Sunday, May 29, 2011

Force Multiplier

A simple, cost effective and could be produce for masses this is called force multiplier for the forces around the world and they are constantly looking for this sort of equipment. Perhaps one of the best example is AK-47 rifle. The best part for this sort of equipment is that they have long span of life and they seem to exist in one way or another without compromising their lethality. At some times they are so effective that they even beat their advance counterparts.
In 1960s when United States was looking for air superiority fighter and selected McDonnell Douglas(now Boeing) F-15 the major problem was how to make them in numbers because the cost was too high. Soviet Union military programs at that time were based on the idea that "you could counter any high tech force if you have numerical advantage at your side". This ideology was in her mid-30s and it had seen World War I & II in his lifetime where about 85,000 T-34 tanks rolled out from the factories to counter Nazi Panzers III, IV & V. T-34 production started even before it passed the safety requirements. Similarly in 1960s Soviet Union was mass producing Mig 21. To counter such low cost planes F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-18 Hornet evolved. F-16 was selected for US Air Force and F-18 was selected for US Navy and Marines. Developing countries who could not purchase high tech fighter planes and had sore relation with Soviet Union because they supported NATO agenda were given the option to purchase Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighters which were never used for combat by US Air Force itself and the program was totally based on building air forces of less developed nations such as Turkish Air Force, Iranian Air Force, and Republic of China(Taiwan).
Numerical superiority has always remained the backbone of Chinese empire. Generals wanted their soldiers to be equipped with weapons that have good record. For example Tupolev Tu-16(Tupolev NATO name: Badger) has been flying for 50 years now and it is still being actively produced by China as Xian H-8. It provides China the capability of strategic bombing.
Countries such as North Korea and Zimbabwe find many favors in numerical strategy because this help them keep low running cost and give them capability to project more. North Korea still flies Mig-17(NATO name: Fresco) as attack fighter which had its first flight in 1956.
This strategy often sacrifices emerging warfare developments and thus makes nation apply defensive strategy rather than offensive. Despite Pakistan's doctrine of being a defensive nation it is still widely debated that you should possess such technology to infiltrate deep and destroy major targets before they become active against you. Ballistic missile are not always the option. JF-17 Thunder is based on giving Pakistan better defensive position rather than offensive where as India on the other hand is using Su-30MKI as force multiplier which are air superiority fighters and their job is offensive. Pakistan cannot imitate China and keep going with the force multiplier strategy because it will drain resources and will give less advantage in real combats because India has already got numbers. The only way to counter is through investing in high tech. For example when Pakistan Navy purchased Agosta 90B submarines the strategy was to counter the expanding Indian Navy through high tech equipment but due to delays in production and delivery it lost some of her advantage. Whether you purchase or upgrade from China or any other western supplier time is the essence for bringing down the numeric advantage of any aggressor. For example Singapore invest in high tech systems to reduce the imbalance between her small forces and other forces in the region such as Malaysia, Indonesia etc. Though Pakistan is not that small but it still need to maintain pace with highly advance technology to keep aggressive options available at his disposal.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beidou(Compass) Navigation System: Pakistan next option

Global Positioning System may be heaven for a commoner but it may never be for some particular organization and institutions in the world and especially if such a system is operated by single state. Boost in the usage of GPS started from 1994 when US military all 24 satellites became fully operational. The precision that US military needed badly in Cold War era for launching Ballistic missiles came late. GPS users around the world except from US military and it closest allies have access to only low level signals which are not sufficient enough to built strategies in both aggressive and defensive roles. In fact the European states were not even satisfied with the reception they are receiving from this huge network, this has led them to start their own program by the name of Galileo Positioning System which would help them become independent from Russian GLONASS and US GPS systems.
Here comes Beidou :
Assume a scenario in which Pakistan is again being accused of proliferating the nuclear technology and the allies want to destroy the nuclear plants with their so called best strategy "BLAST OFF!!!". The sorties for this air raid would include F-22s and F-35s who are by far the best stealth planes in the world until Sukhoi T-50 gets operational status and J-20 pops out from the chalk board. F-35 besides being stealthy has by far the best radar jammer in the world since it jammed F-22 Raptor. In that case Pakistan fighter planes would have only one back up plan that is to use their GPS, but here comes the sad part the GPS is also made by the aggressors. They could easily create area access denial with in minutes during the raid and pilots would have no clue what to look for and where to find them?
At this point the Beidou Navigation System kicks in. Beidou will be a global satellite navigation system consisting of 35 satellites built by our most trusted allies China. The system is still under construction. It is planned to give coverage in Asia-Pacific region by 2012 and the global system should be finished by 2020. Pakistan Air Force if uses this system with in their ongoing collaboration with China in building and exporting JF-17 Thunder and customize FC-20s exclusively being built for Pakistan, this would give them a much better stand against any attempt by other forces in the region. Then Navy and Armed Forces can also worked out their strategies and built their own systems with close collaboration with China.
What China has in this deal?
China would obviously like to have their own personal gains from this deal.
China would have first time a kind of opportunity to test their space technology from the base in another country. This would also mean that countries who do not have good relations with United States would finally have an alternative that is friendly towards them and gives them a little more secure intelligence. China would have an advantage in selling their weapons around the world because it now has completely different way of dealing with aggressors and would have a secure line of sight until it hits the target.

And finally it could end the Unipolar world. Being optimistic : )

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finger at Trigger

This could be it. The opportunity that West is looking for. A nation toppling at their feet with tenth largest reserve of oil. Compare to size of the country population is not as much. A country whose major cities faces Europe. Italy has already provided the country with their flavor when it was their colony and it would not be a matter of time when will be see reforms being made to bring back the Italian families that left in 1969 when General Gadhafi took over from the King of Libya. Russia put on hold $6 Billion of military equipment to Libya in current crisis but rest assure Russia will not be able to sell that much ever again in that country because West will flood his commodities and products in that market.
People are deprived from the social needs and they are hungry for shops such as Louis Vuitton and Prada to open there.
May be we could see United Arab Emirates scenario there. Country being broke up in several smaller states protected under one banner and only selling their oil for luxuries that West provide. This state could also become enemies to its former allies such as Venezuela. In short puppet in the hands of West.

How all these points mention above integrate together?
New government will be heavily reliable on western support. Already CIA is providing the opposition with weapons. Remember the same strategy was used before and it became one of the biggest nightmare in North Africa.
With new government the point could be there at table to either release Libyan $30 billion in U.S banks or the whole point could disappear from the shelves. This depends totally on how Libyan government plays at the Flow Chart given by U.S and other European States.
This also means one more vote for U.S when taking actions against a dictator in future. Libya could become an example of independence for their freedom of speech in modern days. It could be much more I will leave this point for CNN, BBC and Fox.

Longterm Financial Investment
Although U.S is very reluctant to handle command and control of Libya operations now because of his other so called war on terror problems. The nations in NATO are also not united about handling of the current crisis. Germany and Turkey abstain from giving vote. Other major economies also did not favored this scheme of U.S led coalition force. The major voice makers are China and Russia. Further supporting countries include Brazil, India and Turkey.
But currently NATO has taken charge, this means for European markets that Libya is safe to invest. Major investing opportunity would be oil industry. ENI is there for quite some time. BP would try to grasp that opportunity too. All in all it depends on how West place it fingers on oil rich nation. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Undoing String of Pearls

Strings of Pearls is referred to growing Chinese relations with the South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Srilanka, Nepal and Maldives. The major player who is trying to undo these strings is India.

India is always uncertain with the growing influence of China in the region.India is a major player is South Asia and trying to become Blue water navy but there is always a chance that China would try to become a hurdle by setting up there infrastructure in the weaker nations such as Srilanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh. This would become a dilemma for the Indian Navy if China makes naval bases in these countries.
India is trying to solve this problem through many ways. Some to my knowledge are listed below:
  1. India is building her own string of pearls. This string would include all the rivals of China such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam etc.
  2. India is building couple of new naval bases in the East. These naval bases are facing Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  3. India is also trying to gain acceptance from the European nations and United States that she is the best way to stop the influence of China in the future. This aspect is well established and Indian defense deals are exhibiting this perspective.
Japan and India are building major ties in relate to defense. Both countries are finding these relations highly fruitful. Similarly South Korea and Taiwan are all having their grudges against China for various reasons. North Korea is main issue for South Korea and self-sovereignty for the Taiwanese people.
Recently China is in discussion with North Korea to send her troops for the protection for Chinese port facilities. India is worried whether the similar situation will turn out in Myanmar. China is also building railway tracks in Myanmar for the transport of goods from Chinese provinces. This is very important for Chinese growth and would greatly increase military ties between them. Bangladesh recently has signed many new defense deals with China such as purchase of 3 new large fast missile craft and up-gradation of their T-59 tanks fleet to Al-Zarrar standards. There is also a rumor that Bangladesh is opting for J-10 fighter plane.
Sri Lanka call Pakistan and China as their major military suppliers and allies. Pakistan assisted the Government of Sri Lanka in supplying High-Tech military equipment to the Sri Lankan army in the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Srilanka purchased 22 Al-Khalid tanks for $100 million. China relations is growing faster than ever with Srilanka. Latest example was of new Cricket Stadium built with the help of Chinese engineers in Hambantota where Srilanka won by 210 runs against Canada. Hambantota is fast becoming Chinese engineers destination as they are building naval port. China plans to use it as a refuelling and docking station for its navy, as it patrols the Indian Ocean and protects China’s supplies of Saudi oil. The strong point which can lead Sri Lanka to turn for China are aids which has reached to $1 Billion in 2007.
Gwadar is another pain in the ass for India. So this is the time when India is looking for major deals with its own allies such as the purchase of 6 Scorpene class submarines from France and helding competition of well above Rs.42000 Crore for their next generation submarines. India is also involved in building their first indigenous aircraft career and currently buying one from Russia. Not to forget India is also inducting indigenous Nuclear submarine next year. China has a firm ground in South Asia with the likes of Pakistan and Srilanka. Would they be able to create understanding with other nations and gain their acceptance is a major question. Remember economic activities with South Asian nations from India and China will play essential role in winning their hearts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Technology Transfers

"Beauties are needed with their blue prints". Lockheed, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, European Consortium(BAE, EADS, Alenia Aeronautica), SAAB and Mikoyan-and-Gurevich(MIG) are all lined up in Asia and other parts of the world but now bids must include upgrading the local industry too. These kind of agreements shows that companies are uncertain about their future sales and they want to secure it.
European Consortium gave such proposal to Saudi Arabia when they accepted Eurofighter Typhoon bid of $4.43 billion for 72 beauties. There are many aspects to look why such proposals are emerging now specially if you consider Saudi Arabia which previously has nothing related to hard mechanical engineering labor stuff. The most obvious reason is competition which has become more and more intensive. SAAB which previously bid only for Swedish Air Force tenders is now actively trying to find more potential markets such as Thailand and South Africa for its JAS 39 Gripen and SAAB Erieye. SAAB previous used most of the technology for its aircrafts from the US and therefore has to pay license and other fees thus cost of the product was too high giving them less chance to compete in market. Other factor was that US often created hindrances in the supply of equipments if her own companies are bidding for the same tender or the purchaser has not good relations with them. Now SAAB are trying to develop their systems independently or with the help of Europeans giving them equal footings to compete for international tenders. Swedish companies are facing high labor cost and to act competitively they need to relocate their major workload to importing countries where the environment is stable enough to expand in local industry and even export directly from other countries. India is becoming one of the most suitable market for this sort of transfers due to her labor intensive industry. When it comes to attaching high tech gears to the aircrafts companies recall the structure back to original plant at home and complete the rest of the part.
French companies in order to get big tenders are now locating their labor intensive work to other countries where not only job opportunities are being created for local industry but employees are also OK with the salaries and benefits they are earning. Dassault Aviation asked for $2 billion to upgrade the Mirage 2000s of India because the production plant has stopped for it and only Rafael are being produced now. To lower the cost of upgradation Hindustan Aeronautics will now upgrade 50 examples locally with the help of Dassault Aviation and only 4 to 6 will be upgraded in France. If Dassault Aviation wins the Indian MRCA competiton it has announced to set his assembly plant in India and work with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) in technology transfers similar to the commitments made by SAAB and European Consortium. After all the bid is of $10 billion for 126 multirole fighter aircrafts.
But this is not restricted to India, French companies are coming with the same kind of ideas for other emerging markets such Brazil and Russia. French is actively bidding for Brazilian tender for 36 Multi-role fighter planes competing against Boeing F-18 Hornet. France has also recently signed an agreement with Russia to built her two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships and then further two would be built in Russia with technology transfers.
China is also pursuing the same kind of strategy with the developing countries who could not afford highly costly fighters. China has placed condition that it will transfer technology only if the order is in huge numbers. China made an assembly and manufacturing plant for Egyptian Air Force for its K-8 trainers. Egyptian Air Force is currently looking for a batch of JF-17 Thunder along with technology transfers. These fighters will replace F-4 Phantom and F-5 Freedom Fighters.
This strategy is clearly bringing countries together and also paving ways for the companies to have joint ventures in future which will decrease the risk of huge investment and can result in huge profits if it succeeds. For example Spain and Indonesia joint venture for CN-235 which not only met the requirement of local air forces but also widely exported.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fighter Planes (Asia vs West)

This post is not about war between West and Asia : )
It is related to the technical aspect comparison between Asia and West in the Fighter Planes production. Yeah it may seem that there is very little comparison and West will easily win this aspect but the point is for how long?

Europe may call China a "Duplicator" and India an "Importer" of their technology. It was true if you take it back 7-8 years but the trend is changing and it is changing fast. China surprised western world with their Fifth Generation Stealth Fighter prototype J-20 ''Eagle" they call it. It was not expected before 2020 according to U.S think tanks. Many analyst said that this fighter may be based on the technology of F-117 Night Hawk operated by U.S since 1983. They believe that China has reverse engineered F-117 technology when one of them was shot down by Serbian military during Kosovo War 1999. Every U.S fighter aircraft is built with a kill switch. Besides why would Fifth Generation will be based on something as old ?
( Chinese Intelligence: We have found a shot down F-117 Night Hawk. The Serbians are asking a lot of money but we can manage because we have trillion of dollars in reserve. It will help us in building our 1983 fifth generation fighter and if it does not we will still be having trillion of dollars in our reserves.)

Aviation Industry Corporation of China  (AVIC), a Chinese state-owned company is partnering up with US Aerospace to prepare bids for two US military contracts, including one to replace the aging presidential helicopter fleet Marine One. This is change and this time from Chinese side. 
Around the time, when there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Obama administration sent a letter to the House of representative about allowing the sales of C-130 Hercules to China to be used for oil spill response operations at Yellow sea. This was surprising because of three reasons:
  1. US will lift a strict embargo on arms sales to China for a C-130
  2. China has a fleet of Y-8s, copy of Antonov An-12 and Y-9 is in developing stages which is called in western media as an imitation of C-130J, the newest version of C-130 Hercules family. This fact must be cleared that Y-9 has nothing to do with C-130s and it is a stretched version of Y-8 with greater payload and range.
  3. China did not even ask request for information (RFI) thus showing no intention for written information about the capabilities of the C-130.
For imitating first you need to have a close look at the THING. It is not happening in this case.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Uncertainity in Asia

Developing nations are currently bolstering there air forces to safeguard their interest. Economic boom in the third world countries such as India are bringing forth new multi billion dollar deals such as MMRCA competition. Those who cannot afford these programs are building up their air forces with the help from the super powers such as in the case of Indonesia buying SU-30s, F-16s fleet upgradation by Taiwan and Pakistan. With all that fire power if one nation takes a wrong move then the entire Asia can suffer the consequences at the time when they are emerging as global leaders.
For example in India there is a growing hype that China is messing with the borders of Arunachal Pradesh. Generals of both armies have made it clear that there is no such activity going on but media is still bursting with stories which portrays a black cloud over there. These stories has led the Indian Air Force to deploy a squadron of SU-30MKI there. China also made a move by building seven foward air bases in Tibet region. All this is going on in a place where there is nothing but ice to walk onto.