Archive for the ‘submarine’ Category

Russia’s Defense Industry Hit by Credit Crunch, Ivanov Says

November 11, 2008

Russia’s defense industry is facing difficulties in meeting orders from the state because of the global credit crunch, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Ivanov

Many companies are suffering from cash-flow problems, Ivanov said in remarks carried on state television. The financial crisis is “hitting some defense companies quite hard,” and the situation could prove “troublesome” for the industry, he said.

This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear ... 
AFP/Ntv
Above: This Russian submarine had an on board non nuclear accident that killed 20 this week.  She was on sea trials and scheduled to be tranferred to India.  She is now emblematic of Russia’s failing defense industry.


By Sebastian Alison, Bloomberg

Banks in which the state holds a large stake, including OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, VTB Group, the second largest, and state development bank Vnesheconombank, should consider lending to defense contractors, he said.

Ivanov was speaking today at a meeting in Moscow of a government commission on strategic enterprises and the defense industry.

“We’re talking about an industry with a lot of expenses and not too much revenue,” said Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center. She noted that Russia has recently made major arms sales to countries like Venezuela on credit with no repayments due for years.

Lipman said Russia’s Defense Ministry has been sending out mixed signals, for example by announcing cuts in military staffing numbers. This will produce tens of thousands of unemployed officers and the cost of retraining them for civilian jobs will be high, she said.

“Probably we will see that no such cuts will be made, because if you cut expenses in one place, you create them in another place,” she said.

Georgia War

Russia approved 344 billion rubles ($13 billion) in new defense spending last month following its five-day war with Georgia in August, Ivanov said on Oct. 16.

“Additional funds will be spent on purchases of modern weaponry, especially aircraft,” Ivanov, a former defense minister, said during a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev.

At the same time, Russian state revenue may slump as the price of oil, its biggest export, plunges and capital flight accelerates on concern the global economy is entering a recession.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/new
s?pid=20601095&sid=adH6D0VFaSVY

Submarine Deaths Underscore Russian Navy Decline

November 10, 2008

An accident aboard a Russian nuclear attack submarine that killed at least 20 and injured 22 late Saturday, is the latest in a series of undersea tragedies that have struck the Russian Navy as it struggles to regain Soviet-era capacities.

The ship’s nuclear reactor was undamaged in the incident, and survivors evacuated to the naval base at Vladivostok on Sunday, Russian officials said.

This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear ...
This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear submarine. Russian officials are investigating a gas poisoning accident on a nuclear submarine due to be leased to India that killed 20 people, as local people mourned the victims.(AFP/Ntv)

“During sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine of the Pacific Fleet the firefighting system went off unsanctioned, killing over 20 people, including servicemen and workers,” Russian naval spokesman Cpt. Igor Dyagalo told journalists.

“The submarine is not damaged, its reactor works as normal, and background radiation levels are normal,” he added.

The malfunction of the firefighting system, which spewed deadly freon gas through the forward compartments of K-152 Nerpa, an Akula-II class attack sub undergoing diving trials in the Sea of Japan, has a little-known international twist. Though neither government has officially admitted it, both Indian and Russian media have been reporting for months that the 12,000-ton Nerpa was to be handed over to the Indian Navy early next year under a 10-year lease.

The acquisition would multiply India’s military capabilities in the sensitive Indian Ocean, and raise questions about Russia’s role in proliferating nuclear technologies. Indian news agencies reported last week that a team of 40 Indian naval specialists was slated to arrive later this month in Vladivostok to learn about the ship.

“India was one of the main supporters of Russia’s defense industries after the Soviet Union collapsed, and provided funds that helped to keep our aviation and shipbuilding going,” says Vadim Kozulin, a military expert with the PIR Center, a security think tank in Moscow. “It’s only been in the past three years that Russian military procurement budgets have been greater than the earnings from exports.”

According to media reports, the deal was struck in 2004 in which India paid up to $650 million to refit the Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-era aircraft carrier, and assist completion of the Nerpa, which had lain on blocks at the Komsomolsk-na-Amur shipyard since its construction was largely abandoned in 1991.

The Akula-II class of nuclear subs, a late Soviet-era design, are able to dive deeper, more than 600 meters, run more silently than previous attack subs, and move at speeds up to 33 knots while fully submerged.

Russian seamen line up on an unidentified submarine believed ...
Russian seamen line up on an unidentified submarine believed to be an Akula-class submarine during a military parade training in Vladivostok in this July 25, 2008 file photo. More than 20 people were killed and another 21 injured in an accident aboard a Russian nuclear submarine in the Pacific Ocean, the navy said on Sunday, in the worst submarine disaster since the Kursk sank eight years ago. The RIA agency quoted a source in the Amur Shipbuilding Enterprise as saying the accident occurred aboard the Nerpa, a Project 971 Shchuka-B attack submarine, known inside NATO as an Akula-class submarine. Picture taken July 25, 2008.REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev (RUSSIA)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20081110/ts_
csm/osub;_ylt=AtY6WORt6v_GyVKHZp.B1Cys0NUE

***********************

By Sergei L. Loiko
The Los Angeles Times
November 10, 2008
Reporting from Moscow — A false alarm was responsible for setting off the emission of deadly fire-extinguishing gases on a new Russian nuclear-powered submarine in the Sea of Japan, killing 20 people and injuring 21 late Saturday, Russian navy officials said.

All but three of the dead were civilian specialists and experts on board the Shark-class submarine Nerpa for the performance test trial, according to the federal prosecutors office.

The ship’s nuclear reactor was not affected in the accident, and the submarine returned safely to port on its own, said Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo. The reactor was operating properly, and the radiation levels were normal, Dygalo told the Russian news agency Interfax on Sunday.

Dygalo said that, of 208 people on board, 91 were crew members and the rest were civilian specialists and experts overseeing the testing of the submarine.

Analysts said the large presence of civilians was probably a crucial factor in the high casualty count. The regular crew would have been far better prepared for the emergency situation when the gas-emission siren rang, said Igor Kurdin, a former Russian nuclear missile submarine commander and head of the St. Petersburg Submariners Club.

“Even if you are the president of the country present on a submarine,” Kurdin said, “you can’t rely on your security detail to save your life in a fire, because you need to be able to save your own life by using the rescue equipment properly and quickly.”

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/
world/la-fg-russiasub10-2008nov10
,0,3939263.story?track=rss

***********************

MOSCOW – India’s navy was supposed to lease the brand-new Russian nuclear submarine that suffered an accident over the weekend which killed 20 people, news reports said Monday.

Read the rest:
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081110
/world/russia_submarine_2

Russia Says Sub’s Fire Suppression System Killed 20 Sailors

November 9, 2008

The fire safety system on a brand-new Russian nuclear submarine accidentally turned on as the sub was being tested in the Sea of Japan, spewing chemicals that suffocated 20 people and sent 21 others to the hospital, officials said Sunday.

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer

The Russian Navy said the submarine itself was not damaged in Saturday’s accident and returned to its base on Russia’s Pacific coast under its own power Sunday. The accident also did not pose any radiation danger, the navy said.

Yet it was Russia‘s worst naval accident since torpedo explosions sank another nuclear-powered submarine, the Kursk, in the Barents Sea in 2000, killing all 118 seamen aboard.

NTV video grab shows a nuclear submarine being manouvered at ... 
NTV video grab shows a nuclear submarine being manouvered at a Russian naval base in Bolshoi Kamen.(AFP/NTV/Ntv)

Read the rest:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
81109/ap_on_re_eu/eu_russia_
submarine;_ylt=AsYxeWUyfw9kEpjIFtu9e4Ss0NUE

Russian navy: sub accident kills at least 20

November 9, 2008

An accident aboard a Russian nuclear-powered submarine making a test run in the Sea of Japan killed at least 20 people, officials said Sunday.

The nuclear reactor aboard the submarine was operating normally and radiation levels were normal after the accident Saturday, Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said.

The Associated Press

A Soviet-built Akula class nuclear submarine is moored at a ... 
A Soviet-built Akula class nuclear submarine is moored at a harbor on the Pacific peninsula of Kamchatka, in this Saturday, July 29, 2007 file photo. An accident aboard a Russian nuclear-powered submarine similar to this one during sea trials in the Sea of Japan killed at least 20 people, officials said Sunday Nov. 9, 2008.(AP Photo/File)

The accident occurred when a fire-extinguishing system went into operation in error aboard the submarine, Dygalo and other officials said. The system is designed to release Freon coolant when activated, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency, which cited an official with Russia‘s top investigative agency.

It was unclear what activated the fire-extinguishing system.

The official, Sergei Markin, said 14 civilians and six sailors were killed and 22 others were hospitalized after being evacuated to a destroyer that brought them to the Pacific port of Vladivostok, ITAR-Tass reported.

Earlier, Dygalo said more than 20 people were killed, including sailors and workers from the shipyard that built the submarine, and that 21 were injured and hospitalized. He said there were 208 people aboard, including 81 servicemen. Officials did not reveal the name of the submarine.

It was Russia’s worst naval accident since torpedo explosions sank another nuclear-powered submarine, the Kursk, in the Barents Sea in 2000, killing all 118 seamen aboard. In 2003, 11 people died when a submarine that was being taken out of service also sank in the Barents Sea.
A file photo of the Shchuka-B type Russian submarine, classified by NATO as Akula.

A file photo of the Shchuka-B type Russian submarine, classified by NATO as Akula.

Akula) nuclear AP Photo, File

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081109/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
russia_submarine;_ylt=Ao7QL.GIWM1y3GVKvSA525Gs0NUE

Scientists have new clue to mystery of sunken sub

October 18, 2008

It’s long been a mystery why the H.L. Hunley never returned after becoming the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship in 1864, but new research announced Friday may lend credence to one of the theories. Scientists found the eight-man crew of the hand-cranked Confederate submarine had not set the pump to remove water from the crew compartment, which might indicate it was not being flooded.

By Associated Press

That could mean crew members suffocated as they used up air, perhaps while waiting for the tide to turn and the current to help take them back to land.

The new evidence disputes the notion that the Hunley was damaged and took on water after ramming a spar with a charge of black powder into the Union blockade ship Housatonic.

USSHousatonic.jpg
Above: USS Housatonic

Css hunley on pier.jpg
Above: Artists impression of CSS Hunley

Scientists studying the sub said they’ve found its pump system was not set to remove water from the crew compartment as might be expected if it were being flooded.

The sub, located in 1995 and raised five years later, had a complex pumping system that could be switched to remove water or operate ballast tanks used to submerge and surface.

“It now really starts to point to a lack of oxygen making them unconscious,” said state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston and the chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, formed to raise, conserve and display the sub. “They may have been cranking and moving and it was a miscalculation as to how much oxygen they had.”

In excavating the sub, scientists found little intermingling of the crew remains, indicating members died at their stations. Those bones likely would have been jumbled if the crew tried to make it to the hatches in a desperate attempt to get out.

Read the rest:
http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/news/263016.php

India’s Media reports on Russian Startegic Missiles; U.S. Missile Defense

October 13, 2008

New Kerala
UNI

Moscow, Oct 13: In an unprecedented show of force, Russia launched three Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), after claiming a distance record for a missile fired from a submarine.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who yesterday watched two of the launches, said they proved Russia’s missile defences were strong, adding two new systems were being developed.

Two of the latest launches took place at either end of the country, one from the Barents Sea, east of Norway, and the other from north of Japan.

Mr Medvedev watched the third one on land at the Plisetsk space centre, in north-west Russia.

The Topol missile was launched by Russia’s Strategic Missile Force. The president announced that the missile had successfully hit the target at the Kura test range in the Russian Far East.

Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead ICBM, approximately the same size and shape as the US Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles became operational in 1985.

Furious at the US missile defence plans in Europe and moves to expand the US-led NATO alliance towards Russian borders, the Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle, unseen even during the Cold War-era.
Key facts on the Bulava ballistic missile, which Russia test-fired ...
******************
955.GIF
Above: Borei Class submarine

Russia’s Big Missile Warfare Test Event

October 13, 2008

Big show of strategic strength….Floods internet with news, photos of the activity…..

by Christopher Boian

MOSCOW, (AFP) – Russia fired three long-range missiles and pronounced its nuclear deterrent strong in an extraordinary show of force experts said had not been seen anywhere since the days of the Cold War.

Russian ICBMs leave Moscow's Red Square during a military ...
A Cold War era “Soviet” ICBM road-mobile launching system leaves Red Square in Moscow after a parade….

Two of the missiles were fired Sunday from nuclear submarines in the Asian and European extremes of the sprawling country while a third was watched by President Dmitry Medvedev on land in northwest Russia, news agencies reported.

It was the second Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in as many days and the latest in a series of high-profile military exercises of conventional land, sea and air forces as well as strategic nuclear units.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, speaks with Col. Gen. ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, speaks with Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, the commander of Russia’s strategic missile forces, as they stand in front of a transporter with a mobile version of Topol intercontinental ballistic missile before it’s launch at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. Medvedev watched a missile soar from Russia’s rain-soaked northern forests toward a target thousands of kilometers away on Sunday, capping a weekend of launches reminding audiences at home and abroad about the country’s nuclear might.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)

“This shows that our deterrent is in order,” Medvedev was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying after Sunday’s missile launches.

“We will of course be introducing new types of forces and means into the military,” he added, without elaborating.

Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the exercises reflected Russia’s determination to prepare for major military conflict.

“This was a dry run for a war with the United States,” Felgenhauer said of the missile launches, part of major military manoeuvres billed “Stability 2008” involving all military branches.

“These are the biggest strategic war games in more than 20 years. They are on a parellel with those held in the first half of the 1980s. Nothing of the sort has been seen either in Russia or the United States since then,” he said.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Defence Minister ...
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov (L) visit Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia, October 11, 2008. Russia fired a long-range Topol missile from Plesetsk on Sunday. Before the launch, President Medvedev personally inspected the RS-12M Topol, also called the SS-25 Sickle by NATO. Picture taken October 11, 2008.REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Dmitry Astakhov (RUSSIA)

Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo confirmed the near-simultaneous ICBM test-launches from submarines in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan and the Barents Sea northeast of Norway, saying they had been planned well in advance.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081013/wl_afp/
russiadefencemissilepoliticsus_081013063152

A Russian warship bound for Venezuela, docks at the Libyan port ... 
A Russian warship bound for Venezuela, docked at the Libyan port of Tripoli. Russia test-fired three long-range missiles and pronounced its nuclear deterrent strong in a show of force that experts said had not been seen the days of the Cold War.(AFP/Mahmud Turkia)

France Adds Nuclear Sub and Vows to Cut Warheads

March 22, 2008
The New York Times
March 22, 2008
.
PARIS — Dedicating France’s fourth nuclear-armed submarine, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday defended his country’s arsenal as vital to deter a range of new threats, including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran with intercontinental missiles.
.
“The security of Europe is at stake,” he said, conflating the Continent’s interests with those of France.“Countries in Asia and the Middle East are rapidly developing ballistic capacities,” he said. “I am thinking in particular of Iran,” which is “increasing the range of its missiles while serious suspicions weigh on its nuclear program.”

Mr. Sarkozy, stung by defeats in local elections in some large French cities, stuck to traditional presidential themes of national security and defense. His sudden divorce and remarriage, and his tendency to flit from one scheme to another, have made him seem slightly unserious, contributing to his party’s losses.

His mood on Friday was somber, as he inaugurated a new generation of nuclear submarine of the “Triomphant” class, this one named Le Terrible, which could be best translated as The Fearsome. It will be equipped with a new, nuclear-tipped missile, the M-51, whose range is secret but is understood, according to Le Monde, to be some 4,970 miles, able to reach Asia.

Clearly trying to balance nuclear modernization with gestures toward a European population more interested in eliminating nuclear weapons than improving them, Mr. Sarkozy said France would continue to reduce the number of warheads on airplanes, bringing its total nuclear force to fewer than 300 warheads, half the number during the cold war.

The actual number of warheads France possesses is secret. This year, the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks nuclear arsenals, said France had 348 warheads — 288 on submarines, 50 on air-launched cruise missiles and 10 bombs.

Mr. Sarkozy also called for all nuclear powers to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as France had done, and he proposed talks on a treaty banning nuclear-armed short- and medium-range ground-to-ground missiles, a category that includes Scud-type missiles, and an idea likely to go nowhere in a world of Hezbollah, Hamas and the like. He also called for an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and a treaty banning its production, similar to an American proposal of 2006.

Mr. Sarkozy has been criticized, especially by Germany, for leaping ahead without consultation with European allies on major initiatives, like the “Mediterranean Union,” a looser grouping than the European Union and modified after Berlin’s protests. On Friday, he offered a “dialogue” on the role of French nuclear weapons in Europe’s collective defense.

“Regarding Europe, it is a fact that France’s nuclear forces by their very existence are a key element in its security,” he said. “Let’s together draw the logical conclusions: I propose to begin, with those of our European partners who wish to, an open dialogue on the role of deterrence and its contribution to our common security.”

Britain also has nuclear weapons, the main reason that Britain and France remain permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Neither country has been willing to cede its seat to the European Union. The United States provides most of Europe’s nuclear deterrence through NATO and its doctrine of collective defense.

At the same time, Mr. Sarkozy described the French “force de frappe” as a weapon of self-defense. He was vaguer about France’s national interests than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who made a similar speech in January 2006, in which he appeared to broaden the list.

Then, Mr. Chirac delivered an unexpected and controversial warning to “rogue” states sponsoring terrorism by threatening to use nuclear weapons against any state that supported attacks on his country or considered using unconventional weapons.

“The leaders of states who use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part,” Mr. Chirac said. “This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.”

Mr. Sarkozy, an aide told Le Monde, wanted to “return to the ‘fundamentals’ ” of deterrence.

US missile strike targets ‘Al-Qaeda leader’ in Somalia

March 3, 2008
by Mustafa Haji Abdinur 

MOGADISHU (AFP) – The US military fired at least one cruise missile into southern Somalia near the Kenyan border, targeting an Al-Qaeda leader believed to be hiding there, a US military official said Monday.
“On March 2, the US conducted an attack against a known Al-Qaeda terrorist in southern Somalia,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in Washington.

Whitman would provide no details on the type of attack, the identity of the target, or the outcome.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080303/wl_afp/
somaliaunrestusattacks_080303183155

This US Navy handout photo released in 2003 shows the launch ... 
This US Navy handout photo released in 2003 shows the launch of a cruise missile in the waters off the coast of the Bahamas. The US military has fired at least one cruise missile into southern Somalia near the Kenyan border, targeting an Al-Qaeda leader, a US military official said.(AFP/US NAVY/File)

China flexes its new muscle

December 20, 2007

By Willie Lam
International Herald Tribune
December 20, 2007

Beijing’s decision to cancel a port visit to Hong Kong by the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk last month could go down in diplomatic history as a watershed in China’s foreign policy.

The high-decibel “no” to the carrier group – and also to the U.S. frigate Reuben James, which wanted to dock at Hong Kong on New Year’s Eve – coincides with a tough stance Beijing has assumed in sovereignty disputes with Vietnam over islets in the South China Sea.

China also has reacted with uncharacteristic vehemence to the hospitality that the United States, Canada and especially Germany have shown the Dalai Lama.

It appears that the Chinese Communist Party leaders have decided to flex their muscles in a way they deem commensurate with China’s new-found quasi-superpower status.

The late Deng Xiaoping’s 1990s-era axiom for Chinese diplomats – “keep a low profile and never take the lead” – seems passé. The same is true for Deng’s dictum on how to handle America: “Work on cooperation and avoid confrontation.”

Instead, after decades of teeth-gnashing silence, Beijing is publicly thumbing its nose at what it perceives to be U.S. interference in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

The Kitty Hawk incident coincided with one of the largest shows of force by the Chinese military this year, a war game over vast swaths of the South and East China Seas. Crack units from four major People’s Liberation Army divisions test-fired Russian-procured and indigenously developed hardware, including 022 stealth missiles and Russian-made SS-N-27 “Club” anti-ship cruise missiles.

Apart from simulating a naval blockade of Taiwan, the exercises were meant to warn Washington and Japan against “meddling” in the Taiwan Strait.

It did not appear accidental that the United States, in apparent protest over the Kitty Hawk incident, had the carrier sail through the Strait on the way back to its base in Yokosuka, Japan.

That move prompted Beijing to express “serious concern,” implying that foreign vessels wishing to traverse the strait had to seek China’s approval, even though the strait has always been regarded as international waters.

The Taiwan-related war games extended well beyond the Taiwan Strait. The PLA conducted exercises near the Paracel Islands, claimed by Vietnam, drawing a protest from Hanoi.

In a related development, thousands of Vietnamese held demonstrations earlier this month outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi over Beijing’s establishment of the new Sansha municipality in Hainan Province, which will have jurisdiction over three islets Vietnam claims in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos.

PLA forces also demolished a few unmanned Indian forward posts near two Indian bunkers in the vicinity of the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet border. The Indian media reported that Beijing told New Delhi that the bunkers violated Chinese territorial integrity.

And China adopted what analysts called an unusually strident stance at the recent annual China-EU summit meeting in Beijing. The deputy prime minister in charge of foreign trade, Wu Yi, heatedly disputed remarks made by the EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, on Beijing’s supposed failure to stem the export to Europe of “a tidal wave of counterfeit goods.”

Moments after Mandelson finished his speech, Wu rushed to his side and issued a verbal protest. “I am extremely dissatisfied”‘ with Mandelson’s speech, she told astounded reporters.

While meeting EU leaders, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao launched a strong attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel for according VIP treatment to the Dalai Lama. He demanded that Berlin “acknowledge and rectify” its mistakes.

Beijing’s high-profile quarrels with the United States, Vietnam and Germany have followed a pattern of power projection that began last January when PLA missiles downed an old weather satellite. The feat, widely perceived in the West as the start of the PLA’s militarization of space, was followed by the successful launching of the country’s first lunar probe.

Moreover, the PLA has departed from its usual protocol of keeping new weapons under wraps. Semi-official military Web sites have recently showcased soon-to-be-deployed hardware ranging from the Jian-12 jet fighter to the Jin-class submarine, which is said to carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

According to Hong Yuan, a military expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the defense concerns of the new leadership and the force projection “have gone way beyond the Taiwan Strait.” Hong sees the next five years as “a period of rapid development in areas ranging from the PLA’s establishment, institutions and hardware to the extent and means of force projection.”

The show of strength also bolsters the leadership at home at a time when old Marxist values are losinmg their luster. As Wen said at the ceremony marking China’s impending conquest of the moon, the achievement was “a major manifestation of the increase in our comprehensive national strength and the ceaseless enhancement of our innovative ability.”

Beijing is undoubtedly aware that such assertiveness could feed fears abroad of a “China threat.” But both the Communist Party and the Army leaders seem convinced that this is the price the reinvigorated dragon has to pay to keep its place in the sun.

Willy Lam is an adjunct professor of China studies at Akita International University, Japan, and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

From Peace and Freedom: Our thanks to Professor Lam.