Sunday, April 27, 2008

J-11B vs Russians

So, as mentioned in the last post, there is news coming out regarding Russia being upset over China's imitation of flankers. Of course, the great PLA expert Andrei Chang decided to weigh in on this. Keep in mind, he has great relations with a lot of the Russian exporters, so he sides with the Russians a lot in this debate.

The article can be found here. It says the following.

HONG KONG, China, China's production of J-11B fighters using Russian technology has become the latest bone of contention in the military cooperation between the two countries, following prolonged problems over an IL-76 transport aircraft deal.

An authoritative source from the Russian military industry says that Russia has officially notified China that the latter's production of J-11B fighters is a violation of the original agreement between the two sides. If Russia cannot get a satisfactory response from China, it reserves the right to take legal action to protect its property rights, the source said.

Many sources from the Russian military industry are upset over China's production of J-11B fighters. According to the Su-27SK Fighter Technology Transfer Agreement reached between China and Russia in 1995, Russia would supply to China first 95 then an additional 105 sets of parts to assemble Su-27 fighters. The domestic production of the Su-27SKs was to proceed with assistance from the Russian side through the transfer of technology.

The agreement explicitly outlined the specific areas of technology transfer and the corresponding schedule. In the course of assembling the planned 200 Su-27SKs, all the core component parts including the engines, radar systems and avionics equipment was to be supplied by the Russian company. Russia had already made preparations in 2004 for the delivery of 105 sets of parts for assembly and all the related equipment had been put in place.

Right from the start, the Russians noticed that China's practices were very different from those of India, with whom they were also conducting military technology transfers.

In the first place, the Chinese were very sensitive, and exhibited a strong distrust for their Russian counterparts. Russians were not allowed in the production workshops of the J-11 fighters.

Later in 2004, the Chinese abruptly notified the Russians that they no longer needed the 105 sets of Su-27 components. They complained that the fighter's radar technology was out of date. The Russians therefore upgraded 70 Su-27SKs and a small number of J-11s with RVV-AE active radar guided air-to-air missiles. The Russians proposed the same upgrade for the remaining batch of 105 sets of parts, but China did not respond.

Around the same time, a series of incidents occurred in which Chinese nationals attempted to acquire Su-27SK component parts and production blueprints through illegal means. They were caught in the Russian Far East by the Federal Anti-espionage Agency, according to one Russian source.

From 2005, China imported a number of AL-31F engines and some other parts, saying they needed them for repairs on the fighters. Soon after that, the Russians discovered that the Shenyang Aircraft Company was manufacturing a fighter called the J-11B. Though the Chinese claimed it was a newly designed aircraft, Russian experts believed the J-11B was an exact imitation of the Su-27SK. The Chinese had violated the terms of the technology transfer agreement by creating their own indigenous version of the Russian aircraft.

This is similar to what occurred with regard to the Z-10 combat helicopter China built after importing engines from Canada, claiming they were to be used for civilian helicopters.

The Russian military industry has not made clear what legal action it will take if it is convinced that China violated Russian intellectual property rights. However, a civil aviation technology analyst based in Moscow says that the J-11B incident will surely have a major impact on cooperation between China and Russia in the aviation industry.

Russia is now conducting a full assessment of the importance of the Chinese arms market to the Russian military industry. Some analysts believe that Russia is already switching its priority to other markets because of China's failure to fulfill its commitments. Under this circumstance, the likelihood that Russia will export Su-35 and Su-33 fighters to China is growing smaller. New obstacles may also interrupt the export of additional AL-31F engines and Su-27SK component parts to China.

Russia's economic recovery in the past few years means that money is no longer the only consideration in deciding where to export its military technology.

Even if Russia imposes sanctions against China over the production of the J-11B fighters, production of the aircraft is unlikely to be affected. China has already imported what it needs from Russia, including 180 AL-31F engines that will arrive later this year. Also, since beginning the J-11B production, China has reinforced its cooperation with the Ukrainian and Belarus aviation industries.

An upgrade of the Su-27SK's avionics equipment was assisted by technology from the Minsk No. 558 Factory, while the Ukrainian Migremont Factory helped China in the repair and maintenance of fuselages. A chart showing the production of the J-11B on open display at the 2006 Zhuhai Air Show revealed that already 80 percent of its parts were manufactured domestically.

A source from the Chinese aviation industry said the Shenyang Aircraft Company suffers from low production efficiency, unlike the Chengdu Aircraft Company, which has received a series of domestic awards. The Chengdu company has already manufactured 120 J-10A fighters. It had been building J-7Es until 2007, but that production line will be officially closed within this year so as to put full attention to the manufacture of additional J-10As. A second J-10A production line is expected.

The above information suggests that due to low production efficiency, the first phase production of J-11Bs is intended mainly to meet the demand of the PLA Air Force. The possibility that China will export the aircraft is very slim. This is what concerns Russia. Under the original Su-27SK production transfer agreement, the 200 J-11 fighters should not be exported to any third country. Yet Russia suspects that China's intention in suspending the J-11 production agreement ahead of time is to develop the J-11B export market independently.

First, I'd like to address the issue of the AL-31F engine. There is no doubt in my mind that most if not all of those engines are going to the existing fleet of Russian flankers. The fact is that AL-31F have really short service life, so it shouldn't be a surprise that China needs a large order of this engine as replacements for the ones on the existing aircrafts. The other issue is that production rate of WS-10A has reached the point where China simply doesn't need to buy AL-31F for new J-11Bs. If the flanker production rate is 17 per year as Pinkov previously stated, then having mass production of WS-10A should more than cover that + a portion of J-10s. And it's no secret that the Russians have been following the progress of J-11B development as much as they can. Earlier this year, one of the big shrimps stated that Russians accidentally saw the J-11B production lines and were surprised by the tooling and quality of the fighters. It was to the point that they decided to cut off on the supply of parts to China. This did not actually cripple J-11B program, but simply helped the domestic industry which was previously denied due to the powerful middlemen who were making money off the export transactions.

So, why now? Of course, the official explanation is that China is violating the terms of the agreement and that they are going to export to other countries. But in reality, it doesn't appear that China has any intention exporting a fighter that they can't get enough of. In fact, one of the problems of PLA is that SAC can't produce enough to supply both the navy and the air force. I'm not sure if this is a problem with SAC as mentioned by Pinkov or a problem with the suppliers. Either way, with China's need for strike fighters and naval fighters, SAC won't be looking at any export orders for a while. Even the big shrimps on Chinese bbs have mentioned that China can't even export the original su-27sk without Russian approval. As for the other violation, it's clear at this point that China has yet to even reach the original goal of 200 flankers. They produced 95 J-11s with various degrees of Russian contents. We've probably had at most 20 J-11Bs so far. So, the Russians are simply complaining because they are not getting the money from China ordering their parts for the aircraft. This is really ridiculous, since what Russians are willing to offer to China (N-001VE) is so outdated. Of course, they are not willing to offer the more advanced Irbis radar, because they want China to buy su-35 straight up. So, if they are not willing to offer avionics and engines that are up to par (compared to indigenous production), what right do they have to complain that China is using their own (and more advanced) avionics? The Russians must know all of this. Why are they still complaining? Well, they know they are not going to get any more orders for su-33/35 from China (despite what they are claiming to Pinkov) after seeing the success of J-11 program, so they are simply trying to get any money they can from China at this point. The threat of discontinuing military cooperations is certainly not going to scare that many people in PLA. In fact, it has been China that has canceled those annual meetings due to the problems with the IL-76 contract.

The other interesting news I got today is about Bangladesh's military cooperation with China. They talked about increasing the cooperation in military and nuclear field. However, a previous deal between the two sides caught my attention today. This is regarding to the deal where Bangladesh bought C-802A and FM-90n. It's well known that C-802 series is one of the best selling military export items for China. The list of countries getting C-802 or ToT for C-802 includes Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Algeria, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. The range of C-802 has increased with each evolution. When it came out, it was at 120 km. A couple of years ago, they came out with C-802A, which had a range of 180 km. Then a few months later, the Iranian C-802 mods were said to have a range of 200 km. And this article actually puts the range of C-802 at 120 to 140 NM, which is close to the MTCR limit. For a light weight missile like C-802, it's quite an accomplishment to be able to go that far. One can use this to gage the range of YJ-83 and KD-88. Of course, there are more important requirements than just range, but this certainly casts a good light on the Chinese Military Industry. And as more navies around the world start to use C-802 and FM-90N, we will probably see more of them also buying ships from China. The article is as follows:

Text of report headlined "Navy to test-fire new missile next week"
published by Bangladeshi newspaper Prothom Alo on 28 April

Bangladesh Navy is to test-fire the C-802 missile imported from China
next week. The missile will be launched from the naval frigate "BNS
Osman" on 4 May to a target 140 nautical miles in the sea. For this
the navy has taken all cautionary measures and instructed all to
follow its instructions. A meeting with all other relevant government
agencies and departments was held on Thursday [24 April].

According to sources, this is the first such test-fire of missiles in
Bangladesh. Instructions have been given to relevant authorities to
keep away ships coming from Singapore, Colombo (Sri Lanka) and
Malaysia from the route where the test-fire will take place. And it
has asked for anchoring arrangements of those ships in the outer
anchorage area.

According to naval sources, among the six frigates of Bangladesh Navy,
BNS Osman and BNS Khalid Bin Walid (formerly known as BNS Bangabandhu)
have facilities to launch missiles. Till now BNS Osman, collected from
China in 1989, was equipped with SY-1 Alpha type missile. This missile
of 1988 model can hit targets at a distance of 35 nautical miles.

C-802 and FM-90 types of missiles have been imported from China by
Bangladesh Navy as part of its modernization. These missiles can hit
targets at a distance of 120 nautical miles. Missile launching
technology of BNS Osman has been upgraded. FM-90 missiles have been
imported for BNS Khalid Bin Walid.


Jiang said...

Well, Feng. I am well aware that Andrei Chang is the BIGGEST Millitary Idiots in the world. He even invent worlds like Beyong Visulal land and some Sh!t like that.

IMHO Andrei Chang is a person who is upset of China not using him as a VIP thus he went to Cananda. I personally never believed him.

Regarding to J-11B. I know it is almost as good as the Su-35BM, that is why we are never going to buy more Flankers from russia anymore. Right now the only thing russia can threaten China is the IL-76 deal but we have counter as well, the russian civilan transportation is JUNK!!!! and they need to build new planes so they need our staffs and money!!! I personally wish we can cut off any millitary cooperation with russia that way we can give our own millitary more money to develope.

BTW, regarding Su-33 are we going to buy it, I heard SAC is already working on a similary design and is much better than the Su-33 in terms of avionics, stealth, radar, and weaponary. Is that true?? I hope we will never buy Su-33 from russia, the current Su-33 is old, its avionics is still in the 1980's, its engine is still Al-31F which is very poor in terms of quality. Its radar is still the
Sh!tty radar used on Su-27, and the russian are STUPId enough to try to sell it at 50 million$ a peice!!!!

Jiang said...

One last thing Feng. How long do you think the Varyag carrier will be ready?? My prediction is in early 2009, it will undergo sea trail and in 2010 it will be ready for more advanced traing with combat aircrafts and in 2011 it will be ready for action!!! IMHO, I think our first AC will be more advanced than the current russia's only aircraft carrier, and ours will also have more strike power since our planes on Varyag will have much more advanced planes than the current Su-33. But it will not come close to the Nimiz class. However, it should be close to the French Aircraft carrier.

What do you think??

Jiang said...

Feng, have we bought A-50 from russia. I know that A-50 is old and it has not receive any upgrades for more than 30 years. Even the indians do not want A-50 and that is why the indians choose the Phalcon despite the fact A-50 is much cheaper than Isreal's Phalcon. Personally if we really bought A-50, IT WILL BE A HUGE MISTAKE!!!! Cause our KJ-2000 is alreay better more importantly buying russian JUNK A-50 will take away fundings for imporving and upgrading KJ-2000!!! BTW, Feng I heard this news from Hong Kong report, it is most like Bull SH!T, but still I want to make sure!!!

I really do not want to see our Millitary buying any more JUNKS from russia anymore, buying russia JUNKS will cost more and it is not worth it!! I am happy the fact that now we have almost reduced the import of russian JUNK to ZERO!!

IMHO, I think they only thing it is worth to buy from russian is
S-400, anything beyound that is a complete WAST OF MONEY AND TIME!!!!

Minotaur said...

I know it ain't a simple task but how hard would it be for a redesign of the J-11B. To what I understand is that every other component in the J-11B can easily be Chinese and not a copy of Russian technology except for the fuselage design. So if push comes to shove, wouldn't it be easier to just take what they learned from making the J-11B and create a new simliar aircraft? I think it's time China starts committing itself to original designs.

Anonymous said...

feng why PLA don't buy airbus plane
and use them to make AWACS like IL-76

Feng said...

to Jiang, the issue is not whether or not J-11B right now is as good as su-35, but rather whether it will be better or not onc su-35 becomes ready like in 2 or 3 years. As for su-33, they certainly got a couple of samples for study. Looks like they are currenty building the first prototype in SAC. If you read my past post, you'd see my opinion on this. As for Varyag, I don't see much hope for it other than as a training carrier (at best). Indigenous build is th way to go. They are not getting A-50, no need to get upset over it. Russians certainly still have a couple of items to tempt China as I wrote previously, but the list is shrinking.

I think there is a limit to how much you'd want to redesign flankers at this stage. Especially since the 5th generation plane should be your priority. As for airbus planes, they have agreements which prohibits conversion to AWACS

Jiang said...

Feng, how long would it take for China to design a large aircraft which can be used for AWAC??

I think if we put full effort into the project we can do in in 6 years because the Americans only uesed 6 years to build the Boeing 747, and now it is 2008 with computer tech advance so fast and China's manufacturing tech catching up with the west I really think we can do it in 6 years!!!

Regarding to the Varyag, I think it will be a true carrier but it will only be stationed in the Southern China cause there the Viet Navy and Phillipine Navy are pretty weak!! So Varyag can do the job. To take care of the threat from American AC we certainly need to build our OWN AC with more advanced stuffs on them.

Regarding J-11B I think in 2 to 3 years it will be just as good as the Su-35BM and there is certainlly no need for SU-35BM, Feng you also have to know that russian weapons always BLUFF their values, when you recieve them they are only 80% or 70% as good as the advertised!!!!

Right now our MAIN concern about russian weaopns is the Large transport because we need them and also for AWAC purporse.

BTW, Feng. Andrei Chang also said that russia will not sell TANKs to China because Tanks are offenceive weapons!!! Laough My FU@king A$$ OFF. The russian are willing to sell Su-30, and Subs to China, yet they do not want to sell their tanks, lol. Is this true???? IMHO, Russian tanks are no good, just look at their record against Westarn tanks such as M1A1, German Tiger. Every time the russian tanks lose!!! I hope our Army will never buy tanks from and attack Helis from russia. Only some transoprt Helis is ok.

Feng said...

I'm not sure where Pinkov mentioned the tank part. It's hard to think that even he is that out there.

As for Varyag, I personally don't place much hope in it, but that's just my opinion.

Don't trivialize the difficulty in producing a large commercial plane or transport. You give China another 20 years and it won't be able to come up with something at the level of current 747. You have to go through the progression as airbus have in the past 30 years. As for transport, they should be able to develop it much sooner. But if you saw their slow and painful progress with Y-9, it should be clear that SAC is just not up to par in may ways.

Jiang said...

Feng, why they always give contract to SAC, SAC sucks CAC is much better!!! China should let some other company develope large aircraft, not SAC!!!!

What do you think??

Jiang said...

Feng, I just checked our large aircraft project, it stated that by 2018 it will fly. I personally it is a little be long, 2015 will be better! Also the news says that russia is highly interested in joining China to co-produce large aircraft, because russia's own civilan aircraft is highly un-realible, dangerous and inefficient. I think we can use this deal as a loby for odering russia deliver the IL-76 right away. Otherwise we should not let russia enter our project, that way the russia's civilan planes will DIE!!!

It also stated tha ShanXi Aircraft Coperation will build the millitary Transport.

Feng, how long do you think our large milltary aircraft will fly and how good it will be (like how does it compare to the C-5 galaxy or the C-17 globe-master??) Also our own large civilan aircraft, how good will it be like compare to the Boeing 747??

Feng said...

when i say SAC there, I'm talking about Shaanxi AC, not Shenyang AC. You certainly don't want either of these guys do transport development. No need to get too emotional over the Russians. They hav different development schedule for transport and airliner. The transport is more urgent. Remember, developing something in C-5 or C-17 class is different from reaching the flight performance of those. There is two school of thoughts on the large transport. One is conservative and will probably look like IL-76, the other one is more risky (takes longer) and would be more like C-17. As for Il-76, that doesn't look like it's moving at all right now.

timurelame said...

After the civilian ARJ-21 project takes off, maybe PLAAF can use it as a platform for for AWACS/AEW?

Feng said...

The problem is that ARJ-21 is even smaller than Y-8/9, so I'm not sure how much it will help.

Jiang said...

So, Feng you mean our large transport will look like IL-76. Personally I think it is not a bad idea, because it is a safe apporach. But our Civilian large aircraft has to be different, it has to be cheap enough and good enough to stand competition.

BTW, I have a question regard to EF-2000(Typhoon) and Rafale fighter, which one of these are better for air to air combat?? I think if France are willing to sell Rafale, we should consider Rafale M class for our future Aircraft carrier. Because that we will have more options rather than only J-11C and J-10.

Jiang said...

Also, how long do you think J-11C will be ready for our AC?? I think it will take another 2 years.

What do you think.

Jiang said...

One last thing Feng, this is regarding to Su-33. I heard that the russian want to sell JUNK fighter Su-33 to China at 50$ dollar a peice!!! A RIP OFF!!!. The stuffs on Su-33 is not that advanced at all, and it is still based on SU-27, also the Su-33 can not fire R-77, does not have AL-31FM engine, does not Irbis-Radar, and has JUNK russian avaionics. I reall Beg China never consider this JUNK!!!

Feng, do you think China will buy this plane for our Future Carrier, it we are STUPID enough to do so then our Carrier will be FU@KEd by America'a F-18E/F in any sort of conflict, I really do not see Su-33 has any chance what so ever against the F-18E/F and ZERO Chance against F-35. Feng, a while ago you said that China will not even consider the current Su-33, I hope your word are correct.

Feng said...

Basing it on IL-76 is safe, especially if you put a more modern engine, avionics and materials on it. And it would certainly help with AWACS and ABL programs.

As for the eurocanards, EF was always thought to be better at A2A, with better supersonic flight performances. Rafale was considered the more multi-role plane with lower RCS. I can't imagine PLA would be interested in them though. As for su-33, you can't think of it as the original su-33, but rather the platform. You can certainly fit more modern engine + avionics + weapons on it. And China is not going for it either way. The navalized flanker is being assembled right now. It will probably take 2 or 3 years to be ready. But the real issue is not that. It's the part where you are training your flight crew on a carrier with this plane. That might take another 3 to 4 years for basic carrier operation experience. Either way, the goal is to have an operating unit by the time the first carrier is operational. Remember, it takes years to develop carrier operation experience.

timurelame said...

Why not just buy a production license for Il-76 from Russia?
Or a license for An-70 from the Ukraine?

Feng said...

I was always thinking about An-70 licensing for PLA and I think that's what the cooperation agreement they signed with Antonov is about. As for IL-76 production, I think they already have enough production equipment, documentation and such for it. If they want to just do IL-76, they can probably have it join service in 5 years.

obrescia said...

How China justifies her theft [in J-11B] of billions-of-rubles of Russian State property, frankly defies comprehension - except if one remembers the fact that China is – a totalitarian regime, with a state controlled news apparatus, and a closed press. China still occupies Tibet.

Statements out of PRC that they have acquired Su-33 technology (from Ukraine?) are revealing.

This would indicate the PRC does not - in fact - possess the knowledge to develop an indigenous naval-variant of a J-11B and so - must again copy - a Flanker derivative in the Su-33.

The true developmental abilities of the PRC in aerospace – on a number of levels – has been overstated.

See link:

The Chinese J-10 fighter is - with near certainty – a copy of the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Lavi fighter of the 1980s. Chinese assertions that J-10 was a continuation of their previous J-9 program that precedes Lavi and therefore is not a copy of US-Israeli Lavi fighter - are fraudulent at best.

By that logic then the J-11/J-11B program is also somehow “simply a continuation” of an indigenous Chinese design/development effort [a J-11 "MiG-19" like design magically turns into a "Su-27" looking airfoil] ???!?

...what a mess.

Olaf Brescia

shu said...

Russian junk? so why Chinese make J-11b based on Russian invented aircraft and technology, I think you all must read about history about founder and inventor of Sukhoi?
Why don't chinese blinded their eyes and try figure out itself how to make something much advance than sukhoi.American has their own thinking and recipe how to make their fighter.As a chinese i also want to see newly fresh innovative design from mainland.I sick that mainland only copy and later imitate this or that from other people innovation.I think you should thank's Russian about that!
you crap arrogant!
I'm really curious about J-12,J-13,J-14,why do you think your government make deal with Russian in the first place if Russian product as you says is shit!Why don't they make some study about Sukhoi product before their both make a deal? It's funny later Chinese government dislike what they already bought? Chinese tank itself type-99 are based on T-72 chassis!What really China can do without Russian technology and knowhow? I believe you should look backward J-6/7=Mig-21,H-6=Tu-16 badger,and several kind of helicopter from Europe,I can understand that China is trying figured out itself how to make military aircraft locally,but China from my point of view still lack ethical manner in context with other people invention.Even I heard that China 5th generation still need cooperate and technical assistance from MiG and Sukhoi bureau from Russia.It happen also with China aerospace project,Chairman Mao once said that China cannot put potato in space, and suddenly China put man in space by itself later,I proud of it but I didn't believe it happen without foreign assistance like Russia.China think copy Sukhoi aircraft it just like their copy AK? China should know that Sukhoi is Russian backbone of their air defence,their pride!If China wanna make fighter better than Sukhoi,i am OK with that but please don't copy anything or based on non-Chinese invention,it's about national pride.Such a pity if Russia and China get soured because this matter,because I think Russia,China and other eurasian state should close together facing US and their western hidden agenda.China in the past full of innovator and invention that based on national way of though, like Dujiang Weir,Great Wall,Chinese calligraphy,TCM,Xuan shu (Chinese way mathematic)but now China can only copying and lag behind, even from Japan!

Anonymous said...

Copying from another country is no disgrace. Why reinvent the wheel if it serves so well? Especially in term of aeronautics and aerospace where there are certain physic laws that applies throughout. In fact F- 35 JSF is derived or at least had engineering input from ex-Soviet Yak - 141.

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