Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The PLA Digest - February 2015

  • More news leaks point to China's plans for second aircraft carrier  
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): February 2, 2015

The news that China is building its second aircraft carrier leaked out again through some official civilian channels before the reports were removed.
A city government microblog and an official newspaper in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, separately mentioned that a power cable manufacturer in the city had "won a tender for the second aircraft carrier". The sources cited information obtained during an information technology conference.
In January last year, Liaoning party chief Wang Min reportedly told a provincial people's congress panel that the second carrier was being built in Dalian, home to the country's first carrier.

  • New Chinese helicopter breaks altitude record above Everest
Source: WantChinaTime (Taiwan), (DoP): February 3, 2015

A China-made transport helicopter broke a record by attaining an altitude of 9,000 m during a test flight in Tibet, reports state broadcaster CCTV.
In a clip aired on January 31, a pilot flying a Changhe Z-18 transport helicopter triggered a warning signal as he reached a height of 8,900 m above sea level. The craft continued to gain altitude though, eventually reaching 9,000 m and flying above Mount Everest.
The Z-18's success means China now has the ability to produce large military helicopters that can work in plateau areas and no longer needs to rely on US Black Hawks.

  • Chinese troops warned on espionage
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): February 4, 2015

The PLA Daily carried a guideline issued by the CMC stressing the need to run political background checks on officers and soldiers to "prevent penetration, sabotage by hostile forces or erosion by corrupt ideas and cultures."
The guideline encouraged other measures to improve management of servicemen, including better psychological services.
Psychological evaluation and counseling should be conducted regularly, and officers and soldiers suffering severe psychological problems need to get timely treatment, it said.
The CMC also ordered tighter management over mobile phones and the Internet, forbidding personnel from blogging, online chatting or job hunting in an official capacity. The guideline banned officers from imposing corporal punishments on soldiers, encroaching on soldiers' interests and taking bribes from them.

  • Merchant ships could be used as cover to move PLA subs into open sea
Source: WantChinaTime (Taiwan), (DoP): February 08, 2015

Chinese merchant vessels could be used as cover to allow PLA ballistic missile submarines to penetrate the ‘First Island Chain’, extending from Alaska to the Philippines, during peace time, according to Chinese Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo.
Vincent R. Stewart, the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had said that Chinese nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines may begin routine patrol missions in open sea this year, during a hearing held by the House Committee on Armed Services on February 3.
Yin said that the PLA Navy could use two methods to penetrate through the ‘First Island Chain’, which China believes was established by the United States to contain China.

  • Army aviation brigade in flying training
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): February 5, 2015

The website published photos of an army aviation brigade under the Xinjiang Military Area Command (MAC) of the PLA which used the severe weather as the best opportunity for its troops to conduct flying training on highly-difficult areas on February 3, 2015.

  • Chinese Type 99 Tank tests on plateau
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): February 5, 2015

The website published photos of Type 99 tanks, also known as ZTZ-99 and WZ-123, is a third generation main battle tank (MBT) fielded by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). It is a successor to the Type 98G tank.

  • President Xi Clears the Way for Military Reform: PLA Corruption, Clique Breaking and Making, and Personnel Shuffle
Source: China Brief Volume: 15 Issue: 3, (DoP): February 4, 2015

An unprecedented number of personnel moves and promotions within the PLA have occurred under President Xi. The Chinese press suggests that the promotions and shuffling of personnel are due to ongoing anti-corruption campaigns in the Chinese government and the military. Others have noted that a number of officers with backgrounds in the Nanjing Military Region (MR), comprising Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Fujian provinces, have been promoted to bolster President Xi’s support within the PLA. This MR is noteworthy because President Xi served in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces and in Shanghai. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry spokesman, in response to press speculation, portrayed the personnel shuffle as routine. These explanations for the large-scale reshuffling and promotions provide valid, but incomplete, explanations for the large number of PLA personnel moves occurring under President Xi. An important additional reason is to gain support as well as break ground force opposition based in the MRs to President Xi’s announced military reforms, which plans to adjust the MRs creating joint commands, thus reducing ground force dominance. Past opposition, mainly from entrenched interests within the ground forces to maintain the current MR structure, derailed earlier plans by former Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao to adjust the MR structure and form joint commands, which form an important component of President Xi’s military reforms.

  • China to toughen military checks to fight internet spying
Source: Reuters, (DoP): February 4, 2015

China's military will toughen ideological background checks on its troops and strictly control their internet and mobile phone use in an effort to combat spying by ‘hostile forces’.
China and the United States frequently trade accusations of hacking and internet spying, increasing tension between the two countries, and Communist Party rulers in Beijing have tightened controls on ideology and speech, saying hostile forces from the West pose a threat to Chinese culture.
The guideline issued by China's powerful CMC and carried by the official People's Liberation Army Daily said military personnel were forbidden from blogging and using online chat programmes.
China's education minister asserted that his country must remove ‘Western values’ from its classrooms. In late December, President Xi Jinping called for greater ideological guidance in universities and urged the study of Marxism.
Political and ideological education must be implemented to improve the military, the guideline added. The armed forces must also toughen measures to prevent the leaking of secrets, it added.

  • PLA drill applies China's own GPS
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): February 5, 2015

The PLA finished a two-day drill, testing application of China's independently developed global satellite navigation system in combat in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The military used the Beidou Navigation Satellite System for precise positioning and navigating, real-time location reporting and data transmission over long distances, according to a news release from the PLA General Staff Headquarters. Beidou has allowed the armies to be more precise in command, weapon firing and logistics and the technology has "been integrated into the PLA's modern command system and weapon platform". Currently, Beidou owns 20 satellites.

  • 18th Chinese escort taskforce visits France
Source: China Military Online, (DoP) February 10, 2015

The amphibious dock landing ship ‘Changbaishan’, the guided missile frigate ‘Yuncheng’ and the comprehensive supply ship ‘Chaohu’ of the 18th escort taskforce of the PLAN were piloted by the frigate ‘Commandant Birot’ of the French Navy to enter the naval port in Toulon of France on the morning of February 9, 2015 for the 4-day-long goodwill visit to France.
During the taskforce's visit to France, Zhang Chuanshu, commanding officer of the 18th Chinese naval escort taskforce, will call on senior military and civil officials from the French side, including Yann Tainguy, commander of the Mediterranean Sea Area of the French Navy, and Hubert Falco, mayor of Toulon city.

  • NW China's Altay Frontier Police Force holds cold weather training
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): February 10, 2015

The website published photos of soldiers of Altay Frontier Police Force participatingin a cold weather training in Koktokay Town, Altay Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on February 9, 2015. Koktokay's temperature in winter averages to minus 30 degrees Celsius.

  • Missile units in live-ammunition firing training
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): February 10, 2015

The website published photos of units of the Second Artillery Force practicing with several new-type of missiles; maneuvers were held in the Gobi desert in northwest China and in thick forest in northeast China where troops fired with live-ammunition.

  • China ‘not ready to win wars’ despite military modernisation, says US report
Source: Bloomberg, (DoP): February 12, 2015

China’s military is not ready to win wars despite spending heavily to modernise, according to a report commissioned by a US congressional committee. The People’s Liberation Army suffers from potentially serious weaknesses that could limit its ability to conduct operations required to fight and win future conflicts, the report by the Rand Corporation, a Santa Monica-based research group said.
According to the report said. “Although the PLA’s capabilities have increased dramatically, its remaining weaknesses increase the risk of failure to successfully perform the missions the Chinese Communist Party leaders may task it to perform.”
Other lacunae: the PLA has an outdated command structure, poor quality personnel, a lack of professionalism and is hindered by corruption.

  • PLA to start one-year audit of incomes, expenses of all military personnel
Source: Global Times, (DoP): February 12, 2015

The CMC, chaired by President Xi Jinping, has announced its plan to conduct an investigation of all military personnel's income and expenses during 2013 and 2014, the PLA Daily reported.
Zhao Keshi, head of the PLA's General Logistics Department and leader of the audit group, said that Xi has attached great importance to the audit, which will help improve the army's efficiency in utilizing financial resources.
The financial investigation will look into all cash flows, receipts and expenses that exceeded original budgets to uncover cases of embezzlement or so-called ‘little coffers’, hidden caches of cash that corrupt personnel have siphoned from public funds.

  • China's People's Liberation Army audits spending in bid to root out crime
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): February 12, 2015

The PLA is launching a year-long retrospective audit to review military spending over the past two years to crack down on excessive behaviour in the world's largest army.
Army mouthpiece PLA Daily yesterday said the audit would focus on four things: pay orders of all military fund flows, schedules of disbursement, management of internal service venues, and details of spending for extra-budgetary funds.
The report said the move was aimed at uncovering embezzlement, accounting fraud, stealing from private coffers and other wrongdoing so as to curb ‘deep-seated, unhealthy’ tendencies in the military.

  • Aide of former PLA generals Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong put under graft probe
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): February 12, 2015

A close aide of two former vice-chairmen of the PLA’s decision-making arm has come under corruption investigation.
Liu Hongjie, who used to work under CMC vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, was detained by the military prosecutor on suspicion of "taking advantage by job convenience and bribes".
The news was announced during a meeting of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress standing committee. The agenda said the PLA's general prosecutor had reported Liu's case to the committee because he was an incumbent representative of the Beijing People's Congress.

  • Keep fit or lose rank: Army sets standard for soldiers' weight
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): February13, 2015

The PLA has set a compulsive standard for soldiers' weight and vowed to pay more attention to military physical training, according to "reform and development of military physical training (2015-2020)" guideline.
It called for innovative training methods and outlined a distinctive military training system.

  • Chinese and French warships conduct joint drill
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): February 15, 2015

The website published photos of the special operation forces of China and France having a friendly exchange during a joint drill.

  • World has little to fear from China's growing military
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): February 23, 2015

The facts would seem to speak for themselves: in sheer numbers, China has the world's biggest military, its defence spending has increased tenfold over the past quarter of a century due to annual double-digit growth, and the development of sophisticated hardware and weaponry points to big-picture ambitions. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly exhorted the People's Liberation Army to be ready to win a war, calling for greater modernisation, increased training and improved readiness. Such developments have worried neighbours, who have been boosting the strength of their own militaries and alliances, particularly with the US. But as a report by the American research group the Rand Corporation points out, there is no need for undue concern.

  • China's FC-31 has yet to prove itself a match for the US F-35 it copied
Source: WantChinaTime (Taiwan), (DoP): February 23, 2015

German newspaper Der Spiegel cited claims from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden earlier this month that China stole key design information on the US-built F-35 stealth fighter and used it to build their J-20 and FC-31 fighter jets.
The United States' airline industry also said that the FC-31 jet, displayed for the first time during the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai in November 2014, is a copy of the F-35.

  • PLA introduces realistic scenarios to training exercises
Source: WantChinaTime (Taiwan), (DoP): February 24, 2015

Washington-based research institute the Jamestown Foundation published an article entitled The Wolves of Zhurihe: China's OPFOR Comes of Age on Feb. 20, which detailed the changes to the PLA's Stride exercises in 2014. The alterations suggest a shift from China's traditionally formalistic military exercises to more realistic military scenarios.
The article stated that brigades from six of China's seven major military regions travelled to Zhurihe in Inner Mongolia, in the Beijing MR, to take part in the exercise. China refers to its own forces as the ‘Red Force’ and enemy forces as the ‘Blue Force’. Of the six red forces competing in the exercises only one attained a win/draw. The article said that this is a sign of major change in China's military training, as in previous exercises the blue force objective was just to delay a red force victory and a red force defeat would have been seen as an insult to the visiting commanders.

  • China acts on regulating military personnel selection
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): February 25, 2015

Chinese military authorities have issued five documents to optimize the selection and management of army officers. The documents were approved by Chinese President and top military leader Xi Jinping, to "correct improper practices in the selection and appointment of army officials".
The statement did not reveal more details, but it said the documents had clear stipulations on the selection and management of secretaries of senior army officials, and set requirements for the service time and experience of commanding officers in combat troops. It also limited posts for officers' relatives and subordinates to avoid nepotism.

  • Chine building ‘amazing submarines’ ... although not as good as ours, says US admiral
Source: Reuters, (DoP): February 26, 2015

China is building some ‘fairly amazing submarines’ and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told American lawmakers although he said their quality was inferior to his own country’s forces.
Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s sea power subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines and their length of deployment.
 “We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines,” Mulloy told the committee

  • Chinese military to further promote rule of law
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): February 26, 2015

The CMC urged the PLA to promote the rule of law in all elements of the army. The document stressed that the army should be run in accordance with laws in order to build a stronger force. "A modernized army is an army run in accordance with laws," it said.
The rule of law in the army should be promoted together with strictly enforced military disciplines as well as ideological work, according to the document.
It stressed the absolute leadership of the CPC over the PLA in the promotion of rule of law in the army.
  • New fighter jet appears ready for PLA
Source: China Daily, (DoP): February 26, 2015

China's air force will soon commission the J-10B fighter jet, the most advanced military aircraft the country has ever developed on its own.
Several pictures showing 14 of the planes lined up outside an unidentified aircraft factory have been circulating on military websites. Experts said their gray paint scheme indicates that they will soon be delivered to the People's Liberation Army air force.
"Considering that the paint scheme is being used by the PLA air force and recent leaks that the aircraft has concluded its tests," said Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine. "I think these J-10Bs will join the air force within a short period and will pair with the heavy-duty twin-engine J-11, and with our fifth-generation stealth fighter, the J-20, which is expected to enter service within a few years," he added.

  • Chinese military vows continuous anti-corruption efforts
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): February 28, 2015

The PLA pledged to continue the fight against corruption in its education campaign.
PLA's Party leaders were told to address the negative impact on the army's ideological, political and organizational work of former CMC vice chairman Xu Caihou's graft case. The leaders were also reminded to ensure honest and transparent reporting on ‘personal affairs’, and relatives and subordinates that worked closely with them.
‘Grey zones’ and ‘hidden rules’ must be eliminated.

  • Senior military official Liu Zheng expelled from parliament in anti-graft drive
Source: Reuters, (DoP): February 28, 2015

China has booted a senior military official who is embroiled in a corruption scandal from its parliament. The development, which comes as China’s leadership pursues a campaign to weed out corruption and excess in its armed forces, is significant because it means Liu Zheng has been stripped of immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament.
State media quoted from a statement from the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.
Liu, a former deputy director of the powerful General Logistics Department of the People’s Liberation Army, is under investigation, the Ministry of Defence said in January, he is accused of ‘seriously violating party discipline’ – a common euphemism for graft.

  • PLA Digest - January 2015
Click here to read the PLA Digest for January 2015...

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