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On 10/6/2020 at 5:54 AM, Stuart Galbraith said:

In fairness only 2/3rds of them are ours, but at least they are on our side. I think China would struggle to put a multinational force like that together.

It would, as they are playing the fleet-in-being game, apparently.

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Two B-2s flew from Guam to the Sea of Japan and conducted training with a USN E/A-18G out from Misawa and 20 F-15Js of the JASDF in that sea as well as the East China Sea and the airspace around Okinawa. Of the 20 F-15Js, four were from Chitose, eight from Nyutabaru, four from Komatsu, and four from Naha.





JS Oonami conducted joint-training with Spain's Santa Maria and a P-3C from the EU in the Gulf of Aden on the 5th and 6th of October.






JS Kaga, JS Ikazuchi, and JS Shoryu conducted ASW training in the South China Sea on October 9th.



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On 10/7/2020 at 2:02 PM, Stuart Galbraith said:

As the Soviets found, If you build one quickly, it goes obsolete all at once. The Yanks found the same problem in the 1970s.But I'm sure they know better.


Indeed. I don't think Beijing's current blue-water navy mania lasts much longer. I would be happy to be proven wrong, however, as for them to continue it would be stupid.

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USS John S. McCain conducted FONOPs at PRC held islands in the South China Sea on October 9th to which the PRC made a protest to stop what it viewed as provocations.



The USS John S. McCain entered waters of China's Xisha Islands in the South China Sea on Friday without China's approval, and was warned and told to leave by the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater Command, said Senior Colonel Zhang Nandong, a spokesperson for the command on Friday.

The US frequently sends military ships to the South China Sea to flex its muscles and enhance its presence in the region, which seriously infringes on China's sovereignty and national interests, and damages regional peace and stability, Zhang said, noting that the behavior is blatant voyage hegemony and military provocation.

Zhang urged the US to stop such provocations and strictly manage its navy and air force's actions to avoid unpredictable events.

China owns undeniable sovereignty of the islands in the South China Sea and nearby waters. The command would always stay highly alert and take necessary actions to safeguard national sovereignty and regional peace and stability, he noted.  





The three Japanese warships stopped at Vietnam, Cam Ranh for replenishment on October 12th.






USS John S. McCain then linked up with JS Kaga and JS Ikazuchi shortly after they departed Cam Ranh it seems for joint-training along with replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe on October 12th.



SOUTH CHINA SEA -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) joined Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Flotilla 2 during integrated operations in the South China Sea beginning Oct. 12.

U.S. Naval forces routinely operate alongside regional allies and partners to strengthen our shared commitments to regional stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific. This integration coincides with the 245th anniversary of the U.S. Navy’s establishment on Oct. 13th, 1775.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate the U.S. Navy's 245th Birthday than by operating at sea alongside our close Allies of Japan," said Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer, USS John S. McCain. "Together, our nations remain committed to ensuring regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific through forward-deployed naval presence and by remaining ready to respond swiftly and decisively to any contingency."

Participants operated and trained together throughout, exercising integrated maritime operations including a replenishment at sea (RAS) and communication and datalink drills. Professional integrated engagements allow the U.S. Navy and allies the opportunity to build upon existing strong relationships and improve collective readiness and response to any situation.

For more than 60 years, the U.S.-Japan Alliance has been the cornerstone of stability and security in the Indo-Pacific and will continue to play that role in the future.

“We conducted a bilateral exercise with our close partner, the U.S. Navy, in the South China Sea.” said CAPT NISHIDA Satoshi, commanding officer, JS KAGA. “Through this exercise, we enhanced our tactical skills, and demonstrated our bond is unshakable. Even during the COVID-19 situation, the JMSDF continues to work with allied and partner navies, thus contributing to the regional peace and stability and a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Participating U.S. units included Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO-199). The JMSDF Escort Flotilla 2, commanded by Rear Adm. KONNO Yasushige, includes JS Kaga (DDH 184) and JS Ikazuchi (DD 107).

John S. McCain is underway conducting operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy's largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force.







Naval strike group consisting of USS Ronald Reagan, USS Antietam, and USS Halsey make a second voyage into the Indian Ocean for the year by the second week of November.





American technical advisor in Taiwan for radar PAVE PAWS assistance.



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Air Force Command issued a press release Tuesday (Oct. 13) stating that a foreign national spotted in a photo taken during President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) recent trip to the Leshan radar station was an American technical advisor assisting in the maintenance of the sophisticated radar system.

President Tsai on Tuesday paid a visit to the radar station as part of her administration’s efforts to boost morale in all branches of the military. In one of the photos of her trip, a foreign man was spotted in the background, prompting suspicions that the unknown person was an American military advisor.

The Air Force stated Tuesday evening that the advisor was dispatched by the U.S. in accordance with a previous arms sale agreement to assist with radar system operations, ensure proper equipment maintenance, and advise on consolidating Taiwan’s air defense, CNA reported. The Air Force also called on the public to refrain from speculation.

The Leshan radar station is located in Hsinchu's Wufeng Township and houses a Cold War-era Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System (PAVE PAWS) early warning radar. The radar was purchased from the U.S. in 2000 and commissioned in 2013.

The addition of the PAVE PAWS has significantly improved the nation’s early warning capabilities, as it can detect and monitor threats 5,000 kilometers away. National security staff pointed out that this range nearly encompasses an area spanning northeast to southeast Asia.

As China ramps up military activity around Taiwan, the Leshan radar station is able to quickly provide Air Force personnel with intelligence to facilitate rapid responses to incoming threats.





It's planned that Suga will sign a defense export agreement with Vietnam when he visits the country next week.




One of the three stationary radars that the Philippines is purchasing from Japan is to be set on Palawan island. The Philippines is also considering working with Japan in UAVs and Cyber defense.


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In 30-40 years time China's economy will be so large that replacing any obsolete ships in a new construction wave will be a triviality. They likely think they need them quickly too, as the critical period for them is the next few decades. Once the Chinese economy is about double that of the US, they will probably be safe from all but a massive nuclear strike on their cities, and by that time the US would be crippled too (leaving aside the possibility of a US attack triggering Russian launch on warning). Certainly the US would be mad to play a Cold War arms race game against a much larger economy and so one factor limiting US bellicosity is that it could push China into a large strategic buildup, something they have so far shown remarkable restraint in avoiding.

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Well the USN was as strong as it ever was in 1945. The US Economy was probably about as strong as it ever was at that point, probably comparable to China is now. 30 years later they had to take ships out of service to pay for a new generation of ships, which meant that the number of ships in service actually dipped. OK, so it soared again in the Reagan years, because Reagan threw money at the problem like it was going out of style, and now its dipping again, because they cannot physically replace the ships and submarines they built  as quickly as they used to build them. Because they lack the same number of yards, because the ships are more complicated,because they are more expensive, just a whole variety of reasons.

I know the Chinese Economy is doing great, now. 30 years from now, can anyone guarantee it will do similarly well when its population are taking home the same pay as Western Economies? That is before we get into the kind of society China is, and the likely instability its going to suffer as its population dont have guaranteed jobs anymore. Its is simply not an easy thing to replace a fleet overnight. I grant you China might prove different to the UK, to the US, to the USSR, anyone else who operated a big fleet. OTOH, it seems unlikely that they are.


China is already safe from a US nuclear attack. The US has no first strike policy, and no reasons to do it either. Even if China completely dominated the Spratleys, there would still be no reason to do it.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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The big difference is that much of the US workforce was working in firms near the productivity frontier 1945, whereas only a small minority of the Chinese workforce is there now.

Even if we have a pessimistic view of Chinese innovation (which isn't really sustainable - they have a huge number of STEM PhD's and large R&D budgets) if they simply continue to move out to the frontier rapidly their growth will continue to be strong. There is a rather simple process of taking the parts of the economy that are 30 years behind the frontier and upgrading the capital stock(and hiring new more educated workers).

The real limiting factor is capital, which is why the exhortations for China to reduce investment from Pettis etc. are also pleas for it to stop growing do fast.

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It seems unlikely that the PRC maintains its previous economic growth rate. In particular, its human capital will begin to shrink in the coming decades. But more generally its economic expansion was simply never going to be sustainable indefinitely.

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The 3 ship USS Ronald Reagan strike group moved into the South China Sea and were joined by USS John S. McCain.




SOUTH CHINA SEA - The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group has returned to the South China Sea for the third time of its 2020 deployment.

The carrier strike group includes the Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units.

Sailing nearly 56,000 nautical miles so far this deployment, the strike group is committed to upholding U.S. security agreements with regional allies and partners, and demonstrating the capability of forward-deployed naval forces to quickly respond to any contingency throughout the region.

“Throughout our deployment, we continue our long tradition demonstrating the United States’ commitment to the lawful use of the seas and maintaining open access to the international commons,” said Rear Adm. George Wikoff, commander, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group. “The focus of our operations has always been, and will continue to be, cooperation alongside our Indo-Pacific allies and partners in promoting regional stability.”

Throughout the 2020 deployment, Ronald Reagan and accompanying units have routinely integrated with ally and partner naval forces to build high-end warfighting readiness through air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike, and force protection exercises. The strike group recently operated in the Indian Ocean, conducted two transits through the Strait of Malacca, and completed various multinational exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Taking a cooperative approach to regional security and stability, the United States remains committed to protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea, and the ability of all countries to exercise those rights. Together, the U.S. and its allies promote peace and prosperity by supporting international norms.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.





USS John S. McCain then conducted joint-training with HMAS Arunta and JS Kirisame in the South China Sea on the 19th and 20th of October.





Italy's Alpino, Spain's Santa Maria, Reina Sofia. and a P-3M, and a P-3C from Germany conducted an at sea parade with JS Oonami at Djibouti port waters on October 15th.







About twelve USAF F-15s from Kadena are to head Nyutabara Air Base and conduct joint-training with about fifteen JASDF F-15Js  from October 26th to November 5th.




India gives Australia the green light to join this year's Malabar Exercise, likely to be next month.




Japan and Vietnam agree on pact on transfer of defense equipment and technology.



Japan and Indonesia agree to accelerate talks for defense ties and towards transfer to military tech and equipment.


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Date 19.10.2020

NATO plans new space center in Ramstein, Germany

NATO member states are set to announce the creation of a space center in the air force high command base in Ramstein, Germany, according to reports. It would monitor, and in time likely protect, friendly satellites.

Defense ministers from the 30 NATO members plan to announce the building of a new space center on Thursday, news agency dpa and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have reported.

According to the reports, the base would join with the NATO air force high command in Ramstein, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and would serve above all as a coordination center for space observation.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he expected defense ministers to agree to the plan before the meeting on Thursday. He also warned against a "militarization of space," following up on similar comments late last year. 

"Satellite systems keep our world running in ways many people barely realize. Commerce, weather forecasts, mobile phones and banking all rely on satellites. Space is also essential to NATO, including for our ability to navigate, to gather intelligence, to communicate and to detect missile launches.  So it is important that the alliance has a good awareness of what is happening in space, that we continue to have reliable access to space services, and that the alliance maintains its technological edge," Stoltenberg told DW in Brussels. 

The center would gather information about possible threats to satellites. It is also likely that the space center would be further developed into a command center for defensive measures.

"Fast, effective and secure satellite communications are essential for our troops.  The space environment has fundamentally changed in the last decade. Space is becoming more crowded and competitive with hundreds of new satellites added every year. And satellites are increasingly vulnerable. Some nations — including Russia and China — are developing anti-satellite systems which could blind, disable or shoot down satellites and create dangerous debris in orbit," Stoltenberg said.

Preparing for a 'new area of confrontation'

According to information acquired by dpa, NATO is also planning on developing a type of think tank for space activities. Two possible locations for this institution are the German town of Kalkar, in North Rhine-Westphalia, or Toulouse in France.



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6 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Thats pretty new isnt it? I cant recall hearing them being there before with an Fleet Oiler.

They seem to have been doing that level of composition since at least 2010 (2016-6).

Six hundred years after Zheng He, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy  (PLAN)  is  back  in  the  Indian Ocean,  conducting  counter-piracy operations  in  the  Gulf  of  Aden  (GoA)  and  off  the  Horn  of  Africa  (HoA). Deployed  since  December  2008  among  ships  from  several  other  nations, the PLAN “anti-piracy task force” has been patrolling the Indian Ocean without any interruption or indication of an imminent end to the mission.1But while the piracy threat seems to have faded since 2012, and despite the difficulties encountered in operating far from home, China has not reduced its  involvement  in  the  region.2During  thelast  six  years,  20  escort  task forces  (ETFs),  each  composed  of  two  combat  ships  supported  by  an  oiler, have  been  patrolling  the  GoA  and  beyond.  More  than  15,000  sailors  have spent  between  120  and  220  days  far  from  home.  Since  February  2016, rather  than  slowing  down  its  activity  in  HoA,  China  has  started  to  build  a naval  base  in  Djibouti.3Considering  the  importance  of  GoA  for  maritime economy  and  especially  its  energy,  sea  lines  of  communication  (SLoCs) have  made  some  scholars  assert  that  the  counter-piracy  operations  might be  a  pretext  used  by  great  powers  to  control  those  vital  SLoCs.4In  such  a context,   it   seems   relevant   to   question   the   possible   objective   for   the deployment of the PLAN in GoA since 2008.


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1 minute ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Thanks, Id completely missed that.


Yeah, stuff goes on under the radar.

A more detailed description later on page 17.

Since  2008,  the  composition  of  the  ETF  has  almost  never  changed, continuing  to  consist  of  three  ships  (two  combat  ships  and  one  oiler).  In 2012, the replenishment ship was Fuchi-class while the combat units were Jiangkai-class  frigates  or Luyang-class  destroyers.  All  those  ships  were indigenous products, and the combat units were commissioned fewer than four years before their deployment. The only exception was the deployment of a relatively old Luhu-class destroyer in 2012 (11thETF), commissioned in 1994,  and  a Yuzhao-class  amphibious  transport  dock  in2010  (6thETF).72The  deployment  of  the Luhu-class might indicate the PLAN’s difficulty in having constantly deployed new ships in the Far Seas for long periods since 2008.  The  use  of  an  amphibious  transport  might  have been  an  attempt  to deploy   more   helicopters   to   escort   merchant   vessels,   or   it   was   an opportunity to share the experience of long-distance deployments with the amphibious  units.  Until  2012,  only  two  oilers  have  supported  the  ETF, demonstrating the enduring lack of replenishment ships in the PLAN.73In 2004, the PLAN had only two Fuchi-class replenishment ships; the delivery of  these  oilers  was  resumed  in  June  2013,  and,  since  then,  six  new  ships have  been  delivered  (up  to  July  2016).  This  amazingly  fast  production  of oilers is the result of the lesson learned in GoA concerning the support of a task force in the Far Seas.

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Four B-1Bs from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas headed to Guam and at least one of them conducted joint-training with 16 F-15Js and two F-2s in the air space around Okinawa and the Sea of Japan on October 20th. The bombers also incorporated USS America into their maneuvers.




Approximately 200 Airmen and four B-1B Lancer aircraft with the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS) from Dyess Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, arrived at Andersen AFB, Guam, to conduct Bomber Task Force missions in support of Pacific Air Forces’ training efforts with allies, partners and joint forces, Oct. 20, 2020.

BTF missions enable Airmen to continuously conduct operations throughout the world at a moment’s notice to help maintain global stability and security while enabling units to become familiar with operations in different regions.

“Every bomber task force is important because they accomplish both tactical and strategic objectives,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Stallsworth, 9th EBS commander. “As we conduct training operations, we are able to increase our bomber force lethality, readiness and experience across the force. It also demonstrates the department of defense’s ability to operate in an agile fashion to the world.”

Before arriving, the bombers integrated with 16 F-15s and 2 F-2s from the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JASDF) in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan.

“The training proved to be a very good opportunity to improve tactical skills as well as to show our commitment to the robust Japan-U.S. alliance and the region,” said JASDF Lt Col. Kobayashi Yoshiyuki, Commander, 305th Fighter Squadron. “Through continued bilateral trainings between the Koku-Jieitai and the U.S. Air Force, we are tough and strong, and always ready. We will continue working together with ally and partners to achieve a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

The bombers also integrated with the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) in the western Pacific Ocean.

“Our ultimate strength in the Indo-Pacific is joint force lethality—our ability to train and operate as one layered, capable, and credible combat team,” said Capt. Luke Frost, USS America’s commanding officer. “The Air Force plays hard.  Integrated air defense and sea control operations leveraging top-shelf capabilities of both the Navy and Air Force, like this, allow us to continually field a joint force ready to fight and win.”

The US. Air Force has modified its force employment model to enable strategic bombers to operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broader array of worldwide locations with greater operational resilience to align with the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability.

“Every one of these operations is an opportunity for us to gain critical experience and become efficient in the deployment and execution processes,” Stallsworth said. “The U.S. Air Force is willing to and capable of operating out of different strategic locations. Our dynamic force employment construct helps us focus on being operationally unpredictable while still being strategically predictable.”

Having the B-1B Lancer aircraft at Andersen AFB enables U.S. Air Force personnel the ability to conduct training missions alongside their fellow Airmen within the Indo-Pacific and potentially work with their counterparts from allied and partner nations within the region.

“Training alongside our allies is important because it improves our combined military capabilities and the likelihood of success to accomplish military objectives,” Stallsworth said. “Reinforcing our connectivity and building personal relationships with our allies is critical to seamlessly executing combined objectives in the future.”

The BTF also helps the Airmen focus on the full spectrum readiness of military operations, whether it’s combat missions, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.

“This deployment has everything to do with developing the integral elements of agile combat employment,” said Capt. David Teubl, 9th EBS project officer. “Whether that’s working with new entities to provide our capabilities and discuss requirements needed to complete tasks or simply changing how we complete our missions to become more agile.”

Airmen and B-1B Lancers from Dyess AFB last deployed to Guam in May in support of BTF operations.





In addition to the above mentioned B-1Bs, USS America conducted joint-training with two JASDF F-35As in the airspace over the Pacific Ocean on October 20th.






A JMSDF P-3C and a USN P-8A conducted joint-training in info-sharing and ASW over the waters east of Tsugaru on October 21st.




A video showing the ARDB (Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade) loading up and going through checks on October 22nd in preparation for the joint-training coming up with the US military which will be part of Exercise Keen Sword. About 50 vehicles and boats were loaded up into JS Kunisaki.


Edited by JasonJ
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3 hours ago, Rick said:

JasonJ, as far as you know, did Japan have any plans in case N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact went at it?

I haven't looked deeply into Japanese plans in that era TBH. I don't know if any specific plans have been released. 


I reckon that if US ability to maintain the nuclear umbrella was seen to be at risk, then Japan would make its own nuclear arsenal since China had demonstrated a nuclear bomb in 1964. I'd imagine air and naval forces probably would go on high alert and maintain defense of Japan's periphery. If the US would want Japan to actively start shooting at Soviet naval stuff, then Japan probably would need to draw up some quick provisions to make it legal to do so. Although Japanese wete used in total secrecy in the Korean War so if really necessary, probably could get them participating before any formalizing law goes into effect. JMSDF was pretty small though around 1970. About 30 surface combat warships and 7 or so subs. So not much. So an arms build up may be a consideration. 

Edited by JasonJ
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