theoretically hit the continental United States in 30 minutes, the Missile Defense Project says.

Mobile-launched DF-41s can be carried by trucks and trains. Satellite photos taken earlier this year showed DF-41 mobile launchers in the PLARF Jilintal training area in Inner Mongolia, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), which monitors world nuclear arms developments.

Those satellite photos also show what “strongly resembles” a silo, according to Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the FAS, who analyzed the images.

Kristensen wrote the possible missile silos appeared to bear more of a resemblance to Russian ICBM versions than existing silos for older, liquid-fueled Chinese ICBMs. The DF-41 is solid-fueled, like the Russian missiles. Solid-fueled missiles are easier to deploy and quicker to launch than liquid versions.

The backbone of the United States nuclear arsenal, the Minuteman III missile, is a solid-fueled, silo-based weapon. However, it carries only one warhead, as its original three-warhead design was limited by nuclear treaties with Russia.

China may be ready to deploy the DF-41 in numbers. At least 18 of them appeared to be at the Inner Mongolia training ground in satellite photos earlier this year.

Though capable of carrying 10 warheads, it is likely only three would be on each missile, with the rest being dummy or decoy warheads, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS).

Part of that has to do with warhead availability. China’s nuclear warhead inventory is estimated at 290 for use on ballistic missiles and bomber aircraft, the Bulletin said in its 2019 report on Beijing’s nuclear forces.

JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)

A nuclear-powered submarine of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s North Sea Fleet prepares to dive into the sea.

This is the main weapon aboard China’s Jin-class fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Four of the subs are in service, with two more under construction.

Each sub can carry 12 of the single-warhead JL-2 missiles. With an estimated range of 4,473 miles (7,200 kilometers), it is regarded as more of a regional than global weapon.

That range puts targets from India to Alaska in range from coastal Chinese waters, the BAS report says. But for it to threaten the continental US, for instance, the subs would have to get past formidable US anti-submarine choke-points around Japan and deep into the Pacific.

A longer-range SLBM, the JL-3, was reportedly tested in late 2018 and again in June this year, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly, but that missile remains in development and it would be a surprise to see it on October 1.

Still, the Chinese SLBM force falls short of the US. The US Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic submarine fleet numbers 14, with each of those subs capable of carrying 20 Trident missiles. Each of those missiles can carry up to 10 warheads.

DL-17

This is an example of a hypersonic glide vehicle, or HGV. It is launched via a standard missile rocket — but after reaching the desired altitude, the booster rocket is jettisoned and the HGV carries the missile payload to target.

HGVs can fly low and fast — at least five times the speed of sound, or 3,800 mph (6,115 kph), according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance — with maneuverability to avoid enemy radar detection and air defenses.

China has been testing HGV technology since 2014 and is expected to deploy it in 2020, according to the Missile Defense Project. The DF-17 will be capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads, it added.

A Congressional Research Service report from September 17 notes that the US trails China — and Russia — in hypersonic development and is not expected to have an operational weapon before 2022.

The US is also not expected to have a an HGV with nuclear capability, the CRS says. “As a result, US hypersonic weapons will likely require greater accuracy and will be more technically challenging to develop than nuclear-armed Chinese and Russian systems,” the report adds.

H-6N bomber

The H-6 has been Beijing’s core long-range bomber for years, but images taken during flyover rehearsals for Tuesday’s parade show what could be a significant upgrade.

Photos posted on social media sites in China — which have been popping up on Western sites — show what appear to be points to mount large missiles.

These could be DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missiles, according to Joseph Trevethick, writing on the War Zone blog.

The ability to carry the DF-21 would give the bomber “an impressive stand-off capability against large enemy warships, especially aircraft carriers,” Trevethick said.

Jane’s Defense Weekly noted another update on the H-6N over its predecessor, the H-6K — a nose-mounted probe for aerial refueling. That gives the bomber the ability to fly deeper into the Pacific from the Chinese mainland.

Combined, the two developments mean US aircraft carriers would need to stay further out to sea during conflict and their aircraft, predominantly F/A-18 jets, would have more difficulty reaching targets.

DR-8 drone

This stealthy drone is drawing lots of attention leading up to the parade, much of that due to its sleek shape and supersonic speed.

Thought to be able to fly up to five times the speed of sound, the main mission of the DR-8 could be to get close to foreign aircraft carriers during conflict and send targeting information back to missile launchers, reports say.

Some analysts note that satellite images of what is believed to be the DR-8, as well as tarp-covered objects seen in parade rehearsals, resemble the US military’s D-21 supersonic reconnaissance drone, which was introduced in the 1960s.

The D-21 would self-destruct after dropping its high-resolution camera payload into friendly hands. The program was canceled in 1971 after four of the aircraft were lost in missions over … China.

Sharp Sword drone

China military watchers have been tweeting images of what they speculate is the Sharp Sword, a bat wing-shaped drone designed for use from aircraft carriers.

The drone is thought to have two internal bomb bays and its stealthy design indicates it’s built for a new type of drone warfare, says analyst Sam Roggeveen, writing on the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter blog.

“What makes Sharp Sword different … is that it is stealthy, which means it is built not for Afghanistan-type scenarios, where the enemy is equipped with little more than rifles, but for situations where it might have to evade sophisticated air defenses,” Roggeven says.

The Sharp Sword was first tested in 2013, and an appearance in the October 1 parade could signal that it’s close to deployment.

Other countries, including the US, have been developing drones to use off carriers. The US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray has just started flight tests with an eye to deployment in 2024 as an aerial tanker.

Drone submarine

The state-sanctioned Global Times noted its appearance in rehearsals, adding: “More mysterious was an image of a large autonomous underwater vehicle. Its mission remains unknown.”

This could be one of China’s first undersea drones. A 2015 report from the Rand Corp. think tank said the Beijing government, relying mainly on military funding, had set up at least 15 research teams at universities and institutes to develop technology for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

Tanks

Images have surfaced of Type 99 main battle tanks and Type 15 light tanks during parade rehearsals.

Rehearsal from the ground in Beijing for the upcoming military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on October 1–Type 99 main battle tank, Type 15 light tank, Type 04 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), Type 05 amphibious IFV for Chinese Marine Corps pic.twitter.com/5FmjY5YkC8

— Simon Chen, MD (@simonbchen) September 15, 2019

A story on the PLA’s English website notes the parade would mark the public debut of the Type 15.

It also noted a change in the Type 99s, desert camouflage, which was “delighting enthusiasts who recalled the jungle look of previous parades.”

There was no indication as to why the camouflage scheme was changed, but it prompted speculation about whether China sees a new mission for its ground forces.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Guerra Civile, Medio Oriente, Senza categoria

Droni yemeniti distruggono due impianti petroliferi sauditi. Produzione dimezzata.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-09-14.

2019-09-14__Arabia Saudita 001

Saudi oil plant fire: Blaze rages in Abqaiq after drone attack

«Drone attacks have set alight two major oil facilities run by state-owned Aramco in Saudi Arabia, state media say.

One was at Abqaiq, which has the world’s largest oil processing plant.»

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«At 04:00 (01:00 GMT), the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of… drones,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported»

«Abqaiq is about 60km (37 miles) south-west of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, while Khurais, some 200km further south-west, has the country’s second largest oilfield»

«Saturday’s attack was one of the biggest operations the Houthi forces had undertaken inside Saudi Arabia and was carried out in “co-operation with the honourable people inside the kingdom”»

«Saudi Arabia’s oil production has been severely disrupted by drone attacks on two major oil facilities run by state-owned company Aramco»

«TV footage showed a huge blaze at Abqaiq, site of Aramco’s largest oil processing plant, while a second drone attack started fires in the Khurais oilfield»

«The Saudis lead a military coalition backing Yemen’s government, while Iran backs the Houthi rebels»

«The Houthi spokesman, Yahya Sarea, told al-Masirah TV, which is owned by the Houthi movement and is based in Beirut, that further attacks could be expected in the future»

* * * * * * *

Quanto successo meriterebbe molti commenti.

– Lo Yemen è da decenni in regime di guerra civile, fattasi decisamente virulenta nell’ultimo lustro.

– I sauditi appoggiano le forze regolari, mentre gli iraniani quelle ribelli. Oltre le diatribe politiche e militari, si dovrebbero anche considerare quelle religiose: i sauditi sono wahhabiti e gli iraniani sciiti. Si odiano mortalmente da millequattrocento anni.

– Tutte le grandi potenze sono coinvolte nella guerra nello Yemen: talune in modo discreto, altre in modo plateale. In fondo, sono loro a pilotare i giochi e, a quanto sembrerebbe, proprio a nessuno farebbe piacere avere una pace in quel settore geopolitico.

– L’Arabia Saudita ha un fenomenale budget militare ed un esercito che, almeno sulla carta, dovrebbe essere di tutto rispetto. Ma che poi i Saud possano fidarsi dell’esercito sarebbe cosa davvero molto discutibile, ma la Tribù Saud non ha figliato a sufficienza per avere persone fidate nei ranghi militari, e le guerre le fanno gli uomini. Pochi uomini, nessuna guerra degna di quel nome.

– I ribelli yemeniti versano in condizioni misere, essendo gli alimentari e gli armamenti le loro spese principali.

– Si resta sorpresi, ma non troppo, che abbiano potuto disporre di una decina di droni di attacco, sempre poi che a pilotarli da postazioni remate siano stati i ribelli e non truppe straniere particolarmente addestrate. Ma su questo argomento non è stato possibile rintracciare informazioni credibili e corroborabili.

– I droni sono penetrati in grande profondità nel territorio saudita e questi, che sono intrinsecamente lenti, sono sfuggiti al rilevamento radar saudita, anche a quello particolarmente potente e moderno dell’aeroporto di Riyadh.

* * * * * * *

Come si constata, vi sono molti fatti che al momento sembrerebbero essere inspiegabili.

Una ultima considerazione.

Le guerre o si fanno oppure non si fanno, ma, nel caso, occorrerebbe dispiegare immediatamente la massima potenza.

L’unica vera opzione che avrebbe l’Arabia Saudita sarebbe l’invasione dello Yemen e lo sterminio fisico di tutti i ribelli, sia quelli veri sia anche quelli presunti.

Ma forse il colpo ora subito non è ancora quello sufficiente per far prendere decisioni drastiche.


Bbc. 2019-09-14. Saudi Arabia oil production reduced by drone strikes

Saudi Arabia’s oil production has been severely disrupted by drone attacks on two major oil facilities run by state-owned company Aramco, reports say.

Sources quoted by Reuters and WSJ said the strikes had reduced production by five million barrels a day – nearly half the kingdom’s output.

The fires are now under control at both facilities, Saudi state media say.

A spokesman for the Houthi rebel group in Yemen said it had deployed 10 drones in the attacks.

The Saudis lead a military coalition backing Yemen’s government, while Iran backs the Houthi rebels.

The Houthi spokesman, Yahya Sarea, told al-Masirah TV, which is owned by the Houthi movement and is based in Beirut, that further attacks could be expected in the future.

He said Saturday’s attack was one of the biggest operations the Houthi forces had undertaken inside Saudi Arabia and was carried out in “co-operation with the honourable people inside the kingdom”.

TV footage showed a huge blaze at Abqaiq, site of Aramco’s largest oil processing plant, while a second drone attack started fires in the Khurais oilfield.

United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths described the attacks as “extremely worrying” in a statement in which he called on all parties in the Yemen conflict to exercise restraint.

Saudi officials have yet to comment on who they think is behind the attacks.

“At 04:00 (01:00 GMT), the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of… drones,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The two fires have been controlled.”

There have been no details on the damage but AFP news agency quoted interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki as saying there were no casualties.

Abqaiq is about 60km (37 miles) south-west of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, while Khurais, some 200km further south-west, has the country’s second largest oilfield.

Saudi security forces foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda to attack the Abqaiq facility with suicide bombers in 2006.

Who are the Houthis?

The Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement has been fighting the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition.

Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries against the rebels.

The coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sarea, the Houthi group’s military spokesman, told al-Masirah that operations against Saudi targets would “only grow wider and will be more painful than before, so long as their aggression and blockade continues”.

Houthi fighters were blamed for drone attacks on the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility last month, and on other oil facilities in May.

There have been other sources of tension in the region, often stemming from the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the US both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf on two oil tankers in June and July, allegations Tehran denied.

In May four tankers, two of them Saudi-flagged, were damaged by explosions within the UAE’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman.

Tension in the vital shipping lanes worsened when Iran shot down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in June, leading a month later to the Pentagon announcing the deployment of US troops to Saudi Arabia.

——-

An attack method open to all

This latest attack underlines the strategic threat posed by the Houthis to Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The growing sophistication of the Houthis’ drone operations is bound to renew the debate as to where this capability comes from. Have the Houthis simply weaponised commercial civilian drones or have they had significant assistance from Iran?

The Trump administration is likely to point the finger squarely at Tehran, but experts vary in the extent to which they think Iran is facilitating the drone campaign.

The Saudi air force has been pummelling targets in Yemen for years. Now the Houthis have a capable, if much more limited, ability to strike back. It shows that the era of armed drone operations being restricted to a handful of major nations is now over.

Drone technology, albeit of varying degrees of sophistication, is available to all – from the US to China, Israel and Iran – and from the Houthis to Hezbollah.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina, Problemi militari, Stati Uniti

Cina alla conquista dell’Oceano Pacifico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-30.

2019-08-26-_ Cina Pacifico

Mr Deng Xiaoping aveva dato chiarissime direttive ed ordini di priorità.

– Prima costruire un solido sistema produttivo che alimenti l’export.

– Poi, allestire delle forze armate in grado di garantire almeno i confini della nazione.

– Indi allacciare a livello mondiale rapporti paritetici bilaterali volti alla costruzione e controllo delle infrastrutture.

– Solo alla fine, con quel che avanzasse, generare un welfare.

Questo indirizzo strategico è semplicemente l’opposto della Weltanschauung occidentale ed è per questo motivo che l’Occidente inizia solo ora a prenderne atto.

«US pre-eminence in the Pacific is no more»

«For a long time experts have been speaking about China’s rapid military modernisation referring to it as “a rising power”. …. But this analysis may be out of date. China is not so much a rising power; it has risen; and in many ways it now challenges the US across a number of military domains.»

«US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region “is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis” and that Washington might struggle to defend its allies against China.»

«America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific»

«The report points to Beijing’s extraordinary arsenal of missiles that threaten the key bases of the US and its allies. These installations, it asserts, “could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict”»

«China lacks the “proselytising zeal” – the sense of over-seas mission, that over the twentieth century saw the US strive for global dominance.»

«China is already a superpower to rival the US»

«Dubbed in military-speak, an “anti-access and area denial” approach, China has single-mindedly focused on a range of sensors and weapons systems that it hopes will compel US forces to operate as far away from its own shores as possible»

«China’s goal is in a time of crisis is to deny the US access to the area within the “first island chain” (the South China Sea bounded by a line running from the bottom of Japan, encompassing Taiwan, and passing to the west of the Philippines)»

«President Xi Jinping has decided not just to stand up to President Trump in the ongoing trade war but to take a much more assertive position, whether it be towards the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong or to China’s long-standing claims over Taiwan»

* * * * * * *

La relazione dell’US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia ad una prima lettura sembrerebbe essere impietoso: poi, quando la materia sia sedimentata, appare financo troppo blando.

Se poi si cercasse di integrare queste informazioni con le altre disponibili, il quadro che ne emergerebbe sarebbe quello di un netto ridimensionamento dell’influenza militare americana.

Banche Mondiali. Senza potenza finanziaria non si fa politica estera.

Cina. Controllo strategico del Mar Giallo e del Mare Cinese Orientale.

Dal punto di vista strategico la Cina può contare su solidissimi alleati. Se si considerasse il tasso di fertilità, il Giappone ha 1.42, la Kore del Sud 1.27, Taiwan 1.13 ed Hong Kong 1.2: una generazioni e questi paesi saranno spopolati, e la Cina potrà occuparli serenamente.


Bbc. 201908-25. Is the US still Asia’s only military superpower?

US pre-eminence in the Pacific is no more.

For a long time experts have been speaking about China’s rapid military modernisation referring to it as “a rising power”.

But this analysis may be out of date. China is not so much a rising power; it has risen; and in many ways it now challenges the US across a number of military domains.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia.

It warns that US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region “is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis” and that Washington might struggle to defend its allies against China.

“America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific”, it notes, “and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain.”

The report points to Beijing’s extraordinary arsenal of missiles that threaten the key bases of the US and its allies. These installations, it asserts, “could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict”.

China is not a global superpower like the United States. Indeed it is doubtful if its military ambitions extend that far (though this too may be changing as it slowly develops a network of ports and bases abroad).

For now its global reach depends much more on the power of its economy. China lacks the “proselytising zeal” – the sense of over-seas mission, that over the twentieth century saw the US strive for global dominance.

It also has nothing like the soft-power pull of the United States – no equivalent to blue jeans, Hollywood or burgers – to encourage people to share its values.

Indeed according to many indices Washington’s raw military punch still greatly out-weighs that of Beijing. Washington’s nuclear arsenal (and indeed Moscow’s) is significantly larger than that available to Beijing.

The US still retains a technological edge in key areas like intelligence collection; ballistic missile defence; and the latest generation warplanes. The US can also rely upon a deeply entrenched network of alliances both in Asia and through Nato in Europe.

China has nothing like this kind of alliance system. But it is fast eroding Washington’s technical edge. And in any case what matters to China is Asia and what it sees in expansive terms as its own back-yard. Two key factors – focus and proximity – mean that in Asia, China is already a superpower to rival the US.

China has studied US capabilities and warfighting and has come up with an effective strategy to mitigate the traditional sources of US military power, not least the US Navy’s powerful carrier battle groups, the central element of Washington’s ability to project military force.

Dubbed in military-speak, an “anti-access and area denial” approach, China has single-mindedly focused on a range of sensors and weapons systems that it hopes will compel US forces to operate as far away from its own shores as possible.

At the outset this was inherently a defensive posture. But increasingly analysts see China’s capabilities as enabling it to seize the initiative, confident that it can deter and cope with any likely US response.

“Chinese counter-intervention systems,” the Australian study notes, “have undermined America’s ability to project power into the Indo-pacific, raising the risk that China could use limited force to achieve a fait accompli victory before America can respond, challenging US security guarantees in the process.”

China’s goal is in a time of crisis is to deny the US access to the area within the “first island chain” (the South China Sea bounded by a line running from the bottom of Japan, encompassing Taiwan, and passing to the west of the Philippines).

But it also seeks to restrict access to the outer “second island chain” with weapons that can reach as far as the US bases on Guam. This overall strategy can be bolstered by Chinese land-based aircraft and missiles.

Of course, it is not as if the Pentagon is unaware of the China challenge. After decades of counter-insurgency warfare the US military is being re-structured and re-equipped for renewed big-power competition. In the Cold War the focus was the Soviet Union. Today it is largely China.

However the Sydney University report questions whether Washington is sufficiently focused on the task in hand. It says that “an outdated superpower mindset in the (US) foreign policy establishment is likely to limit Washington’s ability to scale back other global commitments or to make the strategic trade-offs required to succeed in the Indo-Pacific.”

Money is going into new weaponry and research. But the task is huge.

“America has an atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition” and the report warns that a back-log of simultaneous modernisation priorities “will likely outstrip its budget capacity.”

It is a sobering document written by a prestigious institution from one of Washington’s closest allies in the region.

China clearly feels empowered – you can see this from the tone of its recently published defence white paper.

President Xi Jinping has decided not just to stand up to President Trump in the ongoing trade war but to take a much more assertive position, whether it be towards the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong or to China’s long-standing claims over Taiwan.

China’s military rise to match its growing economic muscle was inevitable. But some analysts fear that President Trump has made a difficult situation worse.

Many in the US feel it was time to stand-up to China on trade – but the way the US is going about it leads several experts to fear that Washington may simply lose the trade war.

Overall the Trump Administration’s foreign policy often lacks a clear strategic aspect and is prone to the whims of the Presidential twitter feed and bizarre distractions like his apparent desire to purchase Greenland.

In contrast China knows exactly where it wants to go and it has the strategy and the means to get there. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, it may have already arrived.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Stati Uniti

Turkia. In arrivo la seconda consegna di S-400.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-28.

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«The S-400 is a massive upgrade to the S-300, its predecessor which was recently sent to Syria.

Because of its capabilities, several countries including China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India and Qatar have said they are willing to buy the S-400.

Almost every government that announced it was planning to buy the system was threatened with some kind of diplomatic retaliation from the US, NATO or adversaries.

The reason for this blowback, according to several experts Al Jazeera interviewed, is not only because the S-400 is technologically advanced, it also poses a potential risk for long-standing alliances. ….

The S-400 is among the most advanced air defence systems available, on par with the best the West has to offer, …. Its radars and other sensors, as well as its missiles, cover an extensive area – the radar has a range of at least 600km for surveillance, and its missiles have ranges of up to 400km, ….

It’s precise and it manages to track a very large number of potential targets, including stealth targets. ….

It’s intended to be a one-size-fits-all missile system. It can be configured with long-range, semi long-range, medium-range and even short-range weapons systems, depending on how the individual user wishes to configure the S-400 ….

Turkey, a NATO member ….

The US Department of State has said Chinese purchases of SU-35 aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missiles breached the CAATSA, only weeks after it said India might be subject to sanctions if it continues with purchasing the system. 

However, India decided earlier this week to buy the weapons system.

“India places top priority on ties with Russia. In today’s fast-changing world, our relationship assumes heightened importance,” India Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russia President Vladimir Putin after they signed the $5bn deal.» [Fonte]

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Non si può prendere a calci nei denti la gente e poi sperare che venga anche a ringraziare.

I rapporti tra stati dovrebbero essere paritetici: nessuno ha il diritto di fare la morale agli altri.

Mr Xi e Mr Putin questo lo sanno più che bene.


Aljazeera. 2019-08-26. Turkey to receive second batch of S-400 missile system this week

Ankara has gone ahead with its purchase of the Russian defence system despite threats of US sanctions.

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Turkey will receive the second batch of the Russian S-400 missile system on Tuesday, Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar has said.

Ankara received its first supply of S-400 missiles in July, despite a warning by the United States about possible sanctions. The acquisition of the highly-advanced air defence system has led to a standoff between Turkey and its NATO allies, especially the US.

Deliveries of the system are set to continue until April 2020.

The modular S-400 is seen as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, capable of tracking several targets simultaneously and ready to be fired within minutes. 

The US has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the hi-tech F-35 fighter jets, which Turkey is also planning to buy.

Washington has said Turkey will not be allowed to participate in the F-35 programme because of the Turkey-Russia deal.

The US has strongly urged Turkey to pull back from the deal – the first such move between a NATO member and Russia – warning Ankara that it will face economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if it goes ahead with the purchase, reportedly costing more than $2bn.

So far, however, Ankara has refused to give in to US pressure, insisting that choosing which defence equipment to buy is a matter of national sovereignty.

Sanctions would mark a new low in the already tense relations between Turkey and the US.

Last year, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey over the detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis. The sanctions were later lifted upon the pastor’s release. 

The deal with Russia has also raised concerns in Western circles that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow’s sphere of influence.

According to analysts, these purchases form more than just a military threat to the US.

They are about countering Russia’s involvement in global conflicts, but also about maintaining long-standing US diplomatic relations and preventing Russia from receiving hard currency for its equipment, the analysts told Al Jazeera last year.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina

Cina. Caccia Y-20 stealth operativi nella zona si Shangai.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

219-08-20.

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J-20 vs F-22: how China’s Chengdu J-20 ‘Powerful Dragon’ compares with US’ Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

«China’s most advanced jet is one of the few fifth-generation fighters in active service. Here’s how it compares to its closest US counterpart.

China’s new J-20, officially named Weilong or powerful dragon, is one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets and the country’s answer to the American F-22 Raptor.

In mid July the PLA Airforce released a video of a nighttime training exercise involving the stealth fighter as a demonstration of its combat readiness.

The Chinese warplane was developed by the Chengdu Aerospace corporation, which began testing them in 2011 before the first planes entered service in March 2017.

So far a few dozen J-20s have been produced for the PLA although the manufacturer is continuing to build more.

The F-22 Raptor was developed by Lockheed Martin for the exclusive use of the US Air Force. Exports even to America’s closest allies are banned to protect its stealth technology.

Its maiden flight was in September 1997 and it entered service in December 2005. In 2011 production was terminated because of the high costs involved and lack – at the time – of any aircraft that could challenge its dominance.

America is planning to upgrade the fighter in future but for now it remains, along with the Weilong, one of the most advanced fifth generation fighters in the world.»

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China ‘nearing mass production’ of J-20 stealth fighter after engine problems ironed out

«Improved power train will give Chinese jet ability to fly undetected at supersonic speeds, on par with United States’ F-35.

A new and improved engine designed to make China’s J-20 stealth fighter a world-class combat jet should be ready for mass production by the end of the year, military sources have said.

The WS-15 engine features cutting-edge single-crystal turbine blades and has been in development for several years, but Chinese technicians have struggled to get it into mass production.

However, many of the problems – which largely related to blades overheating at top speeds – have been ironed out in ground tests and trial flights, putting the goal of a consistently high quality product in sight, sources told the South China Morning Post.

Beijing is keen to have a stealth aircraft capable of competing with the best in the world as tensions rise in the Asia-Pacific and the United States ramps up deployment of its F-22 and F-35 fighters in the region.»

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No Stealth for You: India Says It Can ‘Track’ China’s New J-20 Fighter

«The J-20’s short-range capabilities naturally lead to the question—what exactly happens when two stealth fighters clash? If their stealth qualities are robust, both aircraft may only be able to detect each other within 50 miles or less—at which point air combat maneuvers could prove important. As U.S. stealth aircraft are one of the chief military threats to China, it seems reasonable to assume the J-20 would be designed to have a fighting chance against them.

In January 2011, the maiden flight of a large, dagger-like grey jet announced that China had developed its first stealth aircraft—the Chengdu J-20 “Mighty Dragon.” Six years later, after several substantial revisions, J-20s entered operational service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.

As radar-guided missiles from fighters and ground-based launchers threaten aircraft from dozens, or even hundreds of miles away, stealth capabilities are increasingly perceived as necessary for keeping fighter pilots alive on the modern battlefield.

But just how good is the J-20? And what is its intended role? After all, America’s first stealth fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk, was not even really a fighter and lacked any air-to-air capability whatsoever…..

While details on the J-20’s radar remains elusive (presumably a low-probability of intercept AESA radar), it also mounts arrays of electro-optical and infrared sensors with 360-degree coverage, reportedly designed to fuse sensor data to form a common “picture” and even share it with friendly forces via a datalink—technology seemingly modeled on the advanced sensors found on the American F-35. Such sensors could be particularly useful for detecting radar-eluding stealth aircraft.»

Analisi Difesa. 2019-08-18. Cina: i caccia J-20 assegnati ai reparti operativi nell’area di Shangai

I media statali cinesi hanno rilasciato per la prima volta l’immagine (foto di apertura)  di un caccia multiruolo di quinta generazione Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) J-20 con il numero di serie di un’unità di combattimento della People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), suggerendo che l’aereo è pronto per il servizio in prima linea.

L’immagine, rilasciata dall’emittente di stato China Central Television (CCTV) alla fine di luglio, mostra l’aereo con il numero 62001, indicando che è stato assegnato alla nona brigata aerea del PLAAF con sede a Wuhu, che opera sotto il Teatro orientale del PLA Comando.

Le immagini satellitari commerciali catturate a marzo 2019 hanno mostrato tre J-20 alla base aerea di Wuhu, suggerendo che l’aereo ha operato lì dall’inizio del 2019 o alla fine del 2018.

È probabile che i caccia stiano sostituendo i Su-30MKK assegnati alla 9a Brigata aerea, che si ritiene sia una delle principali unità da combattimento all’interno del PLAAF.

La base aerea di Wuhu si trova vicino al fiume Yangtze a circa 280 chilometri nell’entroterra da Shanghai. La base ospita la 7a e la 9a Brigata aerea. Quest’ultima ha ricevuto il Su-30MKK nel 2001.

Assegnare il J-20 a tale unità di combattimento è una mossa significativa perché le due precedenti unità PLAAF note per operare il J-20 erano legate alla valutazione operativa e all’addestramento tattico.

Come riportato in precedenza da Jane, la 176a Brigata aerea della base aerea di Dingxin è l’unità operativa di prova utilizzata per valutare il J-20 e svilupparne le tattiche d’impiego e la 172a Brigata aerea della base aerea di Cangzhou è l’unità di addestramento iniziale per preparare gli istruttori e sviluppare le modalità di formazione.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina, Geopolitica Asiatica

Cina. Isole artificiali adesso armate anche con aeroplani militari.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-13.

2019-07-28__Cina_Isole__001

Nel breve volgere di pochi anni la Cina ha costruito una serie di isole artificiali nel Mare Cinese del Sud. Adesso sta completando il loro armamento: dai supporti logistici aeroportuali, ai sistemi missilistici antiaerei ed antinave,  missili da crociera ed aerei da guerra.

«The J-10 jets have a combat range of about 500 miles (740 kilometers), putting much of the South China Sea and vital shipping lands within reach»

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La loro utilità dipende strettamente dalla tipologia del conflitto configurabile.

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Nel corso di una guerra nucleare, essendo obiettivi fissi, sarebbero facilmente distrutti anche solo con il lancio di una testata nucleare balistica. Ma, ovviamente, una situazione di questo tipo vedrebbe coinvolte tutte le realtà militari in una reciproca distruzione.

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Diversa la situazione nel caso di un problema militare locoregionale. Sicuramente una flotta allo stato dell’arte, quale quella americana, avrebbe la possibilità di penetrare il Mare Cinese del Sud, ma ciò avverrebbe pagando uno scotto severo. Se nel conflitto locale fosse invece coinvolta un’altra potenza locale, la supremazia cinese sarebbe schiacciante.

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Una unica considerazione.

Anni fa, le isole artificiali non esistevano: adesso invece vi sono.

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China building aircraft hangars on disputed islands in South China Sea, says US think

«China appears to be building reinforced aircraft hangars on reclaimed islands it controls in a disputed area of the South China Sea, according to a US think tank.

Satellite photographs taken in late July show the construction of hangars on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly chain of islands and some have already been completed, according to a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Although no military aircraft have been spotted, each of the three small islands would soon have enough hangar space for 24 fighter jets, plus three to four larger planes, the think tank said. …. The hangars, in three different sizes, could accommodate any plane used by China’s air force, the think tank said. …. These include the J-11 and Su-30 fighters, H-6 bombers, the H-6U refuelling tanker and the air force’s largest aircrafts –the Y-20 and Il-76 transport planes.»

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South China Sea: Satellite image shows Chinese fighter jets deployed to contested island

«A satellite image obtained by CNN shows China has deployed at least four J-10 fighter jets to the contested Woody Island in the South China Sea, the first known deployment of fighter jets there since 2017.

The image was taken Wednesday and represents the first time J-10s have been seen on Woody or any Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea, according to ImageSat International, which supplied the image to CNN.

The deployment comes as tensions remain high in the South China Sea and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to meet United States President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Japan next week.

Analysts who looked at the satellite photo for CNN said both the placement of the planes out in the open and accompanying equipment is significant and indicates the fighter jets were on the contested island for up to 10 days.

“They want you to notice them. Otherwise they would be parked in the hangars,” said Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer and fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. “What message do they want you to take from them?”

Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, said the deployment is designed to “demonstrate it is their territory and they can put military aircraft there whenever they want.”

“It also makes a statement that they can extend their air power reach over the South China Sea as required or desired,” Schuster said.

The J-10 jets have a combat range of about 500 miles (740 kilometers), putting much of the South China Sea and vital shipping lands within reach, Schuster said.

The four planes are not carrying external fuel tanks, the analysts said. That suggests they were to be refueled on the island, so the plan may be to keep them there awhile. ….

The Paracels sit in the north-central portion of the 1.3 million-square-mile South China Sea. They are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, but have been occupied by China since 1974, when Chinese troops ousted a South Vietnamese garrison.

The past several years have seen Beijing substantially upgrade its facilities on the islands, deploying surface-to-air missiles, building 20 hangars at the airfield, upgrading two harbors and performing substantial land reclamation, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.

Woody Island has served as a blueprint for Beijing’s more prominent island-building efforts in the Spratly chain to the south, AMTI said in a 2017 report.»

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China lands military plane at third Spratly Island, just 12 nautical miles from Philippines

«China has deployed military aircraft to a third outpost in a disputed South China Sea island chain, a move which will alarm rivals who believe Beijing has ramped up its military presence in the region.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative published images showing a military aircraft, a Shaanxi Y-8, at Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands.

The plane was “designed as a military transport aircraft, but some variants are used for maritime patrol or signals intelligence,” said the think tank, which is part of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

The photographs reveal the first deployment of military aircraft on the island, which hosts one of three runways in the strategically important Spratlys. Military aircraft have now landed on all three of the airstrips, the AMTI said.

The organisation said that a naval patrol aircraft landed at Fiery Cross Reef two years ago, while two Xian Y-7 military transport aircraft were seen on Mischief Reef in January.»

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The Real Problem with China’s South China Sea Bases

«China has built some islands in the South China Sea. Can it protect them?

During World War II Japan found that control of islands offered some strategic advantages, but not enough to force the United States to reduce each island individually. Moreover, over time the islands became a strategic liability, as Japan struggled to keep them supplied with food, fuel and equipment. The islands of the SCS are conveniently located for China, but do they really represent an asset to China’s military? The answer is yes, but in an actual conflict the value would dwindle quickly. ….

China has established numerous military installations in the South China Sea, primarily in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. In the Spratlys, China has built airfields at Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross, along with potential missile, radar and helicopter infrastructure at several smaller formations. In the Paracels, China has established a significant military installation at Woody Island, as well as radar and helicopter facilities in several other areas. China continues construction across the region, meaning that it may expand its military presence in the future. The larger bases (Subi, Mischief, Fiery Cross and Woody Island) have infrastructure necessary for the management of military aircraft, including fighters and large patrol craft. These missiles, radars and aircraft extend the lethal reach of China’s military across the breadth of the South China Sea. ….

Missiles

Several of the islands serve as bases for SAM systems (including the HQ-9, with a range of 125 miles, and perhaps eventually the Russian S-400) and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs). These missiles serve to make the South China Sea lethal for U.S. ships and aircraft that do not have stealth capabilities, or that do not enjoy a layered air-defense system. The SAM installations, buoyed by networks of radars, can effectively limit the ability of enemy aircraft to enter their lethal zone without significant electronic-warfare assistance. The GLCMs can add another set of launchers to China’s A2/AD network, although not necessarily with any greater effectiveness than missiles launched from subs, ships or aircraft.»

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Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Asiatica

South Korea. Costruirà una portaerei leggera.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-05.

South Korea 001

«The Chinese navy has two carriers. Another is under construction. Beijing’s fleet could possess as many as six aircraft carriers by the mid-2030s, experts told state media. They could be a mix of conventional and nuclear-powered vessels.

Even the smallest Chinese carrier displaces around 60,000 tons of water, making it twice as big as South Korea’s own, future flattop»

«The South Korean joint chiefs of staff decided on July 12, 2019 to acquire an assault ship capable of operating fixed-wing aircraft, Defense News reported. The vessel presumably would embark vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighters»

«South Korea is getting an aircraft carrier. The vessel could help Seoul’s navy to compete with its main rivals, the Chinese and Japanese fleets.»

«Seoul for years has mulled a purchase of F-35Bs to complement the country’s land-based F-35As»

«“The plan of building the LPH-II ship has been included in a long-term force buildup plan,” a spokesman for the joint chiefs told Defense News, using an acronym for “landing platform helicopter.”»

«“Once a preliminary research is completed within a couple of years, the shipbuilding plan is expected to be included in the midterm acquisition list,”»

«The new LPH will displace around 30,000 tons of water, roughly twice as much as the South Korean navy’s two LPH-Is displace. The older assault ships embark only helicopters. A 30,000-ton vessel easily could operate a dozen or more F-35Bs plus other aircraft.»

«The $6-billion acquisition include three Aegis destroyers armed with ballistic-missile interceptors and three submarines equipped with their own launchers for land-attack missiles.»

«The new ships could help Seoul’s navy to expand beyond its current, largely coastal mission. The main threat to South Korea is North Korea, specifically the North’s huge force of artillery that in wartime quickly could demolish Seoul and endanger millions of people.»

«The navy currently possesses three of the Sejong the Great-class destroyers that it acquired between 2008 and 2012. «The 11,000-ton-displacement destroyers are among the most heavily-armed in the world and boast 128 vertical missile cells for SM-3 air-defense missiles and Hyunmoo-3C cruise missiles.»

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Nell’Asia dell’est e del sud est è in corso da tempo un riarmo di notevole consistenza.

Se quello cinese è adeguato ad una potenza locoregionale con malcelate ambizioni globali, gli altri stati stanno attentamente ponderano soprattutto la loro difesa.

Le attuali rivalità nippo-koreane sembrerebbero essere solo formali.

I punti nevralgici sarebbero essere la North Korea, per la sua impredicibile politica, e la Cina, per la sua prevedibile ambizione marittima.

Sotto sotto, ci sarebbe anche da valutare l’ipotesi di una volontà di portare la cantieristica sudkoreana allo stato dell’arte.


The Diplomat. 2019-07-26. South Korea Moves Toward Medium-Sized Aircraft Carriers: Why?

Earlier this week, South Korea announced its intention to include a medium-sized aircraft carrier in its naval expansion plans. The decision to construct the ships comes at a time of high tension with Japan, and takes place more generally in context of accelerated Japanese and Chinese aircraft carrier construction. Reportedly, the ship will displace 30,000 tons, making it somewhat larger than the Japanese Izumos. Designing the ship from the keel up to operate the F-35B may also remedy the need for the compromises that required extensive refitting in the Japanese ships.

Such a vessel would lock South Korea into the acquisition of the F-35B, except in the unlikely event that South Korea developed its own advanced STOVL fighter aircraft. The ROK has already agreed to acquire the F-35A, although it has also pursued a related project for a fifth-generation fighter. There is no indication that the KFX fighter would have STOVL capabilities, however. Presumably, the construction of this carrier would put to bed rumors about refitting the Dokdo-class to operate the F-35B, a plan that would have seriously strained the smaller vessels.

Although South Korea has never constructed a military vessel of this size, the shipbuilding industry is sufficiently sophisticated that upsizing from the Dokdos should not present any serious challenges. It is fair to say that Japan is unlikely to share the design characteristics of the Izumos. However, the Spanish Juan Carlos and the Italian Cavour and Trieste could provide ready models if South Korean shipbuilders sought the advice of their European counterparts.

Indeed, this new ship will join a growing family of vessels, including the Juan Carlos, the Izumo, the Cavour, and the Trieste, intended to operate the F-35B as their primary combat capability. The Turkish Anadolu (based on the Juan Carlos) was intended for the same purpose, but Turkey has been excluded from the F-35B project. The large American amphibious warships of the Wasp and America classes also operate the F-35B, as do the British Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. The South Korean decision may provide additional ammunition to advocates of refitting the Canberra class amphibs (yet again based on the Spanish Juan Carlos) to carry the Joint Strike Fighter. 

The timing of the announcement of the decision to build this vessel resonates uncomfortably with the renewal of tensions with Japan over World War II history, but competition with Tokyo probably remains mostly in the arena of prestige. This decision may also reflect increasing confidence that South Korea’s primary security problems do not involve North Korea. Fighters launched from carriers aren’t intrinsically worth more than fighters launched from land bases, although the presence of a carrier would complicate North Korean targeting problems. More likely, however, South Korea envisions using the ship in a blue water role, contributing to multi-national military and humanitarian operations, and safeguarding ROK interests in the distant abroad.

Whether this spurs additional construction on the part of Japan is an open, interesting question. Notwithstanding the diplomatic irritation that has resurfaced over the past months, Japan does not seem to regard South Korea as a meaningful security threat, or as a competitor for prestige. If happier relations return, the two navies could share lessons learned, and perhaps even act in concert to manage regional security affairs.

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National Interest. 2019-07-23. South Korea Is Getting an Aircraft Carrier (Armed with F-35s?)

The South Korean joint chiefs of staff decided on July 12, 2019 to acquire an assault ship capable of operating fixed-wing aircraft, Defense News reported. The vessel presumably would embark vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighters.

South Korea is getting an aircraft carrier. The vessel could help Seoul’s navy to compete with its main rivals, the Chinese and Japanese fleets.

The South Korean joint chiefs of staff decided on July 12, 2019 to acquire an assault ship capable of operating fixed-wing aircraft, Defense News reported. The vessel presumably would embark vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighters.

Seoul for years has mulled a purchase of F-35Bs to complement the country’s land-based F-35As.

“The plan of building the LPH-II ship has been included in a long-term force buildup plan,” a spokesman for the joint chiefs told Defense News, using an acronym for “landing platform helicopter.”

“Once a preliminary research is completed within a couple of years, the shipbuilding plan is expected to be included in the midterm acquisition list,” the spokesman added.

The new LPH will displace around 30,000 tons of water, roughly twice as much as the South Korean navy’s two LPH-Is displace. The older assault ships embark only helicopters. A 30,000-ton vessel easily could operate a dozen or more F-35Bs plus other aircraft.

Acquiring a carrier represents “a symbolic and meaningful step to upgrade the country’s naval capability against potential threats posed by Japan and China,” Kim Dae-young, an analyst with the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, told Defense News.

The new flattop is part of a wider naval buildup in South Korea. The South Korean government on April 30, 2019 approved plans to acquire new destroyers and submarines for the country’s fast-growing navy.

The $6-billion acquisition include three Aegis destroyers armed with ballistic-missile interceptors and three submarines equipped with their own launchers for land-attack missiles.

The new ships could help Seoul’s navy to expand beyond its current, largely coastal mission. The main threat to South Korea is North Korea, specifically the North’s huge force of artillery that in wartime quickly could demolish Seoul and endanger millions of people.

But looking beyond the North Korean threat, South Korea clearly has ambitions to develop a far-sailing “blue-water” navy.

The South Korean navy in 2019 operates 68 major warships including 16 submarines, 12 destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 corvettes and 14 amphibious warfare ships. The fleet also includes scores of patrol boats, mine-warfare vessels and auxiliaries.

The three new Sejong the Great-class destroyers and three new Dosan An Chang-Ho-class submarines apparently will expand the fleet rather than replace older vessels.

“The new Aegis destroyers will be outfitted with an upgraded missile launch system which will allow them to intercept ballistic missiles,” Yonhap news agency reported. “They will also represent a marked upgrade in detection and tracking abilities.”

The navy currently possesses three of the Sejong the Great-class destroyers that it acquired between 2008 and 2012. The 11,000-ton-displacement destroyers are among the most heavily-armed in the world and boast 128 vertical missile cells for SM-3 air-defense missiles and Hyunmoo-3C cruise missiles.

At present the American-made SM-3 is most effective as a terminal- or boost-phase missile-interceptor, meaning it possess the speed, range and altitude performance to hit enemy ballistic missiles when they’re first launching or in their final seconds of flight.

But the U.S. Missile Defense Agency plans to modify the SM-3 and test it for the most difficult, mid-course-phase intercepts, when an interceptor must climb outside of the atmosphere. Exo-atmospheric interceptions require special sensors and other capabilities.

Among Asian powers, Japan is also equipping its destroyers with SM-3s for missile-defense missions.

South Korea however is unique in fitting its submarines with launchers for ballistic land-attack missiles. The 3,400-ton-displacement Dosan An Chang-Ho-class subs will come with vertical launchers that can fire Chonryong cruise missiles and Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missiles.

The boats’ land-attack capabilities could help Seoul to target Pyongyang’s 13,000 artillery pieces, potentially minimizing the damage that North Korea could inflict on the south.

More than 30 million people including hundreds of thousands of foreigners live within range of North Korea’s artillery. Barrages in the opening hours of a full-scale war could kill or injure 250,000 people, the U.S. Defense Department estimated.

The new submarines during wartime also would hunt North Korea’s own large but aging fleet of subs. Pyongyang operates around 70 undersea vessels, including around 20 Soviet-designed Romeo-class attack boats and scores of midget submarines.

South Korea’s carrier will sail into crowded seas. Japan’s cabinet on Dec. 18, 2018 approved a plan to modify the Japanese navy’s two, 27,000-ton-displacement Izumo-class helicopter carriers to embark F-35B stealth fighters.

The modifications should result in the Japanese fleet operating, for the first time since World War II, flattops with fixed-wing aircraft.

The Chinese navy has two carriers. Another is under construction. Beijing’s fleet could possess as many as six aircraft carriers by the mid-2030s, experts told state media. They could be a mix of conventional and nuclear-powered vessels.

Even the smallest Chinese carrier displaces around 60,000 tons of water, making it twice as big as South Korea’s own, future flattop.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina

Cina. Portaerei in costruzione ed in progetto. Un indicatore strategico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-07-13.

Oceano Indiano 001

Il piano cinese di costruzione di portaerei, ed ovviamente degli aeroplani ad esse connessi, potrebbe essere assunto come indice delle ambizioni strategiche della Cina.

Per una difesa locoregionale del mare Cinese del Nord e di quello del Sud le portaerei potrebbero essere un utile mezzo, ma sicuramente non sarebbero essenziali. La costruzione e l’armamento delle isole artificiali è già un deterrente di tutto rispetto, specie poi da quando vi sono stati impiantati i sistemi S-400.

Lo scenario muta radicalmente qualora la Cina intendesse sorvegliare la sicurezza delle rotte commerciali che si dipanano lungo lo Stretto di Malacca per addentrasi nell’Oceano Indiano alla vola dell’Africa e, in maggior quota, verso il Canale di Suez. Almeno sei portaerei dotate di vere catapulte, ed affiancate ciascuna da una sua propria flotta di appoggio, sarebbero necessarie. Da molti punti di vista, la propulsione tradizionale dovrebbe essere sufficiente.

Ma a regime, quando la Cina vorrà trasformarsi in potenza globale, poter disporre di portaerei a propulsione atonica sarà mandatorio.

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«Carrier 00X or 004 (formerly known as “003”): This designation has been used to refer both to China’s first eventual nuclear powered aircraft carrier»

«Currently there is no confirmation as to what will follow aircraft carrier 003 in the coming years»

«It is widely accepted that the PLAN will be pursuing a nuclear powered carrier which may emerge by the mid to late 2020s, and is sometimes referred to as “004” or as “00X.”»

«Recent rumors have suggested Dalian shipyard is currently undergoing rework or retooling of some sort to enable construction of the eventual nuclear powered aircraft carrier»

«Presumably this ship will be both larger and more capable than 003»

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Con questo grossolano metro di misura, si potrebbe inferire una presenza effettiva della marina militare cinese nell’Oceano Indiano attorno al 2025, e l’assunzione di un ruolo globale una decina di anni dopo


The Diplomat. 2019-06-22. A Mid-2019 Guide to Chinese Aircraft Carriers

In recent months, a number of new developments and interesting pictures and rumors have emerged in relation to the Chinese Navy’s (PLAN’s) aircraft carrier projects. Pictures tracking CV-16 Liaoning over the past year as well as carrier 002 at Dalian shipyard demonstrate both vessels have reached various milestones in recent months. Pictures of carrier 003 being built at Jiangnan shipyard similarly give new insights into its potential final size.

This piece will review these recent developments in context of what has been previously rumored for the PLAN carrier program. Projections of future carrier development and procurement trajectories will also be considered, including the topic of carrier airwings.

Which carrier is which?

It is first necessary to understand which name refers to which carrier. In the past, a number of English language publications have used the names “001A” to refer to the ski jump carrier built in Dalian, and “002” to refer to the catapult equipped carrier currently being built in Jiangnan. Indeed, these names have continued to be used, even among some Chinese state affiliated media.

“001A” and “002” were in use for a number of years prior to 2018 in the Chinese defense watching community as well; however in 2018 this designation system was turned on its head when a photograph of a China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation meeting revealed the designation of “002 aircraft carrier.”

designation system had become obsolete in Chinese military watching circles, and the current series of designations are used instead:

– CV-16 Liaoning (sometimes referred as carrier 001): As China’s first aircraft carrier in service, this vessel was once commonly known as the Varyag. No change in name or designation.

– Carrier 002 (formerly known as “001A,” and is also sometimes referred to as CV-17, and may be named Shandong once commissioned): This ski jump carrier is derived from the CV-16 design, and is China’s first domestically built carrier which was launched from Dalian shipyard in 2017 and has been undergoing sea trials since mid 2018.

– Carrier 003 (formerly known as “002,” and is also sometimes referred to as CV-18): Currently under construction at Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai, this will be China’s second domestically built carrier and China’s first aircraft carrier equipped with catapults.

– Carrier 00X or 004 (formerly known as “003”): This designation has been used to refer both to China’s first eventual nuclear powered aircraft carrier, or a second conventional carrier equipped with catapults.

A range of recent and current news articles, commentaries, and analyses continue to use the older and obsolete “001A/002” naming system, however in the Chinese PLA watching community those designations are not considered up to date or valid.

Carrier 003

For many years now, the ship now known as 003 was rumored as a conventionally powered, catapult equipped aircraft carrier. The full displacement of 003 had been given across a range anywhere between 75,000 tons to 85,000 tons. It has been accepted for a few years now that 003 will very likely use electromagnetic catapults to launch aircraft, forgoing steam catapults. However, it is not yet known what type of conventional propulsion arrangement the vessel will use to facilitate the electric power for its electromagnetic catapults, though some form of steam propulsion has been described in the past.

003 is currently being constructed at Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai. The first pictures of 003’s modules made their way onto the internet in June 2018. Since then, more pictures have emerged showing additional modules emerging and undergoing assembly. Of note, a satellite photo contracted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provided a useful estimate for the beam of one of the hull modules, giving it at ~41 meters, consistent with what would be expected for a carrier of this size, however it was incorrectly named “002” using the older obsolete designation.

The construction of 003 had been rumored to be somewhat unique, whereby the ship’s modules would first be assembled at a staging area into “super blocks” of very large and complete hull sections. Those “super blocks” would then be transported by water to a drydock elsewhere in the shipyard for final assembly of the super blocks and assembly of additional flight deck sponsons and topside modules such as the island. Finally, the ship would be launched from drydock for fitting out.

As of mid 2019, none of the “super blocks” have yet to be transported to a drydock as they are still in assembly. The first “super blocks” may be transported to a drydock in late 2019 or by mid 2020 at the latest. After drydock assembly is complete, 003 is likely to be launched overall in 2021. Assuming it takes two years of fitting out and sea trials, the current estimated commissioning the carrier 003 is the year 2023.

Carrier 002

Construction of aircraft carrier 002 at Dalian shipyard was first photographically confirmed in early 2015. The ship was launched in April 2017, and began sea trials one year later in April 2018. Recent pictures of 002 from May this year have revealed tire marks on the landing strip, indicating that aviation trials with fixed wing aircraft (J-15s) have begun. Carrier 002 is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2019.

002 is a ski jump-equipped carrier derived from the design of CV-16 Liaoning. The ship enjoys various modifications from Liaoning, such as a significantly redesigned island and overall smaller island footprint, as well as redesigned, larger weapons elevators. Similar to Liaoning, 002 is only capable of accommodating ski jump launched J-15 fighters and helicopters at this time. It is unknown if future catapult compatible fighters will be designed to operate from ski jump carriers like 002 and Liaoning.

Carrier 002 can be thought of as another “bridging carrier” toward the PLAN’s ultimate and preferred carrier configuration of fielding large catapult-equipped vessels instead. However the vessel is still very much designed and equipped as a warship commensurate with its size and role, and will likely supplement CV-16 Liaoning in the role of developing aircraft carrier proficiency as well as doubling wartime aircraft carrier availability if a crisis emerged in the near future requiring the use of CV-16 or 002 in anger.

Liaoning

CV-16 Liaoning, also known as the ex-Varyag, is an aircraft carrier purchased from Ukraine when it was half finished and overhauled and refitted into a combat capable vessel. While it is often described as a “training carrier” in commentaries and media (both English and Chinese), it is clear that the vessel itself is fitted with the requisite sensors, weapons and facilities to be a combat capable warship. However, given the PLAN’s relative inexperience in operating aircraft carriers, CV-16 has served a predominantly training role.

CV-16 returned to Dalian shipyard in mid 2018 for maintenance and refit, where the island structure was altered and presumably additional upgrades were made internally. After its refit, Liaoning participated in the PLAN 70th anniversary naval review. And more recently, Liaoning and an escort force including a 901 comprehensive resupply ship passed through the first island chain into the western Pacific, presumably for a training deployment. It will likely be another few years yet until Liaoning will have to return to a shipyard for a major overhaul.

Beyond 003

Currently there is no confirmation as to what will follow aircraft carrier 003 in the coming years. It is widely accepted that the PLAN will be pursuing a nuclear powered carrier which may emerge by the mid to late 2020s, and is sometimes referred to as “004” or as “00X.” Recent rumors have suggested Dalian shipyard is currently undergoing rework or retooling of some sort to enable construction of the eventual nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Presumably this ship will be both larger and more capable than 003.

However, there currently is a lack of any firm indications for carrier plans between 2019 and the mid to late 2020s. One widely circulated rumor suggests that a second conventional, catapult equipped carrier similar or identical to carrier 003 will be constructed, however it is not yet known which shipyard may build this vessel or when construction could conceivably begin. It is possible that Dalian shipyard could build this second conventional catapult carrier, but it has also been rumored that Jiangnan may build this ship without significant pause immediately after work on the current 003.

It is not known whether a second conventional catapult carrier would be described as a “second 003” or as “004.” Taking all of the above into account however, it seems likely that at least one additional conventionally powered catapult equipped carrier will be constructed before work on the PLAN’s first nuclear powered carrier begins. In the longer term, Chinese carrier production will probably settle on a single class or design in the form of a nuclear powered super carrier. Chinese military and government media have stated the need for six carriers in past years, and it is possible this number could be exceeded by the mid 2030s when Chinese nuclear carrier production may be well in its stride.

Finally, a reference must be made to the state of Chinese carrierborne aircraft. At present, only 24 J-15 airframes have been confirmed to be produced for regular service, with a number of prototypes also confirmed to be in existence, including the J-15D electronic warfare variant, as well as a catapult test bed variant. It is not known if additional in service J-15s have also been produced, and it is not yet known if a catapult compatible J-15 variant will be mass produced to serve aboard carrier 003 when it is projected to enter service around 2023.

As written in the past, the 5th generation Chinese carrierborne fighter will be a highly modified variant of the FC-31 fighter. It is currently expected to make its first flight in late 2019 or in early 2020. The aircraft has dubbed with various names including “J-35” and J-XY,” however the final designation is not known. Additionally, it is not known how long the development cycle for this aircraft may take, though some suggestions have placed an in service date by 2025 at the earliest.

A fixed wing airborne early warning and control aircraft called H-600 or KJ-600 is also in late stages of development and is likely to make its first flight within the next couple of years. This aircraft adopts the proven and mature configuration of the E-2 family.

Summary

As of mid 2019, Chinese carrier development has begun to reach a new stage, whereby work on ski jump carriers like CV-16 and 002 will soon end. Soon, all expectations and focus will be on the catapult carriers like 003 and its successors and their related air wings.

Going forwards, it may be wise to re-evaluate and consolidate the designations used for Chinese carriers, so as to avoid identity confusion.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Russia, Stati Uniti, Unione Europea

Turkia. Arrivati i primi Sistemi S-400.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-07-12.

Dardanelli 001

Ebbene, è proprio così!

Mentre gli Occidentali si baloccano con il ‘clima‘, l’abbandono del carbone entro il 2050, tutti presi a congratularsi gli uni con gli altri per le ferme prese di posizioni su problemi quali gli lgbt, i transessuali, le perversioni pedofiliche, se sia o meno congruente con il femminismo l’uso di tacchi 12, e tutti i media liberal si danno un gran da fare a dire tutto il male possibile di Mr Trump, quasi fosse lui il nemico da combattere, gli eventi proseguono il loro decorso.

Quelli’uomo che i liberal odiano perché omofobo, identitario, sovranista, recalcitrante ad assimilare il rule of law che assomma il credo liberal socialista, ha appena ricevuto dalla Russia la prima fornitura di Sistemi S-400, lo stato dell’arte nel settore della difesa aerea contro aeromobili e missili.

Volenti o nolenti però, si apre adesso un severo problema del settore meridionale della Nato, e proprio con la Turkia che ha il controllo dei Dardanelli.

L’Unione Europea è adesso compresa tra le basi russe di Kalinigrad e quelle turke di Murted. Forse, Frau Merkel potrebbe anche mobilitare il proprio esercito di frombolieri armati con le nuove catapulte che tirano massi anche a cinquecento metri. Ferma posizione delle front-hole tedesche: non gliela daremo più.


Turkey to deploy first S-400 to Syrian border

«Turkey plans to deploy the initial battery of S-400 air defence missiles, due to arrive from Russia this week, to Şanlıurfa province along the Syrian border, the Turkish pro-government Milli Gazete newspaper reported

Following detailed field analyses, Turkey’s military decided to deploy the first battery of the Russian missile system to Şanlıurfa’s Birecik district, which is considered the midpoint of Turkey’s 910-km border with Syria, according to Milli Gazete. It is also near the Syrian village of Ashme, which is home to the tomb of Süleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. 

Some analysts see this move from Turkey as aligned with its broader thinking on the S-400 deal. In an analysis for the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, columnist Seth Franzman argued that Turkey’s S-400 purchase was less about defending itself than about Syria. 

“Turkey wants the S-400 not because it needs it to defend its airspace but because it will give it leverage over Russia’s role in Syria,” Franzman wrote. “Russia is willing to concede some issues in northern Syria in return for closer cooperation with Turkey.”»

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Russian S-400 defense systems arrive in Turkey despite US warning

«Turkey’s Defense Ministry says the first shipment of a Russian missile defense system has arrived in Turkey, a development that could move the country closer to U.S. sanctions.

The ministry said the first delivery of the S-400 air defense systems arrived on Friday at an air base near the capital, Ankara ….»

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Si deve prendere atto che adesso gli equilibri militari nel Medio Oriente siano cambiati.

È anche un chiaro messaggio ad Israele ed a quanti abbiano ambizioni egemoniche in tale scacchiere, a partire da Mr Macron, che ha tante parole e ‘buoni principi’ ma nessun missile degno di nota.

Senza forze armate è impossibile fare politica estera.


China Org. 2019-07-12. 1st LD: Russian S-400 defense system delivered in Ankara

ANKARA, July 12 (Xinhua) — The first batch of Russian S-400 air defense systems was delivered in Turkish capital city of Ankara on Friday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Within the purchase contract signed between Turkey and Russia, the first shipment of S-400 arrived at Murted Air Base, formerly called the Akinci Air Base, located in northeastern suburb of Ankara, the ministry said in a written statement.

In December 2017, Ankara and Moscow signed a 2.5-billion-U.S.-dollar agreement for two batteries of the S-400 system, Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. Turkey is the first NATO member country to acquire the system. Enditem