Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Dragon Bares Its Tentacles







Hats off to BROADSWORD’s Col (Ret’d) Ajai Shukla (http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com) for taking the decisive step to take a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach and reporting from the easternmost vantage point as regards India’s debatable border policy vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China (PRC). I’m sure all interested parties, including myself, will be waiting in anticipation with baited breath to progressively grasp and absorb the first-hand appreciations of both Sonia and Ajai. Hopefully, such appreciations will include vital inputs from the Govt of India’s China Study Group, and from the present Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, the illustrious former COAS Gen (Ret’d) J J Singh, who is uniquely well-placed to illustrate for us all the future scenario of Arunachal Pradesh’s air/land transportation infrastructure requirements, and on resurrection of the eastern component of Operation Falcon that commenced in the early 1980s under the then COAS Gen K V Krishna Rao. So here’s wishing Sonia and Ajai fair winds and serenity at Dirang. But for those who may believe that Ajai’s extended deployment at Dirang is bad news for followers of military-industrial matters, I respectfully beg to differ. For starters, I’m enclosing below the military appreciation from the other side of the border. As you all may know, the PRC’s Sichuan province is host to several highly-sensitive military-industrial R & D facilities for both conventional weapons and WMDs. So here goes the first of many more….



The PLA’s Transformational Process

The PLA elements deployed opposite Arunachal Pradesh are drawn from the Kunming-based 14 Group Army (nicknamed Forest Tigers), which is part of the 2nd Field Army and specialises in jungle warfare. 14 GA comprises the 40 Specialised Jungle Infantry Division based in Dali/Yunnan that in turn comprises the 110 Motorised Infantry Regiment, 118, 119, and 120 Infantry Regiments; 31 Motorised Infantry Division in Dali/Yunnan that includes the 307 Artillery regiment; 32 Motorised Infantry Division (this being a reserve formation); 49 Motorised Infantry Division hradquartered in Kaiyuan, Yunnan; the 4 Artillery Division headquartered in Kunming/Yunnan; one Air Defence Artillery Brigade based in Kunming; one Armoured Brigade in Kunming along with one Engineering Regiment; one Communications Regiment; one Reconnaissance Unit; one Transportation Regiment; one EW Battalion; and one NBC Battalion. Since 2001, the Motorised Infantry Divisions of the Chengdu Military Region, especially those deployed along the Sino-Indian border, have been transformed into self-contained mechanised, lightweight, all-terrain ‘battle groups’ with greatly improved operational logistics. They have been progressively trained and equipped to operate in their traditional roles of screening, flank protection and high-altitude operations over larger areas than before. Furthermore, these Divisions have been used for articulating the PLA’s new doctrines for waging network-centric high-altitude warfare and mounted operations in urban terrain where the local communications infrastructure is underdeveloped.
The structure of the 14 Group Army’s Mechanised Divisions has imbibed the standard PLA triangular organisation, comprising three mechanised infantry or armoured Platoons making up a Company, three Companies for a Battalion, three Battalions for a Brigade and three Brigades for the Division. The Division comprises three all-terrain Mechanised Infantry Brigades, one main battle tank (MBT) Brigade, one Field Artillery Brigade, one Air Defence Brigade, one EW Battalion, one Signals Battalion, a Combat Engineering Battalion, one NBC Defence Battalion, one Helicopter Wing, and a Logistics Group directly subordinate to the Corps HQ. The Division’s HQ includes the Company-sized Divisional HQ Staff, a close-in air defence unit and a quick-reaction Guard Company for HQ protection. Each Mechanised Infantry Platoon has four Type 86 tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV), WZ-551A (Type 92) wheeled 6 x 6 armoured personnel carriers (APC) each armed with a one-man high-elevation turret housing a 25mm automatic cannon (these will in future be replaced by the similarly armed WZ-525 8 x 8 APC), and 12 QL-550 4 x 4 all-terrain vehicles (each armed with a PF-98 anti-tank rocket launcher, 35mm automatic grenade launcher and a 12.7mm anti-material rifle) for recce and forward observation. There are 351 Type 86 AIFVs in each Division, supported by a Field Artillery Brigade of 72 SH-1 155mm/52-calibre motorised self-propelled howitzers, and an Armoured Battalion with 99 Type 96G MBTs. Type 89 tracked command AIFVs are liberally deployed throughout the Division down to the Company-level to provide tactical command-and-control capabilities. The Type 86 AIFV’s turret is equipped with a 30mm chain gun. The Division’s other tracked AIFVs are the Type 85 and Type 89 vehicles. The Battalion’s Support Company includes one 100mm mortar Company with 10 vehicles, with one mortar per vehicle and a single fire-control vehicle; an automatic grenade launcher (AGL) Platoon with two QL-550s, each equipped with two AGLs; one Anti-Tank Platoon of two 6 x 6 Type 85 armoured vehicles sharing three anti-armour guided-missile systems (ATGM). There are 18 Type 85 armoured vehicles in each Brigade providing 54 ATGM systems in the Division. Anti-armour capability can be augmented by a high-mobility, lightweight Anti-Armour Regiment, which includes six PTZ-89 120mm tracked self-propelled guns and 18 HJ-8L ATGM launchers. There is also an Air Defence Platoon of three Type 85 vehicles with four FN-6 VSHORADS missiles per vehicle for a total of 12, plus one CPMIEC-built TH-S311 SmartHunter low-probability-of-intercept airspace surveillance system, which comprises the vehicle-mounted X-band TH-R311 SmartEye linear frequency modulation continuous wave radar, display and command unit, missile direction finder and guidance aiming computer, helmet-mounted micro-displayer for real-time viewing of targeting/engagement cues, optional Mode 5 IFF transponder, communications unit (for passing on cueing data to firing units up to 10km away using wires, or 3km away when operating in the wireless mode), and a power supply unit. When used with manportable VSHORADS like the FN-6, the air defence envelope can be extended to 60 square km. The SmartEye radar has a 20km detection range for airborne targets flying at an altitude of 2.5km, and can track up to 22 targets simultaneously, thereby providing active air defence over a 15km radius when used along with 12 VSHORADS launchers of any type that are currently in service with the MAF.
For Divisional air defence, use is made of 27 Type 85s and 108 VSHORADS launchers, all of which come under the operational control of the Air Defence Brigade. This Brigade comprises a Battalion of 24 FB-6A systems (eight FN-6s on board a Dong Feng 4 x 4), one Battalion of 18 PLZ-95 systems each comprising a tracked vehicle carrying on board four 30mm cannons, a Battalion of LY-60E semi-active homing SHORADS (with 90 ready-to-fire missiles), and an early warning Battalion equipped with two YLC-18 S-band gapfiller radars and six CLC-3 E/F-band tactical air defence radars. The EW Battalion is equipped with an array of land-mobile assets, including the CEW-080S field communications EW suite, DJG-8715 surface-to-air comms jammer, CEW-060 HF/VHF/UHF COMINT suite, JN-1301 and JN-1601 communications jammers, JN-3101 man-pack jammers, JN-4102 man-pack direction finders, DWL-002 and DZ-9001C ELINT suite, SM-102 passive airspace surveillance system, and DZ-9302 battlespace surveillance radars. The Signals Battalion is equipped with a DA-6 tactical internet controller, MS-700 suite for TDM/MPLS/ATM packet switching, SEC-30 bulk encryptor, tactical microwave radios, TS-101 and TS-504 mobile troposcatter communications system, and DM-15 and DVM-4A data/voice multiplexers. A new addition to the Division is a Helicopter Wing comprising one squadron of six Z-9G attack helicopters (armed with four HJ-8L wire-guided ATGMs) and one transport squadron of six Mi-17V-5 utility helicopters. For armoured operations there are 35 Type 96G MBTs per Regiment, and 105 per Brigade, along with 12 WZ-551 recce APCs equipped with a thermal imager and 105mm rifled bore gun. Each supporting Field Artillery Brigades are now being re-equipped with 72 SH-1 howitzers (replacing the earlier 152mm Type 83 tracked self-propelled guns and the PLZ-45 155mm/45-calibre tracked self-propelled guns), four 180km-range WS-1B multi-barrel rocket launchers (each equipped with six 302mm launch tubes firing rockets armed with ZDB-2B blasting warheads, or SZB-1B anti-personnel and anti-armor dual-purpose sub-munitions), SLC-2 S-band active phased-array weapon locating radars, and X-band RC-307 muzzle velocity radars. Hardware available for Platoon-level recce includes the FJR-4/5 uncooled hand-held thermal imagers, ST-312 (medium-range) and JY-17 (short-range) battlefield surveillance radars, VOT-200A hand-held laser rangefinder coupled to an electronic goniometer, an VOT-200B PDA incorporating a GPS receiver with wireless Bluetooth connection.
All in all, it appears that the PLA’s ‘transformed’ Mechanised Infantry Divisions in the Chengdu and Lanzhou Military Regions are undoubtedly well-suited for prolonged operations in Xinjiang, the Tibetan plateau and Sichuan, given the lighter footprint of their armoured vehicles, as well as their simpler operational logistics requirements. Moreover, given the ‘building-block’ approach now adopted (similar in concept to the Soviet Operational Manoeuvre Group), the PLA is now able to create and deploy a tailor-made formation based upon the required theatre-level operational needs.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

i want to know that how tuff is the chinese armour

and also that is the amuunition is atored in turret or in the hull like t72

max said...

fuck chinese

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun. Thanx for putting this up finally...
Now what's a DA-6 tactical internet controller????

-jz.sinr@gmail.com

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.11PM: The DA-6 tactical internet controller is employed for networking ground-based airspace sueveillance and gapfiller radars, and SAM-based Battery Control Stations & Regimental Air Defence Command Centres with a Sector Operations Centre (SOC). The DA-6 tactical internet controller uses either underground fibre-optic links or land-mobile broadband, multi-channel, beyond line-of-sight, digital troposcatter communications terminals. This same type of systems architecture using the above-mentioned tools can be employed to develop an integrated, hierarchical air defence network that seamlessly integrates the M-SAM, E-SHORADS and VSHORADS into one monolithic guided-missile-based air defence system.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Additional information on tactical internet systems can be found at: http://www.thalesgroup.com/Press-Room/Press-Release-search-all/Press-Release-search-result/Press-Release-Article.html?link=7d7b711a-3260-4521-3111-6a200a255f43:central&locale=EN-gb&Title=Tactical+internet+solution+%2C+one+step+ahead+for+Thales%21&dis=1&marketId=65570204-0F18-343C-661E-5D3025785E02&type=Market

Anonymous said...

thnx a ton.
will keep troubling you for more tech details later. Hope u don't mind.


-jz.sinr@gmail.com

Prasun K Sengupta said...

No problems at all. Keep em' coming. Will try my best to oblige you. Cheers!