Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Much like I doubt that the Chinese created an airmobile mechanized division for putting down internal urban riots (hey, it's for Taiwan if I have to spell it out), I sincerely doubt that the Chinese purchase of Be-200 amphibious aircraft is really for ASW work as Strategypage says:

China is buying a submarine-hunter version of Russia's Be-200 jet powered amphibian aircraft. The Be-200 was developed in the 1990s, using a combination of Russian and Western technology. It first flew in 1998, and over a dozen are on order configured as fire-fighting aircraft. This model can carry twelve tons of water. The 43 ton aircraft can carry seven tons of cargo, giving it plenty of capacity for anti-sub sensors and weapons. Built to fly low and slow (it cruises at 500 kilometers an hour), this is ideal for anti-submarine warfare.

Raise your hand if you think a long-range Chinese ASW plane will survive for long against American, Japanese, or Taiwanese fighter aircraft if it strays far from Chinese waters?

When you can't hide what you have, hide what you really want it for. So what can the Be-200 do?

The multirole aircraft can be configured as a freighter, a passenger aircraft (Be-210) or as an amphibious water drop fire-fighting aircraft. The aircraft can also be equipped for special missions, such as an air ambulance for 30 stretcher patients and seven seated patients or medical crew. ...

The cabin can be arranged in a passenger, freight or both freight and passenger layout. The passenger cabin can be configured for up to 66 tourist class seats or between ten and 32 first and business class seats. In the cargo configuration the aircraft has a capacity for up to 7,500kg of cargo. In the mixed passenger/cargo configuration, 19 passengers and up to 3,000kg of cargo can be transported. The cargo door, 1.70m high by 2.00m wide, allows easy access for large loads. The cabin can accommodate up to nine freight containers.

Troops don't need even coach leg room, so let's call it close to 100 troops--so a company of infantry (or worse, elite commandos)--per load. And it can carry supplies across the Taiwan Strait.

I seriously doubt these planes are really for ASW work. No matter what Peking claims.