Thursday, September 28, 2023

What happened to China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning ?

China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning is often being compared with its 'sister ship', Russia's carrier 'Admiral Kusnezov', as the hull of both ships was originally built in the former Soviet Union. China bought one of both ships, equipped and renamed it Liaoning. Up to now, it served the Chinese Navy as a training ship. After recent overhaul, the Liaoning will finally enter the class of combat ships.
As to the remark 'Kusnezov collapsed in the mud', to be found in the headline of the above quoted Chinese article, this refers to the Kusnezov now lying in a muddy dry dock. The meaning of it: There has nothing been done to modernize the Russian ship while China's Liaoning has undergone significant changes.



最近一次升级改进工作,则是去年12月。当时,辽宁舰完成西太巡航后,便直接进入大连造船厂进行升级改造。据媒体传出的照片来看,此次辽宁舰升级工作量将达到前所未有的程度。 由于是中国第一艘航母,所以外界对辽宁舰一举一动都格外关注。港媒公布了该航母近段时间动态,从大量高清照片中可以看到,此次改造升级工作,将涉及方方面面,如防空系统、雷达、控制系统、舰载武器系统等。


China has commissioned a total of two aircraft carriers, one Shandong and one Liaoning, and in 2018, the Liaoning ship has already begun related renovation work, and a few months later it will appear in a new posture, both in appearance and in various systems, it has undergone tremendous changes.

For example, the appearance of the ship island looks cleaner and simpler than before, in addition, the control tower on the ship island has also undergone related modifications, not only the window area has become larger, but also a lot of new humanized design.

The most recent upgrade was last December. At that time, after the Liaoning completed a Western Pacific cruise, it directly entered Dalian Shipyard for upgrades. According to the photos released by media, the workload of the Liaoning ship upgrade will reach an unprecedented level. Since it is China's first aircraft carrier, the outside world pays special attention to the Liaoning's every move. Hong Kong media announced the recent dynamics of the aircraft carrier, and it can be seen from a large number of high-definition photos that the transformation and upgrading work will involve all aspects, such as air defense systems, radars, control systems, shipborne weapon systems, etc.

Image: The outside world speculates that Liaoning is
likely to be equipped with electromagnetic catapults.




According to sources, the Liaoning is likely to carry heavyweight equipment on board, that is, electromagnetic catapults.

In this view, electromagnetic catapults can greatly improve the number of aircraft hosted and the takeoff and landing efficiency, or carry more fixed-wing carrier-based aircraft. In a certain sense, this would enhance the combat effectiveness of the Liaoning, making it a real combat ship.

However, there are also many experts who have doubts about this speculation, after all, the space of the Liaoning ship is limited, the Soviet-style structure adopted has long been fixed, and it will be very difficult to install an electromagnetic catapult. Moreover, the electromagnetic catapult is inseparable from the medium-voltage DC integrated power supply system, and in order to realize the equipment on the ship, the Liaoning ship must at least overhaul the power system, so that the workload will undoubtedly multiply.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Russia's Black Sea Fleet Under Attack - Background

UPDATE on September 26 included below.

Video of one of the missiles hit at Black Sea Fleet HQ.
No signs of air defense even attempting to intercept it.



It is reported that the command post was established in the Soviet era and was once the Central Communications Center of the Ukrainian Navy, number A-2929, which was renamed the 744th Communications Center of the Black Sea Fleet Command after the Russian army occupied Crimea. The center consists of several above-ground buildings and a large network of antennas, as well as a large underground section that can communicate with other fleets of the Russian Navy and higher-level units.

Usually, such military installations themselves have strong defensive capabilities to withstand direct hits from heavy bombs, and there are air defense systems nearby, but the "Storm Shadow" and "Scalp-EG" missiles [French version of Storm Shadow], provided by Britain and France to Ukraine, with "drilling" warheads are designed to deal specifically with such targets: After hitting the target, the "drill shaped" first-stage warhead will make a hole in the outer wall of the building, and the second-stage high-explosive warhead will drill into the target building from this hole and explode.

值得注意的是,这次袭击是在白天进行的,而以往的类似袭击则是在深夜或黎明时分发动的。不确切的信息显示,乌克兰空军的苏-24M“击剑手”前线轰炸机发射了多枚“风暴阴影”巡航导弹,并发射了3枚AGM-160 MALD诱饵弹,但部署在塔尔汉库特角和贝尔贝克机场的俄军“铠甲-S1”防空系统击落了5枚导弹,3枚导弹则突防成功并击中目标。


It is noteworthy that this attack was carried out during the day, while similar attacks in the past were distributed late at night or at dawn. Inaccurate information indicates that the Ukrainian Air Force's Su-24M "Fencson" front-line bombers fired multiple Storm Shadow cruise missiles and fired 3 AGM-160 MALD decoy shells, but the Russian "Pantsir-S1" air defense system deployed at Cape Talhancourt and Belbek Airport shot down 5 missiles, and 3 missiles successfully penetrated and hit targets.

Visual evidence confirms that since this month, including the landing ship "Minsk" and the submarine "Rostov-on-Don" destroyed in dry dock, at least 6 ships of the Black Sea Fleet have been attacked by Ukrainian forces, 4 of which have been destroyed or sunk, and the Black Sea Fleet is powerless in the face of such an attack. Forced to evacuate the warships, the landing ship goes to the Sea of Azov and the submarine withdraws to Novorossiysk. Novorossiysk, however, is not safe and has also been attacked by unmanned suicide boats of the Ukrainian Navy.


UPDATE on September 26:

For fear of Russian air strikes, Ukrainian grain transporters have been temporarily anchoring their ships at night on the Romanian bank of the Danube arm Chilia, which forms the border with Ukraine. Diplomats from the EU and the United States had negotiated this protection option with Romanian and Ukrainian authorities in August, told the director of the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta, Florian Vizan, the German Press Agency (DPA). He had been present at these talks.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Delivery of Russian LNG to the EU - Paths of Distribution

A REUTERS report on tankers carrying Russian Liquefied Natural Gas
(Russian LNG) via Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

While the European Union has imposed sweeping sanctions on the Kremlin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it still allows gas imports from Russia. Some European politicians, however, condemn the purchase of Russian LNG, which increased after Gazprom cut off pipeline supplies as a result of the war.

In Germany, the arrival of LNG tanker Amur River for loading in Zeebrugge, Netherlands, has caused special public interest because the German government earlier declared to be unwilling to accept any delivery of Russian gas. It is now feared that from the vessel's final destination in India the Russian gas might find its way back to the EU as crude or refined product. Germany is therefore taking a rather firm position in comparison with other European partners which might result, in the log run, in an expensive solution for the country.

Thu, September 21, 2023 at 5:45 PM GMT+2

The following liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers are expected to arrive in Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in the coming weeks. Estimated arrival dates, often revised by port authorities and AIS Live ship-tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon, are updated below. Some tankers heading for Belgium and Britain may be loading at the terminal. Those expected to load are indicated with an (L). Those likely to perform ship-to-ship transfers are indicated with (STS). Tankers that have docked are indicated with (A). Floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) terminals are added to the table when they near deployment. As of Dec. 27 2022, this includes the Eemshaven terminal in the Netherlands, and the Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbuettel and Lubmin terminals in Germany.

For the Reuters LNG guide:

BRITAIN Arctic Lady 145,000 Sept. 21 (A = has arrived)
Norway Isle of Grain Maran Gas Amorgos 174,000 Sept. 26
United States South Hook Methane Julia Louise 168,000 Oct. 14
Spain Milford Haven BELGIUM LNG Merak 174,000 Sept. 22
Russia Zeebrugge Lusail 143,000 Sept. 27
Qatar Zeebrugge Boris Davydov 170,000 Sept. 29
Russia Zeebrugge Clean Vision 162,000 Sept. 30
Russia Zeebrugge Amur River 157,000 Oct. 1 (L = expected to load in Zeebrugge)
N/A Zeebrugge Sonangol Etosha 158,000 Oct. 3
Angola Zeebrugge Al Areesh 149,000 Oct. 8
Qatar Zeebrugge NETHERLANDS Adamastos 174,000 Sept. 21 (A)
United States Eemshaven Energy Universe 165,000 Sept. 22
Portugal Gate Cadiz Knutsen 136,000 Sept. 26
United States Gate Lngships Empress 174,000 Sept. 28
Portugal Eemshaven Woodside Rees Wither 170,000 Sept. 30
United States Gate Elisa Larus 174,000 Oct. 1
United States Gate Traiano Knutsen 180,000 Oct. 6
United States Eemshaven Sonangol Benguela 158,000 Oct. 6
United States Gate LNG Schneeweisschen 177,000 Oct. 2 (L)
N/A Gate GERMANY LNG Endurance 174,000 Sept. 21

United States Wilhelmshaven Sources: Ports, AIS Live ship tracking, Refinitiv Eikon data. (^) Partial unload (*). Arrival date estimated based on flows data. (Reporting By Susanna Twidale)

Friday, September 15, 2023

Kim JongUn in Russia - Indication of Military Talks

凤凰網 is a TV station in Shenzhen and Hong Kong serving China Mainland.



According to a CCTV news report, on September 15 local time, North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia, and went to the Gagarin aircraft factory.

South Korean media quoted intelligence agency sources as saying that Kim Jong-un's visit to a Russian aircraft factory was the "highlight of his visit" to Russia. The outside world said that this sends a very important signal that North Korea is eager to upgrade its large and aging air power and equally solve the question of another fighter generation.



In 2002, after defeating the Mikoyan Design Bureau [ => MIG-41 ] in a competitive bid to win the project for the development of a Russian fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Design Bureau immediately chose to cooperate with the Gagarin aircraft plant. At present, the Gagarin aircraft factory has delivered the fifth-generation stealth fighter Su-57 to the Russian Defense Ministry. According to TASS on August 30, a source in the Russian military-industrial complex said the Su-57 hit targets at a distance of 120 km during the special military operation [ => Ukraine ], and soon in the future, aviation missiles capable of hitting targets within 300 km will be obtained.



South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yong-ho said: "After the visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to the DPRK, judging from the movements between North Korea and Russia, Kim Jong-un's recent inspections of munitions factories, the entourage of the summit, and Russia's hint at providing artificial satellites to North Korea, the two sides are continuing to strengthen military transactions."


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Did Ukraine use North Korean Weapons ?
N Korean Leader meets Russian President

The following article is referring to Russian battle field experience and has already been published one month ago.


An interesting thing happened in the international community when the Russian foreign minister visited North Korea and carried out arms sales transactions. It is embarrassing that Russian front-line positions over there were attacked by North Korean arms. Weapons that were supposed to rescue themselves [i.e. the Russians] were actually received by the enemy and used to strike at themselves. Russia should have been confused at the time, and probably suspected North Korea's intentions.

I am trying to recount the gist of this story; it is therefore some kind of a 'commented translation'.

It is said that North Korean weapons used by Ukraine have been provided by the US who could have seized them from a ship. That ship, however, was not operated by North Korea but simply transporting such ugly things from the battle fields of the Middle East, where they should have protected Russian units [i.e. especially in Syria], to anywhere else. As can be seen in the photo below, transferring rotten ammunition is not necessarily a secretive matter. For a US spy satellite it should not be too difficult to detect and identify them on a slowly moving vessel. From there it sounds understandable the US seized the North Korean weapons on the basis of international sanctions and gave them away to the Ukrainians who might have used them.


Early in the morning: Russian officials receive Kim JongUn at
the border station Khasan between North Korea and Russia.

The private train of Kim JongUn entered the yard of Khasan Railway
Station at 6:00 AM local time. Kim was greeted by Alexandr Kozlov,
the minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, and Oleg
Kozhemyako, the governor of the Maritime Territory Administration.
[Workers Party News - North Korean news site]

Kim JongUn meets Putin at Russia's far-eastern spaceport.
[KCNA News - North Korean news site]


Saturday, September 09, 2023

War on Ukraine - Russia's New Friend in Combat

UPDATE added on September 11

The day before, I already guessed that the chief propagandist of Russia's state TV, Margarita Simonyan, was => preparing for a change <= in her pro-Putin campaign; - today we have the proof for it. North Korea is emerging as a 'friend in combat' to Putin in Russia's war on Ukraine !

Against the backdrop of Ukraine accelerating its counterattack and the situation on the Korean Peninsula continuing to be tense, news suddenly spread that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un would meet in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok. According to Western media, Putin invited Kim Jong-un to "come over" with the intention of seeking arms assistance from North Korea. This news immediately exploded in the Western camp. If Kim Jong-un agreed to Russia's request, it would be extremely detrimental to the Ukrainian army, so Western countries must find ways to stop it. Sullivan, the national security adviser to the US president, warned the DPRK that if the United States finds out that North Korea is providing weapons to the Russian army, the United States will make the DPRK "get into a jam". [China's NetEase 网易 on September 9, 2023]

DPRK = Democratic People's Republic of Korea

North Korea's Workers Party News about Russia's
contribution to N Korea's 75th Anniversary. [Sept.11]

Friday, September 08, 2023

State TV Boss - Russia has No Allies in the Ukraine War

On September 6, Newsweek confronted us with a rather strange comment on the Russian-Ukrainian war, launched by 'Russia's State TV Boss' Margarita Simonovna Simonyan, chief editor of RT ('Russia Today') and saying: Russia has no allies in the Ukraine war and is waging the "most difficult, toughest and generally unprecedented war in our history" while Russia's traditional allies are only watching the scene with some sympathy.

Subtitled Video : RT editor Margarita Simonyan deliberating on Russia's lonely war on Ukraine

A certain Anton Gerashchenko, the provider of English subtitles to the official video, describes himself on his Twitter/X-account as "a Ukrainian patriot, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and founder of the Institute of the Future, as well as an official enemy of Russian propaganda."

The video prepared by Gerashchenko, however, can be regarded as authentic because the same stance of Margarita Simonovna Simonyan has already been quoted by other sources, including China's Tencent 腾讯 news center.

There are public comments to the Chinese article mentioned above, including one that introduces a brandnew aspect, the role of North Korea :

In the battle of invading Ukraine, Russia has only two friends: North Korea and Belarus.
[This is clearly the reason for mentioning a little help when speaking of all help would be wrong.]

Editor's Opinion: This point of view can be easily understood when it comes to a recent North Korean offer to provide weapons for Russia in its war on Ukraine. In addition to weapons, North Korea could rent out, as well, a mercenary army of almost any size in order to benefit the financial needs of the Kim family. So there could be some kind of: Two misunderstood and sanctioned countries brotherly united against the rest of the world. Maybe this is what Russia's Margarita Simonyan had in mind and wants to lead on. In her video performance, however, she only mentioned Belarus.


KCNA: N-Korea's 1st tactical nuclear attack submarine launched.
Kim Jong-un attended the ceremony.

Source: KNCA (Korean Central News Agency) quoted by
China's Global Network (环球网) on September 8, 2023.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

What Happened Today in the World of Islam ?
Ending of Mourning Period for Imam Hussein

Today, on 6 September 2023, Shiite pilgrims celebrate the holiday of Arbaeen (الأربعين) in Karbala, Iraq. The holiday marks the end of the fourty-day mourning period for Imam Hussein after the anniversary of his martyrdom, the Ashura عاشوراء). Karbala in Iraq is the location where Husayn ibn Ali الحسين بن علي lost his life in a battle against the ruling caliph Yazid in 680. Hussein was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a son of Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Imam (or protector of the faith), and Muhammad's daughter Fatima. It is therefore that Hussein is being venerated by the followers of Shia Islam as the 3rd Imam after his predecessors Ali, his father, and Hassan, his elder brother. Shia Islam is practised especially in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. The Lebanese TV station Al-Manar is therefore concentrating on the subject in today's broadcast and news edition.

The Mosque of Karbala in Iraq, center of veneration for
Hussein, is hosting the shrine containing his remains.