Friday, March 21, 2008

Latest news

Hi, I haven't posted anything new for a while. Part of the reason is that I've been pretty busy these days. And the other part is that there just hasn't been anything news-worthy in the past 2 weeks. I recently found this interview with Chinese military strategist Chen Zhou to be quite interesting.

The most interesting part is probably the stuff on military budget.
SPIEGEL: Many experts believe that the official budget figures are vastly understated. Do they include the costs of military research and of the People's Armed Police and the space program?

Chen: They do include the costs of research, but not for the People's Armed Police. Only the military portion of our space program is paid for under the defense budget.

Of course, the only other area quoted by DoD was military purchase from other countries. And in the recent years, that has been non-existent. So, what we can say is that the only thing the Chinese budget doesn't include is PAP and possibly part of the space program that would be considered military by Western countries, but not military by PLA. Even if we count these parts, can these numbers really be equal to the official budget or be twice as much as the official budget? I would say not. It made sense when China was importing a lot of weapons from the Russians to really inflate the official budget to get the real budget. Back in those days, the budget was much smaller and the purchases were actually much larger, so it shouldn't be surprising that the real budget was much larger than the official budget. However, why does DoD still continue to insist on the 2 to 3 times multiplier even now? It seems like they have not bothered to do further research into how the real budget is related to the official budget recently.

Other than that, we've got some new photos of 051C, 054A and LCAC from the recent times.
First, these are pictures of 051C.

More, with 054As

It's kind of interesting, the last 054A in HD and HP seem to be going final fitting before joining SSF. We've seen some pictures that indicate the next batch of 054A has started and is probably going to be slightly better than the first 4.

Only one photo of LCAC from the new Changxin shipyard and no sign of 052D at this point.

This is kind of interesting, they claim this to be a 091 under modification again. from the slopped sail, we can see that it's either a 091 or 092.

And finally, if you can read this, it's a nice description of the research China has made into pumpjet propulsion.


Jiang said...

Hi, Feng. I would like you to post something about the European Arms Ban. When do you think it will be lifted and what good will it do to the Chinese millitary.

BTW, I really think that our Millitary spending is at least two and half times the actual figurs. Because just consider the size of our economy it is 3.4 trilion. So even if we spend 3.5% that will gives us 120 billion dollars millitary budget. Also you have to know we need a STRONG force fast since Bhindia, Taiwan, Japs, and US are all threating us!!!

Thank you have a nice day. :)

timurelame said...

Indeed China has many enemies and adversaries on her borders.
Even with China spending three times as much on defence as she claims, it is still a pittance compared to the Pentagon budget.

It is doubtful that the Europeans will lift the arms embargo anytime soon, although technology, and knowledge in general, is hard keep under wrepas for long. I suspect China is still getting significant dual-use technologies from Europe and even the US.

Anonymous said...

the question of whether the eu arms embargo will be lifted or not and if so, what benefit china might receive is a canard that crops up from time to time on forums (especially when an eu minister suggests the ban might be lifted). but a more nuanced approach is necessary to understand some of the issues behind the whole subject. for example, it might be assumed that the likes of eads would clamouring at china’s door where the eu ban to be lifted – this is one of the underlying assumptions behind the above question (s). alas, this would be very unlikely – even if the eu were prepared to lift the ban against US protests and much more – there are hard commercial/economic realities that prevent this. for example, eads recently won its biggest breakthrough contract with the usaf for refuelling aircraft in partnership with northrop grumman. the potential dollar value of this contract (including lead-on contracts) could run to $100 billion – assuming boeing’s appeal against the decision is unsuccessful. the us defense market represents far more market opportunity then china could ever present and any eu sales to china threatens these opportunities. china’s civil aviation market is a wholly different matter and we see fierce competition from boeing and airbus for market share – resulting in considerable leverage for china. existing eu aerospnce sales and technology sharing/co-production i.e. eurocopter, are civil and dual-use and very difficult for the us to ‘police’. for example, it is widely accepted that eurocopter and italian companies and even a us company (loral) have been involved in the development of the z10 but definitive proof is a different matter and there doesn’t seem to be the political (influenced by commerce) will on the part of the us to look into this – despite richard fisher’s (jnr) best and determined attempts to highlight these issues to congress over the years.

another factor is the keen awareness of eu companies that china would only ever want relatively small quantities of weapons and technology for the precise purposes of copying that technology. even technology sharing agreements could ultimately threaten these eu companies given china’s track record. this is not to say that no eu defense company would go to china to sell its wares in the event of the embargo being lifted but simply that i would expect a far more cautious approach on their part. it is defense technology that the Chinese military industrial complex desires rather than weapons platforms and the list for that technology is endless……..

…but this is all rather academic given the current political situation between china and the us. china has emerged as a strategic competitor to the us and therefore the complex political/commercial dynamics between the us, the eu and china are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

btw, nice find in der speigel. interesting interview from a pla insider, interesting that he defines crisis management as a major challenge, i would asked him if the pla was part of the problem or part of the solution...e.g. sars, anti-satellite test, etc.

also interesting his thoughts on transparency. i would expect further forward progress from the pla on this. as for your point on quoted budgets - u make a good point linking major arms purchases to the budget but in my view, the military budget is a national security issue and the party are unlikely to be wholly transparent on this, on principle.

Feng said...

i suppose I could, but it's going to take a little research and I don't know if my knowledge of European military is strong enough for this.

dlhh said...

Thought I touch on this subject even though it might not be the right blog!

The recent unrest in Tibet again highlights how pathetic the Beijing govt is in handling crisis & PR.

The latest PR effort on CNN by Wu Jianmin, China Foreign Affairs Univ, a former diplomat to EU countries ends with a statement saying "Do not antagonize 1.3Billion people. Its not in everybody's interest".

Sounds like a speech back to Mao days. Asked why there are so many protestors in so many countries protesting, he could not give an intelligent answer.

China must have known well in advance that Tibetans are generally unhappy about their rights and could have defused it by either talking to Dalai Lama before or after he receives the award from US Congress. It would be a PR Coup without paying any serious consequences.

China could have agreed to autonomy but insisting that PLA troops remain in Tibet for up to 50 or 100 yrs to ensure that it can never declare independence during that time.

Overseas Tibetans can return but they have to agree to signing an agreement that any proof of independence activities means an automatic deportation without any chance of return till the PRC Govt agrees to it.

This would then put the Dalai Lama in a spot to prove he has no indepence agenda. Whether he agrees to it or not, China can then not be blamed for not agreeing to talk to him. If agreed, this gives plenty of time for China to develop. What happens in the future is too far away to tell.

Unfortunately, what I seen so far proves that the present Govt is made up of amatuers when it comes to facing the international press. He seem lost & confused, thinking & talking with one mind like some robot unable to think multi laterally to solve complex issues.

Anonymous said...

A new Chinese plane may be capable of delivering a 350-kiloton nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

There is speculation in US military circles that China's H-8 stealth bomber could be more advanced than the American B-2A.

Although it's supposedly top secret, Chinese semi-official Web sites have been bragging that the Xian H-8 is a stealth carbon-fibre coated strategic heavy bomber.

It is believed the plane can fly 11,000 kilometres without refuelling.

It has a crew of two and travels between Mach 1.2 and 1.4.

Its 18-ton weapons payload and can carry nuclear bombs.

According to the Chinese press, a prototype was successfully tested and witnessed last year and will enter mass production by 2010.

Feng do you bilieve that??????????

Feng said...

I will agree that Chinese gov't are idiots when it comes to handling Western PR. Tibetans have mastered the art.

As for H-8, it's a rumour.

timurelame said...

So-called "H-8" is just internet- brewed fantasy. PLA does not have the technology to build anything close to USAF B-2 for at least another two decades.

timurelame said...

The so-called "H-8" is just internet-brewed fantasy. It does not exist. PLA will not have anything close to USAF B-2 for another two decades.

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