Category Archives: Shenyang J-15

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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Filed under Air Show China 2010, Asia's New SAMs, ASN-206/207, ATAK, Aviation, Chengdu Aircraft, China, China Air Force, China Defence, Chinese Defence, CIA, F-22 raptor, Foreign Office Pakistan, Germany, Gulf War, India, Islamabad, J-10, J-11B, JF-17, JF-17 Thunder, Pakistan, Pakistan Air Force JF 17, Pakistan Defence, People Liberation Army, Shenyang J-15, Sherdil, Su-27, Sudan, Sukhoi, Sukhoi Su-33, Taiwan, Xianglong UAV, Zhuhai 2010, Zhuhai Air Show

Sino-Pakistani Ties: JF-17 to carry Chinese missiles SD-10

Domestic SD-10 medium-range air-intercept missile

Further signs of deepen military cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing was seen today, when recently Pakistan Air Force decided to buy air-to-air SD-10 (shown above) – (said to be a variant of Italian Aspide missiles supplied to China in late 80s) missiles and avionics to arm its 250 JF-17 Thunder fighter fleet from China. Air Chief Marshal also revealed that his country may also opt to acquire other advanced defence missile systems including Chinese Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) systems. Pakistan has opted to go in for full Chinese armament systems for the jointly developed fighters, furthermore, SD-10 (mid-range missile) will become the standard Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weapon of the JF-17. This clearly seems that Pakistan Air Force has no plans to install wetern devices on its recently built combat aircraft. The first 50 JF-17s entering Pakistan Air Force service will most likely incorporate only Chinese avionics and other systems, however this may only be temporary. Once JF-17 enters full production, retractable in-flight refueling probes will be added and avionics from other sources may be integrated. Like other partnerships between two nations, it is obviously very impressive but “so called” chinease replicas do not sound appealing to me, what concerns me here is SD-10s’ life span compared to fifth generation amrs out there. However, I do hope they have long enough shelf life.

JF-17 can be armed with up to 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance, as well as other equipment, mounted externally on the aircraft’s seven hardpoints. One hardpoint is located under the fuselage between the main landing gear, two are underneath each wing and one at each wing-tip. Internal armament comprises one 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon mounted under the port side air intake, which can be replaced with a 30 mm GSh-30-2 twin-barrel cannon. The PAF is also seeking to arm the JF-17 with a modern fifth generation close-combat missile such as the IRIS-T or A-darter. These will be integrated with the helmet mounted sights/display (HMS/D) as well as the radar for targeting.

JF-17 Thunder

Global Times quoting unnamed sources claimed that the French consortium has withdrawn from a reported 1.2 billion euro contract to supply radars and missiles for the first wave of 50 JF-17 fighters, after pressure from India. French sources had reported that a joint bid had been made by French aeronautic company ATE along with Thales Group and MBDA. The Pakistan Air Force Chief is currently on a visit to China to attend the Zhuhai Air Show now underway in southern China, where the JF-17s were a major attraction.

Nov. 16 (China Military News cited from APP): Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of Air Staff, pakistan Air Force (PAF), said on Tuesday that pakistan-China joint production JF-17 Thunder fighter jet has bright prospects in the international aviation market. It has many added features which make it much more attractive than any other fighter aircraft of its category, said the Air Chief. A low price tag and much less maintenance and operational cost compared to the other planes of its class make it attractive for the buyers, he said. Pakistan, having the second biggest fleet of aircraft after host China, is participating for the first time in this exhibition. As many as ten K-8 trainer aircraft and three JF-17 fighters are taking part in the show that demonstrates the all-weather and time-tested friendship between the two countries. To a question regarding further expansion of cooperation between Pakistan Air Force and China, Rao Qamar Suleman replied that the two brotherly neighboring countries have a long history of cooperation in all fields particularly defence. He expressed the confidence that with the passage of time these bonds of friendsip would further consolidate.

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Filed under Air Show China 2010, Aviation, Chengdu Aircraft, China, China Defence, Chinease Defence, Current Affairs, Dassault Mirage, F-16, Fifth Generation Combat Aircraft, Flight Global, Flight Simulation, Global Aviation, Global Times, HMS/D, India, Islamabad, JF-17, JF-17 Thunder, K-8, Lockheed martin F-16, MBDA, Milimeter Wave Radar, Pakistan, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Air Force F16, Pakistan Air Force JF 17, Pakistan Defence, Pakistan-China, Rao Qamar Suleman, SD-10 Missile, Shenyang J-15, Thales Group, Zhuhai 2010, Zhuhai Air Show

J-15: An Alleged Flying Shark

Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark

Although it’s been a long time since this alleged shark was revealed, it is still worth talking about specifically because of one reason that will be apparent by the end of this article. Photographs of the jet emerged a few months later, confirming a long-held suspicion that China was developing a copy of the Su-33. The first clear view of J-15 (shown above) prototype was leaked in July 2010 revealing a retracted IFR probe behind the port side of the nose and an arresting hook beneath the shortened tailcone. J-15 is the first generation of Chinese shipborne fighter aircraft being developed by both 601 Institute and SAC for PLAN’s first aircraft carrier. According to the aviation sources Beijing unsuccessfully tried to buy Su-33s (shown below) from Russia early this decade. Undeterred, it bought a Su-33 prototype from Ukraine in 2001 and used that to develop its version, designated the Shenyang J-15. Similar to Su-33, J-15 features enlarged folding wings, strengthened landing gears with twin nosewheels, an arresting hook, a pair of small canard foreplanes and a larger wing area to improve its low speed handling and shortened tailcone to avoid tail-strike during high AoA landing. Some key shipborne aircraft technologies such as landing/navigational systems are believed to have been obtained from Russia and Ukraine. One Su-33 prototype (T-10K-3) was acquired from Ukraine around 2001 and has been studied extensively. Many components onboard J-15 are based on those onboard J-11B, such as a similar radar, improved FBW, the same glass cockpit as well as the improved WS-10 turbofan engine. It can also fire a variety of Chinese designed weapons, including PL-8, PL-12 AAMs and YJ-83K AShM. Overall J-15 is believed to be in the same class of American F/A-18C.

China’s factories are infamous for making relatively high-quality reproductions of branded Western consumer goods as well as military. This move was part of China’s plan to build a naval fighter fleet to operate on its forthcoming indigenous aircraft carrier fleet, as China sought to acquire a deep-sea capability. The aircraft is expected first to be stationed onboard the Varyag aircraft carrier currently being fitted in Dalian. China bought the unfinished Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier from Ukraine in 1998.

Russiam military analysts claim that China’s J-15 carrier-based fighter will not be able to compete with Russia’s Su-33 fighter on global markets because it is inferior to the Russian aircraft:

“The Chinese J-15 clone is unlikely to achieve the same performance characteristics of the Russian Su-33 carrier-based fighter, and I do not rule out the possibility that China could return to negotiations with Russia on the purchase of a substantial batch of Su-33s,” said Col. (Ret.) Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Defense Ministry’s Public Council. According to Russian Defense Ministry sources, the earlier refusal of Su-33 Flanker-D fighters sale to China, was due to findings that China had produced its own copycat version of the Su-27SK fighter jet in violation of intellectual property agreements. In 1995, China secured a $2.5-billion production license from Russia to build 200 Su-27SKs, dubbed J-11A, at the Shenyang Aircraft Corp.

Sukhoi Su-33

The Sukhoi Su-33 is a carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft produced by Russian firm Sukhoi beginning in 1982. It is a derivative of the Su-27 ‘Flanker’ and was initially known as the Su-27K. The main differences from the Su-27 are that the Su-33 can operate from aircraft carriers and is capable of aerial refueling. The Su-33 carries guided missiles such as the Kh-25MP, Kh-31 and Kh-41. The plane can be used in both night and day operations at sea. It can operate under assistance of the command center ship, or in conjunction with a Kamov Ka-31 (a variant of the Ka-27) early-warning helicopter. The R-27EM missiles provide it the capability to intercept antiship missiles. Other than air defence, the duties of the Su-33 include destruction of enemy ASW, AWACS, and transport aircraft, anti-shipping strike, support of amphibious landing, escort, reconnaissance, and laying of minefields.

China harbours ambitions aplenty to become a powerful force in aerospace as well as being a rapidly growing marketplace for the global industry’s products and services. China’s air forces are no longer those of a third-world country. The J-15 is credited by the Chinese as indigenous development, but the Russians consider it a rip-off of a Sukhoi Su-33. I would however go with the former, the differences will be apparent in my next post. One thing however, I would point out here is, J-15 project is one of chinease dream projects, other includes J-11A/SU-27, J-11B, J-10A/J-10B and JH-7A/B

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Filed under Aviation, China, Pakistan, Russia, Shenyang J-15, Sukhoi Su-33