Strategic Observer


Daily Observations for 4 December 2019

Daily Observations for 4 December 2019
December 04
16:20 2019

Good morning, and welcome to my Daily Observations.

On my radar: China’s aircraft carrier plans

According to a report in Hong Kong-based media this morning [source], the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy plans to begin building a fourth Type 002 aircraft carrier within two years, but is putting a more advanced carrier design on hold. Why? Because the PLAN lacks the technical capability to build a nuclear-powered vessel, and there is some uncertainty within the Communist leadership regarding future finances. The latter concern most likely stems from the ongoing ‘trade war’ with the U.S., which does not appear to be imminently resolvable. That said, Chinese carriers will enable Beijing to project power throughout the Indo-Pacific, which will be good enough to keep U.S. and regional forces off-balance and, perhaps, at a distance.

What I’m also tracking:

Indian Navy forces Chinese naval ship to retreat from Andaman [source]

Iran announces joint naval exercise with China, Russia [source]

Japan enrages China by buying £113billion island for military base [source]

Russian artillery troops in Tajikistan practice fire under electronic counter-measures [sourceAnalyst comment: The nest great-power conflict will feature plenty of electronic warfare, so Russian forces are, obviously, learning how to fight under those conditions.

One final thing:

The U.S. military is moving closer to being able to challenge and defeat hypersonic ballistic missiles, which are too fast for standard missile interceptors. Increasingly, the Pentagon is turning to the speed of light to defeat Mach 5-7 missiles – laser weapons. In fact, a report out today suggests that the Army, Navy, and Air Force may be just three years away from developing a 300 kW laser weapon, powerful enough (and fast enough) to destroy incoming hypersonic missiles. “We want to have a 300-kilowatt laser by 2022. We’d like to get up to 500 kilowatts by 2024,” Thomas Karr, asst. director for directed energy weapons at Pentagon R&D, said, “and then, if we still haven’t hit the limit of anything, it’s on to the megawatt-class.”

Notable Quotable: “I expect Leaders to address a wide range of issues when they meet here later on today: the fight against terrorism, arms control, our relationship with Russia and for the first time in NATO’s history we will also sit down with the NATO Leaders and address the rise of China.” — Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg as he arrived for the first session of the morning.

About Author



Jonathan Davis holds a BA in political science and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis. He has 30 years' worth of experience reporting on domestic politics and foreign policy.

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