Category Archives: Asia’s New SAMs

Russia Sells; China Clones

Today, Russia's military bonanza is over, and China's is just beginning.

China and America are bound to be rivals, but they do not have to be antagonists, Is that really the case? In many ways China has made efforts to try to reassure an anxious world. Leaving politics aside, the rise of chinese millitary power is obvious to all, not only millitary, china is making its way in Civil aviation market as well. But what is interesting in all is, a “Cloning Factor”. After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier. Not only have Chinese engineers cloned the prized Su-27’s avionics and radar but they are fitting it with the last piece in the technological puzzle, a Chinese jet engine.

At Zhuhai 2010 one thing was clear: China is starting to export much of this weaponry, undercutting Russia in the developing world, and potentially altering the military balance in several of the world’s flash points. China, here laid on its biggest commercial display of military technology—almost all based on Russian know-how. The star guests were the “Sherdils,” a Pakistani aerobatic team flying fighter jets that are Russian in origin but are now being produced by Pakistan and China. Russia’s predicament mirrors that of many foreign companies as China starts to compete in global markets with advanced trains, power-generating equipment and other civilian products based on technology obtained from the West. This is not all, there is an additional security dimension, however: China is developing weapons systems, including aircraft carriers and carrier-based fighters, that could threaten Taiwan and test U.S. control of the Western Pacific. According to West, Chinese exports of fighters and other advanced weapons also “threaten” to alter the military balance in South Asia, Sudan and Iran. But if I am sitting in Iran or Pakistan, the story is otherway round. Interestingly China accounted for 2% of global arms transfers between 2005-2009, putting it in ninth place among exporters, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). But no other Asian country has sought to project military power—and had the indigenous capability to do so—since Japan’s defeat in 1945.

As the Chinese leaders’ history lesson will have told them, the relationship that determines whether the world is at peace or at war is that between pairs of great powers. Sometimes, as with Britain and America, it goes well. Sometimes, as between Britain and Germany, it does not. There are also implications for U.S. weapons programs. Last year the Pentagon decided to cut funding for the F-22—currently the most advanced fighter deployed in the world—partly on the grounds that China wouldn’t have many similar aircraft for at least 15 years. But then Gen. He Weirong, deputy head of China’s Air Force, announced that Chinese versions of such jets were about to undergo test flights, and would be deployed in “eight or 10 years.” The Defense Intelligence Agency now says it will take China “about 10 years” to deploy stealth fighters in “meaningful numbers.”

J-11: many aviation experts believe AVIC is having problems developing an indigenous engine for the J-11B with the same thrust and durability as the original Russian ones.

Few things illustrate this more clearly than the J-11B (shown below), a Chinese fighter that Russian officials allege is a direct copy of the Su-27, a one-seat fighter that was developed by the Soviets through the 1970s and 1980s as a match for the U.S. F-15 and F-16. Before the early 1990s, Moscow hadn’t provided major arms to Beijing since an ideological split in 1956, which led to a brief border clash in 1969. In 1992 (after collapse of Soviet Union), China became the first country outside the former Soviet Union to buy the Su-27, paying $1 billion for 24. Beijing’s breakthrough came in 1996, when it paid Russia $2.5 billion for a license to assemble another 200 Su-27s at the Shenyang Aircraft Company. The agreement stipulated that the aircraft—to be called the J-11—would include imported Russian avionics, radars and engines and couldn’t be exported. The J-11B looked almost identical to the Su-27, but China said it was 90% indigenous and included more advanced Chinese avionics and radars. Only the engine was still Russian, China said.

Sukhoi 27: The J-11B looked almost identical to the Su-27, but China said it was 90% indigenous and included more advanced Chinese avionics and radars. Only the engine was still Russian

The J-11B presented Russia with a stark choice—to continue selling China weapons, and risk having them cloned, too, or to stop, and miss out on its still lucrative market.many aviation experts believe AVIC is having problems developing an indigenous engine for the J-11B with the same thrust and durability as the original Russian ones. Photographs published recently on Chinese military websites appear to show engines fitted on the J-11B and a modified version—called the J-15—for use on aircraft carriers. The birth of J-15 can be read on my previous post Here Its not just Su-27 that concerns Russians, but also Su-33, a more advanced version of Su-27. The J-11B is expected to be used by the Chinese navy as its frontline fighter, capable of sustained combat over the entire East China Sea and South China Sea. Aircraft carriers and J-15 fighters would further enhance its ability to stop the U.S. intervening in a conflict over Taiwan, and test its control of the Western Pacific. China’s arms exports could have repercussions on regions in conflict around the world. Pakistan inducted its first squadron of Chinese-made fighter jets in February, potentially altering the military balance with India.The potential customer of greatest concern to the U.S. for JF-17 sale, is Iran, which purchased about $260 million of weapons from China between 2002-2009, according to Russia’s Centre for Analysis of the Global Arms Trade. Economist cites, that China and America have one advantage over history’s great-power pairings: they saw the 20th century go disastrously wrong. It is up to them to ensure that the 21st is different.

Detail about china’s rise and Russian arm deal, can be read on this extensive report published in Wall Street Journal, HERE

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Iran: Prioritizing Sky Defences

Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things. [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s air forces were considered second only to Israel in the Middle East, built up by aid from the country’s then-ally the United States.

GENEVA: World powers held their first meeting in 14 months with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme on Monday (today), sounding out Tehran’s intentions after it claimed to have taken a new step in making fissile material. Just a day ahead of the talks, Tehran raised the stakes by revealing that it had mined and produced its first home-grown batch of uranium yellowcake instead of seeking to import new supplies. On the other hand, In military maneuvers and air shows, Iran has been proudly touting advances in its air forces and defenses, including radar systems, anti-aircraft batteries and new attack and reconnaissance drones. Air superiority is seems to be a new priority for Iran, who is trying to quickly bolster its ability to patrol its skies in the belief that US or Israeli warplanes or missiles could strike its nuclear facilities. For the most part, Iran’s air attack capabilities still depend heavily on domestically modified versions of long-outdated warplanes, including former Soviet MiGs and American F14A Tomcats from the 1970s, and its anti-aircraft batteries and drones.

Taking the air defences further, It was not a long ago when Iran kicked off one of its periodic air defense exercise, in order to protect their nuclear sites. Started on 16th November, the exercise lasted five days and featured Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary Basij forces joining in. Interestingly, The monitoring network of Iran’s air defense forces has discovered 194 previously unknown flying routes outside the country’s airspace, not only that Iranian Air Defense Forces has identified 1,612 flying routes (4 unknowns within the countary) inside the country, some are currently used by countary’s civilian airline industry. This identification resulted, during Iran’s Air Defence and Missile System tests, conducted same week. This air defence exercise was named Defenders of the Sky of Vellayat III. More about S-300 missiles and defence of Islamic skies can be read HERE .

This photo released by the Iranian army, claims to show the launching of a Shahin missile in armed forces war games, outside the city of Semnan about 140 miles (240 kilometers) east of the capital Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Still, Iran clearly is trying to close security gaps around nuclear sites – including Iran’s main uranium enrichment lab – and blunt the edge that the Pentagon and Israel gain from drone technology. Iranian commanders now view drones as a critical tool, including to monitor the US 5th Fleet based across the Gulf in Bahrain. Iran’s other military emphasis has been improving its long-range missile program. Washington believes Iran may have obtained advanced missiles from North Korea, known as BM-25, which could extend the strike range for Iran from the known 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) to up to 2,400 miles (4,000 kilometers), according to State Department cables obtained by the website WikiLeaks and made public Sunday. Such missiles could hit well beyond Iran’s top regional enemy Israel and into Europe or Russia. Iran restructured its military last year in an effort to improve its air defenses. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered a new branch to be split off from the air force to deal exclusively with threats to the country’s airspace. Since then, Iran has invested heavily in advances in surveillance and attack drones.

In August, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the latest addition to the country’s drone fleet: a 13-foot-long (four-meter-long) unmanned aircraft — called the “ambassador of death” — which can carry up to four cruise missiles with a claimed range of 620 miles (1,000 kilometers). At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years, one of them in an attack similar to the recent one. Iranian officials said they suspected the assassination was part of a covert campaign aimed at damaging the country’s nuclear program, which the United States and its allies says is intended to build a weapon, a claim Tehran denies. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a press conference that ”undoubtedly, the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved in the assassination.” But he said the attack would not hamper the nuclear program and vowed that one day Iran would take retribution. ”The day in the near future when time will come for taking them into account, their file will be very thick,” he said.

As far as drones are concerned Iranians has seen what USA has done iin Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many analysts believe a longer-range drone is the logical next step of Iran – who is investing heavily in advances in surveillance and attack drones. What is the purpose of these activities and advances, while still holding onto the outdated militray technology, or is it political to show that they can defend themselves, exert power in the region?

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Gurdians of Islamic Skies: Iran’s Claim to Soviet S-300 missile Replication

It was not a long ago when Iran kicked off one of its periodic air defense exercise, in order to protect their nuclear sites. Started on 16th November, the exercise lasted five days and featured Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary Basij forces joining in. Interestingly, The monitoring network of Iran’s air defense forces has discovered 194 previously unknown flying routes outside the country’s airspace, not only that Iranian Air Defense Forces has identified 1,612 flying routes (4 unknowns within the countary) inside the country, some are currently used by countary’s civilian airline industry. This identification resulted, during Iran’s Air Defence and Missile System tests, conducted same week. This air defence exercise was named Defenders of the Sky of Vellayat III

Iran has made contradictory claims about its plans for an S-300 substitute, a missile Iran was supposed to buy from Russia who made an abrupt about-face on a big U.S. priority, two months ago. S-300 is highly advanced anti-aircraft missile system. It’s easy to see why the Iranians want the S-300. The current anti-aircraft material they purchased from Russia is the TOR M-1, which is good for shooting down airplanes, helicopters or missiles from about 10 kilometers away. But the S-300 is a serious upgrade: it’s what the Soviets used during the last decade of the Cold War to protect its key installations from NATO cruise missiles and bombers. Versions developed in the late 1990s have a range of 200 kilometers and can even take out some ballistic missiles. Russia sold 29 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran under a $700 million (£386 million) in 2008 (contract signed in 2005). When this latter deal was accomplished in 2008, defence analyset Dan Goure commented:

“If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it is operational,”

Russia has been Iran’s big-power benefactor on matters technical and military for the past decade-plus. But over the past year, it’s been pulled in different directions by the U.S.’s “Reset” strategy, an aggressive diplomatic push to hug Russia tightly. When Russia backed off, Iran now has a very serious message for Russia and the world The Iranian Defense Ministry announced that Tehran plans to produce long-range air defense missiles without foreign aid. Iran has made similarly bold claims about a new advanced and indigenously-built air defense radar. It announced last month that it was building an upgraded air defense radar system with a 3,000km range, an apparent improvement over its older 400km range systems.

“If the maximum range of our radar systems was 400km in the past, we have this good news for the people that we have started making a radar system covering an area with the radius of 3,000km which can identify all objects flying around the country at law altitudes,” Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani. The Iranian Defense Ministry had announced in October that the country has succeeded in improving the range of its mid-range Mersad missile defense system. Also, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced at the same time that the country’s radar systems are capable of detecting every target in the air.

Iran SAMs - Photo Mehr

Referring to the production of radar equipment and instruments inside the country, he thre nother bold statement saying that:

“Iran has gained self-sufficiency in producing radar systems and it is no more dependant on any foreign countries in this ground”.

Damn Uncle SAM

Why on this plant S-300 is so important, where it has never fired a missile in a real conflict? Well to be honest this what its engineers say. The S-300 is a series of Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems (SAM). The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defence Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. Although never fired the missiles did got a chance to breath in open air, when they were deployed by Soviet Union in 1979, designed for the air defense of large industrial and administrative facilities, military bases, and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft. The S-300 is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded. Its radars have the ability to simultaneously track up to 100 targets while engaging up to 12. S-300 deployment time is five minutes. An evolved version of the S-300 system is the S-400 – a missile capable of cruising at Mach 12 with the range of 400km. The S-400’s NATO reporting name is SA-21 Growler, and the system was previously known as S-300PMU-3. It overshadows the capabilities of the other systems from the S-300 series. Russia operates 5 battalions as of 2010 and will arm more before 2020. Although various variants of S-300 emerged, though they were all evolved from three basic configurations S-300P, S-300V, and S-300F. Latter is the naval version of S-300P with the range of 7–90 km and maximum target speed up to Mach 4 while engagement altitude was reduced to 25-25,000 m (100-82,000 ft). S-300P system broke substantial new ground, including the use of a phased array radar and multiple engagements on the same Fire-control system (FCS). Nevertheless, it had some limitations. It took over one hour to set up this semi-mobile system for firing and the hot vertical launch method employed scorched the Transporter erector launcher (TEL). Finally S-300V (quite different from other two of its catagory) designed to act as the top tier army air defence system, providing a defence against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft, replacing the SA-4 ‘Ganef’. The “GLADIATOR (S-300V NATO Reporting name)” missiles have a maximum engagement range of around 75 km (47 miles) while the “GIANT” missiles can engage targets out to 100 km (62 miles) and up to altitudes of around 32 km (100,000 ft). In both cases the warhead is around 150 kg (331 lb).

A detailed specification both both S-300 and S-400 classes can be accessed from Asia’s New SAMs Though in nutshell The original warhead weighed 100 kg (220 lb), intermediate warheads weighed 133 kg (293 lb) and the latest warhead weighs 143 kg (315 lb). All are equipped with a proximity fuze and contact fuze. The missiles themselves weigh between 1,450 kg (3,200 lb) and 1,800 kg (3,970 lb). Missiles are catapulted clear of the launching tubes before their rocket motor fires, which can accelerate at up to 100 g (1 km/s²). They launch straight upwards and then tip over towards their target, removing the need to aim the missiles before launch. The missiles are steered with a combination of control fins and through thrust vectoring vanes. The sections below give exact specifications of the radar and missiles in the different S-300 versions. It should be noted that since the S-300PM most vehicles are interchangeable across variations.

Awesome Iran – Diplomatically Isolated

Iran another contender in arms race

Iran said it successfully test-fired what it claims is an upgraded S-200 surface-to-air missile. The S-200, developed by the Soviet Union during the Kennedy administration and designed to hit big, fat slow-moving bombers, had been magically souped-up, according to the Iranians, to be just as powerful as the 20 years more advanced S-300 missile system. The interesting point to take out from this is that, Iran managed to achive this within span of few months. I can certainly understand the westeran fear over Iran’s S-300 deal. Although Tehran claimed that it has developed a replica of S-300, I personally doubt Iran’s ability to duplicate the Russian missile system. It may be the case that Iranian authorities misspelled S-300 instead of S-200, if not that I am eager to see the new replica. It’s all the more bizarre because Iran actually does have a number of credible unconventional options at its disposal that should make anyone think twice about attacking its nuclear facilities. It’s right next door to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and could create a lot of headaches for the United States in the event of an attack.

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