Monday, May 12, 2008

Updates from the past week

Before we start going through some of the news from the past week, I'd first like to send my prayers and condolences to the victims of cyclone in Myanmar and the victims of the huge earthquake in Sichuan province.

Today, we just heard about the Mi-171 deal concluding with a company in Sichuan doing the assembly. As we mentioned in this blog, we first about this plan in one of the posters of this company. We also saw a picture of the first assembled Mi-171 on a Kanwa article last year. At the time, Kanwa was speculating that this deal may not go through because Russians are fearful that China would create another J-11B situation. However, from this report, it's clear that China has received a Z-9 type of deal where it could the rights to eventually produce everything locally and exporting the planes to third countries. The company that's doing the assembly was already doing maintenance and repairs for Mi-8/17 helicopters in PLA. Therefore, it shouldn't be a surprise it can raise the production to 20 for this year. The IL-76 problem didn't affect this deal, because China is still importing this under the civilian guise. China had been importing civilian Mi-17 variants and converting them to military version for the past few batches. They will probably still be getting the "civilian kits" (whatever that means) and modifying it to be able to fire rockets and such. If the production rate of Mi-171 does eventually reach 80, it certainly would represent quite an enhancement to PLA aviation. This deal probably also means that new Z-8 units will mostly be used for the navy. Recently, we had a picture of 920 medical ship with Z-8, so it seems like many of the large newly built ships will be getting new Z-8Ks. Therefore, this deal should also help the helicopter shortage situation with PLAN aviation. This deal also reminds me the recent Sokol helicopter deal, because of the way foreign helicopters were favored over domestic helicopters. In both cases, the foreign helicopter (Mi-171) got a huge local production contract due to their much lower cost rather than their technology level. Of course, the local helicopters in both cases are more expensive, because they were originally French helicopters. As mentioned in the past, Kazan/Ulan-Ude have basically cornered China's medium to super heavy transport helicopter market with Mi-17, Mi-26 and possibly Mi-38. The super light to medium helicopter market are all West assisted/inspired design or local production of Western designs. (including S-300, EC-120, Z-11, Sokol, CA-109, Z-9, Z-10, Z-15, 10 ton helicopter). We certainly have a clearer view of future of helicopter in PLA than we did a couple years ago. The only projects that I'm waiting for are Z-15, 10 ton helicopter and Mi-38.

Another interesting piece of news that came out today is the sale of K-8 to Venezuela. We also heard recently that China sold 12 K-8s to Zimbabwe and 6 already arrived in the country. K-8 has certainly become of one of China's leading export items. I guess it provides some hope for the L-15 project, because K-8 started out without any contract from China or Pakistan. Maybe in a couple of years, Hongdu will be able to win over the PLA brass with L-15 as it did with K-8. Countries like Venezuela, Egypt and Pakistan will certainly be more likely to buy L-15 after inducting K-8s.

The other big news is that SAC guarantees the large transport will have first flight by 2012. From all sources I have went through recently, it seems like this will be the domestic version of IL-76. There have been some speculations about transport with 60 ton capacity like C-17. It seems like SAC may have more than one project going. A Chinese IL-76 is the safe design that will be able to go in service relatively quickly (probably before 2015). They are also working on another design that will be more advanced, but probably would not go in service until 2020. From the numerous sources that I read, it seems like they are not only familiar with IL-76 design (after using it and maintaining it for so long), but also have the blue prints, some of the personnel and the necessary technology needed to set up production in SAC. In fact, one of the big shrimps on Chinese bbs recently said that the IL-76 factory in Kazakhstan provided this to China as a response to what they view as Russia trying to squeeze them out of IL-76 production (by moving all production to Russia). The large bypass turbofan engine project based on WS-10A is not that far away from completing and should be better than D-30 series (probably at PS-90 level).

The other engine news coming out recently is that WS-13 finished long duration test last year. It will probably take off with JF-17 this year and achieve design certification by 2009. Once it gets the production certification, China will have no more need/headache for RD-93. Note, they also have the WS-12 project ongoing which is in the same weight class, but a completely new design.

On the naval side of things, we saw some new pictures of F-22P coming out recently. It only confirmed the previous notion that FM-90N is the SAM for F-22P. We can see the launchers and the FCR for it installed since the last set of photos.

The more interesting news that came out is with regards to the new 130 MM naval gun. People often saying that China is not open enough, but this one is an example of how a yet to be seen weapon system is mentioned in an official source.
Zhou Bingwu (left) studying together with other technical personnel on compatible fire plans of naval gun.
  The reporters learnt recently from a military representative office of the Armament Department of the PLA Navy that Zhou Bingwu, a senior engineer of this office, has tackled problems in key technologies, such as shell cases got jammed in gun barrel, and enabled one naval gun barrel to fire different types of artillery shells with different calibers, and realized automatic loading of separate-loading ammunition. At the end of April, this achievement passed the technical evaluation after it was put to test in a live ammunition range practice.

  The naval gun experts at the range located at the northern foot of the Yin Mountain were amazed at this achievement, and they held that this achievement would turn naval gun into a multifunctional launching platform and make the gun be able to launch precise attack against long- and middle-distance targets automatically and from multi-directions, thus it is going to bring new life to naval guns. Cai Yuquan, leader of the naval gun expert team excitedly said, "This achievement has filled a technical blank in naval gun's firing field." At present, this achievement is in the process of applying for national scientific and technological innovation award.

  Zhou Bingwu is over 50 years of age now and he started to carry out research on naval gun in 1993. Fiver years ago, he went to Beijing to report to the higher level on his research program of firing multi-types of shells with a single naval gun. In early 2005, the application for the development of a new type of large caliber ship-gun was approved, and a military-civilian joint research task force was established accordingly.

  By Deng Xianwei and Jiang Ming

  (May 8, PLA Daily) Editor: Fan Aifeng

The Chinese version of this article is similar, but also mentions that the shells are guided. It seems like this gun is being prepared for the new generation of destroyers that will start production in the near future. It will certainly be superior to the 100 mm and the 76 mm currently serving on the newer ships. It should be superior to existing PLAN guns in anti-surface warfare, land attack and also serve as CIWS in front of Type 730s. I have also read about the development of a 155 mm naval gun similar to the AGS (advance gun system) of DDG-1000.

And finally, we read about HH-9 and RIF-M engaging in training exercises recently. RIF-M hit all 6 targets in the test trial. The description of HH-9 tests were harder to decipher, but it seems like HH-9 was able to hit sea-skimming targets, BVR targets and concurrent engagements. The sea-skimming test was especially interesting, because the drone was wobbling (after loosing control of itself) toward the sea and HH-9 missile struck it as it entered the water. It stated the FCR tracked it, suddenly lost the track, tracked it again and then fired the missile to hit it. Apparently, this entire sequence from the tracking to destroying the targets took 10 to 20 seconds (he actually stated 1x seconds). If the entire process took closer to the 10 second marks, then I would think that is very good time for tracking, reacting, launching preparation, firing off and flight to the target. The Chinese are generally very pleased with the performance of HH-9.


Jiang said...

Feng, last time I check out that the Su-30MKK even Su-30MKK2 are basically russian JUNKS!!!! So we have about 100 of them right, if they are soo bad and I believe so cuase russians never sell good stuffs to China. So my question is that what should we do with them? We are NEVER going to buy Su-30MKK even Su-30MKK3 anymore from russia, but what do we have to replace them? Is JH-7A a good option? What about J-11BS the twine seater of J-11B?

Feng, basically we wasted our money buying JUNK Su-30 from russia, the russian export airplances are already horrible enough yet ours are even worse. I know that we bought the Su-30 for a purpose of holding off Taiwan so it will not have the guts to announce independence but now I see the Su-30MKK pretty much useless!!! But again if we just trash then it will be too much of a wasting money, what bout we upgrade them ourselves? Do we have such capability? If not how about sign a deal one last time with russians to upgrade our Su-30?

Jiang said...

Feng, talking about Su-30. IMHO, first of all, Su-30 do not stand a chance against the F-22 even the Su-35BM, let along the Su-30MKI, and off course Su-30MKK will just be a piece of flying Sh!T that can be shot down by F-22 at any time of the day!! Second of all, Su-30 lacks the advance avioncs of western fighters like Rafale, and EF-2000. Third of all, Su-30 has huge RCS and will get owned in BVR if it fly against F-22, JSF, even EF-2000. Last of all, russian SU-30 have horrible quality compare to weastern fighters, their life is only about 1/2 of the western fighters!! So why did our air force bought it the first place?? I know that at the time J-10 is not ready, but still we do not have to buy SU-30MKK from russian right?

BTW, Feng can you tell specificly why is Su-30MKK so terrible?

Jiang said...

Last time I checked that the SU-30MKK still use Junk Radar in the 1980's tech. The Su-30MKK's engine is terrible, its life is only 1500 hours and do not have TVC. Su-30MKK also have IMO the worst avioncs in PLAF!! Evem J-8F has better avioncs than the Su-30MKK. Last of all, SU-30MKK use JUNK russian missile which are horrible!!!

Feng said...

There is no need to get this emotional over the mkks. They are not that great now, but they were state of art for plaaf when they were first bought. Nobody could've known how well J-10/11B would've turned out. The real issue is that they needed the ground attack capability. They are certainly not uselss, but I wouldn't say J-7/8s are useless either. They still have better range than anything outside of JH-7A in pla.

Feng said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jiang said...

So, if Su-30MKK is not that bad, then how advanced is it compare it to the F-15E strike Egale? What do we need to do to make it more leathal?? Like upgrade its radars, engine and avionics?

I think the most important thing is Radar, even JF-17 has better radar than the JUNK radar onboard the SU-30MKK. Second it should be missiles, we need to change the avionics system on SU-30MKK so it can fire PL-12. The R-77E is just a piece of worthless Sh@T!!!

Jiang said...

Feng, why is that the Su-30MKK so expensive and have such poor performance? While the Su-30MKM, SU-30MKA, and SU-30MKI are cheaper and far better than SU-30MKK in terms of BOTH AIR TO AIR AND AIR TO GROUND???? Why are our leaders BUY IT??

Unknown said...

First, Jiang, you need to figure out WHERE you discover that MKK costs more than MKI/ MKM. Then from now on disregard that source. Because by all accounts including details of the deal published, MKK/ MKK2s are CHEAPER. By a fairly substantial margin.

timurelame said...

What is the purpose of WS-12 engine? To replace WS-13? How solid is the information that SAC
may be planning to produce Il-76 locally?

Anonymous said...

Hey feng, nice to meet you, are you the famous "tphuang"? I'm a student doing economics, but I'm interested in politics too.
Can you give me more information regarding the j-10 magor upgrade that just test flied recently.

Jiang said...

Yes, Feng is tpuhang. He is smart and famous. He is on PDF, SDF and many other defence fourm except Indian Defence Fourm.

Now, Feng. Last time I heard that the Bhindians got 40 MKI for only 1.6 billion$. Our MKK cost at least 50million$. The source is on Wikapidia.

Feng said...

actually, mkk now looks pretty cheap compared to what everyone else paid. The deals ranged from 35 to 42 million each I think. The MKIs are definitely more expensive after those upgrades + Indian production, MKMs are defintely more expensive too. The MKVs (basically same as MKK2) were a lot more expensive. It looks like Russians robbed Venezuela on that deal. Interesting enough, the K-8 deal is now mentioned as 24 planes. That's quite a bit from Chavez.

As for mkk vs jf-17, it's probably even in my opinion, but jf-17 could be better due to pl-12's advantage over the export r-77s.

I think mkks were good in the way that it provides a nice example for SAC to develop J-11BS. I don't think they are going to do much more upgrades for the MKKs.

WS-12 project started before 13, the reason why 13 finished earlier is because it's a cloning of RD-93. It's a typical practice of PLA to have two programs ongoing, one that's a complete new design and another more conservative program that's based on something else. As I said, that will be the case for large transport. You will have the conservative IL-76 like design and another more advanced design.

We don't have any pictures of upgraded J-10.

timurelame said...

Has India encountered similar problems with Russian military sales like China has with Il-76s and others?

Feng said...

different problems, but I would say Adm G, MKI, T-90, IL-38 and the second batch of talwar, all problematic.

Unknown said...

YES. The Vikramaditya you know about I am quite sure, price hikes quite similar to what the Chinese experienced! And also with missiles such as Klub, with delivered munitions systems, and more on maintenance, parts and service life issues. The Russians are not scoundrels, but oh, sometimes, it is tempting to think of them so.

Must you continue to use racist language?

On more practical matters. Oh indeed the unit price is 40 millions! If you only divid MKI deal of 1.46 bllions with 40 aircrafts! But that is before the costs of the extra Indias put in, including very expensive avionics from France, Israel, and manufactured in India. After that, I assure you, the cost is quite, quite higher. Wikipedia is never a good source for information.

timurelame said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
timurelame said...

Any news regarding the PLA 5th
generation fighters developments vs. the Russian/India PAK-FA program? Was China refused participation by Russia or did China decline? (More like the latter, I believe.) Given Russia's
past and current difficulties with quality control, I suspect the PAK-FA program will likely be somewhat of a disappointment.

The China/India rivalry should be a non-military one; there is no really good reason for these two countries to remain enemies.

Feng said...

MKI issue, the pure Russian MKIs used to actually be cheaper thn 40 milion, but that cost has gone up in recent years. Other than that, India has poured a lot more money into developing subsystems and buying subsystems for the plane. The original contract cost was just for the royalty and ToT and parts for MKI. They had to pay more for the parts, because the indigenization didn't go as fast as planned. I'm sure you read stories about how Indian MKI produced are twice as much as Russian ones.

As for 5th gen plane, not much to say, except that China and Russia are probably going to get it developed at the same time. So, there really is no need for China to join Russia's program. Russia is not going to release it's secrets or change the specs to accommodate China's needs.

Jiang said...

Ok, I will stop my comment about the indians, but hey, you need to pay attention to how RACIST indians are towards Chinese!!

Now, regarding JF-17, I think it is better than Su-30MKK in terms of Air to Air. Think about this, JF-17's radar is 35% smaller yet it has longer dection range and can track just as many target as JUNK MKK!! Also, JF-17's RCS is way smaller than MKK and MKI. Also, JF-17's avionics is also significantly better, just look at JF-17's cockpit and compare it with MKK's, it is even better than MKI's. At last SD-10A being better than R-77E is no old story!!

IMHO, JF-17 can take out MKK in both WVR and BVR without to much troble, let along J-10A/B.

Feng said...

You have to realize a lot of people are racist toward Chinese in the world, but that doesn't mean we should be racist to those groups to. Anyhow, the issue of JF-17 vs mkk is not really that simple. Something like MKK would be able to equip itself with a more power EW suite due to the additional space and engine and such. It's tracking range is longer than the export JF-17's radar. And probably the most important part is that flanker's general flight performance is better than that of JF-17 (especially supersonic scenarios)

But it's really never that simple, so I don't think we should think too much about it.

Jiang said...

Indeed Feng, in the future MKK will never fight JF-17, so there is no worry. But JF-17 has better avaionics and a lot smaller RCA, so even if MKK has longer tracking range and better ECM it still will have disadvantages, plus the PL-12 is much better than R-77E.

Feng, you said that there are a lot of people being racist towards us, which is true. That is why our motherland has to be strong in order to portect us. Just think about the Opeium War, the Europeans. The WWII the Japs, the Indonisian Roits!! I think we Chinese need to stick together, and back each others up as much as possible.

bigdaddy said...

LOL @ jiang!

you have to understand that feng is indeed the representation of the typical chinese sheep. He was telling you the old chinaman's wisdom: If you want to harm chinaman, chinaman will retreat and beg for mercy. chinaman don't wanna fight. chinaman is scared. You can be racist towards chinaman, but chinaman will never hurt you back. Mr. Confused once said: Be kind to your enemies and they will grant mercy to chinaman. chinaman begs for your understanding. Do unto chinaman what chinaman will always do for the West . Why can't you be kind to chinaman??? LOL LMAO!! LMAO!!!!!!!!

timurelame said...

This Bigdaddy fellow obviously has a problem. I could hardly understand his post. Try not respond to him or you will just inflame him further. Let him be. These types of people tend to be self destructive, and usually end up making themselves look just foolish. Remember: these attacks on China are due to China's STRENGTHS. NOBODY attacks or cares about Micronesia, San Marino,Tonga, or the like. China has her problems but so does the US, the EU, Russia, India, Japan, etc.

Back to the subject:

Has PLAAF made any announcements regarding whether it will induct any JF-17 at all? I believe Pakistan is quite pleased with this plane and may induct up to 250or more.

Feng said...

lol, I'm what I am because I'm Christian. But even aside from that, what good does it do to vent your racism on an online blog? Do you solve anything or become cooler by being a racist on a blog that gets 400 hits a day? Go fight for the issue in the real world and forums that a lot of people see.

Because little punks like bigdaddy, I spend days arguing for the Chinese cause online. You clearly have problems. You must be a looser to waste time on an online blog just so that you can claim another race is more pathetic than you are. I will leave your last comment, but I'm going to delete everyone of your race related comments from now on.

No idea on JF-17, I think they will order it in some form, but what they will do exactly will depend on future development and promotional efforts by CAC.

Jiang said...

Feng, Why are you talking sense to BigCracker!!! He is a fucking cracker who needs an ass whopE!!!!!
He is the typical White boys who got his ass kicked by some black dude or his mother or sister FU@Ked and turn racist!!!

Feng, just BAN him!

One last thing, have you donate to the earthquake victims in China?? I am planing to.