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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Miscellaneous Year-End Jottings

The PLAAF presently has a weird three-stage flying training syllabus for its trainee pilots: use the Nanchang PT-6 piston-engined aircraft for the ab initio stage, followed by the Hongdu JL-8/K-8 primary turbofan-powered trainer for intermediate-level flying training, and culminating in lead-in fighter training with the Hongdu L-15. It now looks the PLAAF has at last decided to get rid of this obsolete practice by procuring basic turboprop trainers (BTT) and eventually decommissioning its PT-6s and JL-8s. To this end, the PLAAF is likely to procure the CETC Wuhu Diamond Aircraft Manufacture Co Ltd-produced TA-20 BTT, which in essence is a licence-built DART-450 (Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer) that was developed by Austria-based Diamond Aircraft Industries.
The TA-20 is the world’s first all-carbon fibre, tandem twin-seat civil and military BTT and is powered by a single AI-450SD turboprop engine produced by Ukraine-based Ivchenko Progress/Motor Sich. The engine drives a five-bladed MT propeller and offers a maximum takeoff power of 495hp. The TA-20;s maiden flight took place on November 6, 2018 at Wuhu in Jiangsu province.
CETC Wuhu Diamond Aircraft Manufacture Co Ltd. was founded in 2013 and it presently builds the Diamond Pattern DA-42 and DV-20 under license. Its TA-20 BTT is equipped with the Smart-210 avionics system from Hermes-sys (Chengdu Hermes Technology Ltd). The Smart-210 suite complies with all international airworthiness standards.
Wu Jian Qi, the CETC Group’s Chief Engineer, confirmed at a recent presentation that a metric-wave radar detected and traced the route of a USAF F-22 Raptor at a distance of 450km in 2013, whereas none of the other PLAAF radars saw it. Presently a series of radar clusters each comprising a JY-26 UHF-band and SLC-7 L-band active phased-array radar, JY-27A Skywatch-5 VHF-band radar, and a YLC-8B UHF-band 3-D radar, are deployed throughout coastal China.
First Type 055 DDG of the PLA Navy Undergoing Sea Trials
Pakistan Navy’s CSTC-Developed Type 054AP F-22P Batch-2 FFG Design
The Pakistan Navy (PN) had on June 1, 2018 inked a contract with the state-owned China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd (CSTC) for procuring two additional 4,000-tonne guided-missile frigates (FFG) to add to the first two it had ordered exactly a year ago. All four FFGs will be delivered by mid-2021. Designed by the China International Shipbuilding Corp (CISC) Group’s 701 Institute, the FFGs will be built by the Shanghai-based Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co.
The 4,000-tonne FFG’s design is derived from that of the PLA Navy’s Type 054A FFG. It will have an endurance of 21 days, length of 135 metres, range of 4,000 nautical miles (when cruising at 18 Knots) and top speed of 26 Knots.
It will have 32 vertical-launch system (VLS) cells containing the LY-80N surface-to-air missiles (SAM), one 76mm HPJ-26 main naval gun, two 30mm HPJ-17 30mm Type 1130 close-in guns, a 24-cell FL-3000N point-defence missile system (PDMS), twin ET-52C triple-tube torpedo  launchers, one mast-mounted SR-2410C S-band active phased-array radar developed by the China Educational Instrument & Equipment Corp (CEIEC), twin six-barrel Type-87 240mm anti-submarine rocket launchers (with 36 rockets), twin Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers, and eight inclined launchers housing the Harba anti-ship cruise missile variant of the Babur land-attack cruise missile (which itself is a China-developed clone of the Ukraine-developed Korshun cruise missile). All four FFGs will be optimised for anti-submarine fleet control missions. Each FFG will be powered by four SEMT Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines.
The SR-2410C radar can track up to 150 targets per rotation. Limitations include airborne targets cruising at speeds above Mach 3 and at ranges of more than 150km. The radar has a fire-control capability to track anti-ship cruise missiles, but only at a maximum range of 60km. It is also capable of tracking moving ground vehicles and surface ships. This radar has already been installed on the Bangladesh Navy’s first two Type 056 guided-missile corvettes—BNS Shongram and BNS Prottasha.
In another development, on April 23, 2018 the keel-laying ceremony of the first of two offshore patrol vessels (OPV-1900) being built for the PN was held at DAMEN Shipyard Galati in Romania. Pakistan and The Netherlands-based Damen had signed a contract for the construction of the two OPVs in June 2017. Each of the OPVs will have a displacement of around 1,900 tonnes, an overall length of 90 metres, 14.4-metre beamwidth, 50-man crew complement and 23 Knots speed. The vessels will be suited for anti-surface and anti-air operations, maritime security operations, day/night helicopter operations, combat search-and-rescue, surveillance, and intelligence-gathering.
Earlier, on March 10, 2018 the Pakistan Customs took delivery of two Damen Stan Patrol-1605 FRP patrol boats at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Ltd (KS & EW). Both vessels were built by KS & EW with technical and material support from Damen. The entire project took just eight months to reach fruition. The patrol boats shall be used for monitoring and enforcement activities in Pakistan’s territorial waters. KS & EW had received the order for the two vessels from the Pakistan Customs in July last year. The bid was supported by Damen's Technical Cooperation Programme (DTC), which cooperates with shipyards worldwide. Damen supplied prefabricated material kits along with the hulls to KS & EW. Knowledge transfer was also an integral part of the DTC programme, and for this project KS & EW production staff went to Damen Antalya for training on working with FRP materials by Damen’s trainers. Technicians from Damen Antalya also travelled to Karachi to transfer knowledge during the production and testing phases. KS & EW and Damen have a long history of working together. This has to date resulted in the delivery of four Damen Stan Tug-1605s for the PN and two more of the same type to the Karachi Port Trust, plus a Damen Multi-Cat-1908, for the Karachi Port Trust.
AVIC-Developed Z-20 Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter
NORINCO-Developed ZTQ-105 Light Tank Meant For Deployment In TAR

Sunday, December 2, 2018

24 Arjun ARRVs Being Ordered From HVF & BEML For Delivery By 2021

The Arjun ARRVs will support the two Arjun Mk.1 and two Arjun Mk.1A Regiments that will be permanently deployed in Rajasthan, since the Indian Army has decided that they will never be employed in the plains of Punjab and Jammu. Instead, all the upgraded T-72M and T-90S MBTs will be used in the plains of Punjab as well as elsewhere in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Airshow China 2018 Expo Highlights-1

Airborne Multi-Mode Radars
Air-Defence Guided-Weapons
The FM-2000 SHORADS (above) is meant primarily for export and it visually resembles the TOR-M1 SHORADS, which China had acquired in the 1990s from Russia. The replacement for these TOR-M1s is the FM-3000 (below), which was recently service-inducted.
The FM-90 SHORADS (below) is presently in services with the armies of Bangladesh, China and Pakistan.
Air-Defence Radars
Battlefield Support Missiles
NLOS-BSMs of Chinese origin are presently being marketed by two state-owned entities: China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corp (CPMIEC), and Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co Ltd (ALIT).
CPMIEC’s 2-tonne B-611MR missile is designed to attack supply lines, warehouses, ballistic/cruise missile launch sites, SAM batteries, command-and-control centres, air bases, road/railway transportation hubs, and area targets in urban surroundings. Armed with a 480kg HE warhead, the B-611M has 280km range. Up to two cannister-mounted B-611Ms can be carried by a wheeled TEL.
Another NLOS-BSM from CPMIEC is the P-12, which made its public debut in November 2006. Up to two P-12s are carried in an enclosed compartment mounted on a 6 x 6 TEL. The P-12 has a range of 150km, and it comes armed with either a 300kg HE blast fragmentation warhead, or a cluster warhead containing 19 anti-armour sub-munitions. Both the B-611M and P-12 have a CEP of about 2 metres when using a RLG-INS coupled to a GPS receiver, plus an optronic sensor for terminal homing. CPMIEC’s latest NLOS-BSM offering is the vertically-launched joint attack rocket & missile (JARM) system, which can fire both the 280km-range BP-12A and the 200km-range SY-400 from a common launch platform.
The improved BP-12B BSM has a range of up to 295km. The JARM, which made its public debut in November 2010, makes use of combined GPS-RLG-INS navigation systems to achieve a CEP of 3 metres  A typical JARM Battery comprises ten 8 x 8 TELs housing either 80 SY-400s or 20 BP-12As, or a combination of both.
ALIT’s latest product is the M-20. Capable of striking targets between 70km and 270km, the all-weather capable M-20, with a Mach 3 cruise speed, comes armed with both a 200kg unitary high-explosive (HE) blast-fragmentation warhead for engaging high-value and time-sensitive targets, as well as a sub-kiloton yield tactical nuclear warhead. Two P-20s housed inside cannisters are mounted on a 8 x 8 transporter/erector/launcher (TEL). For navigation purposes, use is made of a RLG-INS coupled to a GPS receiver (for receiving high-accuracy navigational updates in secure PY-code from China’s ‘Beidou’ constellation of GPS satellites), and an infra-red sensor for terminal homing that gives the missile a CEP of less than 10 metres.
Combat Aircraft
The design and capabilities of the joint AHL heavilift helicopter co-development project between China and Russia have been revised. The helicopter now has increased in maximum takeoff weight to 38.7 tonnes, putting it in the class between the CH-47F Chinook and the Mi-26T. Similarly, the maximum range of the AHL helicopter has been increased from 630km to 800km, with ramp access for 10 tonnes internal payload, or 15 tonnes underslung load. The initial agreement to jointly develop this helicopter was signed by the two countries in 2016.
Space Technology
Supersonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles
Thrust-Vectoring Nozzles
The adjustable cover-plates on the exhaust nozzle—the so-called ‘turkey feathers’—are designed with saw-tooth edges to reduce the J-10B M-MRCA’s radar cross section (RCS). TVC nozzles of such a design have proven to significantly reduce both RCS and infra-red signature. The J-10B equipped with a thrust-vectoring nozzle that is fitted to the homegrown Woshan WS-10B3 turbofan, whose TTSL has yet to be established.
Beijing has dramatically stepped up the development of new-generation turbofans and turboshafts since the turn of the century, with at least US$23.7 billion being invested on R & D activitiers between 2010 and 2015. The principal R & D players are the Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group for the Shenyang Aircraft Co; Xi’an Aero-Engine Group for the Xi’an Aircraft Co; and Chengdu Aero-Engine Group/Guizhou Liyang Aero-Engine Group for the Chengdu Aircraft Co. In addition, AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engines (ACAE), a company formed in August 2016 with an investment of around $7.5 billion and through the merger of 24 companies with about 10,000 employees, is spearheading the development of turbofans for commercial airliners and business jets now being developed by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, Ltd (COMAC).
Being developed are the 78kN-thrust CJ-500 turbofan and the 80kN-thrust WS-12C Tianshan turbofan for mid-sized business jets, the 340kN-thrust CJ-2000 turbofan for the Sino-Russian CR-929 widebody airliner, and the 196kN thrust CJ-1000AX Changjiang turbofan for the C-919 narrow-body airliner. This is a twin-spool, unmixed, high-bypass ratio direct-driven turbofan with clockwise co-rotating spool and five bearing-support struts for rotors. It includes a first-stage fan, three-stage booster section, 10-stage high-pressure compressor, single annular combustor section, two-stage high-pressure (HP) turbine and a six-stage low-pressure (LP) turbine.
The Shenyang-Liping WS-20 high-bypass turbofan for the Xian Aircraft Industrial Corp Y-20 Kunpeng strategic airlifter has been developed to produce 14 metric tonnes of thrust, which will enable the Y-20 to achieve its maximum payload of 66 metric tonnes. Touted as China’s most powerful turbofan to be developed to date, the WS-20 has been flight-tested on an IL-76 testbed since 2014. The WS-10A is a low-bypass, two-shaft turbofan in the 130kN-thrust class. This engine had a TBO of only 30 hours, while the AL-31F turbofan powering the Su-27 had a 400-hour TBO. The WS-10A has suffered blade warp and destruction both during ground testing and also under high-RPM, rapid-turn conditions in flight that produce high centrifugal and g-forces. China’s third-generation single-crystal turbine blades can withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius) and have found application on the 140kN thrust WS-10B turbofan, which has a TTSL of 1,500 hours. However, China still is far away from mastering the production technologies for superalloys, thermal barrier coatings, powder metallurgy, and single-crystal blades using rare-earth metals. The 150kN-thrust WS-15 Emei, designed for the Chengdu J-20 stealthy MRCA, exploded during a ground running test in 2015 due to quality-control issues with its single-crystal turbine blades. Lastly, there is the 49kN-thrust Minshan turbofan that has been developed for the for Hongdu L-15 lead-in fighter trainer. Turboshaft engines already developed by China include the 1,300shp WZ-9 for attack helicopters, 2,400shp WZ-10 for medium-lift helicopters, and the 525shp WZ-161 for light medium twin helicopters.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Chinese companies like ASN Technology Group, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), Zhuhai Yintong Energy, Weifan Freesky Aviation Industry Co, and AVIC Defense presently account for most of the UAVs and UCAVs built thus far. ASN Technology Group works closely with the Xian-based Northwestern Polytechnical University’s UAV Institute, and the Beijing- and Nanjing-based Universities of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA), Beijing Technology Company, Hebei Electric Power Reconnaissance Design Academy, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Shaanxi Engine Design Institute, Guizhou Aviation Industry Corp (GAIC), and the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute.
The CH-5 (above) is powered by a 456kW WJ-9A turboprop engine, while the CH-4 is equipped with a Rotax 014 piston engine imported from Austria’s BRP-Powertrain. More than 60% of all components for the Wing Loong family of UAS platforms come from private-sector companies of China. The CH-5 has a maximum takeoff weight of 4,200kg, nearly four times greater than the CH-4. Of its six hardpoints, four of them can carry double payloads, giving the UAS a potential payload of ten air-to-surface precision-guided munitions. Maximum takeoff weight is 4,200kg, maximum external load-carrying capacity is 480kg, maximum cruise speed is 370kph, service ceiling is 9km, and endurance is 20 hours. While the CH-4 is in service with China’s armed forces, the CH-5 has to date been ordered only by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. On March 16 last year, Saudi Arabia’s the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology signed an industrial partnership agreement with the state-owned China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp (CASC) to establish a manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia for as many as 300 CH-4 and CH-5 UAS platforms.
The CaiHong (Rainbow)-7 (above), developed by the 11th Research Institute of China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp (CASC) is a high-altitude, long-endurance, stealthy platform with claimed significant penetration capabilities. The flying wing measures 72 feet (22 metres) wide and has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 13 tonnes, payload of 2 tonnes, and top speed of Mach 0.75. While the aircraft remains in the developmental stage, a corporate video shows that first flight is planned for 2019 and it will enter production by 2022. If successful, it will validate the capabilities of China to develop a fly-by-wire flight-control system for a large, tailless flying wing and could even pave the way for the country’s next-generation H-20 strategic bomber project.
The China Academy of Aerospace and Aerodynamics (CAAA) has developed the CH-10 tilt-rotor UAV (above) that is a new-design vehicle integrating helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft technology. The main mission of the CH-10 is to accompany large- and medium-sized warships or ground forces and to conduct intelligence, reconnaissance, detection, communications relay, search, target identification, and relay guidance to ground stations. The shift of flight modes is done through the tilting rotor. It can take off and land on destroyers and frigates.
The Cloud Shadow (below) is a family of swept-wing platforms. Though AVIC says this UAS first flew on May 16, 2016, it has not specified which variant. There are three variants now being promoted: imagery reconnaissance (designated CS-1), electronic reconnaissance (CS-2), and reconnaissance-strike (CS-3). Each of them is powered by a WP-11C turbojet mounted between the butterfly tails, providing a claimed maximum speed of 281 Knots and cruise speed of 227 Knots. Endurance is five hours and cruising altitude is 41,000 feet. Maximum takeoff weight is 3,200kg, while the wingspan is 66 feet. The first two variants have an internal 200kg payload capacity, while the CS-3 has an external payload of 400kg, spread across four pylons (two of which are of the twin-rack type). According to AVIC, a full load-out consists of a single FT-7A 100kg range-extended, precision-guided glide-bomb, and a pair of LS-6/50s, the 50kg version of the LS-6 laser-/TV-guided bomb. The CS-2 features a pair of ELINT/COMINT sensors in a fairing below the nose. AVIC claims a frequency range of 0.8-18GHz at up to 400km for the former and 0.1-2GHz at up to 200km for the latter. The CS-1 carries SAR and long range oblique photographic (LOROP) sensors. An operational concept image in the presentation shows the CS-1 flying 18km inside hostile airspace, and with effective standoff ranges for the LOROP of 68km, and 70km for the SAR. The GCS can be provided in fixed, vehicle-mounted or portable configurations, and features six user-defined touch-screen displays, a QWERTY keyboard with separate numerical keypad, and two joysticks. This can be used to control both the CH-4/CH-5 and Cloud Shadow UAS platforms. AVIC also provides data-links, including a C/UHF-band line-of-sight link, Ku-, Ka- and S-band satellite links, an L-band miniature link for the A-Hawks, and all associated ground terminals.
The JY-300 early-warning UAV (below) from the China Electronics Technology Group Corp’s (CETC) 38th Research Institute was first unveiled last June. It features miniaturised active phased-array radar strips installed on the two sides of the fuselage and the leading-edge of the wings. Unlike most conventional UAVs with a radar payload, the integrated and conformal design of the JY-300 reduces drag and thus retains most of the UAV’s inherent flight performances. CETC claims that the radar suite has a range of around 620 miles (1,000km) and can provide surveillance of hostile warships, helicopters, and missiles from a standoff range. Additionally, the UAV presents a smaller radar cross-section, and the unmanned and cheaper nature of the platform allows the user to free up heavier manned AEW &CS platforms for more critical airborne battle management operations.
China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp’s (CASIC) turbofan-powered WJ-700 high-altitude, high-speed UCAV (below) strongly resembles the MQ-9 Reaper and CH-5 UCAV, with a turbofan replacing the rear-mounted propeller. The WJ-700 has an MTOW of 3.5 tonnes, and endurance of 20 hours. CASIC describes the WJ-700 as designed for long-range anti-ship missions, anti-radiation missions, as well as electronic warfare and jamming. The concept model suggests four underwing pylons for a variety of munitions, including the CM-502KG anti-ship cruise missile and the CM-102 anti-radiation missile.
Two unmanned helicopters made test-flights in 2017 on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. While the AV-500W conducted firing tests at an altitude of 4,300 metres in Qinghai province on November 18, 2017 (according to Jiangxi provincial office of science, technology and industry for national defence), at 4,600 metres above sea level, on November 9, 2017 an XM-20 multi-rotor unmanned drone took off and landed with a full payload. The AV-500W had earlier climbed to an altitude of 5,006 metres during tests on October 31, the maximum achieved by a domestically-made unmanned helicopter. These VTOL-UAVs have applications in counter-terrorism, drug policing, border patrols, meteorology and mapping. The aircraft were developed by a helicopter research and development institute in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, owned by AVIC. The institute began work on unmanned helicopters in 2004.
AVIC had revealed two updated designs of its AV-500W VTOL-UCAV at the fourth China Helicopter Exposition held in Tianjing in mid-September 2017. The AV-500W was unveiled at the 2016 Zhuhai Airshow. Its designers from the China Helicopter Research & Development Institute have now given the AV-500W a smaller and sleeker appearance. The design concept is similar to that of the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Firescout, but one-third the weight of its Western counterpart. The airframe measures 7.2 metres/23.6 feet long, 2.3 metres/7.5 feet high and 1.6 metres/5.2 feet wide, and its maximum takeoff weight has been reduced from 470kg/1,036 lb to 450kg/992 lb based on the latest specifications. The VTOL-UCAV has a maximum speed of 170kph, and a combat radius of 200km. The primary armaments include the new FT-8D anti-armour guided-missile carried on four underwing hardpoints. The FT-8D is a semi-active laser-guided missile with a range of up to 5km.  According to AVIC, this missile was tested in the early half of 2017 and yielded satisfactory results. The AV-500W can also carry conventional bombs, as well as external loads relevant to search-and-rescue operations. Countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, have shown interest in this VTOL-UCAV, especially for counter-insurgency missions. The AV-500W is the armed variant of the AV-500 civilian UAV, which is 2.415 metres high, 7.204 metres long and can take off at up to 470kg maximum weight, with mission payloads not exceeding 160kg, including 120kg of equipment, including an optronic ball, a SAR radar and other communications devices. The UAV has an 8-hour autonomy in flight and is capable of reaching 4,000 metres of altitude at a maximum speed of 170kph.
UAVs For Tactical Transportation & Airspace Surveillance
Mini-UCAVs For Urban Counter-Terror Operations
Combat-Support Platforms 
Stealthy UCAV Concept
Aerobatic Displays
Theatre Command JOCIS
(Many More To Come)

MoD's Response To Rafale Petition