Chinese Submariners

This is a pretty interesting video. It’s an older Type 033 Romeo diesel-electric boat used for training. It’s technology from the 1950s, but the Chinese built them well into the 1980s.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG-J_3TExv0]

A couple thoughts. Voice pipes! Who still uses voice pipes? And isn’t that a little problematical from a water-tight integrity view?

Second, the food looked really good. But not having a proper mess deck is really weird.

The video is for domestic Chinese consumption, so of course the PLAN comes across looking pretty good.

VADM Crowder, Retired GOFOs, Double Standards, and Cognitive Dissonance

Trotsky

In the November 2015 issue of USNI Proceedings magazine, retired VADM Douglas Crowder asserted that retired Flag and General Officers should refrain from engaging in the political process , “stay on the sidelines, and away from public endorsements” of candidates in a general election.  In his “Hear This”, Crowder seems to believe the genesis of such activity was Admiral William Crowe’s endorsement of Bill Clinton.  In reality, however, such activities on the part of retired Generals and Admirals, including their entry into the political process as national candidates, goes back to the founding of our Republic.   There has never been a Constitutional prohibition on retired GOFOs participating in the political process, up to and including using the titles of rank that they have earned in the expression of their views and opinions.

For some reason, we are suddenly hearing that such Constitutionally-protected free speech is now “dangerous”, that it could lead to a “politicization” of the Armed Forces.   General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior Officer on the active list, intimated such when he called that free speech “unhelpful”,  and later scolded retired GOFOs for exercising their rights.  Apparently he missed the irony of an active agent of the US Government engaging in behavior that has a “chilling effect” on free speech, conduct expressly forbidden as a violation of the very Constitution which Dempsey swore an oath to support and defend.  Indeed, Dempsey’s immoderate and despicable conduct illustrates the two things very wrong with VADM Crowder’s admonitions.  The first is that there is virtually no complaint or outcry when a GOFO goes on record, either in print or the visual media, expressing support for the far-left agenda.   As an example, the gay and lesbian retired GOFOs who openly advocated repeal of DADT were described as being “courageous”, some were even lauded at Obama’s State of the Union addresses.  So how is it that, when contrary to the agenda of the far-left, such political expression becomes dangerous?   It can’t be.  Unless there is a double standard when it comes to Constitutional liberties.  Heaven forfend.   And, here is where the cognitive dissonance begins.   In this month’s Proceedings, Navy Commander Michael Wisecup cautions us on such dangers of retired GOFOs:

“…think of the implications to our profession if a political party could endorse and groom select active-duty (O)fficers into greater positions of authority in order to advocate for their platform.”

Which brings us to the far more disturbing issue that is wrong with VADM Crowder’s (and CDR Wisecup’s) assertions.  They have little to do with the true danger, the increasing trend of active-duty Officers carrying the political water for their masters.  Warning of the dangers of the lawful free expression assiduously ignores damage being done by the increasingly-politicized GOFO ranks at the top of our Armed Forces under Barack Obama.  Advocate for political platforms?  Are you kidding me?  Such instances are impossible to miss.

  • Martin Dempsey’s admonition against lawful free expression was not limited to simply criticism of retired GOFOs who are private citizens.  No, General Dempsey, while in the execution of his duties as an active duty  Military Officer, admonished a PRIVATE CITIZEN to desist from lawful free expression that the General found disagreeable.  Dempsey should have been relieved of his duties.  Had he had such objections to retired GOFOs speaking out in support of the far-left agenda of his political master, he would have been relieved had he not kept his mouth shut.
  • Admiral Mike Mullen’s shameful charade in front of Congress, when he offered, unprompted, his personal views on repeal of DADT, and proceeded to inform the US Military that any disagreement with them would be considered lack of integrity.  Such arrogance and poor judgment also should have been met with censure, but instead Mullen was declared a hero for advancing the political agenda of the far left.  That he lost any remaining respect from many of those he was charged with leading mattered little to him.  Mullen did, however, admonish Army MajGen Mixon for advising his soldiers to utilize their Constitutional rights in addressing their Congressional representatives.
  • After the Islamist terrorist act at Fort Hood in 2009,  in which Maj Nidal Hasan screamed “Allahu Akbar!” while shooting 45 Americans, mostly service members, 13 of them fatally, Army Chief of Staff Casey never addressed how a known Islamist extremist might have been accessed into his Army, or how he managed to be promoted to Major.  Instead, in an act of pathetic political sycophancy, Casey hoped the Islamist terrorism (still called “workplace violence”) would not affect US Army diversity efforts.
  • Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, also pushed incessantly for the codified racial and sexual discrimination known as “diversity”, instead of ensuring the United States Navy was organized, trained, and equipped to fight a war at sea.  The Navy, following his tenure as CNO, is woefully unprepared for such an eventuality.  However, it seemed far more important to Roughead that the Navy “looked like America”, selecting and promoting its leaders on criteria other than merit and suitability.  Race and gender (and sexual preference) have replaced competence and performance.  The mess Roughead made will take a decade to clean up, if it even can be.
  • In the midst of a sabre-rattling North Korea, with its rapidly increasing ballistic missile capability and nuclear weapons development, and a PLA Navy becoming ever more aggressive and capable, openly hostile to US interests and that of our allies in the Pacific Rim, COMUSPACOM Admiral Sam Locklear declared that the biggest security threat facing his forces was…….   global warming.
  • As part of the debacle of being relieved for cause as COMUSFOR-A, (ironically, because he and his Officers were highly critical of political leadership) Army General Stanley McChrystal let it be known he had voted for Barack Obama.  Revealing whom one voted for while speaking as an active duty Officer was once considered a serious taboo.  In fact, I don’t know if I can recall any senior Officer acknowledging such quite so publicly.  To the surprise of nobody, as soon as he retired, McCrystal went on to rail about his support for gun control and other leftist agenda items.  Nary a peep of protest from Dempsey.
  • Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USMC General “Hoss” Cartwright openly described Constitutional limitations to the authority of the Defense Department as “obstacles” to mission accomplishment rather than necessary bulwarks for the preservation of individual liberties.  In what context?  To push Barack Obama’s July 2009 agenda to expand the authority of Government over the internet, specifically privately-owned networks and information infrastructure.

Advocating for political platforms, indeed.  Yes, it is sometimes a tricky course to navigate, to follow the orders of the President as Commander in Chief, without being an active agent in his advancing a domestic political agenda.  But that is why much is expected (or had been, at least) of the professionalism and judgment of senior Officers.  Admiral William Leahy, despite his personal bent toward Republican conservatism, was able to serve his President, New-Dealer Franklin Roosevelt, loyally and superbly throughout the Second World War.  As did Dwight Eisenhower, who would become the Republican nominee in 1952.   There seem to be an ever-shrinking number of GOFOs in the higher ranks of our military with the character and willingness to do so.

The increasing politicization of the senior leadership of the Armed Forces of the United States means such egregious political pandering and subversion of our Constitution will increase, not decrease.  Yet, people like VADM Crowder and CDR Wisecup seem to think it is the RETIRED GOFOs that pose the danger to seeing our Armed Forces become yet another government weapon to be used against political opposition instead of fighting and winning our nation’s wars against America’s enemies.   I find that quite concerning.  Once again, just like we are told after yet another act of Islamist terrorism that law-abiding Americans are to blame for exercising their Constitutional liberties under the Second Amendment, it is actually the GOFO retirees who are the problem, not the invertebrate political lap-dogs on active duty doing the bidding of the left, and that those retirees should refrain from exercising their Constitutional liberties under the First Amendment.    Each of those assertions requires the embracing of a dangerous double standard.   And each requires a generous helping of cognitive dissonance.  A disturbing trend, to be sure.

 

How do you say “Raptor” in Chinese?

H/T to Fringe.

So, the Chinese put on a public display of their J-31 stealth fighter, their knockoff of the US F-22A Raptor.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLQEtRxflEU]

As Fringe noted, a couple details- one, those RD-93s smoke more than I do. And the roll rate as show was pretty meh. And I would note that the typical US Raptor airshow demonstration displays much more performance in the vertical plane. This was just a zoom climb and a couple of sustained turns.

The real question is how well its avionics and stealth work, and that’s simply not something we can discern from an airshow clip.

Further, it should be noted that China has a large air force, but only a tiny percentage of it is 4th generation fighter aircraft comparable to US equipment.

About that Freedom of Navigation Exercise last week in the South China Sea.

So, on October 27, the USS Lassen conducted a Freedom of Navigation (FON) exercise in the South China Sea (SCS) sailing within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese built artificial island in the area.  Historically, and under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), artificial islands have never been recognized as sovereign territory, and thus, have no territorial waters associated with them. * That is, all the ships and planes of the world are able to freely operate or conduct commerce in those waters, including transit or passage, or fishing, or routine military operations. There are any number of places in the world where nations have staked out a claim of territorial waters, and the US has responded by conducting FON exercises. Probably the most famous was the 1986 Gulf of Sidra “Line of Death” incident, where Muhamar Ghaddaffi declared the gulf as territorial waters for Libya. The US Navy promptly mounted large scale FON exercises in those waters, with destroyers operating just outside the recognized 12nm territorial limit, and placing Combat Air Patrols well inside the limits claimed by Libya.

Libya responded with hostile acts that quickly ended badly for Libya.

800px-Burning_Libyan_Corvette

Don’t bring a Nanchuka corvette to an A-6 Intruder fight.

While tensions with China aren’t as great as those with Libya in 1986, they are also likely a greater cause for concern in the long run.

After news leaked out that the Navy had not conducted any FON exercises near the artificial islands in the SCS, eventually the White House caved pressure from Congress, leading to USS Lassen’s voyage.

But as @AmericanHipple of CIMSEC notes, Chris Cavas writing in DefenseNews.com shows us that the exercise may accidentally undermine the Freedom of Navigation exercise.

New details about the Lassen’s transit became available Oct. 30 from a US Navy source, who said the warship took steps to indicate it was making a lawful innocent passage with no warlike intent. The ship’s fire control radars were turned off and it flew no helicopters, the source said. Although a US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft was in the area, it did not cross inside the 12 nautical mile limit.

Here’s the problem with the statement from that source- innocent passage.

Innocent passage is a well established legal doctrine, both historically and under UNCLOS, that applies only to territorial waters of a sovereign state.

UPDATE: A clarification from Matt Hipple. He’s not arguing that it was an exercise in futility, but notes that if in fact it was conducted as Innocent Passage, it undermines the entire point of the FON exercise. It should be noted that Hipple’s views are his personal views, and not necessarily those of the United States Navy nor CIMSEC.

That’s not to say the US should commit overtly hostile acts within the areas claimed by China. But to fail to exercise genuine Freedom of Navigation, and to characterize the voyage as innocent passage is to tacitly acknowledge Chinese sovereignty.

Several actions could and should have taken place to emphasize that the US considers the waters to be international, and not territorial. Sailing on varied  courses and speeds, having the accompanying P-8A enter the 12nm zone, flying the embarked ship’s helicopter while within 12nm, and conducting fire control tracking drills against that helicopter, and small boat operations all would serve to drive home the point that the international waters of the world are available for the use of all nations.

Speaking of CIMSEC, a couple of Hipple’s coauthors have a very interesting piece on the paramilitary aspects of Chinese maritime power, and how they use it to frustrate US and other nations efforts in the region.

*Nor do they have an associated 200nm Exclusive Economic Zone, which actually might be of more interest to China.

Sharpening the Spear- The Carrier, the Joint Force, and High-End Conflict

New From The Hudson Institute’s Center For American SeapowerSharpening the Spear: The Carrier, the Joint Force, and High-End Conflict.

[scribd id=283768737 key=key-WH4uWzvqm4bbv2ife7jS mode=scroll]

Spill and I had an interesting hour long conversation with the Center’s deputy director, and co-author of the report, Bryan McGrath, which, unfortunately for technical reasons we can’t podcast. With a little bit of luck, however, we’ll be able to have Bryan join us again soon to discuss the topic.

I’m going to shock you, dear reader, and admit that, like Bryan, I generally agree with President Obama, with regards to his policy toward China. I disagree on some specific issues, but not the general approach of emphasizing areas of cooperation, instead of those of divergence.

But as Bryan discussed with us, and as the report makes clear, there is a vast difference between not antagonizing China needlessly, and shutting down all discussion of the ramifications of a possible large scale conflict with China, and how that might best be fought.

The Bring the HEAT Podcast

Join Spill and me with out special guest Matt Hipple, President of the Center for International Maritime Security. We’re talking about Chinese Maritime Strategy, Distributed Lethality, and social media in the military. You can listen to us on Youtube, or via the mp3 player below, or download at the archive link below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cngBHHpazA8?feature=player_embedded]

———

Continue reading “The Bring the HEAT Podcast”

China’s Growler?

Spill passed along this little bit about China introducing a new version of the JH-7A Flounder for the Electronic Attack mission.

The People’s Liberation Army is hoping that its new JH-7A “Flying Leopard” fighter-bomber can help give China a much-needed boost in aerial electronic warfare, reports the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.

The JH-7A is an upgraded version of the JH-7 twin-engine fourth generation aircraft manufactured by the Xi’an Aircraft Industry Corporation. The fighter-bomber is said to be a major step forward in China’s bid for “electromagnetic supremacy,” the modern key to air supremacy in combat.

According to the report, the current problem with China’s electronic warfare lies in the low number of available platforms, inferior technology and average combat capabilities.

At present, the PLA only has two aircraft with electronic warfare and countermeasure capabilities — the HD-6, the electronic warfare variant of the H-6 jet bomber, and the Y-8G, the electronic warfare model of the Y-8 transport aircraft.

The baseline JH-7A Flounder serves as a long range precision strike aircraft in the PLAAF and as a long range maritime strike aircraft in the PLANAF.

nvtkq_3aqus

Yes, it greatly resembles a SEPECAT Jaguar, but it is a good deal larger, being powered by a Chinese made variant of the Rolls Royce Spey engine.

It’s unclear from the linked article whether the new EA mission will be fulfilled with a dedicated full time variant, or if it is simply a “podded” capability being added to the Flounder fleet. At any rate, it’s interesting in that very few countries operate dedicated electronic attack aircraft.

The US, of course, flies the EA-18G Growler, and the EA-6B Prowler. Germany operates the Tornado ECR, but that’s a Wild Weasel variant, not a jamming platform.  Australia has also bought the EA-18G. Most of our other allies, however, seem to presume that any air campaign will be conducted in cooperation with us, with the US supplying all the EA needed. After all, that’s been the template for the last 25 years.

China, of course, doesn’t see us supply EA coverage for any potential campaign. One wonders what possible campaigns they might contemplate? Area denial to the South China Sea? That is, EA attacks on US, Japanese, or Korean Aegis equipped destroyers?  Or maybe deep strike missions against Japan?

Massive Explosion rocks Tianjin China

Warning, some graphic images.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQwRMGa4jsU?feature=player_embedded]

Flammable goods at a container terminal in northern China’s Tianjin municipality exploded at about 11:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday (11:30 a.m. ET), shattering windows and causing injuries, according to state media reports.

The number of casualties from the blast in the city’s Binhai New Area is unknown, China Central Television reported on its news app, citing the local fire department. Injured people have been hospitalized, it said. One report put the number injured higher than 400. The Daily Mirror reported the injury toll at more than 1,000.

Via National Post.

Bring The HEAT Podcast

OK, I got the (most of) the technology figgered out. And a quick call with Spill actually generated some real content.

You can stream it here.

[archiveorg Podcast62615 width=640 height=30 frameborder=0 webkitallowfullscreen=true mozallowfullscreen=true]

Or you can download the mp3 here.

(Right click and chose “Save Link As”)

If there’s sufficient interest, we’ll look at iTunes and Stitcher as well.

Patrol Planes in the South China Sea

For years, there have been tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, particularly in the region of the Sprately Islands. There have also been tensions between the US and China over operations in the same region, among others.  The US recognizes no Chinese sovreignity over the disputed areas, and maintains its rights to freedom of navigation in the area. And to do so, they regularly exercise those rights, often via Maritime Patrol Aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon. Recently, to show how this plays out, a US Navy P-8A brought along a CNN crew to show just what is involved.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lBCRCnOUVk]

China is unlikely to be so rash as to actually attack an American military aircraft. On the other hand, you don’t have to go too terribly far back into the Cold War to find incidents where they did just that, costing American lives.

 

Via Alert 5