Saudi Arabia Interested in JF-17 Thunder Further Development and Joint-Production

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra ,is a busy place these days, because it has become a go to place for many Middle Eastern air forces to visit the manufacturing process and the products of the organization. Numerous high level, Middle Eastern air force delegations, including Jordanian, Iraqi, Yemeni and most recently the Royal Saudi Air Force delegation, have visited the PAC in Kamra. They expressed keen interest in the products and services offered by PAC, especially the JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter aircraft, which is the most high end product of PAC.

Saudi Arabian defense delegation at  Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra
Saudi Arabian defense delegation at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra

This week a high profile Saudi Arabian defense delegation lead by the Deputy Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud, visited Pakistan after the two countries agreed on 'enhanced defence ties' during a trip by Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal to Islamabad earlier. The two countries described the warming of bilateral defense ties as the beginning of a ‘new era in the strategic partnership’ between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The delegation stayed in Pakistan for three days and was hosted at the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army, Air Defence Command of Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Ordnance Factories at wah and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, the home of JF-17 Thunder aircraft. The Saudi defense delegation also included the members of the Royal Saudi Air Force, during the visit to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. Reportedly, Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in joining the JF-17 program with Pakistan during the visit.

The Royal Saudi Air Force, is one of the most advanced and professional air forces in the region which employs some of the most advanced fighter, attack and early warning aircrafts like the Boeing F-15 Eagle, F-15 Strike Eagle, Eurofighter Typhoon, Panavia Tornado and E-3 sentry. It has also recently ordered, much advanced F-15 SA aircraft from Boeing, which pack an advanced array of onboard systems like AESA radar and other upgrades like, signature enhancements, Infrared Search and Track, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System and upgraded engines.

Saudi Arabian defense delegation at  Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra
Saudi Arabian defense delegation at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra

In that context the Saudi Arabian interest in the JF-17 Thunder program, might raise some eyebrows in certain countries and among certain experts. It must be understood that by expressing interest in the JF-17 Thunder program, the RSAF might be opting for a 'hi-lo mix' doctrine. The RSAF is operating its advanced fleet of fighter and attack aircraft for frontline duties, while the JF-17 might become its workhorse for training, conversion, Combat Air Patrol, Point Defence and Close Air Support, much like the Lockheed Martin F-16.

China's Future Aircraft Carrier In Development

China's Future Aircraft Carrier
China's Future Aircraft Carrier 

China's Future Aircraft Carrier
China's Future Aircraft Carrier 

Russia’s Stealth Fighter PAK-FA Could Outfly, Outshoot American Jets

Russia’s first stealth fighter has quietly undergone diligent testing, slowly expanding its flight envelope and steadily working out technical kinks. But for all this hard work there have been precious few indications just how many copies of the Sukhoi T-50 Moscow plans to build … and how it means to use them.
Until now.

Fresh reporting from Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, one of the world’s top aerospace writers, offers tantalizing hints regarding Moscow’s intentions for the big, twin-engine T-50, an answer to America’s F-22 stealth fighter.

If Sweetman is correct—and he usually is—the angular warplane with the 50-foot wingspan could be bought in small numbers and used as a sort of airborne sniper, elusively flying high and fast to take down enemy radars and support planes using powerful, long-range missiles.
The T-50's design and apparent weapons options seem to lend themselves to this niche role, which could exploit critical vulnerabilities in U.S. and allied forces and level the air power playing field for the first time in a generation.

Especially considering the Chinese are apparently taking the same approach with their own new stealth fighter.

At the MAKS air show near Moscow this week, some of the five T-50 test models possessed by Sukhoi made appearances—and manufacturers also showed off missiles that could be fitted into the T-50's voluminous weapons bays or under its wings and fuselage.

But Sweetman, wandering the show, detected restraint on the part of the stealth fighter’s boosters. He declared the T-50 exhibits “tamer than some people hoped.”

“I suspect that the fighter won’t be in service for some years, except possibly in the form of a small test squadron,” Sweetman noted. Indeed, Moscow recently pushed back the T-50's first frontline use from 2015 to 2016.

But when it does enter service, even in limited numbers the T-50 could have a big impact on rival forces. Scanning the missiles on display at MAKS, Sweetman concluded that the T-50 could be armed with two powerful main weapons: a version of the Kh-58UShE anti-radar missile and the new RVV-BD air-to-air missile.

Russia Can't Deliver On Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft FGFA: IAF

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has done a stunning about-turn, sharply criticizing the showpiece Indian-Russian project to co-develop a futuristic Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Even as New Delhi and Moscow finalize a $6 billion deal to co-develop an FGFA with capabilities tailor-made for India, the IAF has alleged the Russians would be unable to meet their promises about its performance.

So vital is the FGFA considered for the IAF's future that Defence Minister A K Antony has publicly rejected any prospect of buying the American fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, declaring the FGFA would suffice. In 2007, New Delhi and Moscow highlighted the fighter's critical by signing an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) placing the project above MoD procurement rules. Moreover, Indian scientists say the expertise gained from the FGFA will provide crucial momentum for developing an all-Indian fifth generation fighter, designated the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

Yet, with so much riding on the FGFA, the IAF has taken aback the MoD with its complaint that it would not be good enough. On December 24, in a meeting in New Delhi chaired by Gokul Chandra Pati, the secretary of defence production, top IAF officials argued the FGFA has "shortfalls… in terms of performance and other technical features."

 The IAF's three top objections to the FGFA were: (a) The Russians are reluctant to share critical design information with India; (b) The fighter's current AL-41F1 engines are inadequate, being mere upgrades of the Sukhoi-30MKI's AL-31 engines; and (c) It is too expensive. With India paying $6 billion to co-develop the FGFA, "a large percentage of IAF's capital budget will be locked up."

On January 15, the IAF renewed the attack in New Delhi, at a MoD meeting to review progress on the FGFA. The IAF's deputy chief of air staff (DCAS), its top procurement official, declared the FGFA's engine was unreliable, its radar inadequate, its stealth features badly engineered, India's work share too low, and that the fighter's price would be exorbitant by the time it enters service.

China Develops iOS, Android Rival

China has developed its own mobile operating system aimed at easing the stranglehold of the Google and Apple, even as sceptics doubt its efficacy.

Dubbed as the China Operating System (COS) it is a strategic product for national security which has become more urgent in the wake of recent incidents such as the US intelligence scandal of Prism and Windows ending further support of its XP system, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said in a statement.

Similar to the interface on Google's Android and Apple's iOS, the Chinese system can be used on touch-screen phones and serves as a platform for various apps, it can already support up to a lakh of apps, claimed CAS and its partner, Shanghai-based Liantong Network Communication Technology.

China Operating System (COS)
China Operating System (COS)

Also compatible for tablets and TV set-top boxes, the system is marked by its safety since it allows only one app store, the official one, so as to ensure that all applications are examined to be safe and non-pirated compared with Android, which is open to any apps, the statement said.

This is not the first time similar products have been developed domestically.

Coship Electronics, a Shenzhen-based company, released an operating system called 960OS on January 10, boasting its safety features that prevent users' personal information from being stolen.

A system developed by the Alibaba Group in 2012 made itself compatible to Android to attract more consumers but the process of cooperating with phone producers was not so smooth.

PACOM Chief Says US Losing Military Dominance to China in Asian-Pacific

The U.S. commander in the Pacific is warning that the United States is losing its military air and sea dominance to China in the Asia-Pacific region.

Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III described the power shift at the annual Surface Navy Association conference in Virginia Wednesday, adding that the growing Chinese military is a risk factor for U.S. Navy ships and troops stationed in the Pacific, Defense News reports. 

"Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question," said Locklear, chief of the United States Pacific Command (PACOM). 

"We need to think about all scenarios, not just the ones we've been dealing with over the last several years where we've enjoyed basic air superiority and basic sea superiority," he added. "There are places in the world where in this century we won't have them."

While it is clear that China's military power is on the rise, Locklear said, the question remains whether China will actively seek to challenge U.S. dominance in that region. The goal in Washington, he said, should be pushing Chinese officials to work with the United States to secure the region. 

"China is going to rise, we all know that. [But] how are they behaving? That is really the question," the Navy commander said. "The PACOM goal is for China to be a net provider of security, not a net user of security." 

According to The Washington Times, Locklear's remarks raise a lot of questions about how the Pentagon expects China to provide security in the region when Beijing and Moscow are both considered challengers to U.S. dominance there. 

China Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile Carrier Vehicle

The unmanned aircraft can therefore leave the Chinese capital Beijing and be hanging over Washington D.C in less than 45 minutes - raising worries in the White House.
With an advanced radar system that can target locations from the edge of space, this ultra-fast vehicle can manouvre itself anywhere around the globe.
The futuristic carrier, which can fly almost 20 times as fast as a jumbo jet, can hold ballistic missiles with hypersonic cruise missiles and smaller surveillance drones expected to be on board.

This latest design in foreign weapon intelligence comes as China refuses to take up arms talks with its economic rivals.
A Pentagon official confirmed a
WU-14 Hypersonic Glide Vehicle
WU-14 Hypersonic Glide Vehicle
WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle broke record speeds over China on January 9 but refused to give details.
Former US Air Force officer Mark Stokes believes the vehicles are likely to be used in a space race defence.
He told US newspaper Washington Free Beacon: "A boost glide missile theoretically would be intended to counter existing mid-course missile defenses."
Stokes believes that hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) could reach Mach 12 speeds of up to 9,127 miles per hour which could break through any US missile defence.

China Pushes Ahead With Military Helicopter Programmes

Recent images from the Chinese internet suggest that Beijing is making significant progress with its military helicopter development programmes.

The most recent batch of images show a Harbin Z-19 with what appears to be a mast-mounted radar system. The Z-19, which is roughly comparable to lighter attack helicopters such as the Airbus Helicopters Tiger, is capable of carrying anti-tank missiles and is usually equipped with a chin-mounted cannon.

It is unclear if the mast-mounted system is, indeed, a true radar, or merely a mock-up to test the aerodynamics of the system. Mast-mounted radars such as that carried by the Boeing AH-64E Apache Longbow greatly enhance an attack helicopter’s ability to identify and engage targets at long ranges.
 The Z-19 is one of two dedicated Chinese attack helicopter programmes. The other is the heavier CAIC WZ-10, which is roughly comparable to the Apache.
The Z-19 development follows images last month that appeared to show the first flight of a locally-developed utility helicopter closely resembling the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. The aircraft is similar in layout to the US S-70-series platform, but has a five-bladed main rotor, as opposed to four.
Following the emergence of the images, a spokesman from the Chinese defence ministry confirmed that Beijing is developing a new helicopter. Chinese military experts have unofficially labelled the new utility type as the Harbin Z-20.

China Sees New Ford-Class Carriers A Dominant Threat To PLAN

China sees the US Navy's Ford-class super carriers as the primary overall threat to the country's security.
The Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is intended to replace the current Nimitz-class carriers. The US has planned to build 11 of them before 2058 and will use them to enforce its status as the most militarily fierce country in the world. The ships will also help secure jobs at the shipyard, give the Navy a chance to compete with the Air Force and Army, and keep the country's technology abreast of world developments.
The A5W nuclear reactor used by the new series of ships will only need to be revamped once every 50 years. Current vessels need a tune-up every seven to eight years.
The increasing presence of the US in the Asia-Pacific theatre, both with its new Ford-Class aircraft carriers and Zumwalt-Class guided missile destroyers, will surely be a challenge to China. China has to prepare in advance to meet such challenges, said the report.

China 's New Anti-Ship Missiles Revealed

Numerous Images of China's new YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missile and YJ-100 anti-ship cruise missile were recently revealed on Chinese internet.
Both missiles are designed to be launched from the H-6G strategic bomber and JH-7B fighter-bomber of the PLA Navy Air Force, the paper said. The YJ-100 is developed based on the country's CJ-10 cruise missiles, while it can be classed as a suitable medium-range missile with a range between 550 and 650 kilometers when launched in mid-air.
Through studying the photos released online, military experts estimated that the size of the YJ-12 is about six meters long with a radius between 0.55-0.6 meters, smaller than expected. The YJ-12 also looks much smaller than the Russian-built 3M55 and 3M80 and it may have a shorter range and loading capacity as well.Meanwhile, experts believe the YJ-12 can carry a warhead of 2,000-2,500 kilograms.

As for the range of the YJ-12, it is estimated to be 150 kilometers when launched in low altitude. When the missile is launched in high altitude, the range will increase to between 250 and 300 kilometers. The range is lower than expected however, with some experts previously forecasting a range of 400 kilometers when launched from low altitudes. Despite its size, a single YJ-12 missile can paralyze or sink an enemy surface combat vessel, the report said.

China Is Testing It's WS-20 Turbofan Engine

China Flight Test Establishment have confirmed reports that China's indigenous WS-20 turbofan engine, designed by the Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company, can be used to power Y-20 transport planes.
The WS-20 can not only be used for upcoming military transport aircraft like the Y-20, but it can also be used to power large or medium-size passenger planes as well, the report said.
An aviation expert said the WS-20 is very similar to the US-built CFM56-7 or GE90 turbofan engine in structure, adding that in next five or seven years, both civilian and military aircraft could be equipped with the engine.

China is now on its way to become the fifth nation in the world with the capability to design advanced turbofan engines after the United States, United Kingdom, France and Russia. It will lead to major changes within the nation's aviation industry as China will no longer need to rely on the supply of Russian-built engines for the development of large military aircraft. This will eventually help the country to have an independent aviation industry, the report said.

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