Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Rumors Of War:

Tracking China's Sudden Airpower Expansion On Its Western Border


China's bewilderingly quick construction of airfields atop man-made islands in the South China Sea, as well as its extra-territorial claims over that body of water, have grabbed headlines for years and the issue remains one of the most significant strategic and geopolitical problems of our time. Yet another far less discussed, but similar strategic expansion is underway in the western reaches of the Chinese mainland, which has gotten much less attention, yet it isn't all that less concerning. Beijing's remarkable blitz on airfield and other military-related construction in this remote region coincides with escalating tensions with its neighbor, India. 

Just a year ago to the day, a clash along the Line Of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley between Chinese and Indian troops ended with dozens dead. While it was one of a long list of violent clashes over the years along various disputed portions of the border between the two countries, many saw this particular incident as a strategic turning point for both sides, but especially for the ever more powerful China. 

Fast forward a year, and China's heavy investment in airpower-related facilities in the region is already being leveraged by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), as evidenced by an unprecedented level of activity along the Sino-Indian border as of late. This is in addition to massive growth in ground-based air defenses, as well as the construction of new fortifications, heliports, and rail lines into the area. As such, there is more going on here than just some defensive upgrades and the strategic implications are potentially severe.

With that in mind, The War Zone brought in some of the best satellite image analysts we know, virtually a who's-who of the strongest voices in Twitter's open-source intelligence community who also specialize in develpments in Asia. We want to actually show you via satellite imagery exactly what we mean when we say China is massively expanding its air combat capability footprint in the far western areas of the country, as well as what it all means. 

U.S. Navy Ohio class missile submarine made a rare and very brief stop in San Diego today. The Twitter ship spotting account @WarshipCam was the first to spot the submarine on a live feed of the Port of San Diego available through @SanDiegoWebCam. Timestamps on still images from the video show that the submarine arrived just before 11:50 AM local time and was headed back out shortly before 12:30 PM. Which is a bizarrely quick turnaround.

It's not clear which of the Navy's 18 Ohio class boats is seen in the video. However, the four Ohios that the service converted into guided-missile submarines, or SSGNs, which you can read more about in this War Zone feature, almost always have at least one Dry Deck Shelter (DDS), which can be used to deploy divers, swimmer delivery vehicles, and more, mounted immediately aft of their sails.

The area of the hull behind the sail is also enlarged and flattened to better accommodate the DDS. No DDS is present on the submarine in the video and it does not appear to have the modified hull associated with the four SSGNs, indicating that this is one of the remaining 14 Ohiosconfigured to carry nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, also referred to as SSBNs.

The Ohio SSBNs and SSGNs are split between two bases, Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, on the West and East Coasts of the United States, respectively. The SSGNs also do standing forward deployments, including to Diego Garcia and Guam. As such, San Diego is not a common port of call for these big submarines and the hugely destructive arsenals some of them carry

Without knowing which Ohio class submarine this for sure, it is difficult to try to determine what its reason or reasons for visiting San Diego might have been. We have reached out to U.S. 3rd Fleet, which is headquartered in San Diego, seeking more information about this brief stopover.

  • Russian forces are currently carrying out the largest war games since Cold War 
  • At least 20 Russian warships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the exercises 
  • Twice the U.S. has been forced to scramble F-22s to see what is happening
  • On June 17 the U.S. Navy admitted a carrier strike group had moved to the area
  • The Pentagon is watching the Russian maneuvers extremely carefully 
  • They come after Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin met in Geneva last week
  • Both men have admitted that relations between their countries are at a low 

Russia's defense ministry has announced it sunk an aircraft carrier just 35 miles off the coast of Hawaii in a huge war games exercise that has alarmed the US. 

At least 20 Russian warships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the exercises - the biggest since the Cold War. 

Russia says that they are 300 miles off the coast of Hawaii, yet unconfirmed satellite images from June 19 appear to show them much closer - within 35 miles of the U.S. state.

Russia says their forces are at a distance of about 2,500 miles southeast of the Kuril Islands. 

The location would correspond broadly with reports from U.S. media channels that Russian warships were conducting their maneuvers between 300 and 500 miles west of the main Hawaiian islands, The Drive reported.

Their actions have alarmed the Pentagon. 

Russia's defense ministry on Monday issued video showing the maneuvers.

The Russians organized two detachments of ships, operating at a distance of about 300 miles from each other.

One group was playing the role of the enemy. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Flank them flanking us, because in my opinion, Russia with CCP watching, are trying to figure out what we actually have Militarily since USA seems weak, broken, vulnerable under a compromised Administration currently, in my opinion! If we truly are not weak, we all are fooled, and would be good for America, right? Even if spies steal info about USA Military or we outsource some work on Military planes, etc., there still has to be secrets we kept close to our vest, one hopes, right?

IF, Russia is not convinced they will, nor can obtain accurate assessment to what new toys we have, can't compete with what they do discover, can't detect suspected Subs we are using, they will back off, which will be a good thing future wise; IF, they think we are not showing strength, or easily read as to what our weaponry used are, and how they would counter-act them down the road, then they will back off, "BUT" return later (not too distance future if think chance to conquer USA IMO), which would be very nasty, in my opinion! Just a hunch opinion, this is serious, very bad indicator for Russia's intentions, and needs to be dealt with USA showing strength from a Militarily standpoint with balancing act of NOT showing our whole hand, IMO!

USA has been IMO, Compromised from: Weak Leadership presently, porous borders, easily compromised traitor insiders within USA Gov., USA Agencies/Military in question since OB's policies, divided tribal-like mentality instability among populace with Marxism surging organizations being funded, too many Intel failures 9/11 to now with recent CCP Germ Warfare, allowing China South China Sea build-up with little expected blow-back from USA thus far, Covid wrecked Economy looming & floundering, caving in to demands by foes, and viola; USA is prime for the pickin if an objective is there by another country wanting claim to being the Super-Power, in my opinion, through brute force possibility! So question is, "Is our Military for saving our America, or in lock-step with our compromised current Administration's perceived Tyrannical rule over American Citizen's Freedoms, as is, in my opinion, in process of taking place?? If Military is actually in control, we are fine IMO, if not, this leaves it's citizen's vulnerable perhaps? Sounds like a story-tale scenario, but common-sense says, what we hear occurring is not the norm, but many folks perception of reality these days is quite insane, in my opinion! Too close to the tree when the lightening strikes and you might get struck is ringing in our ears.....