China: Potential Recruits Prefer Wargames to War

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January17, 2007: India and China are into their ninth round of negotiations to settle their border dispute. The territory in question is a frozen wasteland, high in the Himalaya mountains. China and India fought a brief war there in the 1960s. India lost, China took the favorable (from a military standpoint) and now both nations are trying to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement. Further to the west, India has a similar dispute with Pakistan.

January 1 6, 2007: China has managed to come down hard on drug dealers, and has kept drug addiction from becoming a major problem. But the kids found another way to get high. It seems that about two million Chinese teenagers are Internet addicts, and the number is growing. The kids spend all their time online, mainly playing games. A similar affliction has been noted in South Korea and Japan. What's worse about the situation in China is that there are only about 18 million teenage Internet users (about 14 percent of all Chinese Internet users). Young men will steal to pay for access to the Internet (at the thousands of Internet cafes found throughout the country.) Thus teenage crime has risen 68 percent in the last five years. Laws have been passed that force Internet Cafe owners to restrict access to you young men, but this is not always enforced. The money is too good, and it's not a good idea to aggravate young Internet junkies who need their fix. The government notes that these addicts tend to be some of the most talented young men, and their addiction is a great loss to the country, and especially the military. Young fellows with Internet skills are much in demand for military Cyber War units.

Overall, however, the police say crime is under control. This is because the Chinese have made a special effort to go after organized crime. Last year, the police broke up 1,347 gangs by arresting members, and prosecuted 296 gangs (as criminal conspiracies). China still has the death penalty, and uses it liberally, and in public, against gangsters.

January 11, 2007: Although the first squadron of Chinese made J10 jet fighters entered service in early 2005, the aircraft was officially "revealed" this week, with great fanfare. The J10 was declared to be the first modern jet fighter designed and built in China. The aircraft is an attempt to create a modern fighter-bomber that could compete with foreign designs. The experiment was not completely successful. Work on the J10 began twenty years ago, in an attempt to develop an aircraft that could compete with the Russian MiG-29s and Su-27s, and the American F-16.

But the first prototype did not fly until 1998. There were problems, and it wasn't until 2000 that the basic design flaws were fixed. By 2002, nine prototypes had been built, and flight testing was going forward to find, and fix, hundreds of smaller problems. It was a great learning experience for Chinese engineers, but it was becoming apparent that the J10 was not going to be competitive with the Su-27s/30s China was buying from Russia.

The J10 looks something like the American F-16, and weighs about the same (19 tons). Like the F-16, and unlike the Su-27, the J10 has only one engine. Originally, the J10 used a Russian AL-31FN engine, but China has been working for a decade to manufacture their own version of this, the WS10A. China has been striving for decades to develop the ability to manufacture high-performance jet engines. The WS10A is something of an acid test for them, as it is a powerful military engine, and a complex piece of work. Russia refused to license China to produce the AL-31FN, so the Chinese stole as much of the technology as they could and designed the WS10A. This engine has been tested, but apparently still has quality control and performance problems.

It's no accident that the J10 resembles the F-16, because Israel apparently sold them technology for the Israeli Lavi jet fighter. Israel abandoned the Lavi project, because of the high cost and availability of cheaper alternatives (the F-16 and F-15 from the United States.) But the Lavi was meant to be a "super F-16," and incorporated a lot of design ideas from the F-16 (which the Israelis were very familiar with, as they used them, and had developed new components for them.)

 

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