Principles of PLA watching

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by Viktor Jav, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    That is the current advertising problem China is having right now. I understand that they have many aspirations to operate advanced military systems in the future. But they have the tendency of making displays and publications that are inconsistent with the current progress they are making, like this picture for example. It makes them look incompetent and unprofessional at times. And this is conflagarated by the fact that because China is less forth coming on its military capabilities, most information have to be gleaned from video or photo shots like these.
    If you want to make a statement on the console that's fine, but going overboard to put contradicting photos on clearly non functioning console displays really makes one facepalm .
     
    #1 Viktor Jav, Apr 28, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  2. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    First of all, the Chinese military industrial complex does not really have an interest in "accurate" advertising. The ambiguity surrounding the extent of their technological advancements and the stage of their programmes have been a rather important strategic asset.

    Second, when they are inconsistent with displays and proclamations, it tends to be that they understate the level of development or advancement they are at. Think about how many accurate reports from AVIC we had about J-20's development before 2010/2011. Or think about how many reports from AVIC we have today about H-20. Basically none.

    Third and lastly -- I'm confused as to why you believe that this particular photo is "facepalm" worthy.
    I'll describe to you my thought process, where I ask myself a few simple questions to try and ascertain what it's showing:

    1: is this photo legitimate/real?
    A: Maybe, probably is. For the sake of discussion, let's say it is.

    2: what is it showing?
    A: an air refuelling console, that is consistent with designs that we've seen from Airbus and Boeing for their refuelling aircraft that use the boom refuelling method. Probe and drogue only air refuelling systems generally do not have these sort of consoles, especially not ones with a control stick that is used to control the tailboom. A control stick obviously has no role for probe/drogue refuelling.

    3:is the console real, aka functioning or some kind of simulator?
    A: probably not, considering the photos it is showing are obviously fairly simple depictions of a stand in air refuelling event. It is more likely that the console is some kind of mock up.

    4: so what is this showing, in context of what we know of PLA air refuelling developments?
    A: this photo is probably a photo of a mock up console as part of research and development into an air refuelling system that has a tail boom component as well as probe/drogue component. The console in such an aircraft would be used to remotely control the tail boom (again, similar to modern Airbus and Boeing air refuellers) through a joystick and a camera/display, as well as additional displays at the top used to monitor probe/drogue refuelling that would naturally occur from refuelling pods on the aircraft's wings.


    So overall, this photo seems entirely reasonable to me, and is consistent with what we can likely consider the PLA and AVIC are doing in terms of air refuelling R&D.

    Unless you think it is somehow crazy for the PLA to be interested in a boom air refuelling method, I don't see what about this photo is particularly crazy.
     
  3. taxiya
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    taxiya Captain
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    If it is advertisement that you think, depending on who the audience is, accuracy is not an issue in the mind of PLA. The supposed audience is the general public both inside and outside of China, they just need to know there is good progress on something new and better, no details are needed. We, the armature enthusiastics, and the others, the professional western intelligent gatherers are not the PLA's interest. More importantly, PLA want to confuse the professionals and PLA does NOT care if professionals and you my friend to laugh at their "unprofessionalism".

    PLA never cared and will never care to display their real progress to outsiders accurately, not in the past when they were weaker, nor when they become stronger today and tomorrow.

    It is not PLA's duty or obligation to prove to you what they can and can not. Sorry, you will never be satisfied.;)

    So back to that picture, it is enough for PLA to tell everybody that they are working on a boom type refueling system, that is the only intention.
     
  4. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    I see advertisements all the time from the US military and military contractors depicting technologies they don't have. I even recall one saying something like "This isn't a Hollywood movie. This is the Army" after showing scenes that look like a Call of Duty Advance Warfare movie. And what about DARPA suggesting the US will have Iron Man suits in their military? So are we to believe the US will have flying soldiers wearing invincible armor anytime in the near future?

    This complaint has come up before like noting how when you see PLA soldiers in videos, they're all the same height meaning tall which was called propaganda. Do we see US soldiers with glasses or being fat. US soldiers come in all shapes and sizes yet when you see the advertisements they look like the Hollywood version of the US. China hardly has a monopoly on misrepresenting reality.
     
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  5. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    Wow so many strongly worded messages here, I must have ruffled quite a few feathers :p. The whole discussion always seem to come back to the whole boom and drogue system, which really ignoring the bigger picture here.
    What matters is that there is a desire in China to better represent non-sensitive military hardware and training. We have seen that in the many military expos they have done and whether or not the PLAAF posses boom type refueling is not going to keep any . But try as they might, they are consistently hampered by the decades old issue of tooting one's horn a little to hard.
    There is a certainly limit that one can use the whole "strategic ambiguity" and "they don't care" excuse. Real military intelligence groups puts much less stock on publicly available photos then you might think, the only reason why we think it is such a big issue to them is that most of the time that is the only non-classified info they can divulge on. And we have ample evidence that the PLA at least want the world to be aware of their capabilities for both marketing and political value. So minute details does matter, especially if that is the only thing one is ever going to release publicly.
    Then there is the whole "Well others are doing it to", there is 2 things to remember in this scenario :
    1) The other side usually always release more detailed statements about the progress of the technology.
    2) Pointing out the other side is also acting like a fool does not make oneself look less like one.
    If you guys want to be satisfied with anything the PLA puts out without criticism, that's your choice. But remember that does not apply to everyone. The funny thing here is that many a people on this forum always bemoans that the rest of the world often makes fun on supposed PLA incompetence and unprofessionalism, yet the same lot would defend the PLA to the hilt when it does things that exacerbate those impressions even more.
     
    #5 Viktor Jav, Apr 28, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  6. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    There is some typos in my earlier posts, don't know why my browser is acting all weird up but here the correct sentences:
    1)whether or not the PLAAF posses boom type refueling is not going to keep any military intelligence service member awake, the world already knows China has in flight refueling capabilities.
    2) As an additional PS : Even when the statement is intended for the general public both domestic and foreign, the more keen eyed of those viewers are quick to point out inconsistencies in them. I have seen a few posts highlighting those flaws on the Chinese forums, this shows that inconsistent or misrepresented statements can have a backlash effect on the viewers.
    If you want to do something, either do it right or not at all.
     
  7. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    Okay, I'll bite.

    You are right that real military intelligence services from nation states do not rely on publicly available photos.

    And you are also right that the PLA is interested in marketing and portraying a perception of the kind of military that it has.

    However, the PLA is NOT interested in portraying the capabilities they have under development and they go to great lengths to hide it.


    The reason why your statements have ruffled feathers, IMO is two pronged:

    1: your expectation that the PLA should be interested in accurately portraying capabilities that it either has or are actively developing. This is very much counter to what we know PLA OPSEC is like.

    2: the inability to "see through the noise" and to take the important points away from a revelation.

    For example, in the case of this photo, you say that it is ridiculous because they are depicting a console where the photos displayed on the console are obviously from other refuelling events and because it depicts a boom refuelling as well whereas China does not have a boom air refuelling capability yet.

    But, the fact that you haven't thought about it any further, like -- how important is it that the photos shown on the console aren't real? What does it mean that it is showing a picture of a boom refuelling as well? What is the purpose of the console, is it real or a mock up? What does this whole picture likely mean in the context of what we know about Chinese air refuelling developments?

    -- that is what is confusing. I've already answered all of those questions in my previous reply to you, but if you want to know why your post created a response, it is because it shows in this case you haven't been able to filter out the important information from the unimportant information.



    When you say "many a people on this forum always bemoans that the rest of the world often makes fun on supposed PLA incompetence and unprofessionalism, yet the same lot would defend the PLA to the hilt when it does things that exacerbate those impressions even more" -- you are only half correct.

    What we are actually bemoaning is the fact that the rest of the world doesn't have the critical thinking and the PLA watching experience to accurately discern likely capabilities and likely developments from the information that the PLA puts out and leaks out.
    Instead, they accept it all at face value and do not properly think through what they are seeing.

    So it is not merely their conclusions that we are bemoaning, but also their thought process that led to their conclusions.



    It is not the responsibility of the PLA to be open and accurate in their representation of their capabilities or developments.
     
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  8. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    This, this right here is why the PLA is consistently tripping over its own feet. One cannot portray one's military as capable and modern without disclosing credible facts to back it up. It's like trying to show one has bling by parading a box labeled "jewelry" when it might as well be empty inside.
    As for me being unable to "see through the noise" and to take the important points away from a revelation." by bring up the whole console issue, I believe that what it shows is perfectly clear. The console is clearly a simulation station or if not a mock up because the background is clearly not inside a plane. We also know that China has the drogue system by video evidence and expo specimens. But as of now there is no hard evidence to suggest that China is developing a credible boom system. So the whole thing paints itself as being more of a lofty ideal then any one rooted in real life progression, if they had put in a model of the boom system they are planning to use it would make it look more credible. In actuality the picture turns what is supposed to be a believable system into one that looks more like a hastily cobbled together shot.
    As for bemoaning the fact that the rest of the world lacks critical thinking, have you ever stop and think that maybe the PLA is also contributing to this problem ? If one makes oneself looks incompetent, one cannot blame the others from thinking that one is incompetent. Just as the PLA may not have the duty to accurately disclose its capabilities, the rest of the world is no more beholden to shift pass the murky and inconsistent statements. Perhaps it may be fun to be the sole discerners of this sector of knowledge but it is fair to point out flaws that makes the said knowledge less acessible.
     
  9. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    To sum it all up, while it is true that the PLA has no responsibility to be more consistent and transparent. It is certainly in its interest.
     
  10. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    Boy how sensitive when people don't automatically follow lock-step with your beliefs. Who are you again?

    You should take a step back and see how you're the one so sensitive that you demand the PLA has to convince you personally. Don't think you're alone. I remember when the J-20 first emerged and the news media and Pentagon confirmed its existence, there were nobodies on the internet in disbelief and demanded the PLA personally show them the aircraft to confirm its existence.
     
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