Category: OSINT Doge

8 Interesting Things From China’s Military Parade

 

 

j-20_2015_11. No Chengdu J-20

This is a curious one, because China is awfully proud of its first 5th generation fighter, and as you can see, it’s been flying for several years now. Not even a straight pass by a single plane. Why?

No J-31, either.

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2. China intends to be a rich man’s army

The trucks in the foreground appear to be carrying a variant of the FL-3000N “Flying Leopard” close-in weapons system. Flying Leopard is meant to be a point defense anti-missile system similar to the U.S. Rolling Airframe Missile.

Similar U.S. systems are designed to destroy air-to-ground missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars. The new standard for a rich man’s army is not just relying on counterbattery to deal with enemy artillery, but to blast enemy artillery shells out of the sky. China apparently intends to be a rich man’s army.

The camouflage scheme suggests this system is for deployment with PLA marines. Such a system could protect Chinese marines that have conducted a successful landing and then protect them from counterattack — tactical missiles, aircraft, and even naval gunfire support (which the Japanese are practicing right now, FYI.)

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This PLA infantryman was riding in a 4×4 armored vehicle and was apparently told one billion people were watching him. I’d probably feel the same way. Anyway, there are two things about this shot that are interesting.

3. The PLA is now using a Multicam/Scorpion W2-like camouflage pattern. This is basically copying the U.S. Army, which adopted Scorpion W2 last year. The British adopted a version of Multicam a few years ago.

4. The PLA is now issuing body armor to ground troops. This has been a weak point in the PLA soldier’s kit, but this appears to be a full-on bulletproof vest with neck guard. The soldier also has a chest rig and matching gloves with knuckle protection.

The Chinese obviously wanted the world to see this. No wonder this was the only ground vehicle with a wireless HD link to CCTV’s news feed.

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5. No more white-walled tires

In the past, PLA heavy wheeled vehicles on parade had white-walled tires. It was anachronistic look, like something out of a 1950s Red Square parade. Someone thought it had to go.

The old look:

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6. PLA airborne troops still use a variant of the AT-3 Sagger Missile

The AT-3 Sagger is a nearly sixty year old anti-tank missile. This model may have an extended nose probe for dealing with reactive armor, but this is an old missile. It needs to go, Xi.

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7. Missiles helpfully labelled in English

The DF-15, DF-21D (pictured above), DF-26 and DF-5B were all labelled exactly that in the parade.

Can you imagine an American nuclear missile on parade with the name printed in Chinese on the side?

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8. DF-15 nose cones look like the Pershing II missile nose cones.

This is not my screen grab — I stole this from the Economic Times of India. But yes, the nose cone of that missile looks a lot like the nose cone of this missile, a 40 year old U.S. design:

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Analysis of purported V-E Victory Parade Practice Video

There’s a new video that was uploaded today, April 5 2015, on Liveleak. The video is purportedly of Russian Army units practicing for the 70th anniversary of V-E Day Parade in Moscow.

The old military parades held by the Soviet Union were the Soviets’ way of introducing new military equipment to the rest of the world. Everything from tanks to missiles to strategic bombers were introduced at parades.

Russia appears to be planning to use the V-E parade for the same reason. There are several strange vehicles that appear in this video I’ve never seen before.

unnamedLet’s look at a series of screen grabs and see what we can see, shall we? Joining me will be my assistant OSINT Doge, who will help point out interesting things for me. OSINT Doge will be wearing sunglasses so that nobody can recognize him at his day job at Arby’s.

The video starts with about a company’s worth of T-34/85 tanks. Completely understandable and expected, as the T-34/85 was the Soviet Union’s main battle tank at the end of the war.

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Oh hey, what is that there, just to left of the lead tank? Why, it’s a Buk surface to air missile TEL. The missiles are facing rear, in traveling mode.

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You’d think that the Russians wouldn’t want to display a Buk given, you know, they killed three hundred civilians with one. You’d be wrong.

Proof, from a previous Red Square parade. Those four holes are the missile tailpipes.

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Any Western leader that shows up for this parade is going to look like an idiot.

Next up is a contingent of SU-100 assault guns, also from World War II. One, outside the shot, has one of those cool “For the Motherland!” type slogans pointed on it.

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Following the assault guns is our first piece of modern kit: the GAZ Tigr. I first encountered the Tigr in Battlefield 3, where I drove it very badly and basically anything could kill it.

Hey guys, I have some bad news.

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There are roughly 11 Tigrs in the video. Two have two-tone paint schemes. Some look brand new, some look like they’ve been taken offroad. They all appear to sport a PKP machine gun, which is a modernized PKM.

Wait! OSINT Doge has picked something out of the video. It has five road wheels, a low backside, and lacks a turret. It looks like a prime mover for artillery of some kind.

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Five road wheels and two return rollers. And it looks pretty small. Tracks look narrow.

The original DoD illustration of the BMD-1 airborne infantry fighting vehicle had two return rollers in a similar setting. Does that have anything to do with anything?

It kinda looks like a BMD-type vehicle? Maybe we’ll spot it again?

Next up is a contingent of ten BTR-80s. You can tell they’re -80s and not -90s because they have the skeletal turret. It looks like a CROWS turret, but it’s probably not automated, because, well Russians.

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There are 10 BTR-80s. It’s now becoming evident that the lead vehicle of each contingent bears a red flag. Not that that means anything.

Next up are a number of 6×6 trucks. To be honest these don’t look too exciting.

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They do appear to be partially armored, and they do have that shitty bluish tone to their windshield glass that suggests A.) they are bullet-resistant or B.) are meant to go fishing in.

An extensive Internet search (OK, I just typed in “Russian MRAP”) revealed the vehicle’s identity. It’s a Kamaz Typhoon, an experimental MRAP. Or rather, it was experimental. It appears to be quite operational now.

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Moving on. Another MRAP. Do the Russians know something we don’t? The answer to that question is: always.

It looks like a BAE Systems Caiman MRAP.

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It’s actually a Ural… Typhoon. They call this a Typhoon too. It’s actually pretty big, and capable of towing a D-30 122-millimeter towed howitzer. Check it:

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OK, now it gets really, really interesting. First off we have a pair of BMP-3s. They’re visible for about a quarter of a second. Here they are, passing our friend the Buk launcher.

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Note that they have six road wheels, and the BMP-3 turret.

Hello, what’s this? OSINT Doge, will you do your thing and point out the mysterious details?

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Notes:

– It has seven road wheels, as opposed to six.

– There appears to be a turret coyly covered with canvas. A rather small turret.

– It sits much higher than a BMP. Low slung: out the window.

– It is amphibious. Note the extendable running board.

– Fortunately for us, the cameraman stays in the same position relative to the parade, so we can make some inferences regarding size. This vehicle is considerably smaller than the Ural Typhoon, yet looking at the vehicle commander, looks like it could maybe seat 8 or 9 infantrymen in the back.

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It looks pretty roomy inside. Is the suffering of Russian mechanized infantrymen over?

Is this the BMP-4?

The canvas-covered turret… frankly I’m concerned. It’s small. Small enough that it would have to be crew-less and the weapons would have to be remotely fired. Whatever gun the turret mounts seems not to be installed — unless it has a stubby barrel like a grenade launcher. But remember, every Russian weapons system has to be able to kill a tank. Period. So, maybe we’re looking at anti-tank missiles?

But wait! There are some vehicles with bigger turrets! And gun barrels protruding!

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Now that looks like a 30-40 millimeter automatic cannon! A closeup:

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You can even see a little muzzle brake on the tip.

OK, tanks up next. (Spoiler: no Armata. Or maybe the Armata is yet another retread of the 72/80 design. Because why the hell not.)

It’s just a bunch of T-90s. No biggie, we’ve been looking at this tank — or something that looks like it — since the late 70s. Even the cameraman looks like he could GAF.

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No discernible upgrades nor would we necessarily expect them, since the Russians are apparently pouring all their money into the Armata.

Next up are the Airborne Forces! BMD-4s roll by. But we know all about them, so whatever.

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Now, something unusual. What is this?

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These vehicles came immediately after the BMD-4s. From the headlamps down, they appear identical to BMD 3/4s.

No turret, and the back end looks a little lower. This is in fact the mystery vehicle we saw earlier. Best guess is that it’s some kind of armored personnel carrier for the Airborne Forces, maybe to carry MANPADS or ATGW teams across the battlefield.

Now for something truly massive. These things lumber out, two by two. They’re similar to Soviet/Russian self-propelled howitzers we’ve seen before.

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It looks a lot like the 2S19 “Msta 152mm self-propelled howitzer.

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Notes:

– Side skirts look different.

Msta bore evacuator in same location, barrel caliber and length appear identical.

-Base of the barrel is rectangular on our new mystery gun, rounded on Msta.

– The glaringly obvious: the canvas covering the entire turret. What’s up with that? How secret could a new self-propelled howitzer turret be? Does it glow with Cherenkov radiation? Are the Russians just trolling us?

– 5 baffles on the muzzle brake, not three like the Msta. Like the KPA Koksan gun, actually. Here, look:

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Maybe Kim Jong-Un traded five baffle muzzle brake technology for Kh-35s?

Update: Twitter user adam seven writes that the mystery self-propelled howitzer is the 2S35 Koalitsiya. Apparently the prototype had two barrels, but the production version will have only one. Looks good to me.

Now, the parade takes a darker turn. That is, unless you like nuclear weapons, in which case rock on wit’ yo bad self. (Italicized because this is not a language I normally speak.)

Next…four 9K720 Iskander missile systems. Short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying conventional, nuclear, all types of warheads.

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Next, another mystery. The cameraman seems to think it’s boring, because he gives them only the briefest of glances and the photo below is the best I can grab.

Personally I think an Iskander transporter-erector-launcher with a canvas-covered missile bay is really, really interesting.

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What could they possibly be hiding under that canvas tarp?

Next up: several Tor tracked surface to air missile systems. Specifically, 9K332.

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A closeup:

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Chassis looks like it was derived from the T-72, but with an extra road wheel.

Next, more Buks. Because Russia and we had nothing to do with that thing.

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More surface to air missiles. Pantsir-S1 wheeled TLARs.

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Closeup:

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Ask the Syrians how well those things work.

Better yet, ask the Israelis why they don’t.

Moving on. The big boys of the SAM world. S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missiles.

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Closeup:

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Do you ever remember the U.S. showing off an ICBM during a parade? No, because America has class. At least when it comes to being discrete about the ability to kill millions of people. Russia on the other hand… behold the Topol-M mobile ICBM.

Intercontinental range, 200 meter CEP, 1 800 kiloton warhead. Want to see what a 800 kt warhead can do to my city, San Francisco? Cue Alex Wellerstein’s wonderful NUKEMAP here.

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The Russian designation is RT-2PM2. That’s pretty close to R2D2. It’s like the Russians are trying to ruin Star Wars.

Update: Alicia Dressman passes on a Russian link that says the missile is actually the RS-24 Yars. According to the article, the missiles are from the Teykovsky Missile Division.

Now…one last vehicle. It appears to be a variant of the BTR-90. Curiously, the entire upper half is covered in canvas.

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It’s a little weird that this vehicle, whatever it is, comes after the Topol-M. It’s… anticlimactic. Plus, there’s only so many things you could put on the top of a light vehicle such as the BTR-90.

It could be — and this is only a theory of course — the vehicles are stand-ins for the Armata tank. Maybe the T-90s are just stand-ins for their replacements the Armatas. Maybe the Russians took a cue from Steve Jobs and his “One more thing… ” shtick, and will show the Armatas at the end.

Or maybe the Armatas aren’t coming at all.

Another thought: that new IFV we saw does not look like a common chassis for a main battle tank. No self-respecting Russian general would put a main gun on that and claim it’s the successor to the legendary T-34. It would be the equivalent of a hipster wearing his girlfriend’s jeans.

The video abruptly ends at this point. We don’t know if there were things before the video or after it ends. The video appears to be one continuous clip, but I could be wrong. We don’t know where it was taken, either.

But it’s fun to look at this stuff and speculate. Thanks for reading, from me and OSINT Doge!

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