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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

India's View on Chinese Aircraft Carrier

If international relations are driven by perceptions of relative strengths and weaknesses, then power projection matters the most. Power, as understood in modern statecraft, is contingent on a country’s willingness to project its capacity if not its intent. China’s initial testing of its stealth aircraft J20 in January 2011 and the recent showcasing of its aircraft carrier – formerly the Varyag and now Shi Lang – signify its growing military capability.

In late 2008, Chinese officials had stated that aircraft carriers reflected a nation's comprehensive power. Thus, China’s intentions in developing this vital strategic asset are amply clear. For some time now, China has been working towards developing a blue water navy with the strategic vision of “safeguarding territory, development of national economy and overseas interests.” 

Recent developments testify to the fact that China sees the need to project and protect its interest beyond its coastal Exclusive Economic Zone. The first aircraft carrier will be a treated as a learning curve; China will induct indigenous carriers into the PLA navy (PLAN) between 2015 and 2020.

The first part of this commentary focuses on the present status of China’s first carrier and the phases of carrier introduction into the PLA navy. The second part identifies the drivers behind the PLAN’s carrier programme and the influence that a carrier force can provide in various maritime areas.

The Chinese ‘Eugene Ely’ Waits

At 3.16 pm on November 14, 1910, Eugene Ely took off in a 50 HP Curtiss pusher biplane from a temporary flight deck built on the US light cruiser Birmingham and added a new dimension to naval operations. China’s first carrier launch will, similarly, introduce a new dimension to the Chinese navy’s prowess and signal a paradigm change in the strategic philosophy of the Asia Pacific region.

The world is focused on the aircraft carrier Varyag procured by China from the Ukraine and undergoing refurbishment since 2002 at Dalian. The carrier is expected to be named Shi Lang after the Qing dynasty admiral who conquered present-day Taiwan in 1681. This renaming is perhaps clear evidence of China’s intent and its ambition to extend its reach and capabilities in the maritime domain. Reports indicate that the installation of phased array radars and weapon fit would make this carrier a more independent platform compared to its US counterparts which rely on AEGIS-type guided missile ships for protection.

In November 2008 the director of the ministry of national defence, foreign affairs office, Major General Qian Lihua, had stated that: “the question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier.”

The second part of the statement makes the intent amply clear. The answer to the first part is still under a cloud as the exact status of the Shi Lang’s refurbishment and the state of training of the crew are unknown. An aircraft carrier is introduced into a navy in three phases.

First, is the procurement and/or construction. Carriers can be constructed or refurbished in a planned time frame provided that the funds and equipment are readily available.

Second, is the creation of the expertise required to operate a carrier. This training takes time, money and may be lives, especially when a nation with no prior experience attempts it on its own.

Third, is the change in the operating tactics and doctrines. This takes time as the tactics have to be rehearsed and assessed as part of computer-simulated war games before being exercised in the maritime environment and promulgated as a doctrine. The first part is in progress and reports indicate that sea trials are likely to commence this year. 

The second phase, most probably ground training, is also likely to have commenced given that a concrete mock-up of the carrier has been constructed at the Wuhan Naval Research Facilities complete with ski ramp, deck markings, island superstructure and a few aircraft. This can be counted as the first part of the second phase. 

The latter part of the second phase could commence with flight trials at sea. It is possible that the third phase may begin during the final stages of the second phase.

A successful accomplishment of the laid down time lines will enable China to meet its deadline of inducting indigenous carriers by 2020 and thus achieve a multidimensional maritime capability by including airspace in its operating sphere.

Read More on : Youngester

New Chinese J-15's Photos

Source : Chinese Defense Blog

South West Air Command will soon receive MKI's and Aaksh Missiles

  The Indian Air Force's south west air command (SWAC) will have a Su-30MKI squadron permanently based at Jodhpur sometime in the next two years, according to air marshal AK Gogoi, AOC-in-C of SWAC. Speaking here on Wednesday, air marshal Gogoi said the air force was strengthening itself and would be able to deal with any sort of threat especially from Pakistan and China.

Air marshal Gogoi was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, the headquarters of SWAC, his first after assuming command.

Talking about the deployment of the DRDO-developed medium range, surface-to-air, Akash missile, air marshal Gogoi, two squadrons of these missiles were soon be deployed, of which one will be at Pune, which falls under SWAC's command. The other deployment would be at Gwalior.

"Besides this, six more squadrons will be deployed in the region to check any threat from China," he added.

The air marshal also said the IAF was expecting an increase in the number of fighter squadrons after 2012. The force has been facing shortage of aircraft for a considerable period of time.

"The number of aircraft squadrons is going down so some bases do not have the required squadrons. Only after 2012, when we start to increase the number of squadrons, we can expect permanent basing," Gogoi said

Indian Army to Increase Troops along with China Border

India will deploy thousands of additional troops and build airstrips along its remote northeastern border with China, in a sign of persisting wariness between the two countries despite growing business ties.

India and China fought a brief war over their 3,500-kilometre Himalayan border in 1962, and both sides claim the other is occupying big but largely uninhabited chunks of their territory.

Although India and China have signed a treaty to maintain “peace and tranquility” along the disputed frontier and agreed to find a political solution to the row, talks have made little progress.

Last year, the army said Chinese soldiers had crossed the border in Arunachal Pradesh state illegally and entered their territory, urging the government to deploy more troops.

Deployment: “Two army divisions comprising 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers each will be deployed along the border in Arunachal,” said JJ Singh, the governor of the remote state.

“It (deployment) was part of the planned augmentation of our capabilities to defend the country ... The increase in force strength is to meet the future national security challenge,” Singh said in Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh.

Other than troops, India will add more firepower in the disputed zone with light 155mm guns, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to strengthen its defences, officials said. They will also build airstrips close to the border.

The state shares a more than 1,000 km long disputed border with China.

Source : Unknown

IAF Looking for Stand-Off Missiles

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is scouting the global arms market for stand-off missiles for its modern fighter jets to shore up their capability to shoot down enemy aircraft beyond visual range.

Such missiles become very potent when linked with airborne early warning and control systems (AWACS) that provide inputs on enemy missiles and aircraft beyond visual range. The IAF, in its specifications for the missiles, has sought a high-accuracy, precision strike weapon to avoid collateral damage. With a guidance system for both its midcourse and terminal stages after being launched, the missile will be a day-and-night weapon with all-weather operational capability. Stand-off missiles, which are fired from beyond visual range, allow the fighter jets to remain out of the offensive range of the enemy aircraft.

A ground-based training simulator along with multi-media training packages, dummy training missiles, captive training missile pods and storage-cum-maintenance infrastructure also form part of the system the IAF is searching for. The IAF's MiG-29 and Sukhoi SU-30 combat jets already operate Russian-origin R-27 medium-to-long-range missiles and the R-77 medium range missiles. The Defence Research and Development Organisation is also developing an air-to-air missile, Astra, with a 100-km range.

The IAF is looking to procure long-range air-to-air missiles at a time when it is increasing the number of Sukhoi aircraft in its fleet, apart from upgrading the MiG-29s.

Source : Youngster News
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