China military parade 2019 | World Defense

China military parade 2019

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China has celebrated 70 years of Communist party rule and its rise to global superpower status with a military parade showcasing the country’s technology, and a promise from President Xi Jinping that “no force can shake the status of this great nation”.

China’s leadership past and present gathered on a viewing platform over Tiananmen Square on Tuesday to watch the military parade of 15,000 troops and weapons including new hypersonic drones and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
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'Stealth' Drones and More: 6 Crazy New Weapons China Just Displayed
October 1, 2019
Hypersonic missiles, drone submarines and much more.
by Sebastien Roblin

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On October 1, 2019 the People’s Republic of China’s celebrated the seventieth anniversary of its official founding after Mao Zedong consolidated the Chinese Communist Party’s control over mainland China.

For the occasion, Beijing paraded cutting-edge military systems on Tiananmen Square deemed ready to unveil before audiences both domestic and international.

Formerly reliant on reverse-engineered Soviet weapons from the 1950s, China has leveraged forty years of sustained economic growth to not only develop new tanks, jet fighters and aircraft carriers, but has invested heavily in combat drones, stealth technology, and long-range guided missiles.

By-now familiar weapons on display included Wing Loong-II combat drones used extensively in combat in Libya, the Type 15 light tank intended for operations on the Tibetan Plateau, and DF-26 missiles with enough range to strike Guam and guidance systems designed to enable targeting of moving aircraft carriers.

But the parade also showcased several advanced new weapons, including several types which so far have no equivalent in service elsewhere on the planet. Let’s look at six systems in particular that received the red carpet treatment in the recent parade.

DF-17 Hypersonic Missiles:
The long, weirdly flat-looking missiles mounted on trucks are DF-17 ballistic missiles designed to deploy a triangular DF-Z hypersonic glide vehicle. Hypersonic weapons travel five to ten times the speed of sound—that equates to one to two miles per second—but unlike similarly speedy long-range ballistic missiles, do so on a much flatter trajectory which makes them harder to detect and intercepts—leaving enemies with only a few minutes to react.

Moreover, unlike older ballistic missiles, hypersonic glide vehicles are maneuverable, meaning they could potentially evade anti-ballistic missile interceptors like the THAADs and SM-3s used to protect U.S. ships and bases in East Asia.

The DF-17 missile is estimated to have a range of around 1,200 miles and its re-entry vehicle, which can carry both conventional or nuclear warheads, can supposedly be re-targeted mid-flight.

HSU-001 Drone Submarine:
China is also the first country to openly deploy a large-displacement unmanned underwater vehicle (LDUUV)—basically a fully-robotic submarine capable of long-range missions.

Naval warfare theorist expect that unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) will eventually serve alongside manned submarines in undersea warfare. But so far only small, short-range UUVs have seen much use, particularly to recover objects form the sea floor.

Because it’s difficult to maintain a drone command link to an undersea vehicle, a large, long-range UUV (LDUUV) would have to be fully autonomous—that is, capable of carrying out its mission without any human input.

China’s LDUUV design doesn’t appear to have any torpedo tubes and is therefore presumably an underwater surveillance platform. Two sensor masts are visible, as well as likely a large sonar aperture behind its flat nose. The HSU-001 could prove highly useful for long-endurance missions monitoring the movements of U.S. Navy submarines and surface warships—data which could be periodically transmitted back to the mainland via satellite antenna while near the surface.

DR-8 Spy Drone
The DR-8 is a blade-like supersonic spy drone designed to soar over the Pacific ocean at speeds ranging between three and five times the speed of sound using a mysterious propulsion system.

As discussed in this earlier piece by David Axe, the DR-8 appears may have been influenced by the American high-speed D-21 spy drone, several of which were recovered after unsuccessful spy missions.

According to the South China Morning Post, the DR-8 is intended to provide post-strike damage-assessment of attacks by truck-borne DF-21D and DF-26B ‘carrier killing’ missiles, which can theoretically strike moving ships from over one or two thousand miles away from the Chinese mainland.

“Sharp Sword” Stealth Combat Drone
Beijing also revealed its manta-shaped Hongdu GJ-11 Lijian (“Sharp Sword”) stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV). These would not only be difficult to detect with radar but can also carry over two tons of laser-guided bombs or missiles in two internal weapons bays.

One of a half-dozen designs spawned from the AVIC 601-S stealth drone research program, Sharp Sword made its first flight in 2013—making it the first stealth UCAV to have been developed by a non-NATO country, though in 2018 Russia showcased its own stealth UCAV.

A reconnaissance variant of the GJ-11 will reportedly debut in service on Chinese Type 001A aircraft carriers, used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions and gathering targeting data for missile strikes. However, its weapon could allow it to be used for penetrating strikes against heavily defended targets.

H-6N Long-Range Bomber
The PLA Air Force and Navy both operate the H-6 long-range strategic jet bomber, a domestic copy of the Soviet Tu-16 ‘Badger’. Like the U.S. B-52, the H-6 can’t go anywhere near enemy fighters or air-defense missiles but can safely truck along very long-range missiles.

Photos of the new H-6N model reveal two key characteristics. First, it has an in-flight refueling probe which should extend the bomber’s range to 3,700 miles.

Second, the H-6N’s fuselage appears to have a cavity that would allow it to carry a huge air-launched ballistic missile adapted from the ground-launched DF-21 ballistic missile.

While early H-6s carried nuclear gravity bombs, China does not currently maintain any air-deployed nuclear weapons. If H-6Ns are able to carry nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, however, Beijing did not see fit to reveal that in its 2019 parade.

Hunting Eagle Gyrocopters
One of the more bizarre items trucked along in the parade were two-seat Shaanxi Baoji ‘Hunting Eagle’ gyrocopters.

Gyrocopters, or auto-gyros, resemble helicopters, but their top rotors are unpowered. Instead, a horizontal “pusher” engine propels them forward, generating airflow which automatically turns the top rotor for an upwards lift. Gyrocopters are lighter, smaller and cheaper than helicopters and can land in tighter spaces—but they’re also slower, cannot take off vertically and require skill to pilot safely. You can see a Hunting Eagle in flight here.

Why is the PLA showcasing something usually considered a light recreational vehicle? According to Kyle Mizokami at Popular Mechanics, the Hunting Eagle will be used for “search and rescue, border control, reconnaissance, anti-riot, and other roles. It will also be used to self-deploy Chinese special forces on missions into enemy territory.”

A caveat, however, is that the Hunting Eagle, which also comes in a three-seat version, would be constrained by short range.
So China’s gyrocopter-riding commandoes may not constitute a world-ending superweapon, but they are kind of neat.
 

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Why China Is Building Up Its Military Might: Enter the Opium War
October 1, 2019

Key Point: China fears another "century of humiliation."
by Sebastien Roblin

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In 1839, England went to war with China because it was upset that Chinese officials had shut down its drug trafficking racket and confiscated its dope.

Stating the historical record so plainly is shocking — but it’s true, and the consequences of that act are still being felt today.
The Qing Dynasty, founded by Manchurian clans in 1644, expanded China’s borders to their farthest reach, conquering Tibet, Taiwan and the Uighur Empire. However, the Qing then turned inward and isolationist, refusing to accept Western ambassadors because they were unwilling to proclaim the Qing Dynasty as supreme above their own heads of state.
Foreigners — even on trade ships — were prohibited entry into Chinese territory.

The exception to the rule was in Canton, the southeastern region centered on modern-day Guangdong Province, which adjoins Hong Kong and Macao. Foreigners were allowed to trade in the Thirteen Factories district in the city of Guangzhou, with payments made exclusively in silver.
The British gave the East India Company a monopoly on trade with China, and soon ships based in colonial India were vigorously exchanging silver for tea and porcelain. But the British had a limited supply of silver.

Opium War:
Starting in in the mid-1700s, the British began trading opium grown in India in exchange for silver from Chinese merchants. Opium — an addictive drug that today is refined into heroin — was illegal in England, but was used in Chinese traditional medicine.

However, recreational use was illegal and not widespread. That changed as the British began shipping in tons of the drug using a combination of commercial loopholes and outright smuggling to get around the ban.
Chinese officials taking their own cut abetted the practice. American ships carrying Turkish-grown opium joined in the narcotics bonanza in the early 1800s. Consumption of opium in China skyrocketed, as did profits.

The Daoguang Emperor became alarmed by the millions of drug addicts — and the flow of silver leaving China. As is often the case, the actions of a stubborn idealist brought the conflict to a head. In 1839 the newly appointed Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu instituted laws banning opium throughout China.
He arrested 1,700 dealers, and seized the crates of the drug already in Chinese harbors and even on ships at sea. He then had them all destroyed. That amounted to 2.6 million pounds of opium thrown into the ocean. Lin even wrote a poem apologizing to the sea gods for the pollution.

Angry British traders got the British government to promise compensation for the lost drugs, but the treasury couldn’t afford it. War would resolve the debt.
But the first shots were fired when the Chinese objected to the British attacking one of their own merchant ships.

Chinese authorities had indicated they would allow trade to resume in non-opium goods. Lin Zexu even sent a letter to Queen Victoria pointing out that as England had a ban on the opium trade, they were justified in instituting one too.
It never reached her, but eventually did appear in the Sunday Times.

Instead, the Royal Navy established a blockade around Pearl Bay to protest the restriction of free trade … in drugs. Two British ships carrying cotton sought to run the blockade in November 1839. When the Royal Navy fired a warning shot at the second, The Royal Saxon, the Chinese sent a squadron of war junks and fire-rafts to escort the merchant.
HMS Volage’s Captain, unwilling to tolerate the Chinese “intimidation,” fired a broadside at the Chinese ships. HMS Hyacinth joined in. One of the Chinese ships exploded and three more were sunk. Their return fire wounded one British sailor.

Seven months later, a full-scale expeditionary force of 44 British ships launched an invasion of Canton. The British had steam ships, heavy cannon, Congreve rockets and infantry equipped with rifles capable of accurate long range fire. Chinese state troops — “bannermen” — were still equipped with matchlocks accurate only up to 50 yards and a rate of fire of one round per minute.
Antiquated Chinese warships were swiftly destroyed by the Royal Navy. British ships sailed up the Zhujiang and Yangtze rivers, occupying Shanghai along the way and seizing tax-collection barges, strangling the Qing government’s finances. Chinese armies suffered defeat after defeat.

When the Qing sued for peace in 1842, the British could set their own terms. The Treaty of Nanjing stipulated that Hong Kong would become a British territory, and that China would be forced to establish five treaty ports in which British traders could trade anything they wanted with anybody they wanted to. A later treaty forced the Chinese to formally recognize the British as equals and grant their traders favored status.

More War, More Opium:
Imperialism was on the upswing by the mid-1800s. France muscled into the treaty port business as well in 1843. The British soon wanted even more concessions from China — unrestricted trade at any port, embassies in Beijing and an end to bans on selling opium in the Chinese mainland.
One tactic the British used to further their influence was registering the ships of Chinese traders they dealt with as British ships.

The pretext for the second Opium War is comical in its absurdity. In October 1856, Chinese authorities seized a former pirate ship, the Arrow, with a Chinese crew and with an expired British registration. The captain told British authorities that the Chinese police had taken down the flag of a British ship.

The British demanded the Chinese governor release the crew. When only nine of the 14 returned, the British began a bombardment of the Chinese forts around Canton and eventually blasted open the city walls.

British Liberals, under William Gladstone, were upset at the rapid escalation and protested fighting a new war for the sake of the opium trade in parliament. However, they lost seats in an election to the Tories under Lord Palmerston. He secured the support needed to prosecute the war.

China was in no position to fight back, as it was then embroiled in the devastating Taiping Rebellion, a peasant uprising led by a failed civil-service examinee claiming to be the brother of Jesus Christ. The rebels had nearly seized Beijing and still controlled much of the country.

Once again, the Royal Navy demolished its Chinese opponents, sinking 23 junks in the opening engagement near Hong Kong and seizing Guangzhou. Over the next three years, British ships worked their way up the river, capturing several Chinese forts through a combination of naval bombardment and amphibious assault.

France joined in the war — its excuse was the execution of a French missionary who had defied the ban on foreigners in Guangxi province. Even the United States became briefly involved after a Chinese fort took pot shots at long distance at an American ship.

In the Battle of the Pearl River Forts, a U.S. Navy a force of three ships and 287 sailors and marines took four forts by storm, capturing 176 cannons and fighting off a counterattack of 3,000 Chinese infantry. The United States remained officially neutral.

Russia did not join in the fighting, but used the war to pressure China into ceding a large chunk of its northeastern territory, including the present-day city of Vladivostok.

When foreign envoys drew up the next treaty in 1858 the terms, were even more crushing to the Qing Dynasty’s authority. Ten more cities were designated as treaty ports, foreigners would have free access to the Yangtze river and the Chinese mainland, and Beijing would open embassies to England, France and Russia.

The Xianfeng Emperor at first agreed to the treaty, but then changed his mind, sending Mongolian general Sengge Rinchen to man the Taku Forts on the waterway leading to Beijing. The Chinese repelled a British attempt to take the forts by sea in June 1859, sinking four British ships. A year later, an overland assault by 11,000 British and 6,700 French troops succeeded.

When a British diplomatic mission came to insist on adherence to the treaty, the Chinese took the envoy hostage, and tortured many in the delegation to death. The British High Commissioner of Chinese Affairs, Lord Elgar, decided to assert dominance and sent the army into Beijing.
British and French rifles gunned down 10,000 charging Mongolian cavalrymen at the Battle of Eight Mile Bridge, leaving Beijing defenseless. Emperor Xianfeng fled. In order to wound the Emperor’s “pride as well as his feeling” in the words of Lord Elgar, British and French troops looted and destroyed the historic Summer Palace.

The new revised treaty imposed on China legalized both Christianity and opium, and added Tianjin — the major city close to Beijing — to the list of treaty ports. It allowed British ships to transport Chinese indentured laborers to the United States, and fined the Chinese government eight million silver dollars in indemnities.

The Western presence in China became so ubiquitous, and so widely detested, that an anti-Western popular revolt, the Boxer Rebellion, broke out in 1899. The hapless Qing Dynasty, under the stewardship of Dowager Empress Cixi, first tried to clamp down on the violence before throwing its support behind it — just in time for a multi-national military force of U.S., Russian, German, Austrian, Italian, French, Japanese and British troops to arrive and put down the rebellion.

It’s hard to over-emphasize the impact of the Opium Wars on modern China. Domestically, it’s led to the ultimate collapse of the centuries-old Qing Dynasty, and with it more than two millennia of dynastic rule. It convinced China that it had to modernize and industrialize.

Today, the First Opium War is taught in Chinese schools as being the beginning of the “Century of Humiliation” — the end of that “century” coming in 1949 with the reunification of China under Mao. While Americans are routinely assured they are exceptional and the greatest country on Earth by their politicians, Chinese schools teach students that their country was humiliated by greedy and technologically superior Western imperialists.
The Opium Wars made it clear China had fallen gravely behind the West — not just militarily, but economically and politically. Every Chinese government since — even the ill-fated Qing Dynasty, which began the “Self-Strengthening Movement” after the Second Opium War — has made modernization an explicit goal, citing the need to catch up with the West.

The Japanese, observing events in China, instituted the same discourse and modernized more rapidly than China did during the Meiji Restoration.
Mainland Chinese citizens still frequently measure China in comparison to Western countries. Economic and quality of life issues are by far their main concern. But state media also holds military parity as a goal.

I once saw a news program on Chinese public television boasting about China’s new aircraft carrier Liaoning — before comparing it to an American carrier. “They’re saying ours is still a lot smaller,” a high school student pointed out to me. “And we have only one.”
Through most of Chinese history, China’s main threat came from nomadic horse-riding tribes along its long northern border. Even in the Cold War, hostility with the Soviet Union made its Mongolian border a security hot spot. But the Opium Wars — and even worse, the Japanese invasion in 1937 — demonstrated how China was vulnerable to naval power along its Pacific coast.

China’s aggressive naval expansion in the South China Sea can be seen as the acts of a nation that has succumbed repeatedly to naval invasions — and wishes to claims dominance of its side of the Pacific in the 21st century.
The history with opium also has led China to adopt a particularly harsh anti-narcotics policy with the death penalty applicable even to mid-level traffickers. Drug-trafficking and organized crime remain a problem, however. The explosion of celebrity culture in China has also led to punitive crackdowns on those caught partaking in “decadent lifestyles,” leading to prominent campaigns of public shaming.

For example, in 2014 police arrested Jaycee Chan, son of Jackie Chan, for possessing 100 grams of marijuana. His father stated he wouldn’t plead for his son to avoid imprisonment.
Past history does not always determine future actions. Chinese sentiments toward the United Kingdom today are generally positive despite the Opium Wars. The escalating military confrontation over the South China Sea is a reality of our times, but that doesn’t mean China’s leaders will forever be committed to a strategy of expansion and confrontation.

Nonetheless, fostering better relations requires that we understand how China’s current foreign policy has it roots in past encounters with the West.
 

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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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