Sunday, June 17, 2007

Latest updates

First, on the planes front, there are a couple of developments to watch out for:
  • We can start out with some new project at SAC posted on the official AVIC website
  • It basically talks about a new airframe being delivered for static testing. Now, normally static testing in PLAAF is the second prototype. So that probably means this class so far has the first prototype + this 02 prototype. It doesn't seem to be J-11B, since that should be going into service this year. So, it would have to either be SAC's J-11BS project (I guess Chinese attempt to get something in the class of su-34/F-15E) or their naval fighter project. I personally didn't expect it to proceed this quickly, but who knows.
  • The second part is news from CAC side, there was a while back that xinhua mentioned a major project at CAC
  • Now, it seems like this is the major change on J-10. I guess the second variant after the original J-10 variant, not the much talked about twin engined J-10 project
  • A couple of things, according to a "big shrimp" on Chinese BBS, this project will be much better than the original J-10, using WS-10 series + TVC nozzle, improved aerodynamics, more usage of composites, generally a more stealthy design (not sure whether internal carriage will be done), more network centric/better situation awareness, possibly built in IRST, improved radar (maybe too early for AESA, not sure). But the gist is that the design was finalized in April according to the article, and it normally takes 6 month to produce a prototype, so the first prototype might have a change of flying at the end of the year.
Now, on the naval side, there hasn't been a lot of movement since we last spoke. We have some new pictures of 054A, 071 and some new 022s launching, but only this picture is kind of interesting

This is pretty much the first clear over the head shot of 054A's VLS. Doesn't seem to be cold launched, since the cells are flat vs water level. Still trying to determine where the exhaust vent is. Some people are saying it's the part between two adjacent lids. We will see.

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