Weekly Mil-Tech Update.

New Helmet to Improve Soldier’s Safety.

Images of China’s New Carrier-Based J-15 Surface.

Apaches Get Ground Fire Detection System.

Iran Arms Hovercrafts.

NG Begins Testing New Multi-Function Active Sensor.

Raytheon Wins Artillery Shell Deal.  Energy Weapons Arm Ships.

 Russia Successfully Test Launches Ballistic Missile.

Raytheon Awarded Contract for Patriot Missile Upgrades.

New Army Lakota Helicopters Loaded with Gear.

SAAB Wins Order for New AT-4 Upgrade.

Researchers Create Invisibility Cloak.

Indonesia Launches Fast Missile Boat.

Rafael Develops “Silver Sparrow” Missile.

Iran: What's Next? Missile Motorcycles?

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First Chinese Aircraft Carrier Scheduled to Launch Before Year Ends

Shi Lang to be ready before the end of the year

She was first bought from Ukraine in 1998 as one of the two Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers ordered for production by the Soviet Union in the 1980s.  Due to major budget cutbacks at the collapse of the USSR, the “Varyag” was up for auction to the highest bidder.  The purchase, originally under the conditions that it was going to used as a casino and hotel by a Hong Kong travel agency, quickly changed when the agency was denied access to rest in the Macau harbor.  Government officials stepped in and it was now in hands of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.  After slowly towing through the Black Sea, down the Suez canal, through the Indian ocean, and up the Chinese coast, she finally made the long journey to Dalian, where the Varyag was put into dry dock for examinations and refurbishment could begin.

China has made it clear that it wants a more powerful influence in the Pacific and the ability to stretch even further.  Essentially from a green water Navy (operations are limited close to shore) to a blue water Navy (the ability to reach anywhere on the globe, like the US Navy).  According to Taiwan official Tsai Teh-sheng, head of the island’s National Security Bureau, said “Varyag – a half-completed Soviet-era aircraft carrier Beijing obtained from Ukraine in 1998 – is expected to make its maiden voyage before the end of 2011.”  It is also ready to begin live training exercises in that same time.  PLAN pilots have already begun training on a mock land-based flight deck of the Varyag at Dalian.  Defense systems were finished this year, giving her the ability to defend at incoming surface to surface missiles.

I don’t believe there is going to be much to expect from the Varyag.  What is interesting though is the newly reported name, “Shi Lang“.   Shi Lang was a Chinese admiral who conquered Taiwan in the 17th century.  If that doesn’t send a message to the Taiwanese, I don’t know what does.  I don’t think the PLAN is really that stupid to rush this project into completion.  Training pilots to fly and perform carrier operations is no easy task, even with modern technology.  Ask any country who operates aircraft carriers and they will tell you it ain’t easy.  You better have some money and lives, which the Chinese certainly do at this point.  It took Americans around 20 years and a lot of lives, when operating with a prop plane to get it right, and around ten years and even more dead men, with jets.  It will be interesting now that as Americans learn how to safely operate drones from carriers, the Chinese with jets.  A race into a next capability of warfare for both sides.  I suggest America step it up.

The Chinese are going to take their time.  Construction on an indigenous carrier is underway.  She will likely be built by seeing what they liked, and what they didn’t like, and what worked, and doesn’t work on the Shi Lang.  The Shi Lang is probably going to be more a of a political statement (making the inhabitants of Formosa lose sleep) than an actual factor in international policy.  They will use it to train and operate on in preparation for the next decade to come, while constructing new carriers.