Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two 054As together in HP

We've seen some new photos of 054A from HP shipyard. 530 returned for more work as seen in the photos. It's actually kind of interesting that we see scaffolding on 530's foremast instead of the third 054A from HP. Unfortunately for us, the views are blocked, but you can still see the VLS cells on both ships. Clearly, the number of missiles have not changed in the new batch.

Monday, February 9, 2009

054A status in different shipyards

So, after a lot of waiting, the 3rd 054A from Huangpu shipyard was launched yesterday. I have a bunch of pictures from day and night showing them. You get a nice view of the Bow Mounted Sonar and all of the different sensors. Not surprisingly, we are not seeing any major change between the sensors and weapons on this ship and the previous ships. Without further adieu, here are some of the ships:

At the same time, we are finally seeing some progress in the HuDong shipyard too. Looks like they've finally fixed the crane problem. The foremast of the ship has now been installed on the 3rd 054A from this shipyard. It looks probably 3 or 4 months away from launching.

We've also seen some pictures of F-22P's first unit undergoing sea trials.

Monday, February 2, 2009

New JH-7A regiment

Recent photos like the following have shown JH-7A in a new regiment. According to the article that accompanied these photos, the regiment conversion is complete. Considering that this article was in Xinhua, we can be sure that the entire regiment have been converted and the pilots have more or less went through the course for JH-7A. Xinhua doesn't normally talk about a new regiment until it achieves operational status.

So, it looks like we now have 3 PLAAF regiments. One for the 28th division, one for the 5th division and one now for the 11th division.
If we look at Sinodefence's Orbat, the JH-7As are basically going into and replacing old Q-5 divisions. So in those divisions, what you see is normally 1 Q-5 regiment and 1 JH-7A regiment. From the look of it, all the Q-5 only divisions have already received a JH-7A regiment. PLAAF seems to have a balanced distribution policy where all the divisions other than the elite divisions of 1, 2, 3 and 29th receive at most 1 regiment of 2.5+ generation (so, flankers, J-10, JH-7A or J-8II). At the same time, they also try to give each military region a regiment of a new type of aircraft before giving a second regiment of that type to a region. From this, I'm guessing the next division to receive JH-7A would be the 15th division, because it is being converted to a attacker division (starting with a new Q-5D regiment) and it also belongs to the Beijing MR which has no JH-7A regiment yet. the other possibility is replacing one of the old H-6 regiments or equipping on a second regiment in 28th division. I think we will see probably 2 more PLAAF regiment of JH-7A and maybe 1 more PLANAF regiment of JH-7A before the end of the production run. That would give a total of 8 JH-7A regiment = around a production run of JH-7As. Add on top of the 20+ JH-7s in PLANAF, there will probably altogether be 250 JH-7/A serving in PLAAF/PLANAF.