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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

MAKS 2015 Show Report-1: Russia Is Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Case

Moscow today is trying to deal with several crises at the same time. Firstly, there is the severe economic crisis brought on by the collapse in the price of crude oil and the continuing bite of Western economic sanctions brought on by the Russian annexation of Crimea and Russia’s support of the civil war in eastern Ukraine. With the Iran nuclear deal moving forward, it is highly likely that large amounts of Iranian crude oil will come on the market in the coming years. This in turn has caused futures contracts for crude oil to plunge, damaging Russia's ability to meet spending targets for its ambitious military goals. Moscow’s refusal to diversify its economy in the heady days of US$100 per barrel of crude oil is now coming back to haunt it. The war in eastern Ukraine shows no signs of stabilising anytime soon, either. In fact, the NATO alliance is claiming that upwards of 50,000 Russian troops are mobilised along the border with Ukraine. The Kremlin will face tough decisions in the near-term as social spending has already been cut dramatically and the threat of social unrest due to high military spending ($18 billion in 2015, or 4.2% of Russia’s GDP) in the face of further social security cutbacks is very real.  
Secondly, Russia’s population is declining in quantitative terms, which in turn is posing a severe strain on the availability of skilled human resources. And this is happening at a time when the Kremlin may well be required to launch low-intensity military operations against Estonia and Latvia in order to secure the interests of the Russian-speaking disenfranchised citizens of these two countries. Russia’s previous National Security Doctrine, which was signed into law in 2009 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, has been superceded by the current military doctrine that President Vladimir Putin signed into law in December 26, 2014, which cited “NATO’s military buildup” as a key driver for the changes.
The new doctrine, beyond explicitly stating that NATO’s expansion is the main external threat facing Moscow, calls for reinforcing three geopolitical fronts that Russia sees as part of its existential security. In the coming years Russia will focus considerable resources in developing and maintaining a strong military presence in the Arctic, the recently annexed Crimean peninsula, and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. Each of these three regions is vital for Russia’s goal of checking NATO expansion, while simultaneously maintaining access to potential natural resources, as in the case of the Arctic, and warm water shipping routes. Russia’s military expansion in the Arctic has been a major goal for Putin for much of the past decade. The new military doctrine officially puts special focus on the region and advocates a greater Russian role in the region to help ensure access to potential energy resources on the Arctic seabed against possible Danish, Norwegian, Canadian, and US claims. The US estimates that upwards of 15% of the world’s remaining oil, 30% of its natural gas, and 20% of its liquefied natural gas are stored in the Arctic sea bed. Moscow has undertaken a construction blitz across the Arctic in a bid to ensure that it remains the unchallenged military power in the region. It is presently building 10 Arctic search-and-rescue stations, 16 deepwater ports, 13 airfields, and ten airspace surveillance radar stations across its Arctic coast. Simultaneously, Moscow has created a Joint Strategic Command North (JSCN) from components of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet in order to maintain a permanent military presence in the region. It is likely that this command will ultimately become a fifth military district. Bottomline: Russia’s strategic focus in the years ahead will continue to be Euro-centric, and not not Eurasia-centric.
Thirdly, even though Russia is already the world’s second-biggest arms exporter (accounting for 27% of the global export market, with the US staying ahead with 31% market-share, and being followed by China with 5%, Germany with 5%, France with 5% and the UK with 4%), it is facing increasingly tough competition from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with each passing day—especially in South Asia, the Middle East and Central America.
Fourthly, the PRC’s weapons manufacturers have succeeded to a large extent in back-engineering several weapons, sensors and fire-control systems that were on the drawing boards during the last years of the Soviet era, and whose production-engineering data were easily available from various countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Since 1991, the PRC had struck several military-industrial partnerships with several CIS-based original equipment manufacturers (OEM), especially in Ukraine, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, for the purpose of obtaining critical research and development (R & D) inputs that are required for developing and producing new-generation weapon systems for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Consequently, Ukraine’s total arms exports grew steadily, from $20 million in 1994 to $600 million in 1997 and $1.5 billion in 2001. In 2002 the Industrial Policy Ministry of Ukraine and the PRC’s Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) signed a protocol on cooperation in the military-industrial arena.  In that same year, Ukraine became the world’s fourth-largest weapons exporter and sold weapons and military technologies to Beijing worth $700 million, which accounted for 31% of Ukrainian exports that year. In 2011, 43% of Ukraine-built weapons were sold to the PRC, while in 2013 Ukraine became the PRC’s second-largest trade partner in the CIS, while the PLA became Ukraine’s biggest military customer in Asia.
Since 2002, the following Ukraine-based firms/enterprises/R & D institutes have had military-industrial partnerships with the PRC: Aerotechnica-MLT Ltd, ARSENAL Central Design Bureau State Enterprise, ARSENAL State Enterprise Plant, AVIAKONTROL Joint Stock Company (JSC), AVIONIKA  Ltd, BURAN State Enterprise Research Institute, CHERNOMOSUDOPROEKT, Chernomorsky Shipbuilding (formerly the   Nikolayev South Shipyard Soviet Shipyard No. 444), Engine Design Bureau of Kharkiv (EDBK), FEODOSYA State-Owned Optic Plant, ISKRA Ltd, Ivchenko-Progress OKB, Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, KVANT Research Institute, Kyiv Plant Radar JSC, LUCH KYIV State Design Bureau, LVIV State Plant, Motor Sich JSC, MORYE Feodosya Shipbuilding Company, ORDZHONIKIDZE Sevastopol Marine Plant, PROGRESS Zaporozhye Machine-Building Design Bureau, RADIONIX Ltd, Radioizmeritel Plant, Scientific Research Institute for Aeroelastic Systems, Scientific and Technical Enterprise Electronprylad JSC, State Enterprise Malyshev Plant, Ukroboronprom JSC, Ukrspetsexport JSC, Ukrspetstechnika JSC, YUZHMASH Southern Machine Building Plant Association, VIZAR ZHULIANY Machine-Building Plant, and Zorya–Mashproekt  State Enterprise.
Ukrainian officials in August 2001 had conspired in the illegal sale of 12 Ukraine-owned Kh-55 strategic cruise missiles—six each to China and Iran (known locally as the Soumar GLCM), plus four Kolchuga passive surveillance systems to the PRC. Also smuggled out of Kiev by August 2001 were detailed production engineering data packages of a long-range land-attack cruise missile (LACM) called Korshun, which had by then been developed by Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk-based Yuzhnoye State Design Bureau, with production tooling being built by the Yuzhnoye Machine-Building Production Association, or Yuzhmash. The Korshun’s powerplant was a redesigned RD95-300 turbofan that bore a strong resemblance to the 36MT engine developed by Russia’s NPO Saturn. This turbofan was subsequently re-engineered in the PRC by its 624 Engine Design Institute, or the China Gas Turbine Establishment (GTE), and its related Chengdu Engine Group. Dimensions of the Korshun, which was identical to the Raduga-developed Kh-65SE LACM (first displayed in August 1992), included a wingspan of 3.1 metres, length of 6.3 metres, diameter of 0.514 metres, and a mass of 1,090kg. 
Range of the LACM was then claimed to be 600km when carrying a 500kg warhead. By late 2003, the General Armaments Dept of COSTIND, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp’s (CASC) 3rd Aerospace Academy (also known as China Haiying Electro-Mechanical Technology Academy or CHETA, or the 066 Base in Hubei) and 8359 Research Institute had, along with the Beijing University for Aeronautics & Astronautics, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China State Electronics Systems Engineering Corp, Sichuan Aerospace Industry Corp and the Tianjin Institute for Power Sources had completed fabrication of the first six prototypes of the 800km-range Chang Jian CJ-10 LACM (a direct copy of the Korshun), and on August 10, 2004 the first test-firings were conducted at an instrumented offshore range in the Bohai Sea. Its configuration features a cylindrical body with two retractable wings, four non-retractable tailfins as well as a retractable engine inlet. The CJ-10 made its first public appearance during the October 1 military parade in 2009. In early 2005, flight-tests of another variant of the CJ-10, having a range of 1,200km, were carried out. The CJ-10 has since been deployed by China with both conventional HE/FAE and tactical low-yield nuclear warheads, with the latter developed by a consortium of China’s 7th Research and Design Institute, owned by the China National Nuclear Corp, China Metallurgical Equipment Corp (CMEC) and China Southwest Institute for Nuclear & Fluid Physics.
CASC’s 3rd Academy’s Beijing Xinghang Electromechanical Equipment Factory (159 Factory) is the final assembly facility for the CJ-10, while Beijing Hangxing Machine Building Factory (239 Factory) and the Xinxin Factory in Shanghai produce the various on-board components of the CJ-10. The LACM and its ALCM variant carries a range of different 770lb or 1,100lb warheads. The GLCM variant of the CJ-10 has a length of 7.0 metres, launch mass of 1,350kg,  warhead mass of 300kg,  cruise speed of 0.9 Mach. Thus far, the PLAAF has operationalised 20 H-6K bombers capable of launching the CJ-10’s ALCM variant. There are presently three operational, road-mobile, CJ-10 Brigades: the 821 Brigade, 96215 Unit in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province; the 824 Brigade, 96317 Unit in Dongkou, Hunan Province; and a third Brigade in Jianshui, Yunnan Province
Another highly successful military-industrial partnership between the PRC and Ukraine concerns the PLA Navy’s Type 052C Luyang-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG). Each of these DDGs come equipped with six forward vertical launch stations (VLS) each containing six revolving long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) launchers (for 36 Hong Qi-16 LR-SAMs) located below the bridge and behind the main gun; and a rear VLS station equipped with 12 Hong Qi-16 LR-SAMs forward of the helicopter hangar. Thus, a total of 48 Hong Qi-16 LR-SAMs are carried on board. The two-stage HQ-16 LR-SAM is ‘cold-launched’ vertically from a tubular launcher. The missile’s first stage has a diameter of 700mm while the second stage has a diameter of 560mm. The total launch mass is 2 tonnes, while the missile’s length is 9 metres. It is armed with a 180kg HE fragmentation warhead and has a maximum speed of Mach 4.2. The HQ-16 has a slant range of 125km and a service ceiling of 30km. The missile’s proximity fuze has an effective range of 35 metres, which goes active when the missile is 35 metres away from its target. The HQ-16’s guidance mechanism comprises initial inertial navigation, radio command mid-course correction, and active terminal guidance. When in range for an effective lock-on with the on-board X-band monopulse radar, the terminal guidance phase, lasting 20km, gets underway. The HQ-16 has been developed to specifically counter incoming intermediate-range/tactical ballistic missiles and supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, and is therefore not cost-effective if deployed to counter only manned combat aircraft. For naval target tracking and engagement, the Jiangsu Province-based Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology (NRIET, but also more commonly known as the 14th Institute) has co-developed with Ukraine’s the KVANT Research Institute, the shipborne Type 346 S-band multi-function active phased-array radar with four antenna arrays, each of which has a maximum range of 150km, a maximum resolution of 0.5 metres, and can  scan a 0-120-degree arc in azimuth and 0-90 degrees in elevation, with a peak power output of 1mWe. The HQ-16 LR-SAM itself is a re-engineered version of the Soviet-era 5V55R LR-SAM and Ukrainian companies that were consultants to the PRC for developing the HQ-16 and its land-based HQ-9 LR-SAM variant (the FD-2000 being its export variant and already sold to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) were YUZHMASH and the VIZAR ZHULIANY Machine-Building Plant.
Other naval products that have been co-developed by the PRC with Ukraine’s assistance include the Type 382 radar (originally the Fregat-M2EM), Type 344 radar (originally the Mineral-ME), Type 345 radar (originally MR-90)—all of which were re-engineered by the Nanjing Marine Radar Research Institute/No 724 Institute; the SUR-17/Type 517B air surveillance radar with Yagi antenna that was re-engineered by the Yangzhou Marine Electronic Instruments Research Institute/ No. 723 Institute; and the Type 344 multifunctional fire-control radar that was re-engineered by the Xi’an Research Institute of Navigation Technology (XRINT) No 20 Research Institute. The Type 344 (Mineral-ME) and Type 382 (Fregat-M2EM) radars are installed on board the PLA Navy’s Type 054A Jiankai-class guided-missile frigates, while the Type 346s are on the PLAN's Type 052C/D Luyang-class DDGs and on the aircraft carrier Liao Ning. In addition, a seabed-based SOSUS network, developed jointly by Ukraine and China, has been under installation along China's territorial waters since 2012. 
The PLAN’s sole aircraft carrier Liao Ning too has been refitted and upgraded with Ukraine’s military-industrial help. In another development, the PRC’s Nanchang-based Hongdu Industrial Aviation Group (HAIG) inked a contract in 2009 with Ukrainian engine manufacturer Motor Sich for the supply AI-222-25F turbofans—each valued at $2 million—for its production-standard L-15 ‘Hunting Eagle’ lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT). The first tranche of 12 engines was delivered in 2011. The tandem-seat, twin-engined L-15, co-developed by HAIG and Russia’s Yakovlev OKB, made its maiden flight on March 13, 2006. The first L-15 prototype, powered by twin non-afterburning ZMKB-Progress (Lotarev) DV-2 engines, was rolled out on September 29, 2005. The third prototype, powered by twin DV-2F afterburning turbofans, first flew on May 10, 2008, and was powered by twin non-afterburning AI-222-25 turbofans. The fourth prototype first flew on June 8, 2009, and was powered by two afterburner-equipped AI-222K-25F turbofans. The sixth L-15 prototype, which was rolled out on August 15, 2010,  features a stretched nose that can house a multi-mode fire-control radar, HOTAS controls, and improved glass cockpit avionics with three AMLCD-based multifunction displays. Powered by two AI-222K-25F turbofans delivering enough thrust for sustained supersonic flight, its maiden flight took place on October 26, 2010. It features a three-axis quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system. The L-15 has a maximum takeoff weight of 9,500kg, maximum speed of Mach 1.4, maximum climb rate of 150 metres/second, load sustenance of +8g/-3g, service ceiling of 16,000 metres, loitering time of two hours, and a structural airframe life of 10,000 flight hours. Unit price quoted for the L-15 is US$16 million. The L-15 is likely to be procured in future by the air forces of China, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Ukraine has also sold the PRC four Project 1232.2 Zubr hovercraft at a cost of US$315 million. While the first two were built (and delivered on April 12, 2013) by the Crimea-based MORYE Feodosya Shipbuilding Company in Feodosiya (now in Russia-annexed Crimea), the latter two are now being licence-assembled at the China State Shipbuilding Corp-owned Huangpu Shipyard in Guangzhou under the supervision of Ukrainian technicians. Ukraine has also helped the PRC upgrade its fleet of Su-27SK heavy multi-role combat (H-MRCA) aircraft by supplying kits for upgraded N-001 mlti-mode airborne radars (from RADIONIX Ltd), OMUT internalu jammers for Shenyang J-11B H-MRCAs, as well as  upgraded ZSh-7APN Sura-K helmet-mounted display systems (HMDS) and upgrade kits for the OEPS-27 infra-red search-and-track (IRST) sensors. 
In addition, Ukraine has also helped the Sichuan Changhong Electric Appliance Corp and its Luoyang Optical-Electronic Technology Development Centre (LOEC) to develop both an indigenous HMDS as well as the Hongguang-1 IRST sensor for the Shenyang J-11B, Chengdu J-10B and Shenyang J-15 MRCAs.
Lastly, Ukraine in 2001 supplied the PRC’s 601 Research Institute at Shenyang with one Su-33 carrier-based H-MRCA prototype (the T-10K-3) along with related production-engineering data as well as the source-codes (crypto-keys) for the aircraft’s fly-by-wire flight-control systems and its digital databus. The T-10K-3 aircraft had made its maiden flight on February 17, 1990 in the former USSR. Also sold by Ukraine were the production-licences for the LIMAN ground-radio jammers, mobile GPS jamming systems, and road-mobile troposcatter-based communications relay systems like the TS-504 and multi-point TS-510/GS-510 systems, which are re-engineered versions of Ukraine’s R-423-1 Brig-1 troposcatter system.
When it comes to military-industrial cooperation with Belarus, in 1998, in the Chinese city of Hubei in Siogan Province a joint assembly plant called ‘Sanjiang Volat Co Ltd’ for the production of multi-wheeled tractors and chassis for various purposes with capacity from 20 to 75 tonnes was established. The founders of the joint venture with a capital of 52.2 million Yuan were Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MWTP), with an authorised capital share of 30% and Sanjiang Aerospace Corp with the 70 % share. MWTP contributed technologies and accessories for building multi-wheeled heavy-duty vehicles. In accordance with the agreed-upon business statutes, in the first five years of operation 70 % of all components for the plant should have been delivered by MWTP. Subsequently, the share of Belarusian components was intended to be reduced to 30%. But the PRC, known for its outstanding talent for re-engineering, exceeded the plan, and now MWTP provides only the wheel-hubs. The production facilities of Sanjiang Volat Co Ltd are designed to produce 300 multi-axle vehicles per year to meet the needs of the defence, oil, construction, mining and forestry industries. The industrial partners have since September 2009 also created a joint production facility for hydro-mechanical transmission (HMT) of heavy-duty vehicles and wheeled tractors. This facility is known as the Wuhan Sanjiang Import & Export Company Ltd (WSIEC), a subsidiary of China Sanjiang Space Group (CSSG).
With Kyrgyzstan, the PRC has joined forces to develop an indigenous version of the VA-111 Shkval supercavitating rocket-propelled torpedo, which achieves a high velocity of 230mph (386kph). The Shkval is fired from the standard 533mm torpedo tube at a depth of up to 328 feet (100 metres). The torpedo exits the tube at 50 Knots (93kph) and then ignites the rocket motor, propelling the weapon to speeds four to five times faster than other conventional torpedoes. The weapon has an 80% kill probability at a range of 7,655 yards (7,000 metres). The torpedo is guided by an autopilot rather than by a homing head as on most torpedoes. Manufacturing know-how for the torpedo’s cruise-control sub-systems has been procured from Ukraine, while Kyrgyzstan’s Dastan Engineering JSC has supplied the autopilot’s manufacturing know-how to the PRC. 
To Be Concluded