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China’s H-6N Strategic Bomber with Aerial Refuelling Capability Debuts at National day Parade
October 02, 2019

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China’s H-6N strategic bomber boasting of aerial refuelling capabilities participated in the National Day parade for the first time in Beijing on Tuesday.

Aside of the H-6N, H-6K variant also took part at the Tuesday event. An echelon consisting of three H-6N and six H-6K bombers flew over Tian'anmen Squar, Xinhuanet reported.

The bombers are under the command of a division of the aviation forces of the People's Liberation Army's air force that has carried out many major missions, including air-dropping atomic and hydrogen bombs.

The H-6K entered service with the Chinese military in 2009. It is a significant redesign from the original Xian H-6 aircraft (the country’s license-built version of Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine jet bomber) optimized as a carrier for long-range anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. The H-6N is a further outgrowth of this earlier missile carrier version, The Drive writes.

The most notable change between the N and K variants is the complete elimination of the bomb bay on the N and the addition of semi-recessed area with a hard point for a large missile. This is similar in some general respects to the ability of Russia's Tu-22M Backfire bombers can carry a single Kh-22 or Kh-32 anti-ship cruise missile in a semi-recessed mount under its central fuselage.
 

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New High-altitude Reconnaissance Drone Debuts at China’s National Day Parade
02 Oct 2019

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At China’s National Day parade on October 1, the country’s new high-altitude reconnaissance drone, the WZ-8, was unveiled.

It could likely be able to fly at a high-supersonic speed and have stealth capabilities, military analysts said. They added that the new drone has small wings and is shaped like a dagger. It is meant to be launched in the air via a bomber or transport aircraft.

The drone could provide more reliable reconnaissance data than satellites. The biggest advantage of the drone is that it can effectively gather intelligence in real time in a controllable way compared to other platforms like satellites, Wu Jian, editor of Defense Weekly under Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News, was quoted as saying by Global Times.

Explaining his point, Wu said that a satellite can conduct reconnaissance only when it is above the target, rendering it vulnerable to detection by the enemy forces.
“On the other hand, a high-altitude, high-speed reconnaissance drone will not have this problem. It can effectively perform reconnaissance missions and communicate with Chinese forces regarding when to launch a strike,” Wu asserted.
 

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New GJ-11 Stealth Combat Drone with Flying Wing Design takes part in China’s National Day Parade
02 Oct 2019

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GJ-11 stealth attack drone (image: Global Times)

China’s new Gongji-11 (GJ-11) stealth-capable combat drone having a flying wing design similar to United States’ B-2 strategic bomber, was showcased at the National Day parade on Tuesday.

“Judging from the drone's aerodynamic design, the GJ-11 is likely to have outstanding stealth capabilities and flying qualities,” Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, was quoted as saying by Global Times.

Stealth capabilities of the drone could enable it to sneak deep into enemy territory and launch strikes with weapons hidden in its weapons bay on key hostile targets, military analysts were quoted as saying by Chinese state media.

Military observers speculated that the GJ-11 could be the final version of the Sharp Sword (Lijian) stealth drone that made its first test flight in 2013, owing to the similarities between the two drones.

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Sharp Sword drone

“All weapons on display at the parade are in active service,” said Major General Tan Min, Executive Deputy Director of the Military Parade Joint Command Office, at a press conference last week prior to the parade.

Therefore, the drone’s participation in the event indicates its active induction into the Chinese armed forces.
 

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China's 70th Anniversary Parade: Beijing Determined to Become Third Nuclear Superpower
©REUTERS / JASON LEE
03.10.2019

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The 70th Anniversary celebrations of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, held on 1 October, showcased the country’s unprecedented number of technological innovations and new military equipment.

Beijing, on Tuesday, held one of its largest-ever military parades, where the Chinese People's Liberation Army rolled out a formidable array of highly-advanced weaponry unlike any other in the world. The commemorative state event, where strategic weapons systems were put on full display, served as an opportunity for Beijing to demonstrate its firm commitment to defend its interests amid a deepening conflict with the United States, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin says.

Making its debut at the China Day parade was the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile, which is capable of reaching any point in the continental United States in 30 minutes at Mach 25 carrying as many as 10 independently-targetable warheads. Beijing rolled out 16 transporter erector launchers of the new solid-fuelled road-mobile systems.

The missile, with a launch mass of up to 80 tonnes, has been in development since the late 1980s and is a fundamentally new strategic weapon for China. The 16 units on display at the parade represent Beijing's ability to launch 160 warheads; China's total nuclear arsenal was until recently thought to include only 300 warheads.

Let us remember that in the early 2000s, the entire Chinese nuclear arsenal consisted of less than 200 deployed warheads; only 20 of them were deployed on DF-5 missiles, two-stage liquid-propellant ICBMs capable of reaching the continental United States. Even if, in reality, each DF-41 carries a much smaller number of warheads (for example, 4-6, which some consider more likely), the introduction of these weapons of mass destruction by a US rival other than Russia remains impressive and sobering.

Another missile system, the DF-5B liquid-fuelled ICBM, was demonstrated for the second time (after the 2015 parade). It was the first ICBM China launched, and features 4-6 warheads as well as an updated control system.

Everything suggests that China will continue to improve its missiles, possibly equipping them in the future with hypersonic glide warheads. Thus, the DF-41 will be added to the DF-5 family, but will not replace it.

Finally, for the second time after the show at the Zhurihe Training Base, an updated version of the light Chinese ICBM DF-31AG, which is capable of carrying MIRVs loaded with 3 warheads, was also demonstrated. The establishment of brigades featuring such missiles will also lead to the rapid increase in the capabilities of the Chinese nuclear arsenal.

A Xian H-6N jet bomber took part in the airborne parade, featuring advanced electronic equipment and – for the first time in Chinese bomber aviation – an air refuelling boom. This is also directly related to the development of Chinese nuclear forces. It represents the revival of the air element of the Chinese nuclear triad.

Due to its increased flight duration, reliable Russian D-30KP2 turbofan engines and the possibility of aerial refuelling, the H-6N will be able to carry out combat duty in the air for extended periods of. The bomb bay was eliminated, but under the fuselage, there is a missile hook unit for air-launched ballistic missiles now being tested in China, which can also be equipped with nuclear warheads.

Several new systems were demonstrated amid a number of medium-range missiles. First of all, this is a medium-range ballistic missile DF-17, the first missile in the world equipped with a hypersonic manoeuvrable warhead. The United States expects to form the first experimental battery of its medium-range ballistic missiles with hypersonic warheads by 2023. Thus, the Americans are at best lagging four years.

Of particular interest is the new People's Liberation Army Rocket Force’s DF-100 cruise missile. This is, apparently, a medium-range hypersonic cruise missile equipped with a ramjet engine. The USSR and the USA conducted tests on such units (one may recall the Soviet La-350 “Burya” and 3M25 Meteorit-M projects), but they were never put into service. China will be the first country to adopt such a system. There remains a lot of ambiguity regarding the concept of using such a missile, first of all, about the alleged characteristics of its flight. Old Soviet projects involving such weapons were mostly concerned with high-altitude missiles moving towards the target at a speed of Mach 3, but given modern conditions, this approach may not be very effective.

Among the numerous drones presented, in addition to the famous GJ-11 stealth attack drone, of great interest is a mysterious unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The triangular-shaped UAV has no air intakes and is equipped with liquid-propellant rocket engines, which, as it seems, has not been done since the late 1940s. This is probably a vehicle capable of solving problems at extremely high altitudes with rarefied air, but the concept behind its application is much less clear.

Thus, the parade has shown that China is taking a leading position in many areas regarding the development of military equipment. At the same time, the Chinese military and engineers are not afraid to try extremely original, never-used concepts and approaches, demonstrating independence and a willingness to take serious risks.
 

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Putin: Russia is helping China with missile defense system
Oct. 4, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

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Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Thursday that Russia is aiding China in constructing an advanced missile defense system. An element of Russia's S-400 missile defense system is depicted. Photo courtesy of Russian Defense Ministry

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Russia is aiding China in building a missile defense system able to counter ballistic and cruise missiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed.

He added that Russian involvement will give China a measure of protection which only the United States and Russia currently have. China now has only a small, Russian-made S-300 system regarded as a modest deterrent.

"We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile-warning system, a missile-attack warning system," Putin said at the Valdai Club foreign policy conference in Sochi on Thursday. "This is a very serious thing that will dramatically increase China's defense capability, because only the U.S. and Russia have such a system now."

He added that international strategic stability was weakened by the United States' withdrawal in August from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The United States has accused Russia of violating the treaty, and has called for China's inclusion in a new or renewed treaty, an idea rejected by China.

While it is unclear what level of assistance China is receiving in building a new defense system, Russia's S-400 system is believed to be capable of intercepting ballistic missiles with a 2,200-mile range. An S-400 system was sold to Turkey earlier this year.
 

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Images suggest WZ-8 UAV in service with China’s Eastern Theatre Command
Andreas Rupprecht, Mainz
04 October 2019
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When paraded on 1 October the serial numbers of the two Chinese WZ-8 UAVs had been either removed or covered.
Source: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images


Photographs have recently emerged indicating that China's recently paraded WZ-8 high-speed, high-altitude reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been assigned to the People's Liberation Army Air Force's (PLAAF's) 30th Air Regiment, which operates from Luhe-Ma'an air base near Nanjing: the capital of China's eastern Jiangsu Province.

The images, which were published by Chinese state media during rehearsals for the 1 October parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, showed two examples of the triangular-shaped UAV bearing serial numbers 21311 and 21312.

Five-digit serial numbers adhering to the format 21x1x indicate that the platforms bearing them, including some H-6M strategic bombers, are operated by the 10th Bomber Division (30th Air Regiment) within the Eastern Theatre Command, which faces Taiwan and Japan.

For the 1 October parade, however, the serial numbers on these two WZ-8 UAVs were either removed or at least covered.

The WZ-8, which was paraded on flatbed lorries, is powered by two engines but the absence of any air intakes indicates that it is not air breathing. Securing arrangements on top of the fuselage show that it is designed to be carried aloft by a host aircraft, most likely the H-6, and it is fitted with conventional landing gear, as Jane's reported.

The H-6N features a modified section under its fuselage and there had been some speculation that in the fly-past it would carry an air-launched ballistic missile. This was not the case and it may be that the modification is to enable carriage of the WZ-8, although no confirmation of this has emerged.
 

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Bizarre-looking Rotorcraft is China’s Special Ops Stealth Gyroplane
October 8, 2019

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Chinese Special Forces Gyroplane: image via Chinamil.com.cn

A bizarre-looking two-seater rotorcraft showcased in China’s National Day parade last week is actually a special operations reconnaissance/assault gyroplane that can glide in on its unsuspecting target.

The gyroplane was officially revealed today as belonging to a special warfare equipment group formation that marched in the parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1.

Called Lieying, or Falcon the gyrocopter has already been delivered to the Chinese army and air force paratroopers, several state-owned media outlets reported today.

Lieying was developed by Shaanxi Bao He Defense Technology, a company also known as Shaanxi Baoji Special Vehicle Manufacturing. It can carry two commandos, reconnaissance and communications equipment and weapons, Chinese state media reported quoting Ordnance Industry Science Technology, a Xi'an-based periodical.

According to the report, Lieying has a range of 690 kilometers, a ceiling of 5,300 meters, a takeoff weight of 560 kilograms, and can operate in temperatures as low as minus 36 C. Its small dimensions and low-flying ability keep it from being detected easily.

The aircraft can deliver troops deep into hostile locations or conduct stealth reconnaissance missions, the magazine reported, noting that the gyroplane is small and difficult to detect by radar. As it closes in on a target, it can shut down its engine and glide up to the unsuspecting enemy.

The aerial assault gyroplane project was started in August 2014, with Shaanxi Bao He Defense Technology being the developer, the magazine quoted the chairman of the company, Wang Baohe, as saying.
 

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J-16 has the best avionics in Su-27 fighter family: Zhang Zhaozhong

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In a recent talk show, General Zhang Zhaozhong shared some insights about China’s J-16 fighter. And here is a summary of them:

As a deeply improved model of Su-27 fighter, J-16’s avionics represent the highest level among the Su-27 family. The two-seat design effectively guarantees the efficiency of ground attack, while the Su-27’s excellent aerodynamic layout gives J-16 a powerful maneuverability. Finally, J-16 fighter is a completely localized fighter. It is very important that production and service will not be affected by the outside world.

The universal service of multi-role fighters like J-16 is very important for a modern air force. Replacing multiple old models with one model will undoubtedly greatly simplify pilot training, reduce logistics support tasks, and provide more flexible combat capabilities. Compared to strategic bombers, multi-role fighters cannot carry the same amount of bombs, but in terms of cost and flexibility, multi-role fighters far outweigh strategic bombers.

Some people believe that as J-16 fighter does not have stealth capability and thus cannot cope with fifth-generation fighters like F-22 and F-35. Therefore, it should not be used in large numbers. Such view undoubtedly lacks common sense.

Even the US Air Force has a large number of F-15 and F-16 fighters, and F-15’s service time has been extended to 2045. In the next 30 years, the fourth-generation aircrafts will still be an important part of national air forces. And in the Chinese Air Force’s combat system, J-16 will play an extremely important role in the next few decades.
 

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China Unveils Saucer-Shaped Armed Helicopter
October 12, 2019

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Super Great White Shark

A mock-up of a strange, saucer-shaped armed helicopter was displayed at the China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin on October 10.
Dubbed "Super Great White Shark," the aircraft is circular and appears to have a cockpit in the center, with a huge rotary blade surrounding the pilots. The prototype does not have cockpit glass, but the plastic body clearly indicates where it would be.

A crude translation of a placard next to the flying saucer helicopter prototype describes it as an armed helicopter with a composite wing-body designed for the future digital information battlefield, reports The Drive.

According to the information given out in the placard, the aircraft incorporates "excellent" design technologies of AH-64 Apache, CH-53 Sea Stallion, Ka-52 and Mi-26 helicopters. It is unclear exactly how it relates to the named machines- two of them are gunships while the other two are transport helicopters.

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Specifications of Super Great White Shark

The "flying saucer" adopts blended wing body design. A new type of high-speed helicopter with a conceptual design of propeller blades has been applied in helicopter design.

The majority of the top of the main fuselage is open, implying that the center portion is simply a large lift fan. This would fit with the technical specifications on the placard that say it has a "main rotor" that is just over 16 feet in diameter, the report stated.

The Super Great White Shark model has two sets of air intakes and exhausts positioned laterally for what would likely be jet engines providing forward thrust. They might also supply power in some fashion to drive the main lift fan in the vertical takeoff and landing mode.

The signs also provide an infographic on the helicopter’s supposed interior; according to the pictures, the machine is supposed to be piloted by two people sitting next to each other, and is also supposed to be armed with at least two different missile types.

This is not the first machine of its kind. There are long-running rumors of Nazi Germany experimenting with “flying saucer” aircraft design. During the Cold War, the US repeatedly attempted to construct a disc-shaped vertical takeoff aircraft. In the 1950s, Avro Canada worked on behalf of the US military on the so-called Project 1794, which closely resembles the Chinese machine: a single-seat cockpit surrounded by a large turbine. The work culminated in the creation of the Avrocar, in which the turbine was put into center, and pilots sat in separate cockpits on the opposite sides of the vehicle. However, the disc-shaped aircraft was proven too unstable to conduct a flight higher than 1 meter above ground, or faster than 50 km/h, and the concept was eventually abandoned.
 

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This Picture Is the U.S. Military's Worst China Nightmare (Thanks to Russia)
October 15, 2019

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These jets could do some serious damage in a war over Taiwan--and they come from Russia.
by TNI Staff

Key Point: The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E has entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense last year. The advanced Russian-built fourth generation fighter is a significant boost to the PLAAF and could be used to good effect by Beijing in over the South China Sea.

“The Su-35 is a multi-purpose fighter jet capable of air combat and precision strike against land and surface targets,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of China's Ministry of National Defense, said during a April 26, 2018 press conference. “Currently, the aviation troop units of the PLA Air Force have been armed with the Su-35 fighters.”

With the jets now in service, the Su-35 would significantly bolster Chinese forces operating over the South China Sea or the Taiwan Straits. Indeed, Beijing has in recent days been conducting exercises in the region near Taiwan, which it considers to be a breakaway province. “Recently, the PLA Air Force dispatched multiple types of warplanes to carry out real combat training exercises in the airspace over the sea to further enhance the capability of safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wu said. “The island the PLA warplanes patrolled around is, of course, China’s Taiwan Island.”.

Wu promised that China would take action if Taiwan were to attempt to formally declare independence. “The series of actions we have taken are targeting the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and their activities, and are to protect the well-being of the people in Taiwan from being undermined by the ‘Taiwan independence’ conspiracy,” Wu said. “If the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces continue to act recklessly, we will take further actions.”
If push comes to shove, the Su-35 could feature prominently in any Chinese attempt to subdue Taiwan. The Flanker-E is arguably the PLAAF’s most capable fighter apart from the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, which is not likely to fully operational yet even if it has achieved some level of operational capability. Particularly, if the Su-35 is armed with long-range air-to-air missiles such as the very long range PL-15, it could be used to attack American aerial refueling tankers and other support aircraft such the E-3 AWACS that are crucial for conducting air operations over the vastness of the Pacific.

“The PL-15, could enter service during the course of 2018, and has already been cited by senior U.S. Air Force personnel as a significant concern, including remarks by Gen. Hawk Carlisle, then head of U.S. Air Combat Command, in 2015,” IISS military analyst Doug Barrie wrote for War on the Rocks. “The PL-15 may have a maximum range in the order of 200 kilometers and is thought to be fitted with an advanced seeker using an active electronically scanned radar. The maximum range describes how far the missile could reach with an optimized trajectory requiring no maneuvering and with little energy left at the end of the flight. But given that a missile in the class of the PL-15 would often be used to engage a combat aircraft of a similar class, its actual maximum engagement range against a maneuvering target would be considerably less, though likely still in excess of the present Western generation of solid-rocket medium-range missiles. One of the limitations of several of the current generation of beyond-visual- range AAMs is that the probability of a successful engagement is reduced significantly against a maneuvering target. This is because the missile rapidly bleeds off energy as it turns to try to close with the threat aircraft.”

An even more dangerous missile has already been spotted being carried onboard China’s own domestically developed J-16 advanced Flanker derivative, which is in some ways comparable to the Su-35 in capability. However, the Su-35 probably still has an overall edge over the Chinese Flanker knockoff. “An even longer-range AAM is also in the later stages of development,” Barrie wrote. “In late 2016, images appeared on the Internet of a Shenyang J-16 Flanker carrying two large missiles. The missile configuration suggested the design was intended to provide a very-long-range air-to-air capability, at up to around 400 kilometers, and intended to be used against tankers, airborne early warning and control aircraft, and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, at extended engagement ranges.”

Thus, the introduction of the Su-35 significantly boosts Chinese capability and increases the headaches for U.S. forces in the event of a war.
 

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Harbin Z-20 destined for wide number of roles

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The Z-20 made its public debut during 1 October military parade in Beijing
China Daily

The Harbin Z-20 helicopter will be employed for a number of missions across China’s military, according to a report in Beijing’s official China Daily.
The helicopter appeared in the 1 October military parade in Beijing to celebrate 70 years of communist rule in China, and closely resembles the Sikorsky S-70.

One major development, according to an AVIC official, is the type’s fly-by-wire controls.

This is rare on western helicopters, although the developmental Bell 525 Relentless has adopted the technology, as does the considerably bigger CH-53K King Stallion. Sikorsky’s experimental optionally-piloted UH-60A Black Hawk has also been retrofitted for full authority fly-by-wire.

The report quotes Li Linhua of AVIC’s Helicopter Research and Development Institute as saying that the Z-20 also offers a new anti-icing technology, though he gave no details.

The helicopter is also appearing on static display at the China Helicopter Exposition in Beijing.

"Air-enabled deployment of troops and weapons relies on utility helicopters such as the Z-20," the report quotes a retired defence researcher as saying.

"Besides conventional functions, they can also be equipped with weapons to conduct combat tasks. In addition to the Ground Force, the Z-20 will be useful in the PLA Air Force and PLA Navy as it is suitable for many tasks like search and rescue, special warfare and anti-submarine operations. It will be deployed in the military in large scale."
 

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New Missile Silo And DF-41 Launchers Seen In Chinese Nuclear Missile Training Area
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Newly acquired satellite photos acquired from Digital Globe (Maxar) show that the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) is building what appears to be a new type of missile silo in the missile training area near Jilantai, possibly for use by a new ICBM.

The photos also show that 18 road-mobile launchers of the long-awaited DF-41 ICBM were training in the area in April-May 2019 together with launchers for the DF-31AG ICBM, possibly the DF-5B ICBM, the DF-26 IRBM, and the DF-21 MRBM.

Altogether, more than 72 missile launchers can be seen operating together.

China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear weapons arsenal and the Jilantai training area, which has been constructed since 2014, appears to play an important part in that modernization effort.

A New Type of Missile Silo?
The most surprising new development in the training area is the construction of what may be a new type of missile silo. I want to emphasize that there is no official confirmation the structure is a silo, but it strongly resembles one. If so, it is potentially possible it could be part of a Chinese effort to develop the option to deploy some of its new solid-fuel road-mobile ICBMs – possible the DF-41 – in silos. According to the 2019 Pentagon report on Chinese military developments, “China appears to be considering additional DF-41 launch options, including rail-mobile and silo basing.”
Construction of the silo began in June 2018. Initially, a roof was built over it to conceal details, but in May 2019 the roof was removed exposing the silo to satellite photography (see image below).
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PLARF appears to be building a new type of missile silo.

The layout of the Jilantai silo is very different from the silos seen at Wuzhai. Those silos, which are thought to be similar to about 20 operational silos hidden in the mountains of the Henan and Hunan provinces for use by the liquid-fuel DF-5A/B ICBMs, consist of a rectangular retractable lid covering the silo on a concrete pad. And they have large exhaust vents to protect the DF-5’s liquid fuel from the launch heat.

Instead, the Jilantai silo looks more like Russian ICBM silos. It is not yet complete but so far consists of what appears to be a 180-meter line-up path and a 30-meter missile loader pad next to the silo. The precise silo diameter is difficult to measure given the image resolution but appears to be 5-6 meters, which is smaller than the 8-9 meter diameter silos at Wuzhai. Moreover, the absence of exhaust vents hints the Jilantai silo might be intended for solid-fuel missiles.

The new silo design would offer a more efficient (and safe) missile loading. At the DF-5 silos, missiles are loaded by a crane, which hoists each stage off its transporter and lowers it into the silo. It is a cumbersome and lengthy procedure. Moreover, the DF-5 is propelled by liquid fuel that is stored separately and must be loaded before the missile can be launched. With the Jilantai silo design, however, the solid-fuel missile presumably would be brought in on a loader that backs up to the edge of the silo, elevates the missile, and lowers it into the silo in one piece (warhead payload is probably added later).

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China’s new missile silo resembles Russian ICBM silos (click image to view full size)


If the structure seen at Jilantai indeed is a new silo, it presumably would only be used for training. If the design is successful, it would likely be followed in the future by the construction of similar silos in China’s ICBM basing areas for use by operational missiles.

Extensive Missile Training
The Jilantai missile training area, which has been constructed since 2014 and is located in the south-western part of the Inner Mongolia province approximately 930 kilometers (578 miles) west of Beijing, has undergone significant changes since I described it in January. The central technical facilities continue to expand, TEL drive-through facilities are being added, and road-mobile launchers for China’s newest nuclear-capable ballistic missiles are seen more or less constantly training in the area.

This includes the new DF-41 ICBM that may be in the final phase before starting to deploy to operational PLARF brigades. The new DF-31AG ICBM is also training at Jilantai, as is the new DF-26 IRBM and the DF-21 MRBM (see image below).

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Five types of ballistic missile can be seen operating in PLARF’s training area near Jilantai.

All these systems are solid-fuel missiles on road-mobile launchers. But it is also possible – although at this point unconfirmed – that missile systems seen training at Jilantai include transporters for the silo-based DF-5B ICBM. This is a large silo-based missile that would not be able to launch from mobile launchers, but the images show unique two-part, truck-pulled trailers that resemble the DF-5B transports that were displayed at the Beijing parade in 2015 (see image below).
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Vehicles operating at PLARF’s training center near Jilantai resemble DF-5B transporters shown in 2015 parade

It must be underscored that there is no confirmation the trailers are for the DF-5B. In one photo some of the trailers are longer and it is unclear why DF-5B transporters would be training at Jilantai given there are no DF-5B silos in the area. If the towed trailers are not DF-5Bs, they could potentially be transporters of reload missile for the road-mobile launchers seen on the satellite photos.

The DF-41 ICBM
The satellite images indicate that the DF-41 TELs started training at Jilantai in April 2019 shortly after a new TEL drive-through highbay facility was completed (a second is under construction further to the north). There appear to be 18 DF-41 launchers. In one photo from April 17, 2019, for example, a column of 15 DF-41s can be seen making its way from the new drive-through facility (two additional DF-41s can still be seen at the facility and the 18th is probably still inside) to a parade strip to join an assembly of 18 DF-31AGs, 18 DF-26s, and 5 (possibly) DF-5B transporters.

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Eighteen DF-41 TELs were operating at PLARF’s training site in April this year.

The DF-41 has been in development for a very long time. The Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military developments first mentioned the missile in 1997 and sensational news articles have claimed it has been operational for years. The DF-41 was widely expected to be displayed at the 2015 military parade in Beijing, but that didn’t happen. Nor was it displayed at the PLA’s anniversary parade in 2017.

The DF-41 training at Jilantai with the other launchers is probably part of the formal integration of the new missile into PLAFRF service, more than two decades after development began. It seems likely that the DF-41 will appear at the military parade in Beijing on October 1st. Indeed, two months after the training occurred at Jilantai, 18 DF-41 launchers (potentially the same 18) could be seen on a satellite photo of a military facility in Yangfang about 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of Beijing apparently getting ready for the October parade. The image first made its way onto the Internet on August 9th, when it was posted by the Twitter user @Oedosoldier. The image carried the user’s logo but it was a screenshot from a Digital Globe image on TerraServer dated July 4, 2019.

Chinese Nuclear Missile Outlook
The highly visible display and clustering of more than 72 missile launchers at Jilantai in April and May indicate the PLARF wants them to be seen and is keenly aware that satellites are watching overhead. This is Beijing’s way of telling the world that it has a capable and survivable nuclear deterrent.
Once they become operational, the 18 DF-41s seen on the satellite photos will probably form two or three brigades and join the existing force of 65-90 DF-5A/B, DF-31/A/AG, and DF-4 ICBMs.

Despite the visible display, there is considerable uncertainty about the future development of the Chinese nuclear arsenal, not least how many missiles China plans to deploy. It seems possible the DF-41 over time might replace one or more of the older ICBMs. It is potentially also possible that the DF-31AG will replace the older DF-31/A trailer launchers (the DF-31 is notably absent from the Jilantai images). And the old DF-4 seems likely to be retired in the near future.

The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) stated in May this year that, “Over the next decade, China is likely to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile…” Part of that projection hinges on the DF-41 adding MIRV capability to the solid-fuel road-mobile missiles for the first time (the DF-5B is already equipped with MIRV).

Whether DIA’s projection comes true remains to be seen; the agency has been notoriously bad about Chinese nuclear warhead projections in the past. At this point, the Chinese arsenal is estimated to include roughly 290 warheads, a fraction of the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. To put things in perspective, all the launchers seen on the satellite photos make up less than half of the number of launchers in one of the three US ICBM wings.
Nonetheless, China is modernizing and increasing its nuclear arsenal. And the activities captured by commercial satellites at the PLARF’s training area west of Jilantai – operations of new DF-41 and DF-31AG ICBMs, the new dual-capable DF-26 IRBM, and the construction of what might be a new type of missile silo – are visual reminders of the important developments currently underway in China’s nuclear posture.
 

Khafee

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Former PLAN frigates almost ready for handover to Bangladesh Navy
Andrew Tate, London
16 October 2019
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One of the two ex-PLAN Jiangwei II-class frigates that appear close to being transferred to the BN. The ship shown here, formerly known as Lianyungang, has been undergoing overhaul at the Shenjia shipyard in Shanghai. Source: Via haohanfw.com


Two Type 053H3 (Jiangwei II)-class frigates decommissioned by China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) appear close to being transferred to the Bangladesh Navy (BN), judging from photographs that have appeared in Chinese online forums.

The 2,200-ton diesel-powered ships, formerly Lianyungang (pennant number 522) and Putian (pennant number 523), have been undergoing overhaul at the Shenjia shipyard in Shanghai and at facilities close to the East Sea fleet's primary base at Zhoushan, respectively. Pennant numbers F 16 and F 19 have been painted on the hulls of the ships, which are likely to be renamed BNS Umar Farooq and BNS Khalid Bin Walid once in BN service.

The date for the handover of the ships to the BN as well as their departure from China has yet to be announced.

No obvious modifications have been made to the ships in preparation for the handover. In PLAN service their primary armament consisted of a twin 100 mm gun, eight YJ-83 anti-ship missiles fired from slant-mounted containerised launchers, an octuple launcher for HHQ-7 short-range surface-to-air missiles, and four twin 37 mm gun mountings. None of these have been removed, although the YJ-83 and HHQ-7 systems may have been modified in line with the C-802A and FM-90N export versions, particularly with regard to the missiles supplied.

The BN currently operates four frigates; an elderly Type 053H1 (Jianghu II)-class ship acquired from China in 1989, a modified Ulsan-class platform procured from South Korea in 2001, and two former PLAN Type 053H2 (Jianghu III)-class vessels transferred from China in 2014. It also operates two larger, 3,250-ton former US Coastguard Hamilton-class cutters, each armed with a 76 mm Oto Melara gun, acquired in 2013 and 2015.
 

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