Tag Archives: Senkaku Islands

The Impressive Chinese AG600 Maritime Patrol Flying Boat Makes First Flight in Zhuhai, China.

It’s the second largest amphibious aircraft in the world after the Beriev A-40. Mission Includes Maritime Security, Search and Rescue and Firefighting.

The impressive AVIC AG600 long-range maritime security and patrol amphibious aircraf made its first flight from land at the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China on Dec. 24, 2017. The large, four-engine turboprop aircraft, with a wingspan of 127-feet, flew for about one-hour according to Chinese state media. It is comparable in size the jet-powered twin-engine P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft but adds the capability to land and take off in the open ocean, even in relatively heavy seas. The take-off was broadcast live on television in China. The aircraft returned to significant fanfare including planned celebrations to publicize the event.

The AG600 continues the long history of flying boats in the Asian region. (All photos: Xinhuanet)

Large, long range “flying boat” amphibious aircraft have a history of utility and success in the region, with Japan often leading the way with flying boat designs since WWII and continuing into modern aviation with their recent large, four-engine ShinMaywa US-2 and previous flying boat, the Shin Meiwa US-1A maritime patrol aircraft. Because of the region’s dependence on maritime trade and territorial disputes over small islands, the role of these aircraft has become particularly relevant. In civilian culture the aircraft and their crews take on mystic relevance because of their guardianship of sailors at sea and their ability to swoop down from the sky and save doomed men adrift in the open ocean.

China’s, Xinhua news agency broadcast that the aircraft was the “protector spirit of the sea, islands and reefs,” attesting to its security role along with an increasing environmental surveillance role to protect endangered reef areas from poaching of sharks and pollution.

The aircraft can also fill large onboard water tanks when floating on surface for fighting fires both onboard ships and on land. The aircraft can fill its onboard firefighting tanks with 12-tons of water in only 20 seconds.

The AG600’s chief designer, state aviation engineer Huang Lingcai, was quoted in the official China Daily earlier this month as saying the aircraft can make round trips without refueling from the southern island province of Hainan to James Shoal, a disputed area claimed by China but located close to Sarawak in Malaysia.

There are currently 17 outstanding orders for the AG600 from Chinese government departments and Chinese companies. Long un-refueled operating range and endurance is a key selling feature of the AG600, with a maximum flight range of 4,500 km (2,800 miles) and a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tons. It can carry a large passenger and crew compliment of up to 50 personnel.

Chinese and Japanese jets fly into China’s controversial Air Defense Identification Zone

Tension in growing in the East China Sea where China established an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

First, the ADIZ was “violated” by two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers that did not to comply with any of the rules set by Beijing for foreign aircraft entering the new airspace: they simply crossed the airspace, flying in international airspace without prior notification of their arrival.

Japanese military aircraft, including a P-3C maritime surveillance plane, that is supporting Japanese warships in the area, have carried out routine surveillance missions over the Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu in China).

Some Japan Air Self Defense Force fighter jets carried out the first interceptions of China’s AEW aircraft patrolling the area few hours after the controversial ADIZ was established but more close encounters are to be expected: on Nov. 28, talking to state news agency Xinhua, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) spokesman Shen Jinke said more fighter jets and an early warning aircraft were launched into the newly declared air defence zone.

The iarcraft conducted normal air patrols: “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices.”

So, what’s next?

Anything may happen, even if most probably Chinese jets will remain far away from Japanese or South Korean ones, that will continue to operate undistubed.

And, sooner or later, U.S. B-2s will be sent to fly an extended deterrence mission through the Chinese ADIZ.

Image credit: PLAAF

 

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Two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers enter China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone over disputed islands

A flight of two U.S. B-52 bombers have reportedly entered the new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over East China Sea on Nov. 25 without informing Beijing, according to a U.S. official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal.

The two aircraft departed from Guam airbase and flew close to the disputed islands without complying with any of the rules set by Beijing for the new ADIZ over Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku islands in Japan).

The question is: did China’s air defense detect them? Did they try to intercept the two B-52s?

The two bombers, unarmed and not escorted by any fighter plane, were involved in a previous planned exercise dubbed “Coral Lightening”.

Even if the U.S. has already flown “extended deterrence” missions in the Asia-Pacific region in the past, this is an unprecedented direct challenge to China and its threats to Washington’s local allies.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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Japan interceptors scrambled 185 times against Chinese and Russian aircraft in last 3 months

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force is always quite busy intercepting planes skirting the Japanese airspace.

In the third quarter of year (in the period between July and September 2013), JASDF planes were scrambled 80 times in response to activity of Chinese warplanes (and drones) close to Tokyo’s airspace.

The number of alert scrambles is the third highest since 2005 (when the MoD started releasing such figures).

On Sept. 8, two H-6G maritime strike aircraft were intercepted by the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15 scrambled from Naha while flying in international airspace between the Miyako and Okinawa islands. On Sept. 9 a Chinese BZK-005 UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was intercepted near the contested Senkaku islands.

The dispute about the islands in the East China Sea has surely played a role in the increase of People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy activity in the area.

However, not only Chinese fighters caused some concern to the JASDF: from July to September, the number of QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) departures in response to Russian planes, reached a peak of 105, up form only 31 of the previous quarter (April – June).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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[Photo] China’s Navy UAV flies close to the disputed Senkaku islands

On Sept. 9, one day after two H-6G maritime strike aircraft had been intercepted by the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15 scrambled from Naha while flying in international airspace between the Miyako and Okinawa islands, an unknown Chinese UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was intercepted near the contested Senkaku islands.

Based on the image released by the Japan MoD, the UAV seems to be a Wing Loong (Pterodactyl), a drone based on the U.S. MQ-1 Predator.

Update: as suggested by several readers the drone is actually a BZK-005 more than a Pterodactyl.

Image credit: Japan MoD

 

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