Saturday, January 24, 2009


By Jeff Head - Last Update: Jan 17, 2009
n 2008 the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has continued to concentrate on integrating its new surface combatants into its various fleets, while continuing to introduce new combatants it did in 2007 In particularly, the PLAN has added more of the new nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines, punctuating the PLAN's continued advance and improvement of its nuclear submarine capability, while continuing to build and add more new diesel electric submarines. In addition, the PLAN has restarted its new guided-missile frigate production and is continuing serial production of the very capable Type 054A frigates. The new Type 071 Landing Platform Dock has completed significant trials and integration and had its pennant number added. More of these modern amphibious assault vessels are expected.

In late 2008, the People's Republic of China officially statetd its intention to build two large, fixed-wing, aircraft carriers during the twenty teens. They will probably be built at the very large and new, Changxing shipyards near Shanghai. This is fueling speculation that the Varyag, continuing to be refitted in the PLAN's Dalian shipyards, will be launched as a trsinging aircraft in the near future.

At the very end of the year, in late December 2008, all of the PLAN planning, logistics, development, and strategy were put to use for when a PLAN task force consisting of two of the People Republic's newest and most capable guided missile destroyers and one of the newer replenishment vessels, was deployed into the Indian Ocean to combat Somali pirates that had confronted and attacked a number of Chinese (and many other nations') commercial shipping in the area. It is the first combat deployment of Chinese Navy vessels outside of its own coastal waters in the China Seas in modern times and will give the PLAN more experience in such foregin, blue water deployments. The current task force is schedule to be rotated with another task force consisting of the same class vessels every three months.

Friday, January 9, 2009

China at Sea :

PS arms race going on for two decades!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments by China's national defense spokesman last month make it about as official as it's going to get: China's navy is in the market for an aircraft carrier. This is a sign that Beijing sees its ultimate prize within grasp: emergence as East Asia's preeminent great power. So should the region, and the protector of its stability for the last half century, the United States, be worried?

[Commentary] AP

Carrier home, boys: Two destroyers and a supply ship from China's Navy fleet prepare to embark from Hainan province on antipiracy duty near Somalia, Dec. 26, 2008.

First things first: China is not about to knock America off its perch as the world's sole superpower. Developing the capacity to deploy aircraft carriers is a feat of incredible complexity. China's carrier project will take at least a decade to realize, and it will require billions of dollars and a great deal of the country's military design capacity. Even the Soviet Union found it difficult to master carrier operation, as China knows full well -- since 1998 it has bought the hulks of three Soviet carriers to study them. Just forming the flotilla to protect one carrier would require most of the modern ships currently in China's fleet.

Yet there's every reason to believe China will achieve its goal eventually and deploy multiple carriers. It will likely start by using aircraft bought from Russia but go on to develop its own weapons systems. China will end up with a much smaller ship than the American super-carriers, with weapons about a generation behind. But this will still put it far ahead of its neighbors -- no East Asian country currently has carrier capacity.

So the balance of power in Asia is going to shift dramatically in the decade ahead, and nowhere will the effects be more evident than in the South China Sea. Beijing is already constructing a major naval base on its southern island of Hainan. The naval buildup would give Beijing a freer hand to enforce its claims to South China Sea islands -- claims that are disputed by five other countries. The waters through which much of the world's trade now flows, from the Malacca Strait to Taiwan, would effectively become a Chinese lake.

The timing of the move, too, is significant. China hesitated for years before declaring its intent to develop carrier capability because of the potential reaction of its neighbors. A Chinese aircraft carrier prowling the neighborhood could be the final straw that causes Southeast Asian nations to band together to protect their claims, or strengthen ties with the U.S. In particular, Vietnam has periodically hinted that it might put aside the past and form an alliance with Washington. By building up its military capability, China runs the risk of finding itself worse-off strategically.

But Beijing may feel it's now strong enough to fend off such moves. The underpinning of military power is economic strength. With the U.S. facing a major economic downturn, some in Beijing are looking forward to the decline of America's presence in the region, and they know that the leaders in other Asian capitals are making the same calculations. Now is an opportune time to push those leaders into accepting China's role as future regional hegemon, and test a new U.S. administration. If the U.S. were to relinquish its role, Southeast Asia might not be able to balance against China's might.

Already the doubts about the U.S. are inflicting a cost. Naval spending in Asia is surging, a development that could increase tensions along many other fault lines. The biggest question mark is how Japan, the only nation in the region that has the means and the motive to stand up to China, will react. Tokyo has long been preoccupied with securing the sea lanes through which its supply of oil passes. Should Japan feel the need to embark on a major rearmament program, it could touch off a regional arms race.

These are worst case scenarios. There is another possibility, however: that China's ambitious plan might be a positive development. In the past, the People's Liberation Army has emphasized asymmetrical warfare, apparently believing it could find inexpensive and innovative ways to counteract American might. If it is now moving toward a more conventional road of military modernization, pitting like against like, that is less likely to cause the miscalculations that lead to war, because China is less likely to be seduced by ideas that it can neutralize U.S. superiority with asymmetry.

The carrier plan also signals a shift away from devoting the bulk of the PLA's modernization drive to the goal of capturing of Taiwan. Beijing primarily needs more submarines and missiles to keep the U.S. out of the area and intimidate Taiwan into submission. A carrier would be little help in most such scenarios, since the island is already within easy range of land-based aircraft, and a carrier would be a tempting target for Taiwanese and U.S. forces.

A Chinese carrier could also participate in the kinds of goodwill missions that the U.S. has used to such positive effect. Since no other East Asian power possesses a carrier, China's new ship would be a status symbol, useful for showing the flag and enhancing national prestige. A carrier would also enable China to better contribute to peacekeeping and disaster-relief missions, as the U.S. showed after the tsunami four years ago.

The U.S. is watching these trends, and has reacted by redeploying state-of-the-art ships and aircraft to the western Pacific from elsewhere in the world, and building up facilities on Guam. But it needs to do more to persuade Asians that it intends to remain engaged in the region. Beijing has to get the message that trying to intimidate its neighbors will be self-defeating.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Spotlight On PLA Navy's New LPD and LHD

By Prasun K. Sengupta
China's PLA Navy (PLAN) on July 6 commissioned its first of six Type 071 Landing Platform Docks (LPD) that will be used for both tri-services operational logistics as well as civilian disaster relief operations. The vessel, with pennant number 998, is now operational with the Navy's South Sea Fleet and has on board four Z-8K heavylift helicopters. The state-owned China State Shipbuilding & Trading Corp (CSTC), a subsidiary of the China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), had on December 21, 2006 launched the first LPD at its Shanghai-based Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding facility and this vessel early last September began her sea trials. A modified variant of the Type 071 LPD is also being offered for export to Malaysia by CSTC, which is leading a formidable consortium of Chinese companies that will include China North Industries Corp (NORINCO), China Electronics Trading Corp International (CETC), and guided-missile manufacturer China National Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp (CPMIEC) in its bid to win the Malaysian contract. The Royal Malaysian Navy has projected a requirement for at least two such LPDs, which it calls the multi-role support ship (MRSS).

The Type 071 LPD has an overall length of 150 metres, waterline length of 140 metres, moulded beamwidth of 30 metres, waterline breadth of 24.5 metres, moulded depth of 20 metres, draught of 5.9 metres, full displacement of 14,000 tonnes, cruising speeds of up to 20 Knots, range of 6,000nm at 18 Knots, endurance of 60 days, a crew complement comprising 30 officers and 145 other ranks, a stern-mounted helicopter deck housing four heavylift helicopters, a 4-metre wide 308-lane metre internal vehicle garage, a deck-mounted flight deck measuring 50 metres by 30 metres, 450 square-metre internal hospital deck, a twin-door cantilever hangar measuring 18.5 metres by 23 metres by 8 metres, and a dry dock measuring 40.4 metres by 15.4 metres by 8 metres. The LPD thus incorporates the features of a troop transport ship, amphibious assault support ship, logistics support ship for submarine escape-and-rescue operations, aviation support ship, field hospital ship (with a surgical unit operating for a minimum of 30 days), and a combined forces command-and-control vessel leading a power projection-oriented naval task force. The vessel is also capable of transporting 800 fully equipped troops along with related tracked/wheeled vehicles, six medium-lift assault hovercraft in times of conflict for a period of 14 days, and will also be able to replenish at sea. Alternatively, the vessel will be able to carry 400 troops, a 50-tonne main battle tank, one hovercraft, four LCMs, four LCVPs, and up to four heavylift helicopters. For export customers, CSTC plans to finish construction of the first Type 071 LPD within 45 months of contract signature. CSTC will take three months to complete initial design work, followed by six months of technical design activity, eight months for construction design, seven months for construction preparation, 12 months for hull construction and installation of machinery, a one-month period for launching the vessel, five months for vessel outfitting alongside in the shipyard, two months of harbour and sea trials, and less than a month for finalising the delivery process.

The Type 071 LPD's hull and superstructure are reformed--the hull has flaring sides, while the superstructure has a 10º inclination for the sidewalls and a 15º for the frontal and aft walls. To eliminate cavity reflection, large openings are avoided and the observation windows at the bridge and the aviation command-and-control centre use shielded glass. Helicopters from the cantilever hangars will be transferred into and out of the hangar via an integrated helicopter handling system, with the hangers being able to cater for at least 21 days of continuous helicopter operations. The vessel's maximum persistent pitch and roll are 5º and 15º, respectively. When running at 18 Knots cruising speed with a pair of anti-rolling fins in operation, the residual roll angle at 5-6 sea states will not exceed 4º. The on-board equipment is able to withstand the 45º rolling for 8~10-second periods and persistent ±15º list. The LPD's integrated CODAD propulsion, controlled by an automated propulsion control system, comprises four MTU 20V956TB92 diesel engines each rated at 8,840hp (6.5mW). The engines have single-step vibration isolators, while the generators have double-step vibration dampers. The twin reduction gearboxes with associate clutches and coupling are rigidly mounted and drive twin low-cavitation controllable pitch noise propellers. Twin thrusters are installed at the bow to satisfy the manoeuvrability requirements, while two streamlined and balance spade rudders are fitted to maintain a stable position with respect to 20 Knots wind speed and 3 Knots underwater current. The crew accommodation area is divided into five classes, i.e. Captain, executive officers, engineering officers, department officers, first sergeant and seamen.

Two separate air-conditioning systems independent of one another are installed, with one as a standby unit. Each such system is capable of completely cooling the vessel continuously between 18° and 23° Celsius and 55% relative humidity at maximum ship load (with all machinery and equipment running). The humidity and temperature of the specialised compartments are regulated independently. The vessel's twin fresh water generators are each capable of generating up to 50 tonnes of fresh water per day, with additional fresh water storage being provided for the at-sea replenishment of other ships at a rate of 100 tonnes a day. An integral pumping system comprises pumps at the bilge bay, plus others in the ballast tanks along with fire pumps, with cross-connection and isolation modes of operation being incorporated. For removing oily bilge water from machinery compartments, a bilge water de-oiler compatible with IMO regulations has been installed. The vessel has adopted a three-phase and three-line AC basic power supply system. The main power generating diesel engines are located in the engine and auxiliary propulsion rooms, which are in two separate compartments for damage control reason. All generators feed one switchboard of the dead-front type and are totally enclosed. An integrated switchboard to control all converted power supplies for communications and navigation equipment is fitted.

The on-board weapon systems suite includes four six-barrel 30mm CIWS (with a maximum rate of fire of 5,800 rounds/minute) aft of the funnels and above the helicopter deck facing portside and starboard, and one AK-176 main gun. The vessel's bridge is equipped with an integrated platform management system while the combat information centre (CIC), supplied by the state-owned China Electronics Trading Corp International (CETC), is located behind the bridge in a hardened citadel and is configured to also function as a joint operations command-and-control station, deck and aviation control centre, and a vehicles and troop movements control centre. The bridge also hosts consoles for a low probability of intercept (LPI) marine navigation radar with slave and master display modes, an ECDIS electronic chart display system conforming to IHO S57 standard and operating with CM93 electronic charts, a wind and speed direction instrument with digital display on the bridge, CIC and helicopter hangar. Two ring-laser gyrocompasses with transmission units give azimuth output to various navigational systems, including those for air operations. An electromagnetic log sensor fitted to the hull provides digital speed and distance readings for navigation. A log repeater is housed on the bridge, as is an echo sounder with metric scales with an external digital display, magnetic compass forward and aft of the steering position, an emergency conning station, a differential GPS with a printer, and a single switch to interrupt the supply of all non-essential external lighting in darkened ship's state. The LPD's integrated communications system-comprising HF/VHF/UHF transceivers and SATCOMS-provides for broadband, secure ship-shore, ship-to-ship, ship-to-air and ship-to-submarine communications via voice, image and data through internet, intranet and telephone networks where applicable. An underwater telephone (in accordance with STANAG 1074) has also been installed.

In late 2006, the PLAN's HQ finalised the indigenous design of the Type 081 LHD following conclusion of the third critical design review. Subsequently, the Dalian-based and Wuhan-based shipyards of the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC) were awarded contracts to undertake detailed engineering drawings using TRIBON design software for various bulkheads and compartments of the LHD. Present plans call for Dalian Shipyard to build three LHDs and Wuhan Shipyard to build another three. Smaller work packages will be executed by the state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corp's (CSSC) Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group Co Ltd and Jiangnan Shipyard, whose shipbuilding yards are located on both sides of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. On-board sensors and systems identical to those on board the Type 071 LPD will be installed on board the Type 081 LHD, with the principal differences being the top-deck superstructure that will house the island (incorporating the bridge and CIC) as well as a flat-top deck capable of housing eight heavylift helicopters, twin elevators, one Type 730 CIWS, and an internal hangar housing four additional helicopters, a maintenance bay and an armaments stowage area.

The PLAN's Shanghai Research Institute has been spearheading its plans for acquiring a fleet of 64,000-tonne aircraft carriers, LPDs, and helicopter landing decks (LHD) for the past 25 years. In the early 1980s, water-tunnel scale-models of such vessels were constructed and tested in the Institute's 600-metre (656-yard) pool and at Tai Lake in Jiangsu Province. In 1985 the PLAN began a training course for future aircraft carrier/LPD/LHD commanders at its Guangzhou Naval Academy. In January 1993, the PLAN decided to firm up plans for acquiring a 64,000-tonne displacement aircraft carrier under the 9935 Shipbuilding Programme. In parallel, work began on expanding and upgrading the PLAN's naval bases and harbours in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Yulin and Dalian. In 1995-1996 two European countries-France and Spain--approached China for industrial cooperation in LPD/LHD technologies. In February 1995 the Spanish shipbuilder Empresa Nacional Bazan (now Navantia) offered to build for the PLAN a low-cost, lightweight conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) aircraft carrier-cum-LHD. Navantia proposed two designs: the 23,000-tonne SAC-200 (overall length 728 feet, or 221.8 metres) LPD; and the 25,000-tonne SAC-220 (overall length 787 feet, or 240 metres) LHD. The cost of building either of the two vessels would be US$400 million. The SAC-220 could accommodate up to 21 CTOL combat aircraft or medium-lift helicopters. According to Navantia, the first carrier could be delivered within five years, with the second 42 months later. At the time, Navantia was constructing the 11,500-tonne aircraft carrier 'Chakri Naruebet' for the Royal Thai Navy and was eager to secure further orders in East Asia. China expressed an interest in the proposal, and initial talks between the COSTIND and Navantia were held in January 1996. However, according to Navantia officials, COSTIND officials seemed more interested in obtaining the blueprints of the aircraft carrier than in ordering the actual vessel off-the-shelf. In November 1997, however, Beijing had shelved plans to build fixed-wing aircraft carriers in favour of smaller LHDs and LPDs. In 1999 the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee and the State Council had earmarked Yuan250 million for the design and construction of one LHD and one LPD.

China or the introduction of Yak -141 VTOL aircraft equipped with an aircraft carrier (Figure) ???

Type 081 LHD
Chinese sources at IMDEX confirmed that China is developing a new amphibious assault ship, a Landing Helicopter Dock, or “LHD.” However, when such ships may be built is not known. This ship had previously been identified as the Type 081, described by Asian sources as displacing about 20,000 tons. While Chinese officials as IMDEX would not disclose details about the Type 081, they did note that “we have the capability right now to build that ship.” There is no information that China is now building the Type 081, though a report in Force magazine has noted that China intends to build six of the 20,000 ton Type 071 LPD—the first of which was launched in December 2006—and then three of the Type 081 LHD. Asian sources speculate that the PLA will build two to as many as eight Type 071s. The Type 071 is designed to carry a reinforced battalion of troops, or about 500 to 800 troops and 50 or so vehicles. While the Type 071 is intended to carry four to six Z-9 size helicopters, the flat-deck Type 081 will carry more. It is likely that the Type 081 may carry 500 or so troops plus equipment but may devote more space to helicopter hanger deck. The PLA is known to have been seeking foreign LHD design data since the late 1990s though little is known of the ultimate configuration intended for the Type 081.

Asian sources estimate that China’s eventual intention is to build up a force that approximates a U.S. Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marine MEF also included air and logistics units, which may follow if the PLAN builds carrier air groups. Asian sources note that work is progressing on the refurbishment of the Ex-Russian/Ukrainian carrier Varyag, with recent attention being paid to its aircraft arresting wire system. These sources note the Varyag may be completed by 2012. If production estimates prove correct, then it may be China’s ambition to build an amphibious projection force of three battalions, each consisting of one Type 081 LHD and two Type 071 LPDs. The Type 081 would add the flexibility of being able to employ a larger number of helicopters for transport and attack missions to support an amphibious assault. Such a ship might also be embarked with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters to assist fleet escort.

环球时报驻香港特约记者李洁报道 1月1日,香港《东方日报》司马成文章称,在去年十月中俄总理会晤及两国工商界峰会期间,曾洽谈过雅克-141型战机在中国组装生产的问题。




  文 章称,雅克141计划始于1975年,1989年首飞,两年后一架原型机坠毁,计划停止。雅克-141所用R-79涡扇发动机加力推力为15.5吨,飞机 最大起飞重量为19.5吨,最大平飞速度达1.7马赫,爬升率也不逊于常规起降战斗机,雅克-141性能远超英国的“鹞”式垂直起降战斗机。但在1992 年范保罗航展上西方专家指出,雅克-141与常规起降的舰载机相比,使用垂直起降的方式作战将付出损失载弹量和航程的代价。


   文章称,前苏联研制的雅克-141及雅克-38垂直起降战斗机,是为了装备前苏联没有弹射器的航母而设计,而美国由于拥有大批重型航母,AV-8这种非 常规起降战斗机只用在两栖攻击舰上,担任近距支援任务。文章认为中国短期内不会建造类似美国的常规起降型的重型航母,雅克-141可以作为过渡型舰载机, 与苏-33和歼-10改作高低档搭配,在陆上,雅克-141也可以填补其他先进的常规起降战机与直升机之间的火力空间。文章还说,引进雅克-141的关键 问题是,不但要控制价格,还要获得飞机的生产许可证。



Saturday, January 3, 2009

PLA Navy South Sea Fleet

2.3.3 South Sea Fleet
|——9th Destroyer Flotilla:|——DDG-168 “Guangzhou”,
| | |——DDG-169 “Wuhan”,
| | |——DDG-170 “Lanzhou”,
| | |——DDG-171 “Haikou”
| |
| 1st Frigate Group:|——FFG-564 “Yichang”,
| |——FFG-565 “Yulin”,
| |——FFG-566 “Huaihua”
| |——FFG-567 “Xiangfan”
|——2nd Destroyer Flotilla:|——DDG-161 “Changsha”,
| | |——DDG-162 “Nanning”,
| | |——DDG-165 “Zhanjiang”,
| | |——DDG-166 “Zhuhai”,
| | |——DDG-167 “Shenzhen”
| |
| 17th Frigate Group:|——FFG-552 “Yibin”,
| | |——FFG-553 “Shaoguan”,
| | |——FFG-555 “Zhaotong”,
| | |——FFG-509 “Changde”,
| | |——FFG-510 “Shaoxing”
| |
| 18th Frigate Group:|——FFG-551 “Maoming”,
| |——FFG-554 “Anshun”,
| |——FFG-557 “Jishou”,
| |——FFG-558 “Beihai”,
| |——FFG-559 “Foshan”
|——2nd Submarine Base
| |
| |——32nd Submarine Flotilla:|——SSK-313,
| | |——SSK-326,
| | |——SSK-328,
| | |——SSK-329,
| | |——SSK-330(Type 039A),
| | |——SSK-370,
| | |——Other 2 Kilo-636M submarines
| |
| |——52nd Submarine Flotilla:|——SSK-301,
| |——SSK-304,
| |——SSK-305,
| |——SSK-306,
| |——SSK-307,
| |——SSK-308,
| |——SSK-309,
| |——SSK-310,
| |——SSK-311,
| |——SSK-312
|——6th Landing Ship Flotilla:|——2nd Landing Ship Group:|——LCT-934 “Dan Xiashan”,
| | |——LCT-935 “Xue Fengshan”,
| | |——LCT-937 “Qing Chengshan”,
| | |——LCT-990 “Wu Dangshan”,
| | |——LCT-991 “Er Meishan”
| |
| 16th Landing Ship Group:|——LCT-992 “Huan Dingshan”,
| | |——LCT-993 “Luo Xiaoshan”,
| | |——LCT-994 “Dai Yunshan”,
| | |——LCT-995 “Wan Yangshan”,
| | |——LCT-996 “Lao Tieshan”,
| | |——LCT-997 “Yun Wushan”
| |
| 17th Landing Ship Group:|——LCT-946 “Songshan”,
| |——LCT-947 “Lushan”,
| |——LCT-948 “Xueshan”,
| |——LCT-949 “Hengshan”,
| |——LCT-950 “Taishan”
|——11th Fasting Craft Flotilla:|——2nd Missile Corvette Group:|——MCV-751,
| | |——MCV-752,
| | |——MCV-753 “”,
| | |——MCV-754 “”,
| | |——MCV-755 “”,
| | |——MCV-756 “Fuding”
| |
| 84th Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-694 “Ruian”,
| | |——PC-697 “Anji”,
| | |——PC-727 “Wuchuan”,
| | |——PC-731 “Haishou”,
| | |——PC-786 “Wanning”,
| | |——PC-787 “Ledong”,
| | |——PC-788 “Ding’an”,
| | |——PC-789 “Lingao”
| |
| 4th Landing Ship Group:|——LCT-945 “Huashan”,
| |——LCT-973 “Wu Zhishan”,
| |——LCT-974 “Lian Huashan”,
| |——LCT-977 “Ding Junshan”,
| |——LCT-979 “”,
| |——LCT-980 “”,
| |——LCT-986 “A’Lishan”
|——26th Fasting Craft Flotilla:|——10th Minesweeper Group:|——MSC-809 “Changning”,
| | |——MSC-835 “”,
| | |——MSC-836 “”,
| | |——MSC-837 “”,
| | |——MSC-838 “”,
| | |——MSC-850 “”
| |
| Patrol Craft Group:|——1st Unit
| | |——2nd Unit
| | |——3rd Unit
| | |——4th Unit
| |
| 208th Missile Craft Group:|——Type 2008 MCA *12 ??
|——3rd Support Ship Flotilla:|——AOR-883 “Yang Chenghu”,
| | |——AOR-884 “Jing Bohu”,
| | |——AOR-885 “Qing Haihu”,
| | |——AOR-887 “Wei Shanhu”
| |
| Service Ship Group:|——Nanyou-961,
| | |——Nanyun-957,
| | |——Nanqin-203
| |
| Instrumentation Ship Group:|——Nance-420,
| | |——Nance-429,
| | |——“Li Siguang” Ship,
| | |——Nanbiao-463,
| |
| 28分队防救船中队
| |
| |
| Reconnaissance ship Group:|——Nandiao-412,
| |——Nandiao-411,
| |——233船、
| |——234船、
| |——235艇、
| |——509艇、
| |——852船(原海洋13,更早叫向阳红21)
| |——湛渔816船
| |——湛渔815船
| |——湛渔822船
| |——湛渔819船
| |——湛渔820船
|——Shantou Marine Guard District:|——5th Missile Corvette Group:|——MCV-674 “Pingnan”,
| | |——MCV-677 “Tian’e”,
| | |——MCV-766 “”,
| | |——MCV-767 “Fu’an”,
| | |——MCV-774 “Lianjiang”,
| | |——MCV-775 “Xinhui”
| |
| 2nd Frigate Group:|——FFG-560 “Dongguan”
| |——FFG-561 “Shantou”
| |——FFG-562 “Jiangmen”,
| |——FFG-563 “Zhaoqing”
|——Beihai Marine Guard District:|——81st Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-721 “”,
| | |——PC-722 “”,
| | |——PC-723 “”,
| | |——PC-728 “”,
| | |——PC-729 “”,
| | |——PC-732 “Ningyuan”
| |
| 76th Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-678 “”,
| |——PC-720 “”,
| |——PC-724 “”,
| |——PC-725 “”,
| |——PC-726 “”,
| |——PC-730 “”
|——Guangzhou Support Base:|——Service Ship Group
| |
| 2nd Surveillance Brigade
| |
| Dongguang Silo
|——Yulin Support Base:|——AOR-863 “Chang Xingdao”
| |
| Sanya Rescue Ship Group:|——Nanjiu-502,
| | |——Nanjiu-503,
| | |——Nanjiu-510,
| | |——Nantuo-154
| |
| Service Ship Group:|——Nanshui-960,
| | |——Nanyun-831,
| | |——Nanyun-832,
| | |——Nanqin-202,
| | |——Nanyou-967,
| | |——Nanyi-09
| |
| Independant 46th Land-based Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |
| 7th AA-gun Air Defense Regiment
|——Xisha Marine Guard District
|——Zhanjiang Support Base:|——Base Communication Station
| |
| |——Ship Technological Maintenance Team
| |
| |——Equipment Technological Maintenance Team
| |
| |——Zhanjiang Arsenal
|——Nansha Patrol Region
|——Shajiao Training Base
|——PLA Navy 8th Aviation Division:|——22nd Air Regiment
| |——23rd Air Regiment
| |——24th Air Regiment
|——PLA Navy 9th Aviation Division:|——25th Air Regiment
| |——27th Air Regiment
|——Independant PLA Navy 7th Air Regiment (Helicopters)
|——3rd Radar Brigade
|——Marine Corps 1st Brigade:|——Amphibious Armor Regiment
| |——Reconaissance Group
| |——1st Battalion
| |——2nd Battalion
| |——3rd Battalion
| |——Howitzer Battalion
| |——Missile Battalion
|——Marine Corps 164th Brigade
|——Combat Ship Group in Hong Kong

PLA Navy East Sea Fleet

2.3.2 East Sea Fleet
|——6th Destroyer Flotilla:|——DDG-131″Nanjing”,
| |——DDG-132″Hefei”,
| |——DDG-133″Chongqing”,
| |——DDG-134″Zunyi”
| |——FFG-539″Anqing”,
| |——FFG-540″Huainan”,
| |——FFG-541″Huaibei”
| |——FFG-542″Tongling”
| |——FFG-521″Jiaxing”
| |——FFG-522″Lian Yungang”
| |——FFG-523″Putian”,
| |——FFG-524″Sanming”
|——3rd Destroyer Flotilla:|——DDG-136″Hangzhou”,
| |——DDG-137″Fu Zhou”,
| |——DDG-138″Taizhou”
| |——DDG-139″Ningbo”
| |——FFG-525″Ma Anshan”,
| |——FFG-526″Wenzhou”,
| |——FFG-527″Luoyang”,
| |——FFG-528″Mianyang”
|——42nd Submarine Flotilla (Kilo class):|——SSK-364,
| |——SSK-365,
| |——SSK-366,
| |——SSK-367,
| |——SSK-368,
| |——SSK-369
|——22nd Submarine Flotilla (Type 039):|——SSK-279,
| |——SSK-314,
| |——SSK-322,
| |——SSK-323,
| |——SSK-325,
| |——SSK-320,
| |——SSK-321,
| |——SSK-324
|——5th Landing ship Flotilla:|——14th Group:|——LCT-927″Yun Taishan”,
| | |——LCT-928″Wu Fengshan”,
| | |——LCT-929″Zi Jinshan”,
| | |——LCT-930″Ling Yanshan”,
| | |——LCT-931″Tong Tingshan”,
| | |——LCT-932″He Lanshan”,
| | |——LCT-933″Liu Panshan”
| |
| 15th Group:|——LCT-908″Yan dangshan”,
| |——LCT-909″Jiu Huashan”,
| |——LCT-910″Huang Gangshan”,
| |——LCT-913″Ba Xianshan”,
| |——LCT-939″Pu Tuoshan”,
| |——LCT-940″Tian Taishan”
|——16th Fasting Craft Flotilla:|——3rd Landing Ship Group:|——LCT-941″Cheng Shan”,
| | |——LCT-942″Lu Shan”,
| | |——LCT-943,
| | |——LCT-944″Yu shan”,
| | |——LCT-3229,
| | |——LCT-3244,
| | |——LCT-3232,
| | |——LCT-3233,
| | |——LCT-3234,
| | |——LCT-3235
| |
| 72nd Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-688 “Nanhui”,
| | |——PC-693 “Yongjia”,
| | |——PC-741,
| | |——PC-743,
| | |——PC-744,
| | |——PC-761,
| | |——PC-762,
| | |——PC-763
| |
| 26th Patrol Craft Group
|——21st Fasting Craft Flotilla:|——3rd Missile Corvette Group:|——MCV-757″Gu Tian”
| | |——MCV-758″”
| | |——MCV-759″Fu Qing”,
| | |——MCV-760 “Ningde”,
| | |——MCV-764 “Longyan”,
| | |——MCV-765 “Shanghang”
| |
| 78th Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-740″Xianyou”,
| | |——PC-680,
| | |——PC-681,
| | |——PC-682,
| | |——PC-683
| |
| 31st Missile Craft Group (New Type 2208 class):|——MCA-2208
| |——MCA-2209
| |——MCA-2210
| |——MCA-2211
|——1st chaser & Corvette Flotilla:|——4th Minesweeper Group
| | |——MSC-800,
| | |——MSC-801 “Xiangshan”,
| | |——MSC-802 “”,
| | |——MSC-803 “”,
| | |——MSC-804 “Huoqiu”,
| | |——MSC-805 “”,
| | |——MSC-806 “”,
| | |——MSC-830 “Suzhou”,
| | |——MSC-831 “Shengzhou”,
| | |——MSC-832 “Changzhou”
| |
| 8th Frigate Group:|——FFG-511 “Nantong”,
| | |——FFG-512 “Wuxi”,
| | |——FFG-513 “Huaiyin”,
| | |——FFG-513 “Zhenjiang”
| |
| 79th Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-650 “Haian”,
| | |——PC-680 “Jiangyin”,
| | |——PC-687,
| | |——PC-689,
| | |——PC-692
| |
| 21st Patrol Craft Group
|——2nd Combat Support Flotilla:|——AOR-882 “Bo Yanghu”,
| | |——AOR-886 “Qian Daohu”,
| | |——AOR-862 “Chong Mingdao”
| |
| Ocean Salvage & Rescue Ship Group:|——Dongjiu-304
| | |——Dongjiu-332
| | |——Dongtuo-830
| |
| reconnaissance ship Group:|——AGI-226
| | |——AGI-227,
| | |——AGI-229,
| | |——AGI-851,
| | |——AGI-223
| |
| Service Ship Group
|——Zhoushan Support Base:|——72nd Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-688 “Nanhui”,
| | |——PC-693 “Yongjia”,
| | |——PC-741 “”,
| | |——PC-743 “”,
| | |——PC-744 “”,
| | |——PC-761 “”,
| | |——PC-762 “”,
| | |——PC-763 “”
| |
| 9th Minesweeper Group:|——MSC-807 “Daishan”,
| | |——MSC-808 “”,
| | |——MSC-833 “Dangtu”,
| | |——MSC-834 “”
| |
| Observing Battalion
| |
| Laishan Arsenal
|——Fujian Support Base:|——Service Ship Group:
| |
| 3rd Frigate Group:|——FFG-533 “Taizhou”,
| |——FFG-534 “Jinhua”,
| |——FFG-515 “Xiamen”,
| |——FFG-516 “Jiujiang”,
| |——FFG-517 “Nanping”,
| |——FFG-518 “Ji’an”
|——Xiamen Marine Guard District:|——83rd Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-685 “Xinchang”,
| | |——PC-695 “Xianfeng”,
| | |——PC-696 “”,
| | |——PC-712 “Jinjiang”,
| | |——PC-713 “Longhai”,
| | |——PC-742 “”
| |
| 29th Patrol Craft Group
|——Shanghai Support Base:|——Wusong Naval Training Center
|——Electronic Counter-measuring Regiment
|——East Sea Fleet General Communication Station
|——PLA Navy 4th Aviation Division:|——10th Air Regiment
| |——12th Air Regiment
|——PLA Navy 6th Aviation Division:|——16th Air Regiment
| |——17th Air Regiment
|——Independant PLA Navy 4th Air Regiment

PLA Navy North Sea Fleet

2.3.1North Sea Fleet
|——1st Destroyer Flotilla:|——DDG-112 “Ha Erbin”,
| | |——DDG-113″Tsingtao”,
| | |——DDG-106 “Xi’an”,
| | |——DDG-107 “Yinchuan”,
| | |——DDG-108 “Xining”,
| | |——DDG-109 “Kaifeng”,
| | |——DDG-115 “Shenyang”,
| | |——DDG-116 “Shi Jiazhuang”
| |
| 14th Frigate Group:|——FFG-535 “Huangshi”,
| |——FFG-536 “Wuhu”,
| |——FFG-537 “Zhoushan”
|——10th Destroyer Flotilla:|——DDG-163 “Nanchang”,
| | |——DDG-164 “Guilin”,
| | |——DDG-105 “Jinan”,
| | |——DDG-105 “Jinan”
| 7th Frigate Group:|——FFG-519 “Changzhi”,
| |——FFG-543 “Dandong”,
| |——FFG-545 “Linfen”
|——2nd Submarine Flotilla:|——SSK-274,
| |——SSK-341,
| |——SSK-335,
| |——SSK-349,
| |——SSK-355,
| |——SSK-342,
| |——SSK-352,
| |——SSK-353,
| |——SSK-354,
| |——SSK-315,
| |——SSK-316,
| |——SSK-317
|——12th Submarine Flotilla:|——SSK-350,
| |——SSK-356,
| |——SSK-357,
| |——SSK-358,
| |——SSK-359,
| |——SSK-360,
| |——SSK-361,
| |——SSK-362,
| |——SSK-363
|——1st Submarine Base:|——SSN-402
| |——SSN-403
| |——SSBN-406
|——1st Fasting Craft Flotilla
| |——4th Missile Corvette Group:|——MCV-651 “Laiyang”
| | |——MCV-652 “”,
| | |——MCV-653 “”,
| | |——MCV-654 “”,
| | |——MCV-655 “Yushan”,
| | |——MCV-656 “Qufu”
| |
| |——Engineering Ship Group
| |
| |——1st Landing Ship Group:|——LCT-927 “Tian Zhushan”,
| |——LCT-912 “Da Qingshan”,
| |——LCT-3113,
| |——LCT-3115,
| |——LCT-3116,
| |——LCT-3117,
| |——LCT-3128,
| |——LCT-3129
|——1st Combat Support Flotilla:|——AOR-881 “Hong Zehu”,
| | |——AOR-861 “Chang Xingdao”
| |
| Service Ship Group:|——Beituo-717,
| | |——Binqin-735,
| | |——Beiyou-400,
| | |——Beiyou-565,
| | |——Beishui-590
| |
| |
| Ocean Salvage & Rescue Ship Group:|——Beijiu-122
| | |——Beituo-710
| | |——Beituo-711
| |
| |
| Rescue Frogman Unit
| |
| Reconnaissance ship Group:|——AGI-900
| |——AGI-998,
| |——AGI-723,
| |——AGI-943,
| |——AGI-982,
| |——AGI-983,
|——North Sea Fleet Training Base:|——1st Training Group
| |——2nd Training Group
| |——3rd Training Group
| |——4th Training Group

|——Weihai Marine Guard District:|——71st Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-619 “Huimin”,
| | |——PC-621 “Boxing”,
| | |——PC-622 “Penglai”,
| | |——PC-624 “”,
| | |——PC-625 “Taikang”,
| | |——PC-627 “Rongcheng”
| | |——平度艇
| | |——洛宁艇
| |
| 82st Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-705 “”,
| | |——PC-611 “Haiyang”,
| | |——PC-612 “Zhangqiu”,
| | |——PC-613 “”,
| | |——PC-634 “Baofeng”,
| | |——PC-635,
| | |——PC-710,
| | |——PC-711
| |
| 11th Land-based Anti-ship missile Regiment:|——31st Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |——32nd Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |——33rd Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |——34th Anti-ship missile Battalion
|——Dalian Marine Guard District:|——11th Minesweeper Group:|——MSC-811 “”,
| | |——MSC-812 “”,
| | |——MSC-813,
| | |——MLC-814 (Minelayer)
| |
| 77th Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-620 “”,
| | |——PC-626 “”,
| | |——PC-628 “”,
| | |——PC-632 “”,
| | |——PC-633 “Suizhong” ,
| | |——PC-708 “”,
| | |——PC-709 “”,
| | |——PC-620 “”,
| | |——PC-628 “”
| |
| 80th Submarine chaser Group:|——PC-614 “”,
| | |——PC-629 “”,
| | |——PC-630 “”,
| | |——PC-631 “”,
| | |——PC-700,
| | |——PC-701 “”,
| | |——PC-706 “”,
| | |——PC-707 “”
| |
| 12th Land-based Anti-ship missile Regiment:|——35th Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |——36th Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |——37th Anti-ship missile Battalion
| |——Coastal Shore Battery Battalion
|——Lvshun Support Base:|——Base Ocean Salvage & Rescue Ship Group:|——Beijiu-137,
| | |——Beijiu-138,
| | |——Beituo-618,
| |
| Mobile Rescue Unit
| |
| Base Service Ship Group:|——Beiqin-736,
| | |——Beijian-02,
| | |——Beiyou-563,
| | |——Beiyou-560,
| | |——Beiyou-555,
| | |——Beishui-572
| |
| Base Communication Station
| |
| Battlefield Pipeline Construction Team
| |
| Base Logistics Department(岸勤部)
|——Qingdao Support Base:|——Independant Anti-chemical Battalion
| |——Base Communication Station
| |——Base Logistics Department(岸勤部)
|——North Sea Fleet Elelctronic Counter-measuring Regiment
|——North Sea Fleet General Communication Station
|——Dalian Naval Academy Marine Practice Center
|——North Sea Fleet Surface Ship Training Center
|——North Sea Fleet Submarine Training Base
|——North Sea Fleet Aviation Troop
|——PLA Navy 2nd Aviation Division:|——4th Air Regiment
| |——6th Air Regiment
|——PLA Navy 5th Aviation Division:|——14th Air Regiment
| |——15th Air Regiment
|——Independant PLA Navy 3rd Air Regiment
|——Independant PLA Navy 6th Air Regiment
|——4th Radar Brigade:|——2nd AA-gun Regiment
|——Naval Communication Station

Friday, January 2, 2009

H-6K: China is continuously improving H-6 for Air-Striking Platform

In September, a screenshot of XAC (Xi’an Aircraft Corporation) internal CATV news showed that China is producing a newest variant of H-6 bomber family to satisfy PLA Air Force’s demands of long range strategic bombing and air striking.

This variant is called as H-6K in PLA Air force. Letter “K” represents the “Air Striking Platform” (Chinese Pinyin: Kongzhong-daji-pingtai). The distinguished improvements include: new 6 under wing Hardpoints, more powerful engine, round glass-in nose replaced by radar radome (new PD radar inside), Datalink Device and Infrared recognition Pod under aircraft nose.

The new H-6K has 6 under-wing pylons to carry China’s 3000 km land-attack cruise missile. With imported Russian D-30 engines, H-6K can patrol in the air defense circle in China inner mainland for longer lime and use long-range cruise missile to attack U.S.’s Bases located in Guam. Certainly, XAC modified H-6 fuselage to contain larger turbofan engines.

Besides, H-6K also has ability to fire YJ-12 anti-ship missile at stand-off ranges to attack U.S. Aircraft Carrier Groups in west pacific. Noticeably, PLA’s H-6K can carry 6-8 ultra-long-range Air-to-Air missiles to hunt enemy’s Airborne Early Warning systems, like E-2 and E-3.

The glass-in nose is replaced by a lightning-proof radar radome so H-6K has a re-designed aircraft nose. Inside the radar radome, H-6K equipped with a powerful PD radar, which integrates navigation, terrain following and aiming for launching missiles. And H-6K has an upgraded cockpit than before and incorporates a more advanced avionics integrated with power, flight and fire control.

On the H-6K’s back near cockpit, XAC installs 2-3 blade antennas, which are probably are parts for datalink system for launching ultra-long-range Air-to-Air missile, called as “ShaShoujian” weapon in PLA. Via Datalink, H-6K can receive object information from KJ-2000 AWACS and silently fire AA missiles to attack Air Boren Early-Warning Systems.

Strangely, H-6K has an Electro-optical detecting pod to replace former cylindrical radome under the nose. The device is eventually some kind of forward looking infrared system for navigation and recognition and weapons delivery. Another choice is that H-6K will use forward looking infrared system for anti-submarine warfare.

Named with “Air Striking Platform”, H-6K can use its bomb capacity advantage to carry PLA’s air launched torpedo for detecting and destroying underwater submarines in Chinese East Sea and South Sea areas. And H-6K can also share its information with PLA Navy’s Ka-28 and Z-9 helicopters in fleet anti-submarine warfare.

Since lots of design modifications and imported power plant, the production is in a very low speed on 2-3 H-6K in one year. According to resources, XAC has produced 2 H-6K for PLA’s evaluation and testing. Although basing on a 40-year-old design, H-6K is still a remarkable platform for its multi-performance in modern warfare when PLA adding new technologies on it.

J-13 cockpit ????

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HUD-less cockpit for J-13, J-10

China Builds AKA China Threat

January 2, 2009: In Shanghai, China, shipyard employees report that the Chinese Navy has ordered two 60,000 ton aircraft carriers, and preparations are under way to begin construction this year, with completion scheduled for 2015. Fifty Russian Su-33 jet fighters would be imported to serve on the new carriers. Chinese naval aviators would use the former Russian carrier Varyag as a training ship, to learn how to operate the Su-33s off carriers. Recently, Chinese officials visited Ukraine and inspected the naval aviation training facilities that were built there before the Soviet Union dissolved (and Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union). Ukraine wants to use those facilities to establish an international center for training carrier aviators.

Chinese admirals have said they need carriers to assure Chinese access to raw materials, especially oil, that comes by sea. China hopes to get key components for the carrier from Russian manufacturers. If that is possible, completion of the carriers might be speeded up by a year or two.

Three months ago, China announced that its first class of carrier aviators had begun training at the Dalian Naval Academy. The naval officers will undergo a four year course of instruction to turn them into fighter pilots capable of operating off a carrier. China already has an airfield, in the shape of a carrier deck, built at an inland facility. The Russians have warned China that it may take them a decade or more to develop the knowledge and skills needed to efficiently run an aircraft carrier. The Chinese are game, and are slogging forward.

A year ago, the Russian aircraft carrier Varyag was renamed the Shi Lang (after the Chinese general who took possession of Taiwan in 1681, the first time China ever paid any attention to the island) and given the pennant number 83. The Chinese have been refurbishing the Varyag, one of the Kuznetsov class that Russia began building in the 1980s, for several years now. It is expected to be ready for sea trials any day now.

Originally the Kuznetsovs were conceived of as 90,000 ton, nuclear powered ships, similar to American carriers (complete with steam catapults). Instead, because of the cost, and the complexity of modern (American style) carriers, the Russians were forced to scale back their goals, and ended up with the 65,000 ton (full load ) ships that lacked steam catapults, and used a ski jump type flight deck instead. Nuclear power was dropped, but the Kuznetsov class was still a formidable design. The thousand foot long carrier normally carries a dozen navalized Su-27s (called Su-33s), 14 Ka-27PL anti-submarine helicopters, two electronic warfare helicopters and two search and rescue helicopters. But the ship can carry up to 36 Su-33s and sixteen helicopters. The ship carries 2,500 tons of aviation fuel, allowing it to generate 500-1,000 aircraft and helicopter sorties. Crew size is 2,500 (or 3,000 with a full aircraft load.) Only two ships of this class exist; the original Kuznetsov, which is in Russian service, and the Varyag.

The Chinese have been in touch with Russian naval construction firms, and may have purchased plans and technology for equipment installed in the Kuznetsov. Some Chinese leaders have quipped about having a carrier by 2010 (this would have to be a refurbished Varyag). Even that would be an ambitious schedule, and the Chinese have been burned before when they tried to build new military technology in a hurry.

Chinese naval fleet completes first at-sea replenishmen

Chinese naval fleet completes first at-sea replenishment 2008-12-30 23:52:29 Print

A helicopter of the Chinese naval fleet attends a landing exercise at night on Dec. 28, 2008, while the Chinese naval fleet heads for the Gulf of Aden. The Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship set off on Dec. 26 for waters off Somalia for an escort mission against piracy.

A helicopter of the Chinese naval fleet attends a landing exercise at night on Dec. 28, 2008, while the Chinese naval fleet heads for the Gulf of Aden. The Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship set off on Dec. 26 for waters off Somalia for an escort mission against piracy.(Xinhua Photo)
Photo Gallery>>>

DESTROYER WUHAN, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese naval fleet en route to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia for an escort mission against pirates completed its first replenishment at sea Tuesday.

The fleet, two destroyers and a supply ship, has entered the Indian Ocean after a four-day voyage which set sail from China's southernmost island province of Hainan.

In the afternoon, the supply ship Weishanhu successfully refueled the two destroyers Wuhan and Haikou with several hundred tons of oil, an operation that an official for fleet support described as "highly efficient."

The fleet will cruise for about 10 days before arriving in the Gulf of Aden to join a multinational patrol in one of the world's busiest sea lanes endangered by surging piracy.

The recent pirate attack on a Chinese fishing vessel has raised great concern of the Chinese government and people. Statistics showed that some 1,265 Chinese commercial vessels have passed through the gulf so far this year and seven have been attacked.

The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions calling on all countries and regions to help patrol the gulf and waters off Somalia since June. The latest resolution authorized countries to take all necessary measures in Somalia, including in its airspace to stop the pirates.

A helicopter of the Chinese naval fleet attends a landing exercise at night on Dec. 28, 2008, while the Chinese naval fleet heads for the Gulf of Aden. The Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship set off on Dec. 26 for waters off Somalia for an escort mission against piracy.

A helicopter of the Chinese naval fleet attends a landing exercise at night on Dec. 28, 2008, while the Chinese naval fleet heads for the Gulf of Aden. The Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship set off on Dec. 26 for waters off Somalia for an escort mission against piracy.(Xinhua Photo)
Photo Gallery>>>

Thursday, January 1, 2009

China to start construction of 1st aircraft carriers next year

BEIJING--China will begin construction of the country's first domestically produced aircraft carriers in Shanghai next year, with an eye to completing two mid-sized carriers by 2015, military and shipbuilding sources said.

Beijing is also expected to complete work on a never-finished former Soviet aircraft carrier moored in the northeastern port of Dalian, to provide training for carrier-based pilots and crew.

The two 50,000- to 60,000-ton carriers will rely on conventional propulsion systems, not nuclear power. They will be assigned to the People's Liberation Army Navy south sea fleet, tasked with patrolling the South China Sea, sources said.

China's carrier ambitions and the build-up of its blue-water fleet have long been of interest to Pacific nations.

National defense ministry spokesman Huang Xueping recently commented that China might build its own aircraft carriers.

However, this is the first time the goals of Chinese naval planners have been clarified in such detail.

If China does bolster its naval combat capabilities by deploying aircraft carriers, it could significantly impact the delicate military balance in East Asia.

According to sources close to Shanghai municipal authorities, one of the world's largest shipbuilding facilities was completed this fall on Changxingdao island at the mouth of the Changjiang river near Shanghai.

One of the four docks there is for construction of the aircraft carriers, they said.

Shipbuilding sources said there are plans to import electrical control parts from Russia and that orders have already been placed with domestic military suppliers.

If procurement goes as planned, the carriers could be completed about two years earlier than planned.

Meanwhile, shipbuilders in Dalian are nearing completion of the 60,000-ton former Soviet Kuznetsov-class carrier Varyag, as a training ship for carrier-borne aircraft pilots and crew. The ship, which was about 70 percent complete at the time of its purchase, was first acquired by a Macao tourism firm in 1998. Since 2002, it has been under construction by a Dalian-based shipbuilder with ties to the navy.

A ranking Chinese navy officer told The Asahi Shimbun that as China increasingly relies on Mideast oil, the aircraft carriers would likely see duty guarding sea lanes in the Malacca Strait and in the Indian Ocean. The officer contended that because the ships will be smaller than U.S. carriers they will not pose a threat.

Ikuo Kayahara, a professor of security studies at Takushoku University and a former research department director at the National Institute for Defense Studies, said China's plan to build aircraft carriers is a "key pillar to enhancing its naval capabilities."

"China hopes to broaden its buffer zone to protect its coasts from a perceived threat from the United States," Kayahara said.(IHT/Asahi: December 31,2008)