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China Created World’s First ‘Near-Space Command’: Here Is What We Know So Far

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China Created World’s First ‘Near-Space Command’: Here Is What We Know So Far


Chinese DF-17 ballistic missile carrying its DF-ZF Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV)

China has reportedly established the world’s first ‘near-space command,’ equipped with powerful hypersonic weapons, according to Hong Kong’s SCMP.

According to the report, the new force will serve as the People’s Liberation Army’s fifth force, alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Rocket Force.

But What Is Near Space?

Near Space refers to the area in Earth’s atmosphere, approximately 20 to 100 kilometres from the Earth’s surface, known as the mesosphere.

In this region, air is very thin, preventing traditional military aircraft from flying, and gravity is strong enough to prevent satellites from remaining in orbit, creating a No-Man’s land region.

However, hypersonic missiles can easily operate in this area due to the rarefied atmosphere, enabling them to fly at hypersonic speeds for long ranges.

The characteristics of the near-space region are what the Chinese hope to exploit using the ‘near-space’ command.

Status of The Near-Space Command

According to the SCMP report, Chinese researchers believe that space is the next battleground, and dominating near-space will provide China with an edge in future wars.

China aims to develop a comprehensive advantage over its competitors in this near-space domain.

A research paper submitted to the 11th China Command and Control Conference in October stated that near-space had become a hotly contested zone that could “determine the outcome of future battles.”

“It is not clear when the near-space command was formed, but according to the report, it is still in the developmental stage. The establishment of relevant units is not yet mature, and combat operations have not been standardised,” the report said.

What Weapons Will The Near-Space Command Have At Its Disposal?

The Near-Space Command will primarily consist of hypersonic weapons owned by all branches of the PLA military—army, navy, air force, and rocket forces.

In the event of war, control over these hypersonic weapons will be transferred directly to the near-space command.

The command will also deploy a large number of spy balloons, solar-powered long-endurance drones, and other associated equipment.

Who Will Have Command And Control Over The Near-Space Command?

The near-space command will report directly to the highest level of the military due to its potential to invite political or military backlash from major geopolitical powers like the US, EU, India, or Russia.

That is why, “It is necessary to adjust the hierarchy of command and control powers, selection of command methods, implementation of executive orders and support for command communication,” the report said quoting the researchers.

The report added, “The understanding of near-space combat command needs to be deepened.”

How Will Near-Space Command Help China Win ‘Future Wars’?

According to the report, in the event of future wars, the near-space command will be tasked with carrying out ‘merciless’ attacks on critical targets and conducting high-altitude surveillance globally through automated drones and spy balloons.

The space command will first identify enemy anti-satellite missile launch sites and destroy them, preventing the enemy from interfering with Chinese civilian or military satellite infrastructure.

“These attacks must be precise, overwhelming and merciless,” the report says. These targets will be hit at an unstoppable speed, using hypersonic missiles, surprising the enemy.

“The loss of critical infrastructure in the early stages of a conflict would break down an enemy’s war machine and severely affect its ability and willingness to fight,” the report said, predicting the initial course of war with a future enemy.

“This could change the pace of battles and bring a major impact to how a war would end,” the Chinese researchers believe.

The report further states, “The success of the war in near-space would be to a large extent based on innovative strategies and combat tactics grounded in an in-depth analysis of the enemy’s weaknesses.”





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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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