July 19, 2017                                                Issue No. 19

How China's Cyber Command Is Being Built to Supersede Its US Military Counterpart | cyberscoop

As US leaders contemplate a proper definition for "cyberwar," their counterparts in China have been building a unit capable of fighting such a large-scale conflict. China's rival to US Cyber Command, the ambiguously named Strategic Support Force (SSF), is quietly growing at a time when the country's sizable military is striving to excel in the digital domain. Though the American government is widely considered to be one of the premier hacking powers, China is rapidly catching up by following a drastically different model.
In Unusual Move, Xi Appoints Top Party Leader to Lead Daily Affairs of Key Committee | South China Morning Post

Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken an unusual step by appointing a member from the top echelons of the Communist Party to a role managing the day to day operations of a committee tasked with integrating military and civilian investment and technology. Xi held the first plenary meeting of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development, a group he created in January to foster military and civilian capacity integration, on Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Xi is the chair, and three other Politburo Standing Committee members--Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli--are vice-chairs. However, Zhang, who is also a vice-premier and No. 7 on the Standing Committee, is also the director of the general affairs office for the commission. Zhang's position represents a departure from past practice since such posts are often taken by a lower-ranking individual, usually a state councilor or a Politburo member.
Fuel-saving Plane Designer Tired of Battling China's Red Tape | South China Morning Post

For Liu Shiying, an aircraft dynamics engineer in Hubei province, trying to make his invention useful to the Chinese military has been a painful process. Liu, 72, a retired professor with Wuhan University, has spent 24 years designing an innovative rectangular aircraft fuselage that he claims is more fuel efficient. "My design can reduce aircraft fuel consumption by 40 per cent, because the oblate rectangle fuselage can carry more passengers and cargo," he said, adding that it could be used in both civilian and military aircraft. But although Liu has obtained several patents in the United States for his design, he has had great difficulty seeing it put to use.  Beijing-based military analyst Li Jie said Liu was just one of many frustrated inventors on the mainland. He said a key obstacle to integrating civilian and military development was a lack of standardization.
Defense Industry Adopts Market Role | China Daily

China's defense sector is taking bold steps to be more competitive and innovative as it prepares to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Aug. 1. A key aspect of this reform is the drive to put the nation's defense research institutes on a more commercial footing, a move which was announced at a recent conference held by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. Work is proceeding well on such efforts at 41 institutes, which will become independent legal entities as companies, it was revealed at the conference on July 7.
China Enlists Start-Ups in High-Tech Arms Race | Financial Times (requires login)

China's military is increasingly enlisting smaller private sector start-ups in the race to create the next generation of high-tech weaponry. The fruits of the strategy were on display at Beijing's "Civil-Military Integration Expo," where private companies' military hardware, from autonomous armed boats to virtual reality goggles, were on display. Some private companies say that being allowed to compete for military contracts is partly an effort to cut hardware costs: private companies can produce equipment for a fraction of the cost of their state-run counterparts. But private companies and start-ups are also widely judged to be better at some types of innovation and offer cutting-edge technology in areas such as facial recognition and batteries.
Xi Stresses Enhancing Rocket Launch, Test Capability | People's Daily

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for comprehensively improving the country's rocket launch and test capabilities. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks during inspection of a space force unit based in Shanxi Province in north China. Xi also stressed deepening the military and civilian integration, and encouraged the aerospace forces to play an exemplary role in this area for all the armed forces.
Launch of China's Heavy-Lift Long March 5 Rocket Declared a Failure | Spaceflight Now

China's second Long March 5 rocket fell short of orbit after lifting off from a spaceport in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, clouding the country's plans to send a robotic sample return mission to the moon later this year.
Why China's Aerospace Industry Needs Technological Heroes | Sixth Tone

On the evening of July 2, China launched the Long March 5 rocket at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center in Hainan, China's southernmost province. Shortly afterward, an engine failure sent the rocket plummeting into the Pacific Ocean. The specter of failure always looms over space launches; however, setbacks have become somewhat more frequent for China's space program in recent years.
AVIC Seeks More International Cooperation | Aviation Week (requires login)

China's state aviation conglomerate aims to expand cooperation with the international aerospace community this year. It furthered those goals at Paris with several agreements, says Zhang Xinguo, AVIC vice president and president of the China Aeronautical Establishment. Among them: the application of Dassault Systems' digital technology to complex system manufacturing, and local software development and after-sale support support for Thales in the China market for helicopter avionics. Avicopter, AVIC's helicopter arm, just flew the AC352 with Airbus Helionix avionics last December. More new programs like the AC322 and Sino-Russo Advanced Heavy Lift helicopter, as well as upgrade programs, are also underway.
China Boosts Naval Power with Asia's Most Advanced Warship | South China Morning Post

China launched what it calls the most advanced and largest warship in Asia, billing it as a major step forward in the modernization of its navy, according to the official military newspaper. As the first of the new Type 055 guided-missile destroyers, military experts said it was designed to accompany the country's future aircraft carrier battle groups. The destroyer was built at the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai and was equipped with air ­defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons, PLA Daily newspaper reported. The launch of the warship marks an important step towards China's dream of having a strong and modern naval force, General Zhang Youxia, a member of the Central Military Commission who oversees the army's equipment, was quoted as saying at the launch ceremony. Military analysts said the Type 055 was in theory the world's second most powerful destroyer--after the US Navy's DDG-1000, or the Zumwalt class. The capabilities of the Type 055 surpass South Korea's DDG-991 and Japan's Atago class.
China Launches New Warship Type to Boost Military Strength | BBC News

China launched a new type of domestically built warship in its latest bid to modernize its military, state media said. China's new 10,000-tonne destroyer will undergo extensive testing. The warship "is equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons," China's official news agency Xinhua said. According to the state-run Global Times, the vessel type is thought to be the first type 055 destroyer--a successor to the smaller type 052D destroyers.
Photos Reveal Possible New Chinese Sub-Tracking Surveillance Ship | The Diplomat

China may be adding a potentially powerful new tool to its anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Photographs have circulated over the past week showing what appears to be a new Chinese ocean surveillance vessel being completed in southern China, possibly giving China a new long-range capability to detect submarines.

China Develops World's Most Powerful Submarine Detector | Economic Times

Chinese scientists have claimed a major breakthrough in magnetic detection technology which could find hidden metallic objects, including minerals and submarines. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China's largest research institute, said that a "superconductive magnetic anomaly detection array" has been developed in Shanghai and passed inspection by an expert panel, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. The device, which works from the air, could be used to pinpoint the location of minerals buried deep beneath the earth in Inner Mongolia, for example, with a level of precision as high as anything currently available around the world, the experts were quoted as saying. The device could also be used on civilian and military aircraft.
China Big Fund Commits Investment of CNY85 Billion | DIGITIMES (requires login)

China's National Semiconductor Industry Investment Fund has committed to invest CNY85 billion (US$12.4 billion) into the local IC industry, mainly the manufacturing sector, according to Ding Wenwu, president of the fund. As of the end of April 2017, the fund made investments in a total of 37 enterprises. Of the committed investments, Investments in the IC manufacturing sector account for 67 percent of the fund's total committed investments in China's local IC industry, Ding disclosed. The fund has given its financial support to companies including Semiconductor Manufacturing International, Yangtze River Storage Technology and Huahong Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing, which are able to greatly enhance their advanced manufacturing capacity and speed up volume production for storage chips, Ding said.
What's the 'Risk' in China's Investments in US Artificial Intelligence? New Bill Aims to Find Out | Defense One

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wants to make it harder for the Chinese to invest in US technology development, including in companies developing artificial intelligence, out of fear that Beijing will use small investment positions in Silicon Valley firms to erode US national security and technological advantage. But tech entrepreneurs, academics in the field, and former senior officials in the White House and Pentagon think the proposal would do more harm than good. Cornyn pitched his idea at a Council on Foreign Relations event, citing a 2016 Defense Department report that explored how various Chinese investment activities might affect US national security.
Swarms at War: Chinese Advances in Swarm Intelligence |  China Brief

Chinese advances in artificial intelligence, including deep learning techniques, have enabled considerable progress in swarm intelligence. There is technical and conceptual research, development, and testing ongoing across Chinese academic institutions, the private sector, defense industry, and military research institutes to support such capabilities. At this point, given the limited information available and the relative opacity of these efforts, it is difficult to compare U.S. and Chinese advances in swarm intelligence. Nonetheless, the PLA has closely tracked U.S. initiatives focused on swarm tactics (e.g., Science and Technology Daily, March 29; Science and Technology Daily, May 30, 2016) and seeks to develop countermeasures and comparable capabilities. Looking forward, the PLA's advances in intelligent unmanned systems and swarm tactics could serve as a force multiplier for its future military capabilities.

Wing Loong II's Paris Presence Underlines China's UAV Market Gains | Aviation Week

It was not the most dynamic of exhibits on display at this year's Paris Air Show, but the unexpected appearance of a Chinese-built armed UAV in the static display is perhaps a reminder that China's unmanned systems are beginning to grab a significant chunk of the international export market.
China's New Killer Drone Ready for Mass Production | The Diplomat

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation's latest and most capable attack and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle, the Caihong 5 (CH-5), or Rainbow 5, is ready for mass production, according to Chinese media reports. The first mass-produced CH-5 made its 20-minute maiden flight at an airport in China's northern Hebei Province on July 14, China Daily reports. "Today's flight means the CH-5's design has been finalized and we are ready to mass-produce it," said Ou Zhongming, CH-5 project manager. The CH-5 is intended for export. Several countries have purportedly already expressed interest in the new combat drone. The CH-5's developers, however, have so far not revealed the names of potential customers. The major draw for buyers is the drone's relative cheap price tag in comparison to Western models.
Unable to Buy US Military Drones, Allies Place Orders with China | Wall Street Journal

The United States has long refused to sell the most powerful US-made drones to most countries, fearing they might fall into hostile hands, be used to suppress civil unrest or, in the Mideast, erode Israel's military dominance. The United Kingdom is the only foreign country that has operated armed Predators and Reapers, the most potent US systems for offensive drone strikes, according to people familiar with US sales. The Obama administration, while seeking to facilitate exports under close regulation, led efforts to forge a global "drone code" that would curb proliferation and keep the weapons from misuse. But China is filling the void. State companies are selling aircraft resembling General Atomics' Predator and Reaper drones at a fraction of the cost to US allies and partners, and to other buyers.