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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Recent News

First, new Varyag photos

Second, new pictures of 171 returning to Shanghai for maintenance

Third, a picture of the VLS of 051C

Fourth, a picture of the second 054A in HD finally being launched, interestingly enough, no sea eagle yet

Fifth, a picture of the first 054A in HP returning from sea test

Now, in the land of the aerial assets. Recently, we have seen evidences from photo leaks, military newspaper article and magazines of the following:
  • J-10 is being equipped (probably fully converted) in the 5th regiment in 2nd division
  • JH-7A has been spotted in a new PLAAF regiment in possibly 5th division (13-15th regiment) located in the Shandong area.
  • JH-7A also has been spotted in a PLANAF 14th regiment of 5th division in Jiaozhou in NSF
  • Z-10's first production batch is getting delivered this year
  • Z-8F has finally reached production level (according to this link, China produced 9 Z-8 in 2005, 12 in 2006 and at least 15 in 2007)