Tag: China

Irony Much?

In response to aggressive Chinese actions in the Pacific and Indian oceans, Vice Presidence announces, completly unaware of the irony, that, “Empire and aggression have no place in Indo-Pacific.”

Seriously?  There has been nothing but since the East India Company became the furst trans-national firm:

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told leaders of Southeast Asian nations on Thursday that there was no place for “empire and aggression” in the Indo-Pacific region, a comment that could be interpreted as a reference to China’s rise.


The prime minister of Singapore later said that Southeast Asian countries did not want to take sides when pulled in different directions by major powers, but that one day it may have to.

Leaders at the ASEAN meetings this week heard warnings that the post-World War Two international order was in jeopardy and trade tensions between Washington and Beijing could trigger a “domino effect” of protectionist measures by other countries.

“Like you, we seek an Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, can prosper and thrive – secure in our sovereignty, confident in our values, and growing stronger together,” Pence said. “We all agree that empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific.”


As Yves Smith says, “Not the Onion”

Be Evil

Google is planning to censor its search engine in China:

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.

The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app, different versions of which have been named “Maotai” and “Longfei.” The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials.

The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has operated its search engine in the country.

Google’s search service cannot currently be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.

Seriously, Google needs to say, “Screw this,” and buy a white Persian cat.

Wake Me up When You Have a Light Saber

No cooling ports either

China is now claiming that they have developed a high power laser weapon with the weight of an assault rifle:

The ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is classified as being “non-lethal” but produces an energy beam that cannot be seen by the naked eye but can pass through windows and cause the “instant carbonisation” of human skin and tissues.

Ten years ago its capabilities would have been the preserve of sci-fi films, but one laser weapons scientist said the new device is able to “burn through clothes in a split second … If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire”.

“The pain will be beyond endurance,” according to the researcher who had took part in the development and field testing of a prototype at the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi province.

The 15mm calibre weapon weighs three kilos (6.6lb), about the same as an AK-47, and has a range of 800 metres, or half a mile, and could be mounted on cars, boats and planes.


Particularly this bit:

The rifles will be powered by a rechargeable lithium battery pack similar to those found in smartphones. It can fire more than 1,000 “shots”, each lasting no more than two seconds.

Some data points:

  • The power level of the laser has to be on the order of least a kilowatt, and probably more than 10.
  • Energy from the laser ignoring any losses would therefore be at least 2,000,000 joules, and probably 10 times that.
  • The maximum power density of a LiIon battery is currently less than 1 MJ/kg, so the battery pack would need to weigh, again Before Any Losses of at least 2 kilograms, and for a more realistic power level, we would likely be talking 10 times this.  Also note that maximum power and maximum energy in a battery are more or less inversely related, so you at well under the 1 MJ/kg figure.
  • The current limits on laser efficiency, diode lasers, less than 70%. 
  • The efficiency of the battery on discharge is likely to be less than 90%, but lets call it 95%.
  • The losses incurred will mean that you will need an active cooling system, which will consume a significant amount of power.

So, if we run the numbers, the minimum power from the battery is on the order of 2 MJ/70%/95%= 3MJ, which means that the battery pack comprises the complete weight of the weapon.

And also note the cooling requirements here, which will, at best, make a leaf blower quiet in comparison.

I’m calling bullsh%$.

Epic Troll

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth, the Peoples Republic of China sent a statue of Karl Marx to his home town:

With Germany unsure about how to mark 200 years since Karl Marx was born, a giant bronze statue of the philosopher given by China to the town of his birth is adding to the unease.

The small town of Trier near Luxembourg in western Germany eventually decided to accept the 4.5m (15ft) statue created by China’s most famous sculptor – but only after years of wrangling over whether taking it would appear to condone rights abuses in China.

Marx co-wrote the Communist Manifesto, which said that all of human history had been based on class struggle. China’s capitalist government presents his work as central to its way of governing.

But Marx also remains a controversial figure among Germans, many of whom lived under the Soviet Union’s communist government his work inspired.

Somewhere in Beijing, a mid-level bureaucrat is having a laugh at this whole thing.

The Chinese are Copping a Major Attitude

The Chinese built a headquarters building for the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethopia.

It seemed like a generous thing, until they discovered that everything in the building was engineered to spy on its occupants and then phone home.

Seriously China, who do you think you are, the United States?

In 2012, the Chinese government “graciously offered” African States a gift and constructed the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa. The act of soft diplomacy proved to be a rather self-serving maneuver to spy on the activities and discussions being conducted by leaders of the exclusive continental group.

In Addis Ababa, ministers and heads of states meet twice a year to discuss major continental issues. While strict security measures give the impression that that building is closely monitored and secured, an unseen security threat was present from 2012 until 2017. The threat was from none other than those who built the headquarters: the Chinese. An investigation conducted by “Le Monde Afrique” exposed Chinese espionage efforts.

According to the report, for five years, between midnight and 2 a.m., computer servers were reaching a peak in data transfer activity. A computer scientist noticed the oddity of the situation. The organization’s technical staff later discovered that the AU servers were all connected to servers located in Shanghai.

Every night, the secrets of the AU were being stored more than 8,000 km away by what was thought to be a diplomatic ally of Africa.

I am reminded of the adage about social media, “If the product is free, you are the product .

Is This a Supercarrier?

Video courtesy of RT.

China has launched its first indigenously produced aircraft carrier:

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, formally named the Shandong, was launched on Wednesday in the latest display of Beijing’s growing naval power.


The carrier, which had earlier been temporarily named the Type 001A, is China’s second after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the PLA Navy in 2012.

The carrier, 315 metres long and 75 metres wide, has a cruising speed of 31 knots and a displacement of 70,000 tonnes.

It is slightly larger than the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft ­carrier, which was refurbished from the semi-completed Soviet carrier Varyag, which Beijing bought from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998.


Even though its layout is almost the same as the Liaoning, the Shandong features new equipment and a more advanced operational concept, including a bigger hangar to carry more J-15 fighter jets and more space on deck for helicopters and other aircraft.

Type 001A

USS Kennedy and Saratoga

At 70,000 metric tons (Tonnes) displacement, this ship displaces more than Forrestal Class, Kitty Hawk Class, and the John F. Kennedy at normal load, but it lacks catapult gear, which to my mind is a requirement fo be called a “Supercarrier”.

One of the thing that I find interesting is the size of the island.

The superstructure is MUCH larger than those for the now retired) US conventional supercarriers.

My guess is that the air defense suite for the Type 001A is rather more extensive than those of US carriers, and that this additional island space accommodates more types of radars as well as launchers for missiles of a type that are typically carried by the carrier’s escorts in a US carrier group.

The Chinese are very early in the process of learning how to operate a carrier battle group, and so are providing capabilities on their carrier, at the expense of deck space and (possibly) sea keeping, that the US has found to be superfluous.

Here Is an Interesting Historical Tidbit That I Was Unaware Of

It appears that the contemporaneous record shows that the deindustrialization of the United States was a deliberate policy. It’s goal was to create prosperity in China, so as to create a more friendly relationship and move the “Middle Kingdom” to a more democratic and pluralistic society.

One of the things left unsaid here, because it makes the promulgators of such a policy look like blithering idiots, is that many of the foreign policy and defense “experts” favored this because they had not, and still have not, adjusted their thinking about a need for China to counterweight the USSR.

he argues that te destruction of US manufacturing to aid China was a deliberate policy.

I have been puzzling over this from Paul Krugman:

Donald Trump won the electoral college at least in part by promising to bring coal jobs back to Appalachia and manufacturing jobs back to the Rust Belt. Neither promise can be honored – for the most part we’re talking about jobs lost, not to unfair foreign competition, but to technological change. But a funny thing happens when people like me try to point that out: we get enraged responses from economists who feel an affinity for the working people of the afflicted regions – responses that assume that trying to do the numbers must reflect contempt for regional cultures, or something.

Is this the right narrative? I am no longer comfortable with this line:

…for the most part we’re talking about jobs lost, not to unfair foreign competition, but to technological change.

Try to place that line in context with this from Noah Smith:

Then, in the 1990s and 2000s, the U.S opened its markets to Chinese goods, first with Most Favored Nation trading status, and then by supporting China’s accession to the WTO. The resulting competition from cheap Chinese goods contributed to vast inequality in the United States, reversing many of the employment gains of the 1990s and holding down U.S. wages. But this sacrifice on the part of 90% of the American populace enabled China to lift its enormous population out of abject poverty and become a middle-income country.

Was this “fair” trade? I think not. Let me suggest this narrative: Sometime during the Clinton Administration, it was decided that an economically strong China was good for both the globe and the U.S. Fair enough. To enable that outcome, U.S. policy deliberately sacrificed manufacturing workers on the theory that a.) the marginal global benefit from the job gain to a Chinese worker exceeded the marginal global cost from a lost US manufacturing job, b.) the U.S. was shifting toward a service sector economy anyway and needed to reposition its workforce accordingly and c.) the transition costs of shifting workers across sectors in the U.S. were minimal.

As a consequence – and through a succession of administrations – the US tolerated implicit subsidies of Chinese industries, including national industrial policy designed to strip production from the US.

It’s a straight path from these policies to Donald Trump, particularly as Mr. Duy observes, the transition costs were not minimal, they were huge.

Thanks, Bill.

Chinese Appear to Have Very Long Range AAM in Test

On a Chinese Flanker Derivative

The background appears deliberately obscured


Probable flight profile

We are now seeing reports, and pictures of a Chinese Su-27 derivative carrying what appears to be an enormous air to air missile: (Paid Subscription Required)

Last year, the U.S. Air Force was worried about the PL-15, a long-ranging Chinese missile that could reach U.S. fighters too far away to shoot back. Now the appearance of an even farther-flying Chinese weapon must be forcing the air force to wonder about the vulnerability of vital tankers and surveillance aircraft flying behind its fighters.

The latest Chinese weapon is comparable to a long-range surface-to-air missile in size and appearance and so can probably reach well over 200 km (120 mi.). With no aerodynamic surfaces except small tail fins to help turn its hefty bulk, it does not look suited for attacking a fighter that can maneuver sharply to avoid a hit. Instead, it seems far more likely to climb high on a ballistic trajectory and drop onto a big and sluggish target that can hardly do anything to get out of the way, such an airborne-early-warning (AEW) aircraft.

As an aside here, while maneuverability at the far extents of its range is probably limited, at slightly shorter ranges, say 30-50 km less than maximum range, it should still be at a high speed, at which point the control surfaces and body lift should generate significant maneuverability for an intercept.

Note that the aerodynamics appear to be similar to the (much smaller) ASRAAM, which is known to sustain something in excess of 50G.

If that is the mission, then the system is probably a supplement to—perhaps a backup for—the Avic Chengdu J-20, a big fighter that looks designed to penetrate an enemy fighter barrier with stealth and high speed to knock out support aircraft in the rear (AW&ST Nov. 7-20, p. 24). The same job could be attempted with a powerful but nonstealthy aircraft that lobbed weapons over the fighter barrier. Such an aircraft could be an Avic Shenyang J-16, a Chinese Flanker—such as the one in recent photographs revealing the weapon’s existence (see photo).

An anonymous user of a Chinese microblog service published the photos in November. There is always a chance of fakery—analysts have been tricked before by phony Chinese pictures—but the images not only look genuine, they also depict a weapon that makes sense for the Chinese air force. Just clear enough for good estimates of dimensions by reference to the J-16, the pictures were almost certainly released by the air force or, on its behalf, by the missile- or fighter-maker. This is the Chinese military’s idea of a press release.


Assuming equally energetic propellant, equally efficient trajectories and a modern, dual-pulse rocket motor or ramjet, PL-15 should greatly outrange the 3.7-m long, 178-mm thick Raytheon AIM-120 Amraam, prompting Carlisle to call for development of a longer-ranging U.S. weapon. The new Chinese missile seen on the J-16 is about 5.8 m long and 320 mm thick, and therefore about six times bigger than the Amraam.

It’s also a a lot bigger than the last US VLR AAM, the AIM-54 Phoenix:

 AIM-54 Phoenix  Chinese VLRAAM
 Diameter  380 mm (15 in)  320 mm (13 in)
 Length  4 m (13 ft)  5.8 m (19½ ft)
 Wing Span  910mm (36 in)  ~650mm (26 in)
 Weight  450 kg (1000 lb)  ~700 kg (1550 lb)
 Range  200 km (120 mi)  300 km (180 mi) (guess)
 Speed  4700 km/h (3000 mph)  4700 km/h (3000 mph)

I am not sure if the missile would need advanced propulsion to achieve very long ranges.

The missile is likely intended to be launched at high speed and altitude, which means that simply using a slow and long burning motor may get the performance desired, though this would compromise short range (less than 20 km) performance.

The likely profile would have the the J-16 launching the missile in a climb at supersonic speeds at about 15 km.  The missile would them climb to 30-40 km, where air drag is less, and accelerating to around Mach 5.

It would then dive on the target, with an active seeker used for terminal guidance. (See picture)

This could be an effective deterrent, but it would have limited application:  The AIM-54 was used something less than 10 times in actual combat, with an 0% success rate.

I do agree that the primary targets would be tankers and AWACS type aircraft, so the use of some sort of very long range sensors for cuing would need to be a part of its effective deployment.

What is Flat and Glows in the Dark?

The world during Hillary Clinton’s first term.

Here’s a an under-reported bit of war-mongering from one of Hillary’s speeches to the Vampire Squid:

US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has said the US could claim the Pacific Ocean as an “American Sea” if China claims all of the South China Sea, according to excerpts of her speech contained in hacked emails revealed by WikiLeaks.

In a speech the Democratic candidate gave to bankers from Goldman Sachs in October 2013, she said the Chinese “have a right to assert themselves” in the South China Sea but the US needed to “push back” to keep Beijing from getting a “chokehold over world trade”.


In the paid speech to Goldman Sachs, Clinton said she confronted Chinese officials about the South China Sea during her tenure as secretary.

“I said, by that argument, you know, the United States should claim all of the Pacific. We liberated it; we defended it. We have as much claim to all of the Pacific. And we could call it the American Sea, and it could go from the West Coast of California all the way to the Philippines.”

She said in the speech that she had told her Beijing counterparts the Chinese claims to the South China Sea were based on “pottery shards” from “some fishing vessel that ran aground in an atoll somewhere”, whereas the US claim to the Pacific would be based on “convoys of military strength” in the second world war and the claim Americans “discovered Japan”.

She described this line of reasoning as “one of the greatest arguments that I had”.

Clinton said that as the debate became “more technical”, the Chinese said they would claim Hawaii, and that she had countered by saying the US had proof of purchase.




We are so screwed.

China Working on a Conventional Aircraft Carrier

Note the towbar on the front gear

They are already in the process of developing a CATOBAR variant of the Flanker:

China has stepped up development of Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations for its carriers, with the appearance of a Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark carrier-borne fighter with CATOBAR apparatus and continued construction of supporting land-based infrastructure.

In mid-September photos surfaced online of a J-15 with what appears to be a catapult launch bar on its nose wheel. These are used to couple the aircraft to the catapult of the carrier during the launch sequence, and would be the latest indication that China’s rumored third aircraft carrier will utilize the CATOBAR system of aircraft launch and recovery.

It is not clear whether this aircraft is a new-build prototype for the CATOBAR J-15, or one of the six original J-15 prototypes modified with a new nose wheel. Also noteworthy is that this J-15 is powered by the indigenous Shenyang-Liming WS-10 Taihang turbofan. Although already in widespread use with China’s land-based J-11 fighters, the Chinese engine has never gone to sea during trials and operations on China’s current sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning.

This is not a surprise.

While getting the operations right (an aircraft carrier deck is a dangerous place) is a non trivial matter, the basic technology of steam catapult launches is over 60 years old.

As an aside, the Chinese are proceeding on this incrementally, so I would rather expect that their 1st carrier with a catapult to be in the size range somewhere between the Clemenceau (25,000 T) and the Charles de Gaulle (48,000 T) size, much smaller than a typical supercarrier (~100,000 T).

I would expect China to field a CATOBAR carrier as a part of a full carrier group in the next 7-12 ears.