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.
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.)
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.
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:
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.
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?
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: