Pak, China joint military training exercise YOUYI- III (Friendship) kicked off

Chinese Lt General at GHQ, Rawalpindi

A contingent of Pakistan Army reached China on Thursday from PAF Base Chaklala to participate in third joint military training exercise, YOUYI- III (Friendship) being held in China.

A week long exercise will be conducted from 1st July to 7th July at Qixtonxia, Yeuhuan China. Troops of Special Services Group of both the countries will participate in joint exercise, according to ISPR.

The exercise has been designed to benefit from the professional skills employed by the two Special Forces Group at sub unit level.

The aim of the exercise is to practice counter terrorism mechanisms / drills in mountains and developing interpersonal rapport between participants of both sides.

Pakistan’s unprecedented success in counter terrorism operations has contributed to an environment in which Pakistan Army and PLA have sought to hold a joint exercise to benefit from each others’ experiences. This exercise is third in the series, in which Special Forces from both sides along with Chinese Air Force and Aviation will participate.
Senior Military leadership from both sides will also attend the Exercise. The YOUYI-III exercise will be a true manifestation to a famous Chinese phrase “Pakistan China friendship is higher than the mountains and deeper than oceans”.

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India vs Pakistan and Threat of War

Before visiting Pakistan, Robert Gates warned from New Delhi that, should 2007 Mumbai like incident occur again, India would attack Pakistan, meaning thereby that the past Mumbai killings have been solely attributed to Pakistan and if such an incident occurred again, responsibility would be that of Pakistan, and in retaliation, India would be perfectly justified to attack Pakistan. In this situation USA would not be in a position to restrain India. Rather it may support this venture.

The message is fraught with ominous consequences and therefore demands a clear assessment of our ability to respond, if such a threat develops. This assessment therefore, is based on existing ground realities, which determine the military power balance between Pakistan and India. No doubt, the Indian armed forces are numerically superior to Pakistan, but they suffer from some inherent weaknesses and, it will take them a long time to overcome these.

Indian armed forces are in the midst of a transition, – replacement of the obsolete Russian weapons system with high-tech American-Israeli-European weapons. India started this changeover in 2005 after signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement with USA and hopes to complete it by the year 2015. Already it has spent about a hundred billion dollars on the new acquisitions. Their entire military system at present therefore, is weak, because they have the old and absolute weapons and about thirty percent of the recently acquired new systems. They suffer from a predicament, similar to what we suffered in early seventies, because, USA bad abandoned Pakistan in 1965 and we had not been able to induct new weapons and equipment from other sources. India exploited this weakness and dismembered Pakistan. Thus, India suffering from such weaknesses, now, is not in a position to wage a full f1edged war against Pakistan.

India faces another serious problem, in that, despite their best efforts of the last forty years, they have failed to manufacture their own tanks, guns, cruise missiles, fighter aircrafts, battleships and submarines. This in essence, constitutes a major weakness of the Indian armed forces, because, the present day war cannot be won with weapons borrowed or purchased from others. And, contrary to the weaknesses of India and cognising the implications of self-reliance, Pakistan has achieved up to ninety percent of indigenisation of weapons and equipment. We have our own tanks, guns, cruise missiles, fighter aircrafts, battleships and submarines as well as we have a stock-pile of war reserves, of over forty days, as compared to just eleven days of war reserves in 1965 and seven days in 1971. Whereas India’s war reserves as of today are limited to 15 days only. Thus, Pakistan in this respect also enjoys a clear edge over India.

Pakistan has achieved up to ninety percent of indigenisation of weapons and equipment.

The third dimensional capability of Pakistan is, in the way of higher military education and superior military and operational strategy, which is the hallmark of our military leadership, and was demonstrated some twenty years back in 1989, during Ex-Zarb-e-Momin. The Offensive Defence concept was practised and over the period, has been actualised as the fundamental doctrine of war. Offensive Defence means that our forces having fixed the enemy, will carry the war into their territory. Compare it with the Cold Start doctrine of India, of fighting a war on two fronts, which is more of a fiction than a realistic military doctrine.

Mr Robert Gates, as well as the Indian military planners, while taking into cognisance the existing military balance between Pakistan and India, must also consider the new phenomenon of the Asymmetric War, which, during the last thirty years, has established the supremacy of Men and Missiles, over the most modern and technologically superior armed forces of the world, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Kashmir. The Asymmetric War, in essence is the name of the Islamic Resistance, with its hardcore resting along the Durand Line. It is our strength. Thus, conventional as well as irregular armed forces, together provide the emerging shape of the Fourth Generation of modern warfare, as Joseph S Nye, the former Assistant Secretary of Defence USA and a professor of Harvard University, defines: “The hybrid wars, conventional and irregular forces combatants and civilians become thoroughly intertwined” to win wars and help establish the new order. In case, war is forced on Pakistan, it would be a long and decisive war, where new geo-political realities would emerge, establishing new frontiers of peace in the region.

Nuclear weapons are not the weapons of war because these have never been used as such. United States used it against the Japanese in 1945, which already had lost the war, nor had the capability to retaliate. American purpose was primarily diplomatic, i.e. to declare to the world that, America was entering the centre stage of world politics, to establish its global primacy and pre-eminence. There are other instances also, where nuclear powers, possessing hundreds and thousands of atomic weapons could not use them, to save themselves from very difficult and embarrassing situations. The Americans lost the war in Vietnam; the Soviets lost their empire in Afghanistan; the Israelis could not cover the shame of defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2005; the Americans having suffered defeat in Iraq, now are facing a worse defeat in Afghanistan, yet they find no recourse to use their nuclear capability. Their NATO partners are equally embarrassed, yet they cannot think of using their nuclear weapons to cover the shame of impending defeat. Similarly, India and Pakistan can fight only conventional wars and win or loose, but they dare not use nuclear weapons against each other, because it would destroy everything, leaving nothing but ashes, one could hope to capture and rebuild. And therefore, our people must not carry the wrong notion that Pakistan is powerful because it has nuclear capability. On the contrary, it is the conventional military capability, which provides security and lends resilience to the nation, as of now, and provides space to the po1itical government, to establish good governance.

Nuclear weapons are also great equalizer, between nuclear capable adversaries. “Between India and Pakistan, perfect deterrence exists” – declared George Fernandis, the former Defence Minister of India, after Pakistan demonstrated its capability in May 1998. And that precisely is the function of the weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan’s policy of Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence, supported by the Policy of Restraint, together serves the purpose of a stable nuclear deterrence. Nuclear capability also doesn’t compensate for the conventional military capability, and working on this principle the conventional military capability of Pakistan has been so developed as to make it a real symbol of national power, to defeat all aggression from within and outside.

Such are the ground realities, which determine the capabilities of our armed forces which cannot be wiped off by contrived constructs of our adversaries, nor Pakistan can be scared of going to the brink, if a war was forced on it. J F Dulles has rightly said: “If you are scared to go to the brink you are lost.” Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg (Retd)

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India: Triggering Mechanism of Self Destruction

India Fails to contain Internal Freedom Movements, wants to attack the neighbours

One of the major causes that led to the First World War was Emperor William’s ambitions for the German Empire to be a world power. He believed in an uncompromising policy of ‘power or downfall’ which ultimately resulted in the ‘downfall’ of the empire. Similarly, it is the misfortune of South Asia that India has been trying to endanger the region’s peace by aspiring to become a ‘world power’, or at least a ‘regional power’ in wake of modern world trends like renunciation of war, peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development.

Over the years, India has not only been developing its conventional and nuclear arsenals, but is also obtaining latest weapons from the US, Russia and Israel in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In this context, presuming a peace-loving China as an enemy New Delhi often justifies arms accumulation, while in practice India has constantly deployed its forces along the Pakistani border. As regards Indian belligerent approach, it is the result of India’s shattered hope of intimidating other neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan which the former considers a continuous obstacle in the way of its designs.

Under the pretext of Talibinisation, the Indian secret agency, RAW, has well established its tentacles in Afghanistan, and has been running secret operations against Pakistan from its consulates located near the Pak-Afghan border. It has spent millions of dollars in Afghanistan to strengthen its grip in order to get strategic depth against Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Qureshi have repeatedly stated: “India supports terrorism in Pakistan, and its evidence will be shown to the western countries at the right occasion.” Indeed, this is in coordination with the statements of the ISPR spokesman Major General Athar Abbas who revealed that during the ongoing military operations huge cache of arms and ammunition had been captured while it was being shifted from Afghanistan.

Perhaps, frustrated in achieving its aims of becoming a world power, and a permanent seat in the UNSC, now the Indian rulers have started openly threatening nuclear powers like Pakistan and China.

In this backdrop, the Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, vocally revealed on December 29 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.”

However in response to New Delhi’s threat, Pakistan’s JCSC chairman, General Tariq Majeed, stated:

“The Indian army chief’s statement exhibits a lack of strategic acumen…[such a path could] fix India on a self-destructive mechanism.”

It is surprising to note that in more than seven states, India itself faces separatist movements which are the result of acute poverty and social injustices. Particularly, Maoist movement that has been raging in West Bengal, and has now expanded to other regions including Maharashtra. At present, it is a popular insurgency by the downtrodden who have massive support of the people for their ideology.(images below)

A Maoist camp in the Nallamala forest in AP



Red hood locals pledge support to Maoists in the jungles of Bastar

Villagers watch as Maoists burn effigies of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in Dumariya district -Bihar

Maoist rebels at a memorial for those killed in Police encounters in the Nallamalla foresr - South of Hyderabad

Mass rally in Hyderabad organized by Maoists

Naxalite base in Karnatka

Naxalite base in Karnatka

“India’s Maoist rebels are now present in 20 states and have killed more than 900 Indian security officers…India’s rapid economic growth has made it an emerging global power but also deepened stark inequalities in society.” (31st Oct. New York Times)

Thus, by neglecting all these ground realties New Delhi has been advancing towards a self-destructive path.

Notably, USA’s dependence on Pakistan for war against terrorism and for close economic cooperation with China will roll back the Indian clandestine agenda which is part of its regional ambition against Islamabad and Beijing. Nonetheless, like the failed foreign policy of Emperor William II, the Indian policy of ‘power or downfall’ is bound to result in a nuclear catastrophe in the region as ‘nuclear’ Pakistan and China cannot ignore their defence, while their adversary is determined to act upon its aggressive designs.–>modified

Seminal Majid-Xiaotian military summit: Sino-Pakistani nexus to next level

This wasn’t an ordinary summit. This came at the heels of Indian General’s irrational statement about a joint war with China and India. Analyst would give an arm and a leg to be fly on the wall listening to what the Pakistani and Chinese Generals were discussion. Its not hard to guess. Sanity says that the following subjects must have come up.

It is pedagogical to note that the Chinese did not respond to General Kapoors statements. They did however repond in typical Chinese low key fasion—with a Pakistani Chinese military summit.

Silence is Golden!

1) General Kapoor and his Cold War insanity–and its counter-measures which places the onus on Tactical Nuclear weapons.

2) The regional situation, Afghanistan and Yemen must have come up for discussion.

3) The enhancement of military cooperation would surely have taken the talks to aircraft cooperation beyond the J-10s and J-11–towards J-14s.

4) Gwader and Central Asia and the road network would have come up at the strategic level.

5) They must have discussed the cooperation beyond the JF-17 Thunders, P-22 frigates and the Nuclear plans.

Beyond conjecture, The Nation  sheds some light on what actually happened.

Islamabad – The 7th round of Pak-China Defence and Security Talks has concluded with emphasis on cementing bilateral military cooperation through mutually beneficial collaboration in operational, training, intelligence, logistics and defence industrial fields including indigenisation projects and joint ventures.

TheNation has learnt from the military sources on Sunday that the both sides during daylong discussions held at Joint Staff Headquarters, Chaklala shared perspectives on the fast evolving regional security situation for developing common insight into the emerging scenarios and coordinating common responses.

Sources said that the discussion focused at the impact of changing global security dynamics, progress in the efforts against terrorism and violent extremism, revised US strategy for Afghanistan, intra-regional disputes and posturing of involved states, and the tenuous spectre of strategic stability in the region.

The discussion also focused on ETIM terrorism related threat and measures for security of the Chinese manpower working in Pakistan.

The two sides also undertook a comprehensive review of bilateral military cooperation and the progress of various ongoing defence projects, making specific proposals for mutually beneficial future collaboration in operational, training, intelligence, logistics and defence industrial fields including indigenisation projects and joint ventures.

The visiting Deputy Chief of General Staff of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), General Ma Xiaotian led the eight-member Chinese delegation, while Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), General Tariq Majid led the Pakistani team.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman JCSC, General Tariq Majid extended felicitation on 60th Anniversary of China and lauded a spectacular economic progress and technological modernisation to rise as a reckonable power in the global politics and global economy, playing a crucial stabilisation role in many regions of the world.

He termed time tested multidimensional Pakistan-China strategic partnership as the bedrock of stability in the region and said, “As the world grows more complex and regional situation more challenging, it has become even more critical to add greater depth and dynamism to this relationship”.

Reiterating China’s solidarity and continuing support for Pakistan in meeting the challenges General Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff, PLA appreciated Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism and violent extremism and stated, “We acknowledge the great sacrifices rendered by Pakistan, its people and the Armed Forces in combating terrorism, for which Pakistan deserves the praise and gratitude of the entire world, indeed the mankind”.

Later in the evening, a banquet was hosted by General Tariq Majid in the honour of General Ma Xiaotian and his delegation which was also attended by senior Pakistani military officers from the three services and officials from the Ministries of Defence and Defence Production.

In view of the American moves into Yemen, Oman and Kenya, Pakistan becomes all the more important for China. Islamabad is under tremendous pressure to give Gwader to the Americans. Pakistan has resisted.  The Israelis and the Americans want to use Yemen and Oman as a beachead to pressure Iran. Delhi a willing part of this alliance has already talked about regional reach. After its eviction from tajikistan, it seems to have been shut out of Central Asia by a combined Russian-Chinese and Pakistan move.

Iran, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia have in one week changed the energy map of Asia and Europe. By taking congtrol of Tajik gas and dividing them up between China, Russia and Iran, the Asian powers are asserting control of the energy resources of Central Asia–to the chagrin of Europe and the USA.

If America can get a safe saving victory out of Afghanistan, they may begin to withdraw their forces from the Afghan quagmire.

The next 18 months are going to be extremely important–if the US gets sucked into Yemen, and body bags begin rolling out of the Arabian peninsula, then there is a guarantee of a one term presidency. Mr. Obama will surely try to wage the Yemen war with drones.

Soaked in blood, with huge sacrifices, the Pakistanis and Afghans will wait it out– ’till 2011. Then the tide will begin turning towards victory. With a friendly government in Afghanistan and solid relations with the Tajiks and Uzbeks, a friendly China the entire area will begin moving towards its destiny.


China shocks analysts by Flight Testing 5th gen JXX Stealth fighter


While the Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi is flight testing its T-50 PAKFA–the world is watching the tests very closely. Analysts are surprised that China too is testing its 5th generation aircraft (which it calls 4th generation). Beijing thinks that the F-22 is a 4th generation aircraft while the West considers it a 5th generation stealth fighter. With $30 Billion China building J-xx 5th generation fighter.

Shenyang J-XX: J-12, J-13, F-XX, J-XX (or J-X or XXJ) is a name applied by Western intelligence sources to describe a programme or programmes by the People’s Republic of China to develop one or more new fourth- or fifth-generation fighter aircraft. In 2002,Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation had been selected to head research and development of the new fighter, a claim repeated in New Scientist the same week. However, a 2006 article in Military Technology referred to three designs; J-12 & J-14 by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and J-13 by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation.

According to the report from Jane’s, development of the subsystems, including the engine and weapon suite for the next generation fighter, has been under way for some time.

If we ignore the war of  nomenclature–the fact remains that Chinese are at par with or possibly ahead of the Russian stealth race.


As for the Chinese 5th generation fighter (or 4th generation as they call it), it has always been a battle between SAC and CAC. We’ve received a lot of mixed/contradictory news over the so called J-XX in the past few years. People first speculated that it will be developed by SAC due to the model they saw in Zhuhai 2002. By 2007, we started to receive news that CAC’s design was actually awarded the contract. At the same time, many people also certainly speculated that China was going to join this project for the longest time, but that never happened. I think that China knew what was at the stake in such a cooperation. They would likely get an offer from the Russians for ToT and some development work. Although, the Russians would freeze the design according to their needs and keep some of the trade secrets to themselves. China PLA blog

China Close To Test 5th Gen Fighter–usually tagged as F-XX, but some call it by the moniker J-14

A Chinese fighter of nominally the same technology generation as the Lockheed Martin F-22 will soon enter flight testing, while a jet airlifter larger than the Airbus A400M should be unveiled by year-end.

Beijing’s fighter announcement suggests a serious failing in U.S. intelligence assessments, mocking a July 16 statement of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that China would have no fifth-generation fighters by 2020. Industrial competition looks more remote than strategic competition, however, since China will want to fill domestic requirements before offering the aircraft abroad, even if it judges export sales to be a wise policy.

The new fighter “is currently under development,” says Gen. He Weirong, deputy air force chief. “[It] may soon undertake its first flight, quickly enter flight testing and then quickly equip the forces.

“According to the current situation, [the entry into service] may take another eight to 10 years,” he adds.

No details of the aircraft were given, but it is almost certainly designed for supersonic cruise without afterburning. In April, Adm. Wu Shengli, the navy chief, listed supercruising fighters among equipment that his service needed. Notably, all the other equipment on his wish list looked quite achievable by the end of the next decade, matching the timing that the air force now suggests for the fighter.

China classifies aircraft of the F-22’s technology level as fourth-generation fighters, although they are called fifth-generation aircraft in the West. China’s current advanced fighter, the J-10, is locally called a third-generation aircraft, which in Chinese terms means that it is comparable with the Lockheed Martin F-16.

Work on “the fourth-generation aircraft is now proceeding intensely,” He says.

Whether the upcoming fighter is really comparable with the F-22 remains to be seen. Low radar reflectivity would not be surprising, since aircraft and missiles with stealthy shapes are now popping up in many countries, including South Korea as recently as last month (AW&ST Oct. 26-Nov. 2, p. 42). But sensor performance, information fusion and maximum supercruise speed would also be assessed critically in measuring a claim to have caught up with technology levels that the U.S. did not deploy until 2005.

The existence of a Chinese fifth-generation fighter, usually tagged J-XX, has been rumored for years without official confirmation.

If the aircraft does go into service before 2020, then at that time China may well have jumped past Britain, France and other Western European countries in terms of deployed, domestically developed combat-aircraft technology. That will depend on how quickly those countries move to field combat drones to replace current strike aircraft, says Andrew Brookes of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Brookes takes seriously the Chinese objective of technology equivalent to the F-22, and he sees no reason to doubt that the F-22 would be the standard against which they would judge their design. The know-how can be imported.

“The Russians have the technology and the Chinese have the money,” he says. “If they really set that as a target, then I think they can do it.”

The aircraft may not bother Western manufacturers in export markets, Brookes suggests, simply because an equivalent of the F-22 would be a destabilizing export that China would be prefer to keep to itself.

Even if China decides that it wants to export the fighter, Lockheed Martin should by then be well entrenched with the F-35, which should be mature and reliable at that point. Other manufactures may not be so well placed, however.

Gen. He made his remarks during an interview on China Central Television as part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the air force of the People’s Republic of China. (The general’s surname is pronounced as “her” but without the “r.”)

China is probably working on two fifth-generation concepts, says Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. One of those concepts, appearing most commonly in bits and pieces of evidence that have turned up from time to time, would be a heavy twin-engine fighter probably of about the same size as the F-22. The other is a single-engine aircraft probably closer to the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Gen. He could be referring to either of the aircraft when predicting an entry into service during the next decade. Fisher’s bet is that he is talking about the twin-engine concept.

Like Brookes, Fisher believes China is realistically aiming at the F-22’s technology level. “One has to assume that the People’s Liberation Army is confident in its projections, as it almost never makes such comments about future military programs, especially one that has been as closely held as its next-generation fighter.

“As such, one has to be asking very hard questions: How did the U.S. intelligence community get this one wrong? And inasmuch as no one expects the F-35 to replace the F-22 in the air superiority role, is it time to acknowledge that F-22 production termination is premature and that a much higher number is needed to sustain deterrence in Asia?”

In his July 16 speech, Gates said that even in 2025 China would have but a handful of fifth-generation aircraft.

The new Chinese fighter could come from the Chengdu or Shenyang plants of Avic Defense.

Gen. He says the Chinese air force plans to emphasize development of four capabilities: reconnaissance and early warning, air strike, strategic supply, and air and missile defense.

The J-10 began large-scale service entry in 2006, state media say.

When Wu raised the prospect of a supercruising fighter, an easy answer seemed to be an advanced version of the J-10. That looks less likely now that He describes the future concept as a full generation ahead of the J-10.


“I believe the Chinese have a difficult road if their design is tied to the J-10,” says a U.S. Air Force officer involved in the development of the F-35. “Significantly reduced signature requires more than coatings. It requires an integrated design philosophy with the right shaping, the right structure and the right surface coatings.”

Fisher assumes that China is developing improved fourth-generation fighters in parallel with the fifth generation.

The existence of the airlifter has been known for several years, if only because pictures of it have appeared fleetingly in presentations by the Chinese aviation conglomerate Avic.

As expected, it turns out to be a product of Avic’s large-airplane subsidiary, Avic Aircraft and, more specifically, of the subsidiary’s core plant, Xi’an Aircraft.

Avic Aircraft General Manager Hu Xiaofeng says the airlifter is in the 200-metric-ton class and will be unveiled at the end of this year.

In fact, its design has already unveiled in pictures shown by state media. The four-engine aircraft adopts the universal high-wing, T-tail configuration. The wing is mounted on top of the circular body, rather than passing through a deep segment of it and cutting out much of the usable cross-section. In that respect it is like the A400M, Ilyushin Il-76 and Kawasaki C-X but unlike the C-17, whose embedded wing presents less frontal area.

The main gear of the Chinese aircraft is housed in very protuberant sponsons, like those of the C-17.

A photograph of the cockpit shows five electronic displays of moderate size and conventional transport-style control columns. Engines are not revealed but would presumably be imported from Russia. A wind-tunnel model shows the engines are enclosed in long nacelles, like those of the Perm PS-90 from Russia.

The PS-90 has a standard maximum thrust of 35,300 lb. in its latest version. The C-17, with a gross weight of 265 tons, is powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117 engines of 40,400 lb. thrust.

The airlifter’s fuselage appears to be of conventional metal construction. The aircraft will be significantly larger than the A400M, which has a 141-metric-ton gross weight.

Hu says it has been independently developed in China. However, his parent company, Avic, has a long history of cooperation with Ukrainian airlifter specialist Antonov.China Close To Testing Next-Gen Fighter | AVIATION WEEK

So, why did China not cooperate with the Russians. I think China realizes that it has enough aerospace technology base to be able to develop a true 5th generation fighter. At the same time, the Russians would always be the primary partner in such a project. It would be hard to imagine China wanting to act second-fiddle and be locked out of a large part of the development process and some of the advanced technologies. By working with the Russians, China would not only pay a majority of the development but also continuously pay Russians for certain parts of the frame, maintenance/repairs, extra supplies of the engine and maybe even missile/avionics cost. In the end, China has enough faith in AVIC1 to be able to develop this fighter. China PLA blog

On November 9, General He Weirong, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), confirmed long-standing speculations that the PLAAF is developing fifth-generation fighters (fourth-generation in Chinese standard), which may be in service within 8 to 10 years, and certainly by 2020. During an interview with state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) two days ahead of the 60th anniversary of the PLAAF on November 11, Deputy Commander He announced that the next-generation fighter would soon undergo its first flight, closely followed by flight trials (Xinhua News Agency, November 9). The senior military officer’s disclosure reflects the considerable progress that the PLAAF has made in force modernization, which has exceeded Western expectations in terms of the pace of development and the capabilities of its defense industrial base. While China remains several steps behind the United States in operationalizing its advanced fighter jets, the PLA’s rapid military modernization has raised concerns among U.S. allies in the region that the military balance is beginning to tilt toward China’s favor.

In an interview with Global Times, PLAAF Commander Xu Qiliang stated, “superiority in space and in air would mean, to a certain extent, superiority over the land and the oceans” (Global Times, November 2), thereby highlighting the PLAAF’s position in Chinese military planning. At an event commemorating the PLAAF’s 60th anniversary, President Hu Jintao heralded a “new chapter” in the development of the PLAAF (Global Times, November 10).

China’s fifth-generation fighters will reportedly have 4S capabilities: stealth, super cruise, super maneuverability and short take-off. According to Air Force Colonel Dai Xu, “its most striking characteristic is the capability of invisibility, which also could be called low detectability” (Global Times, November 10). The U.S. F-22 Raptor serves as the gold standard of fifth-generation fighters, which is currently the only fifth-generation fighter in service among all the world’s armed forces. According to General He’s interview, Chengdu Aircraft, the country’s leading fighter manufacturer, is reportedly developing the fighter with Shenyang Aircraft (Xinhua News Agency, November 9).

General He’s startling revelation that the next-generation fighter may be in service by 2020 stands in stark contrast to the Chinese habit of closely guarding its military capabilities, yet consistent with a recent trend that reflects the Chinese Armed Force’s growing confidence in its military strength. During an interview with the official Xinhua News Agency back in September, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie proclaimed that, “Our [China’s] capabilities in waging defensive combat under modern conditions have taken a quantum leap … It could be said that China has basically all the kinds of equipment possessed by Western countries, much of which reaches or approaches advanced world standards” (Xinhua News Agency, September 21),

Indeed, an ongoing survey conducted by Global Times among its Chinese users revealed some telling observations about how they perceive China’s security environment and PLA airpower. The short four-question survey asks the respondents questions ranging from where they think the biggest security threat to China in the future will come from to how they rate China’s airpower and what type of air force should be developed in the future. The first question, which asks how respondents view China’s security environment, 46 percent of the 9,335 who answered said that they think the biggest security threat to China comes from the sea, while 43 percent responded that it is airborne. The second question asked respondents to rate China’s air force, and 50.8 percent rated the Chinese Air Force as average, while 44.9 percent rated it as weak. The third question asked respondents what kind of airforce China should develop, and an overwhelming majority, 75.3 percent, responded that China ought to develop a strategic air force capable of covering the entire globe. The final question asks respondents where China should place its emphasis with regard to air force development, and the majority—47.6 percent—responded that China’s air force should develop a space-based combat unit (satellites, space weapons, etc.), while 21.3 percent responded that China’s emphasis should be placed on developing large airlift platforms (strategic bombers and cargo aircraft, etc.) (, November 17).

In light of China’s rapid air force modernization, Japan is increasingly concerned about Chinese regional air superiority. A Kyodo News report cited by the Global Times quoted Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canada-based Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, as saying that the PLAAF currently has 280 J-11s, whose combat performance is comparable to Japan’s Air Self Defense Forces’ 200 F-15s, and 140 J-10s, which are a match for the F-16s. According to a Japanese military source, “even though [Japan] has a disadvantage in numbers at the moment, but combined with its airborne early warning and control system Japan can win in terms of quality.” Yet, the source cautioned that, “once China deploys its AEWC [KJ-2000, which were on display at the October 1 National Day Parade] … Japan’s air superiority will gradually diminish” (China Daily, November 11; Global Times, November 12).

China’s Fifth-Generation Fighters and the Changing Strategic Balance , Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 23November 19, 2009 12:51 PM Age: 48 days. By: Russell Hsiao, Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 23

Recently, we’ve received two pieces of news. The first one is an enthusiastic report on WS-15. The article just got really excited about using digital design for developing WS-15, but it did not really explain how well the project really is doing. According to some online sources, the engine should be ready in the middle to later part of next decade. The thrust performance is designed toward matching F-119, but it’s hard to think that WS-15 would be as reliable and stealthy as F-119. We also got one final confirmation from CAC that they got the main design work for the 5th generation fighter. Now, the production facility of SAC may still be used to produce a large part of the 5th generation fighter, but PLAAF clearly likes CAC’s design better. SAC will be saddled with the design for the naval fighter, future J-11 variants and UAV/UCAVs. CAC now has the upgraded J-10, the 5th generation fighter, the global hawk-like UAV and the JF-17 projects to work on. After SAC is done with J-8IIs (hopefully soon), SAC basically only has J-11 variants and UAVs to work on. Also, what does XAC have after JH-7A? I presume bomber or fighter-bomber projects, but there really isn’t a good report verifying much of anything. Also, it’s interesting that PLAAF selected CAC’s design over SAC despite neither firm having built a prototype. CAC will now be in charge of getting some built soon that will use 2 WS-15 engine (or maybe WS-10 series in the beginning), radar (by probably 14th institute) and integrating different avionics together. CAC is already getting a lot of experience developing a new generation of avionics on the upgraded J-10. The 5th generation plane should take that up a notch to be able to fighter in the new environment. A new generation of missiles are also being developed for future fighters. We’ve seen/heard a 5th generation SRAAM, a successor MRAAM to PL-12 and a Metor-like ramjet powered LRAAM. CAC has shown that it can integrate all of this in the J-10 project. So, I think PLAAF is making the right decision to pick it ahead of SAC for the 5th generation design work. At current time, I’ve been reading 2015 as the year that this plane will join service. I think this is kind of optimistic, because they are not expecting first flight until 2012.

—Moin Ansari

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