China begins aircraft carrier flight training
China has begun flight training on its first aircraft carrier, with photographs posted on websites showing navy pilots practicing touch-and-go landing exercises.
Military enthusiast websites posted pictures Oct. 15 of a J-15 fighter-bomber executing the maneuver. It wasn’t clear when the pictures were taken, and they did not appear on the Defense Ministry’s website or in official media.
The exercises, in which the plane makes brief contact with the flight deck, mark the latest move to provide a combat capability for the carrier, which was launched last month without aircraft or an accompanying battle group. The next step would be the launching and recovery of aircraft, a much trickier proposition.
The carrier is the former Soviet navy’s unfinished Varyag, which was towed from Ukraine in 1998 and underwent years of refurbishment. AP
Asian powers double defense spending in a decade
New research shows Asia’s top powers have doubled defense spending in the past decade, spurred by the explosion in military expenditure by China.
The report was released Oct. 15 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Washington-based organization found that while troop numbers have remained constant, overall spending has grown to $224 billion by 2011. Spending particularly accelerated in the second half of the decade.
The research covers China, Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan, which account for some 87 percent of Asia’s defense spending.
China’s share of the total spending has risen from about 20 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2011. Worldwide, only the United States spends more on defense.
The official Chinese figures used by the report likely underestimate how much China actually spends. AP
Russia asks Afghanistan for help with Soviet MIAs
Russia is appealing to the Afghan authorities and the public to provide information on over 200 Soviet troops – including 30-40 who may still be alive – listed as missing since Soviet forces ended their occupation of Afghanistan in 1989.
Russian ambassador Andrey Avetisyan said Oct. 15 the two countries are preparing an agreement that would regulate efforts to recover the servicemen. He noted that it was difficult to access some locations where the soldiers’ graves are believed to be located due security concerns stemming from the current war.
A Russian veterans group says 265 soldiers are still unaccounted for. About 20 are thought to have resettled in other countries after they deserted, while 30-40 may still be in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
About 15,000 Soviet troops died in the 10-year war. AP
Manufacturers launch program to hire more veterans
Some of the nation’s leading manufacturing companies are launching a program to help veterans gain the skills necessary to fill some of the estimated 600,000 high-tech, manufacturing jobs that remain open because employers can’t find qualified applicants.
The manufacturers say the program will be initially offered in 10 cities. The companies will work with local community and technology colleges to offer training and to put veterans on a fast track to obtaining certification in such areas as electronics, welding and machining.
The effort to hire more veterans will also involve working with employers to help them more effectively recruit veterans.
The unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is about 2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent. AP