Military/Intelligence Bulletin 02/2020 – What is China up to?

China appears to be deploying unusual antenna arrays in coastal locations.

Several new antenna arrays have been identified in coastal locations and they appear to be low-frequency VHF SIAR/MIMO.

They are capable of detecting aircraft which includes stealth variants. The three that have been deployed on the coast could also be used for detecting maritime assets.


Test facility, Li’anzhen, Hainan island, South Chine Sea. This appears to be a possible test site for a synthetic impulse and aperture radar (SIAR). Multiple input multiple output (MIMO). The site consists of four vertical masts boxing in a multiple antenna array. There is a possible test array south east of this structure


A possible synthetic impulse and aperture radar (SIAR) complex near Li’anzhen on Hainan Island, South China Sea. This shows an unfinished SIAR. You can see the four lattice towers and top right a Radome position. There is no multiple antenna array in position yet.

CETC38 – Number 38 Research Institute of the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation. Test complex near Hefei in China.

Shacheng Harbour, near Fuding, Fujian province, eastern China. The systems are composed of three rings of 25 antennas totalling some 45 metres in diameter. The antennas are differing in height within each ring. There are four large frame-constructed masts outside the main circle. But there are differences at the centre of the arrays. At the new site at Subi Reef, there is a five metre tall building. Although there is no mast visible, it is likely that the building contains one. At the Li’anzhen test array, there is a central frame-constructed mast of approximately two-metres in height. It is folded down and can be raised to 10 metres in height. The central configuration is the same at the CETC38 site.


A possible synthetic impulse and aperture radar (SIAR) complex at Shacheng harbour, near Fuding, Fujian province, eastern China.A Radome can be seen bottom left and the support complex bottom right. The circular area is a possible operational SIAR.

Subi Reef in the South China Sea.

Possible synthetic impulse and aperture radar installation on Subi Reef in the South China Sea. Radome bottom left. To the far right, off picture, lies a deactivated SIAR.

Possible synthetic impulse and aperture radar installation on Subi Reef in the South China Sea.  To the far right, lies a deactivated SIAR.


SIAR radars on their own are an early-warning system and not designed to be used with air defence weapons. With a range out to around 300 kilometres for an incoming aircraft at altitude, it would not provide substantial advanced warning over systems already in place.

It could be used to intercept, track and provide basic information before handing over to an air defence system, such as HQ-64. The advantage it could provide, is that the aircraft would be unaware that it was being tracked up until the last moment. This could explain their current positions, located alongside pre-existing air defence radars.

So, what we have is a potentially undetectable lower-frequency VHF SIAR/MIMO radar capable of identifying aircraft, including stealth aircraft, as well as maritime assets.

Post copyrighted to Harvey Black

Military/Intelligence Bulletin 01/2020 – Russian Long Range Aviation (LRA)

What is the current capability of Russian LRA?

Russian LRA was centre-stage during the final battle between government forces and anti-government militants for the Syrian city of Aleppo.

On the 17 November 2016, a force of turboprop Tupolev TU-95 ‘Bear’ bombers, supported by a flight of Ilyushin IL-78 ‘Midas’ air-to-air refuelling tankers, were tracked, by NATO air defence radars in Norway and Scotland, flying around the North Cape.

They flew out over the Atlantic heading southwest before turning due south, passing the west coast of Ireland then on to the Straights of Gibraltar. During this time they were being shadowed by UK Royal Air Force and Portuguese Fighters.

This force then turned east, flying inbetween Europe and Africa, entering the western Mediterranean.

By now, NATO surmised that this force was headed for Syria. As the aircraft neared Cyprus two TU-95s launched a salvo of Kh-101 ‘stealthy’ cruise missiles at anti-government militant targets around Aleppo.


A Russian Tu-95 Bear ‘H’ photographed from a RAF Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert aircraft (QRA) with 6 Squadron from RAF Leuchars in Scotland.

Credit: Open Government Source


An Ilyushin Il-78 simulating aerial refuelling with a TU-95MS during the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on 9 May 2009.

Credit: By Sergey Ashmarin:



The Kh-101/-102 was developed as a long-range, standoff cruise missile to replace the ageing Kh-55 and kh-555 ALCMs. It travels on a low altitude flight path beneath infrared and radar systems, and its use of radar absorbing composite material makes the missile challenging to detect. Its accuracy is also believed to be quite high,

Credit: Missile Defense Project, Centre for Strategic and International Studies


This mission was on par with the distance flown by the 6,600 mile ‘Black Buck’ mission conducted by RAF Avro Vulcan bombers during the 1982 Falklands War.


On 26 September 2017, Tu-95MS bombers flew 7,000 km from Engels Air Field in southwestern Russia through Iraqi and Iranian airspace before launching Kh-101 cruise missiles at ISIS and JFS targets in the Syrian provinces of Deir al-Zor and Idlib.


What is the size of the Russian LRA?

Although no longer the 500 plus bomber force it used to be, it still has a significant number of aircraft. Now the Russian LRA consists of around 120 bombers and just under 20 air-refuelling tankers.

The Russian LRA is grouped into two operational divisions (current commander Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash:

22nd Guards Donbass Heavy Bomber Division

Engels Air Force Base – Tupolev Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ supersonic jet bombers and Tupolev Tu-95s.

Tambov Air Force Base – Tu-22M3s

Sheykovka Air Force Base – Tu-22M3s

326th Guards Sevastopol-Berlin Heavy Bomber Division

Ukrainka-Seryshevo Air Force Base – Tu-95MS

Beleya Air Force Base -Tu-22M3s

203rd Guards Orlovsky Independent Aircraft-refuelling  Aviation Regiment -IL-78 ‘Midas’ air-to-air refuelling tankers

Current Orbat:

10 x Tupolev Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ in active service.

40 x Tupolev Tu-95s in active service.

60 x Tu-22M3s in active service

More than 40 surplus Tu-22M3 airframes remain on LRA airfields.



Credit: By Dmitriy Pichugin

I have been out of the writing arena for a while, due to reasons i don’t wish to discuss on social media. But, I have picked up my pen again and have started writing the rest of Perditon, the sequel to Purgatory and Paralysis. I am currently over half way through. My target is to write at least 1,000 words per day.

Post copyrighted to Harvey Black

Military/Intelligence Bulletin 07/2019 – MQ-9 Reaper squadron to Poland.

The US to send 1,000 additional troops and an MQ-9 reaper squadron to Poland.

In order to beef up troops in Poland and establish a forward divisional headquarters there in order to deter potential Russian aggression, the US will be stationing a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper squadron along with an additional 1,000 troops.

During a White House press conference on the 12th June, President Donald Trump and the Polish President announced plans to send additional troops to Poland. The additional 1,000 troops will boost rotational troop numbers to around 5,500.


Soldiers conduct and after action review after the detonation of a Bangalore torpedo on the range near Camp Trzebien, Poland.

Credit: Sgt Jeremiah Woods/Army.


An M1 Abrams crossing an M60 Armoured vehicle Launched Bridge system, at a range near Camp Trzebien, Poland.

The Belief is that the presence of US military personnel in Poland strengthens Nato’s deterrence efforts.


An MQ-9 Reaper, sometimes known as a Predator D

Photo – By Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt.

The additional troops are likely to be pulled from Germany or an alternate location. It has been suggested that US special forces may also be sent to Poland.


The pentagon is preparing to send a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper squadron to Poland to collect Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information.

Photo credit – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

The plan is to build the infrastructure to support an armoured brigade combat team and a combat aviation brigade and a combat sustainment support battalion. Although Poland has offered to spend $2 billion on a new division sized US military base on Poland’s eastern border, so far, Trump has stopped short of promising a permanent military presence.

Post copyrighted to Harvey Black

Military/Intelligence Bulletin 06/2019 – Hypersonic and Direct Energy weapons.

The US army has plans for a hypersonic missile battery and laser mounted Strykers.

The US military is planning on fielding its first hypersonic missile battery by 2023, along with a battery of Strykers equipped with 50 kW high-energy lasers by 2022.

This desire to field these new weapons is driven by the need to compete with China and Russia.


A Stryker with a 5 kW laser mounted on the rear. The US has made the decision to accelerate its development of the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL)

The US is looking to have one hypersonic battery in 2023 and by 2022 field four Strykers equipped with 50kW lasers.


A MEHEL-equipped Stryker. Capable of shooting drones out of the sky using a 5kw fibre laser.

The army is also teaming up with the US Navy to develop a launcher for the hypersonic missile. Work is already in progress looking for a possible ground based mobile launcher for the US Army.


A rendering of a Hypersonic missile.

Photo – Rand Corp.

One option for a transporter erector launcher (TEL) is using M870 trailers, integrating 2 launchers on each one. Or, using the M9834a. Existing command and control systems could be used, along with the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, to tie them together.


An M9834a towing a Patriot missile launcher. The Army’s hypersonic weapon system could use this same tractor to tow a trailer-mounted TEL

Photo credit – US Army


Post copyrighted to Harvey Black