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U-480 First Stealth Submarine: The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

“The Navy has both a tradition and a future–and we look with pride and confidence in both directions.” – Admiral George Anderson, CNO, 1 August 1961.

Another U-boat whcih was also coated with Alberich was "The Black Panther" - U-1105. The account of the attack on HMS Redmill and her evasion of her hunters following the attack is worth reading.

The inspiration of this post, comes from a novel published in 1984 (which I read just few years ago) – Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October Red October – a fictitious modified Typhoon class submarine in the Tom Clancy novel who was built with a revolutionary stealth propulsion system called a “caterpillar drive”, which is described as a hydrojet system in the book. In the film (of same name) however, it is shown as being a magnetohydrodynamic drive. The drama of the story partially centers around the dual capabilities of this submarine. As a submarine of the Typhoon class, it carries many ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads. With a stealthy propulsion unit, it can no longer be detected by NATO naval vessels. As described in both the book and the film, these capabilities combine to create a horrific weapon, whereby the submarine could easily reach the coastal waters of a city, like Washington DC, fire its missiles, and destroy key targets before any government or military leaders could order a counterattack.

Before, I go into the science of MagnetoHydroDynamics (MHD) I would like to share a story, of what is known as U-480 – believed to be the First stealth submarines participated in World War II. This is how the story goes

The Story – U-480

In August 1944, during World War II, four Allied ships are mysteriously destroyed without warning off the coast of Southern England. Half a century later, off the Isle of Wight in the English Channel, the sea reveals a World War II German submarine with a design unlike any found before. Using cutting edge investigative techniques, a team of underwater detectives discover a story of invention and heroism, and a secret stealth technology. Submarine historian Innes McCartney identifies it as U-480, the first U-boat to go into successful action with a special coating that made it invisible to sonar, but which could not save the submarine from a fatal trap laid by the Allies.

By the end of the First World War the German Navy was one of the largest in the world. However, under the terms of the Versailles Treaty in 1919, the German government was restricted to vessels under 10,000 tons, forbidden to own submarines and allowed only 1,500 officers.  Above: GERMAN TYPE IX U-BOAT, THE U-505

In August 1944, during the 2nd World War, four Allied ships are mysteriously destroyed without warning off the coast of Southern England. Sixty years later, in the English Channel, 20 kilometres south west of the Isle of Wight, 55 metres down, the sea reveals a 2nd World War German submarine unlike any found before. Using revolutionary investigative techniques, a team of underwater detectives discover a story of invention and heroism, and a secret stealth technology. Identified as U-480, it was the first U-boat to go into successful action with a special coating that made it invisible to sonar. But not even this could save the submarine from a fatal trap set by the Allies.

The most effective submarine detection device the wartime Allied Navy develops is ASDIC. It sends out pulses of sound and listens for echoes from the thick steel hull of U-boats. As the war progressed, this and other techniques meant that U-boats from being the hunters became the hunted and the Germans began to lose the submarine war. To regain the upper hand, in August 1944, the Germans dispatch a very special submarine U-480 to lie in wait under the main shipping lanes that cross the English Channel. 4 ships, totalling 14,000 tonnes and including the Canadian warship, HMCS Alberni and the British minesweeper HMS Loyalty were sunk without warning. But how in one of the most heavily-patrolled sectors of the English Channel was the submarine able to make its fatal attacks completely undetected?

Dives down to the submarine 60 years later reveal it is covered in a strange rubber coating. Is this responsible for the submarine remaining undetected? Remarkably a crewmember of the U-480 survived the war and talks about life in the submarine and what he thought was the secret of its success. U480 was sunk by the RN Frigates Duckworth and Rowley who were escorting convoy BTC 78 at position 11 miles South West off Lands end
24 th February 1945

But the Allies had a plan to deal with these troublesome submarines. Only now do previously Top Secret files reveal the devious traps they laid and how they enticed the Germans to fall into them. Close examination of the hull of the U-boat shows how she was sunk – with all hands. The secret history of U-480 is followed from the revolutionary invention of the special coating that rendered her invisible, all the way to her brutal demise 55 metres down – and the only survivor finally hears what happened to his ship and shipmates. The wreck of U 480 was first discovered in 1998. Die Dokumentation von John Ruthven und Peter Bardehle begleitet die erste Tauchexpedition mit dem Berliner U-Boot-Historiker Axel Niestlé und rekonstruiert das Schicksal von Jägern und Gejagten im Winter 1944/1945. The documentation of John and Peter Ruthven Bardehle accompanies the first diving expedition with the Berlin U-boat historian Axel Niestlé and reconstructs the fate of hunter and hunted in the winter of 1944/1945. Der Film ist eine aufwendige internationale Koproduktion für die Sender ARTE, ITV , National Geographic Channel , History Television und SVT . The film is a complex international co-production for ARTE channel, ITV, National Geographic Channel, History Television and SVT.

Anti-Sonar Coating on U-480

To reduce the sonar echo of U-boats, the Germans experimented with sound absorbing synthetic rubber which coated the outer hull of the boats. Radar absorbing materials were also used to coat the snorkel heads. Alberich (rubber coating used on U-480) consisted of synthetic rubber sheets of about 4mm in thickness which had sound absorbing properties. The material was Oppanol which was secured to the outer hull with adhesives, much like an outer skin. Although no conclusive tests were performed, but it was claimed that the echo reflection of a U-boat with Alberich was reduced by about 15 percent. In addition, it also acted as a sound dampener, containing the U-boat’s own engine noise. Although the principle was a sound one, problems were encountered with the adhesive coat which was not strong enough to adhere the rubber sheet to the hull. This resulted in the sheets being partially washed off, which flapped in the wake of the ocean current, causing hydrodynamic resistance and noise. Further research into more reliable adhesives were conducted, but up to the end of the war, only a few U-boats had received this treatment. A further contribution was that treating the hull was a time consuming and laborious task. The first U-boat to receive Alberich was U-11, a Type II coastal boat for trials on its sound absorbing properties. On April 1940, the first operational U-boat was treated, U-67 a Type IXC which was just being laid down. Thereafter, problems with the adhesive prevented further treatments until late 1944, when U-480, a Type VII was tested again using a new adhesive. The results were satisfactory enough and it was decided that all new Type XXIIIs and XXVIs would receive this coating, but ultimately only one Type XXIII, U-4709 had been completed with the coating.

U-Boat Sonar Decoys

Submerged U-boats employed several devices to evade allied pursuers equipped with sonar. These consisted of decoys which resembled a submerged submarine and noise-makers to blackout the pursuer’s listening device. Bold Canisters – was a metal canister about 3.9 inches in diameter, filled with calcium hydride which gave off large quantities of gas when mixed with sea water. It was launched from a special tube and on release, sea water seeped into a special valve which reacted with the chemical. The valve would open and shut, causing the canister to stay at a certain depth until the compound was depleted in about 20 to 25 minutes. To underwater locating devices such as sonar, the resulting bubble cloud could resemble a submerged U-boat, and unless the sonar operator was especially skilled, it was often difficult to distinguish from a real target. The allies called this a “Submarine Bubble Target” (SBT). BOLD was widely used from 1942 onwards, with new and improved versions being developed until the end of the war. The last was BOLD 5, and was intended for use at depths of up to 200 meters. Siegmund was an anti-sonar device which emitted a series of deafening explosions and were intended to blackout the enemy’s listening gear. The U-boat would make its getaway by altering course or running at high speed during this short period.

Legacy of Red October

I will return the Red October, with the application of MagnetoHydroDynamic Drives in next post, so please do check back.

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Filed under Alberich, Anti-SONAR, German Navy, German U-Boat, Hunt For Red October, Sonar Decoys, Stealth Submarines, Typhoon Class, U-480, U-67, World War II Navy

China: A Military Force to Reckon with in the Western Pacific

China-United States: Two states that never intend harm can begin to perceive each other as growing threats

What’s going in Pacific these days is very interesting, America’s concerns about rising Iran and China’s defences within a region is one rise. How should America respond to that? The collapse of the Soviet Union had persuaded China’s leaders that an arms race with the world’s only superpower could squander enough money to pose a threat to the party’s grip. To challenge America head on made no sense. Instead China put its efforts into affordable “asymmetric” weapons. Earlier December, Economist published an extensive REPORT on rising China, with oulining the options US have in western pacific. China is becoming a military force to reckon with in the western Pacific. How should America respond? According to this report Three areas of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) modernisation stand out. Before I comment of these, have a look:

First, China has created what the Pentagon calls “the most active land-based ballistic- and cruise-missile programme in the world”. The Second Artillery ( is the strategic missile forces of the PLA) has about 1,100 short-range ballistic missiles facing Taiwan and has been extending their range and improving their accuracy and payload. The Second Artillery is also improving its medium-range ballistic missiles, able to carry either conventional or nuclear warheads. PLA is developing the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, fitted with a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle for added menace.

Second, China has transformed and enlarged its submarine fleet, which can now berth in the newly completed base on Hainan Island. In the eight years to 2002 China bought 12 Russian Kilo-class submarines, a big improvement on its own Ming and Romeo class boats. Since then the PLA navy has been introducing longer-range and stealthier Chinese designs, including the nuclear-powered Jin class, which carries ballistic missiles, and the Shang class, a nuclear-powered attack submarine. China has about 66 submarines against America’s 71, though the American boats are superior. By 2030, according to the Kokoda Foundation, an Australian think-tank, China could have 85-100 submarines.

Finally, China has concentrated on what it calls “informatisation”, a tongue-twister that Jiang Zemin coined in 2002 to describe how the PLA needs to function as one force, using sensors, communications and electronic and cyber-warfare. China now has a good idea of what is going on far into the Pacific, thanks to a combination of satellites, over-the-horizon radar, medium-range surface-wave radars, reconnaissance drones and underwater-sensor arrays.

What does this amount to? Military experts in America, Australia and Japan think China’s new arsenals are a greater threat than its higher-profile plans to launch aircraft-carriers in the next decade or so. According to the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), an American research institute, Chinese firepower threatens America’s Asian bases, which until now have been safe from all but nuclear attack. The Second Artillery’s missiles could swamp the bases’ defences and destroy runways as well as large numbers of fighters and ships. Japan is already within range of Chinese missiles, many of them currently pointing at Taiwan.

PLA’s Modernisation

The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the existence of the DF-21D land-based ASBM system, which is the world’s first and only of its kind. By combining manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs) with a terminal guidance system, the DF-21C is capable of targeting a slow-moving aircraft carrier battle group from a land-based mobile launcher. The maximum range of the missile was said to be 3,000km, possibly achieved by carrying a smaller payload.

Considering the first modernisation: Currently China is developing a land based DF-21D (Nato reporting name CSS-5 Mod-4) Anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). DF-21D ASBM is based on DF-21 (see above) is a two-stage, solid-propellant, single-warhead medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM). Its beauty is being High Hypersonic (capable of cruising at Mach 10). It has a range of 3,000 km (1,900 miles). This extends the range of DF-21 upto Malacca, Strait (Refer to the figure taken from Economist):

China’s submarines, missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles threaten America’s aircraft-carrier strike groups within 1,000 to 1,600 nautical miles of the Chinese coast

DF-21D ASBM – would be the world’s first and only ASBM and the world’s first weapons system capable of targeting a moving aircraft carrier strike group from long-range, land-based mobile launchers. It is evident today China can project power out from its coastline well beyond the 12-mile (19km) limit that the Americans once approached without a second thought. These would combine maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRVs) with some kind of terminal guidance system. Launch of the Jianbing-5/YaoGan-1 (shown below) and Jianbing-6/YaoGan-2 satellites would give the Chinese targeting information from SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and visual imaging respectively.

Jianbing-5/YaoGan-1

The upgrades would greatly enhance China’s ability to conduct sea-denial operations to prevent US carriers from intervention in the Taiwan Strait. DF-21D highlights the fact that the U.S. can no longer assume naval supremacy. China has recently launched a series of satellites to support its ASBM efforts. This range includes: Yaogan-VII electro-optical satellite (December 2009), Yaogan-VIII synthetic aperture radar satellite (December 2009) and Yaogan-IX Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) constellation (3 satellites in formation) (March 2010).

DF-21A MRBM System in service with the PLA Second Artillery Corps (Chinese Internet)

Furthermore, The DF-21 has also been developed into space launcher and anti-satellite/anti-missile weapon carrier named Kaituozhe 1 Space Launch Vehicle. KT-1 (see below) is a four-stage, solid-propellant space launcher based on the DF-21 design. It is capable of placing up to 50kg payload into 600km Low Earth Orbits (LEO). The launcher made its maiden flight in September 2002 and then a second flight in September 2003, none of which was fully successful. CASIC also developed a larger KT-1A, which is capable of sending 300kg payload into the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) and polar orbit, and the KT-1B with even greater payload capability (400kg and up to three separate payloads). None of the two designs has ever been launched.

A larger size KT-2A (later renamed KT-1B) was designed for polar orbits missions with greater payload capability (~400kg and up to three separate payloads)

According to a report by Aviation Weeks and Space Technology on 17 January 2007, U.S. intelligence agencies believed that China carried out a successful anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon test on 11 January, destroying the retired FengYun-1C meteorological satellite with a kinetic kill vehicle launched onboard a modified intermediate-range ballistic missile. The launch vehicle used during the test was speculated to be the KT-409, a derivation of the KT-1 solid-propellant space launch vehicle. The report suggested that the FengYun-1C satellite (launched in 1999) was attacked by an ASAT system launched from an unknown location near Xichang Satellite Launch Centre (XSLC) as the satellite at 530 miles (853km) altitude 4 degree west of Xichang. The attack occurred at about 17:28 EST on 11 January 2007 (22:28 GMT, 06:28 on 12 January local time).

Originally developed for strategic purposes, the DF-21’s later variants were designed for both nuclear and conventional missions. As well as a nuclear warhead of around 300kt, it is thought that high explosive, submunition and chemical warheads are also available. Final in the DF-21 class is SC-19 Kinetic Kill Vehicle Carrier. The launch vehicle for the kinetic kill vehicle (KKV) used during China’s first ASAT weapon test in January 2007 was reported to be SC-19, a modified variant of the DF-21 or KT-1.

Pacific in name only

Comming back to the Economist report, the article concludes that cold warriors are suffering from a bad case of “enemy-deprivation syndrome”. For all the uncertainties in this debate, three things are beyond dispute. These are:

First, China has already forced American ships to think about how and when they approach the Chinese coast. The closer American vessels come, the more missiles and submarines they face and the less time they would have to react to a strike. To deny America possession of seas it has dominated for decades, China does not need to control its own coastal waters; it just has to be able to threaten American ships there.

Second, China’s ability to project power is improving. Its submarines, fighter aircraft, missiles, and cyber- and electronic warfare, once poor, now pose a threat. China’s weapons will continue to improve, and its forces will gather experience. Provided that the economy does not fall over, budgets will grow, too, absolutely and possibly as a share of GDP. Other things being equal, China can project power into its backyard more easily than America can project power across the Pacific Ocean.

Third, although the United States is able to respond to China, it will have to overcome some obstacles first. America’s military spending in Asia is overshadowed by the need to cut overall government spending and by other military priorities, such as Afghanistan.

All this points to an important principle. Military planning is framed differently from diplomacy. Diplomats are interested in what they think states intend to do, but military planners have to work with what they think states can do. Intentions change and states can mislead. If you are charged with defending your country, you need to be able to meet even improbable threats.If you do not arm, you leave yourself open to attack. If you do, you threaten the other country.

Sources: A special report on China’s place in the world [The Economist, 2 December 2010]. Sino-Defence.com [4th June 2010]

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Filed under Anti-ship ballistic missile, ASN-206/207, Asymmetric Weapons, Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), Chengdu Aircraft, China, China Air Force, China Defence, China submarines, Chinease Defence, Chinese Defence, DF-21D, Jianbing, Jianbing-5/YaoGan-1, manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs), Russian Kilo class, Xianglong UAV

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

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