This interactive map of China’s power in the South China Sea is a wake-up call to us all

According to Business Insider

Reposted on News Republic

THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2016 10:01 AM GMT

Slowly but steadily, Beijing has been expanding and developing its military capabilities in the South China Sea.

Over the protests of other countries in the region — particularly Vietnam and the Philippines — China has dredged islands, established runways, installed radars, and deployed surface-to-air missiles throughout the sea.

The following interactive map, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, demonstrates Beijing’s growing strength in the region.

On the map, Beijing declares ownership to everything within its own self-declared Nine-Dash Line. This line thoroughly cuts through the accepted maritime borders of multiple states in the region, including Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

However, China claims the majority of the contested region, which is home to $5 trillion in annual global trade.

According to author and the chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, Robert D. Kaplan, “the South China Sea functions as the throat of the Western Pacific and Indian oceans — the mass of connective economic tissue where global sea routes coalesce.”

“More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through these choke points, and a third of all maritime traffic worldwide,” Kaplan wrote in “Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.”

What’s more, Xi Jinping is at the helm of the world’s largest military. China’s roughly $356 billion budget dominates the region’s military spending.

To that end, the tit for tat over crumbs of land in the South China Sea isn’t for nothing.

The current deployment of assets throughout the South China Sea allows China to hypothetically respond to any military matter effectively. The distribution of air strips and helicopter pads throughout the region, according to the map, allows China to effectively project airpower and de facto further their claims to control the region.

These developments have led to a report from CSIS claiming that the South China Sea will be nothing but a “Chinese lake” by 2030. And in mid-February, Beijing took a further step of militarizing the region by placing advanced surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island to solidify its claims.

This militarization of the region, and the potential consequences, has led the former CIA chief Gen. Michael Hayden to claim that mishandling the rise of China “will be catastrophic.”


Chinese J-11BS fighter jet

In the 1990s China signed an agreement with Russia, that allowed to build 200 Su-27SK aircraft from Russian-supplied kits. Production of the J-11 began in 1998. It made its maiden flight during the same year. However co-production of the basic J-11 was halted after around 100 aircraft were built. Later Chinese produces their indigenous version of this aircraft.

   The J-11 is a twin-engine, single-seat air superiority fighter, based on the Sukhoi Su-27’s design. It has a Western reporting name Flanker B+. At the time of its introduction it was a fairly respectable fighter jet with Russian engines and weaponry. It was a noteworthy adversary to US-made aircraft, such as Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon or Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.

   So far, there are 253 aircraft of various versions built and the production keeps on going. Produced in the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation in Northern China, all of the Shenyang J-11 aircraft, including the J-11A, J-11B, J-11BS, J-11D, J-15, and J-16 versions are used solely by Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force. It has never been exported.

   The first 100 Shenyang J-11 aircraft were fitted with Russian-made Lyulka Saturn AL-31 engines. However, the later versions, namely J-11B and J-16 use Chinese-built Woshan WS-10A “Taihang” turbofans.

   Performance of the basic version of this aircraft, the Shenyang J-11, is very similar to Sukhoi Su-27, not only because of an almost identical design, but also because of the equipment. This version employs Russian equipment like NIIP Tikhomirov N001V radar and armament including Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 autocannon and Vympel NPO missiles.

A-to-A Missiles: PL-12 medium-range; PL-7, PL-8, PL-9, AIM-9L/M short-range 

Kh-31/YJ-91  ARM

PL 12 missile model 

The improved PL-12 (PL-12A) is thought to be comparable to American AIM-120C4. It was reported in November 2010 that PL-12 may feature an active/passive dual mode seeker in order to achieve greater ECCM capability and kill probability. Several improved versions were proposed by the 607 Institute, including PL-12B with improved guidance system, PL-12C with foldable tailfins for internal carriage by the 4th generation fighters (e.g. J-20) and PL-12D with a belly air inlet and a ramjet motor for long range attack similar to PL-21 (see below). However it appears that the PL-12C/D proposal may have merged into the PL-15 program. During the 2012 Zhuhai Airshow a new anti-radiation air-to-ground variant was unveiled as LD-10 with a range of 60km, which could equip JF-17 as well.

Kh-31/YJ-91 ARM

Up to 6 Kh-31Ps can be carried by an Su-30MKK as a Wild Weasel aircraft. This supersonic missile is distinguished by 4 ramjet engines attached to its body which give the missile a range of 70km and a speed of Mach 3. It features an L112E passive seeker (with three interchangeable modules to cover different frequency bands) and its weight is 600kg with a 87kg warhead. The domestic version of Kh-31P has been produced locally under a license as YJ-91 (KR-1/H/AKJ91?), which can be carried by JH-7A, J-8G even the new FC-31 and is compatible with the Chinese fire-control system. In addition, the anti-ship version (Kh-31A) was also acquired and is being carried by the naval Su-30MK2 while its domestic counterpart (YJ-91A?) could be carried by the naval JH-7A as well as the new J-15 onboard aircraft carrier Liaoning. The introduction of Kh-31/YJ-91 ARM has enabled PLAAF to fly SEAD missions against enemy long-range SAM defences. The anti-ship YJ-91A is expected to be surpassed by the bigger and heavier YJ-12.

See related post:

China plans aircraft carrier battlegroups to protect offshore interests

China sends surface-to-air missiles to contested island in provocative move

Chinese Carrier-Based Aircraft Fighter J-15 Flying Shark – Video

Chinese J-16 fighter jet

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