Saturday, January 18, 2014

A quick update before Chinese New Years

In less than 2 weeks, we will have Chinese New Year. Every year as with other Chinese companies, all of the military industrial complex stops working from a few days before Chinese New Year until 2 weeks (sometimes longer) after the Chinese New Year. This is a very short update before that period hits.

This past week, we saw a new J-20 prototype (No. 2011) coming out. It seems like the previous J-20 prototypes were all part of the technology demonstrator phase of the program. This new prototype features some changes like redesigned intakes, installation of nose mounted EOTS, smaller wing actuators, clipped tail fins, frame strengthened canopy and frameless holographic HUD. It is said that unless major problems are found in this prototype, the changes before the production version will be minimal. The changes in this prototype explains why we had such a long wait until this prototype. This prototype had its first low-speed taxi test on the 16th. I think it will not make its maiden flight until sometimes after Chinese New Years. Here are two comparisons of No. 2011 vs previous J-20 Prototype No. 2002 from different view. In both cases, No. 2011 is the one on the bottom



In the naval side of things, there are some rumours that I think is probably fairly accurate. It is said that Dalian shipyard will probably start the construction of the first domestic carrier. I would expect it to look very similar to CV-16 Liaoning. Dalian shipyard is also expected to start work on the 052D project (if it hasn't already). Previously, Dalian and JN shipyard have both been the shipyards responsible for building larger surface ships designated in the destroyer class for PLAN, so it's not surprising that they will be participating in the 052D project. The production run of the 052D class is now estimated to hit 12 ships. 4 of which will be produced by Dalian shipyard and the other 8 will be by JN shipyard. We know that 3 052Ds have already been launched at JN shipyard. Based on the current rate of production and commissioning, all of 052Ds from JN shipyard will probably be handed over to PLAN by around the end of 2016. It is likely that the Type 055 project will start before then. All of the above are from a pretty good source, but things could obviously change before then.

9 comments:

Giovanni Martinelli said...

Hi Feng.
Thanks for your continuos updates on the evolving chinese naval and air power.

I would have a couple of questions for you; regarding PLAN's multirole frigates, do you know if Type 054A is going to be stopped after 20 ships been/being built or the production is going to be continued?
And then, regarding the same type of platforms, do you have any news about a new project for a new multirole frigate or an evolution of the existing design?

Feng said...

Nothing new on a follow on class. I think it will probably be stopped, but they've way exceeded my original projections for it.

Reginald M said...

Will the type 052B still be in service by 2020?

Ralph Isomäki said...

Until 052 looks something like in the attached link it might not be able to compete with the us built ships. http://cimsec.org/april-analysis-week/ddg-flights-of-fancy-2/

Feng said...

052B will definitely still be in service by then.

Andrew Chen said...

No one knows for sure of the exact number of 052D's to be built. It is known that the first 4 would go to the South Sea Fleet, and I believe the 5th and 6th hulls being built at Jiangnan as well as the 2 hulls to be built at Dalian are all for the North Sea Fleet.

Lei said...

Just wondering, what are your thoughts on the rumours that JN will also be building a carrier?

Andrew Chen said...

After the single 001-class entered service in 2012, it is time for Dalian to build a single 001A-class to fully master the technology for carrier building, still using the same style ski-ramp. The aircraft based on 001A will be the same as 001, J-15 and Z-8 variants, etc. Afterwards, perhaps Dalian and Jiangnan would each build 1 002-class in the 2020-2025 time frame, using steam catapult.

Feng said...

JN will be building a carrier, the question is when that will start.