Saturday, August 25, 2007

Response to recent UPI articles by Andrei Chang

For those who don't know, Andrei Chang is also known as Andrei Pinkov, Yihang Chang or simply PKF in different circles. He is the chief editor of Kanwa Defense. He does follow PLA very closely and have numerous good sources, but is also overly reliant on these sources (mostly Russian ones). Recently, I've noticed that he has started posting on United Press International, so I decided to critique his articles a little bit.

Analysis: China shows off new hardware

Genernally, there is nothing too new here. I won't comment on his political views, but believe that the bigger reason for the unveiling on these new weapon systems is part of the effort to be more transparent for Western countries.

Analysis: Chinese navy starts long march

Again, nothing new here that he hasn't posted before. It's interested he has finally given up on his initial estimates that 094 has 16 launching tubes and 6 warhead per JL-2. As for this next SSBN with 24 launch tubes, I really wouldn't trust anything they post on TV regarding something so strategical at this point. As for his estimates of 2 indigenous carriers, it does seem to agree with most Chinese sources at this point.

Analysis: Sino-Russia military ties
The entire thesis of his article seems to be based on this:
"China has also complained about the quality of Russian weapons. Russian dealers, on the other hand, are upset about blatant Chinese imitations of their products, built from designs supplied in the understanding that the weapons were to be purchased."
Well, there is no question that China has not been pleased with some of the recent weapon systems, since it's requirements are much higher now.

First regarding this IL-76 contract, the Russians are asking for more money despite needing more time to complete this contract? They are claiming that they will loose money if they fulfill this contract. Well, why did you sign the contract in the first place? It's not China's fault that you didn't look over the Tashkent plant. As for their offer of PS-90A, well that should be offered as compensation for the delay in fulfillment rather than increasing the cost of contract. Are the Russians really stunned that China can live without their military export?

As for the quality of imported equipments, it's been a belief for a long time that many of the imported systems simply don't match the specs given by the Russians. For example, AL-31F don't last anywhere close to 1000 hours before needing overhaul.

As for this part:
"However, the contract was suspended after 95 China-made J11A were completed last year. Russia reportedly backed out of the deal due to technical reservations. "
It was China that stopped the contract, because J-11A simply no longer matched the requirements.

"n the mid-1990s China asked the Russian Phazotron Radar Design Bureau to help the PLAAF to upgrade their F8II fighters. For this purpose, China purchased two ZHUK-8II airborne radars from Phazotron. Certainly many technical documents were transferred, as the Chinese had promised to buy at least 100 of the radar devices. But the Chinese never came back. Two years ago the new Chinese F8IIM fighter was released with the new “indigenous multifunction radar.”"
As for this theory about China copying Phazotron radar, the J-8H which was certified in the 90s already had KLJ-1 radar, which reported finished development as early as 1989. The follow up radar 1492 was also developed before J-8F entered service in early 2000s. Whether or not the export fighter uses a clone is another story, but the domestic versions were definitely at works before Phazotron ever supplied us radars. Same with J-10 and its first radar KLJ-3, that one was ready when J-10 started testing in 2002. It was shown in Zhuhai air show in the late 90s. Considering Zhemchug wasn't imported for evaluation until early 2000s, that's definitely after KLJ-3 was already developed. Frankly, Phazotron is just feeling the sour grapes after not getting the export contract they wanted. Considering their much hyped Zhuk-MSE and Zhuk-ME didn't become ready to equip fighters until the last couple of years, their claims of China copying is too premature (especially since the "cloned radar" entered service earlier).

As for this claim "Along with the Type 956E/EM missile destroyer, the Chinese navy received subsystems from Russia including the Fregat M2EM 3D radar and MR-90 tracking radar and sonar. The same radar system has been seen on China’s domestic Type 054A missile frigate (FFG)."
For the "Fregat clone" Sea Eagle search radar, what the Russians and Andrei do not seem to realize is that this series has been in service since the 90s with DDG 167. Although the earlier version is a single faced radar, one can clearly see the similarities between that radar and the current Sea Eagle. If you look closely at the rotating arms and radar faces (Sea Eagle has far more rows of antenna), you can see clear difference in both part. Looking at some recent Chinese sales brochure, the latest version of Sea Eagle seems to be operating on H band, compared to E band for top plate and C band for earlier Sea Eagle. In fact, a recent article says that the recent Sea Eagle radar is the culmination of a 10 year project going through the most intensive testing procedure of any Chinese naval radar.

As for MR-90 tracking radar, there are less information on this, but looking similar in the exterior does not mean it works the same way on the inside. The sensors used on 054A has higher requirements than their Russian counterparts. The Russians are simply over flattering themselves to assume that China would copy the systems as they are.


timurelame said...

Will Russia be building any more destroyers for PLAN? I have heard of rumors about a "stealthy" destroyer being designed in Russia as a follow-on for the four Sovremennys sold to China previously.

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