Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An interesting day for PLA followers

Yesterday was just one of the crazy days for Chinese military bbs. A bunch of new photos came out that indicated different things. So, let's just go through them a little bit.

We already know about the 18 missile version of HQ-10s that are installed on Varyag. We also thought that several Type 730 CIWS are also installed on Varyag. That is until the up-close photos of these CIWS came out yesterday. I have attached two photos below showing the new CIWS + another photo below that of Type 730. The first thing that you can probably notice is that the turret of this new CIWS is much wider and is possibly installed on a larger mount. This new CIWS looks shorter than Type 730, but that maybe due to the fact that it is stubbier. The FCR still looks the same as before, while the EO sensor is covered. At the same time, it appears to have more barrels than Type 730. To me, it looks to have 9 barrels, but I've also heard estimates from 8 to 11. It appears that this new CIWS would have higher rate of fire due to greater number of barrels. I would think that the larger turret/mount is used to handle the higher rate of fire. It is also likely to store more ammos, so that the rounds don't get used up as fast. At this point, it's not clear if this new CIWS will only be installed on carriers or also other PLAN ships.

At the same time, we also got pictures of that new mysterious SSK finally arriving in Shanghai. It looks like it's ready to conduct sea trials here before getting commisioned into the navy. At this point, it's intended use is a point of heated debates on Chinese bbs. A large number of people seem to think that it will be replacing the retired Gulf class (No. 200) SLBM test launch platform (which I disagree with). Regardless of its usage, this new submarine is definitely much larger than Yuan class of submarines. From an earlier photo, the 6th Yuan submarine was also seen traveling to Shanghai for sea trials at the same time this SSK was leaving Wuhan.

Now, we also see some interesting stuff coming out of naval aviation. It appears that we have finally spotted a J-15 in naval aviation colour that is equipped with 2 WS-10A. The earlier prototype J-15s were installed with AL-31F. One can compare the two J-15 photos with that of a naval J-11BS (3rd photo) to see that they are both using WS-10A engines here. This is obviously an important sign, since Russia will not be supplying China with AL-31F for new Chinese flankers (whether J-11B or J-15). So, J-15 would not be able to join service until it finishes testing with WS-10A.

And finally, we also see a new photo of J-10B out of CAC. The surprising part, is that this photo was taken with the nose of the aircraft open. We have never even seen a picture of J-10A with its nose open! The canted shape of the radar and the surface of the radar would indicate that J-10B is fitted with an electronically scanning radar. This would indicate that J-10B will be either using an AESA or PESA radar. I cannot tell one way or the other from this far out, but my personal view is that this is an AESA radar due to the developments in Chinese military radar industry. I think what's more important is that J-10B appears to be ready for mass production to join PLAAF. After 6 batches of J-10A which probably ended at the first of this year, we are now seeing the 1st of J-10B getting produced.


alex said...

Hi Feng, forgive me if I am being rude. But if the new sub is not for SLBM testing, how do you explain the bump at the bottom right below the sail? I am pretty sure you have seen the photo of it in the dry dock.

willytan1 said...

The launch of the Qing class SSK which supposedly can fire the DH-10cruise missile may indicate that the Type 095 SSN has finished development. Technologies developed for the 095 SSN can be used for the Qing class eg: vertical launch tubes for DH-10 and the new large hull design that reduces acoustic signature. The 095may look like an enlarged Qing class with the addition of Pump jet propulsion.

duskylim said...

Yes a great day indeed for PLA - followers, many theories were indeed confirmed.

1st - the Varyag will have new CIWS gun system (hopefully this will also be mounted on her escorts!) as well as a new CIWS missile system (ditto for escorts).

2nd - The PLAN seems to have sacrificed an entire 052C destroyer to equip the Varyag with AESA radars.

3rd - Thanks for the profile pic of the new Qing class sub - it proves how smooth the transition is between the flat casing and the rest of the pressure hull.

4th - With the entire new build J-15 fleet mounting WS-10A's, that pretty much silences critics of China's domestic aero-engines and I suspect we may even see other airframes (hint J-10B) using this engine.

It may also presage the appearance and use of other Chinese aero-engines.

5th - at long last - confirmation of the radar on the J-10B!

Pinkov will no doubt claim that they stole it off some Russian jet or another... and that it's a PESA....

Feng said...

I'm not a submarine expert and cannot explain everything that I see on a submarine. Every argument that I see on Chinese bbs is that "oh, we saw this on the Gulf class, so this must be it". Well, that's not a comprehensive argument. This thing can certainly be used as a SSG launching cruise missiles (naval CJ-10 or YJ-62) or even a launcher for ASBM. My two biggest doubts for the gulf theory are this:

1) looking at the height of this thing, is it deep enough for JL-2 or JL-3
2) the hull itself looks to be a much quieter design than any previous Chinese SSK. Why would they incorporate such a design for a class that's just going to be used to test launch SLBM?

Check on informationdessimination blog, I'm not the only one skeptical about this slbm test vessel theory.

William said...


Around late last year, there is photo of a single improved Yuan class sitting at Wuhan shipyard. Is that the "Qing" class that we're referring to here?


Feng said...

If I referred to this specific submarine as improved Yuan, then I was wrong, it's definitely a different beast now that we get a complete idea of the size and the shape of this thing. there were a couple of improved Yuans at Wuhan. One of which sailed to Shanghai at the same time this new SSK did. I don't want to give it a name yet, since Qing class came from the good folks at CDF.

John said...

Cylinder is the best shape to withstand enormous external pressure, but when at the sea surface, if the draft of the cylindrical submarine is too deep, then the submarine will roll too much; it is unsafe and very uncomfortable for the crews. Following that logic; the “bump” or shoulders are a solution to reduce the rolling as well as provide a flat surface for crew to work on. It seems it is a common practice if one takes a look at the cross section of WWII submarine diagrams.

The other possibility is that China has difficulty or don’t want to build submarine bigger than certain diameter; so PLN needs to use shoulders to cover the part of missile tubes that protrude above the pressure hull.

That is my 2 cents worth of deduction.

Jiang said...

Great news

1. J-15, J-11B, J-10B all uses

WS-10A/G engine a HUGE SLAP in the face to Russians and Pinkovo!

2. Varyag is almost ready and China is building mutiple Aircract carriers.

3. 052C++ is being build at 4 per year.

4. Much more advanced submarines.

5. J-10B uses Chinese made AESA radar.

My conclusion is that J-10B's AESA is very important not only as a major upgrade over J-10A but it will server as a platform for J-20's AESA radar. J-20's AESA radar will be much more powerful and advanced than J-10B's