September 6, 1965 – Story That Has Never Been Told

Russian Air Force Took Delivery Of The Third A-50U AWACS Aircraft

Russian air forces took delivery of the third upgraded A-50U AWACS aircraft.

"A-50U aircraft was handed over to the Russian Air Force at the airfield of Beriev Aircraft Company (Taganrog). Beriev Aircraft Company is the part of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The aircraft has been inspected by the crew and it will perform ferry flight from Taganrog to its home base soon", - he said.

Representative of the air forces also noted that besides a tail number this vehicle also got its own name – “Sergey Atayants” (the aircraft was named after the aircraft designer, who led the development of A-50).

Russian Air Force A-50U AWACS Aircraft
Russian Air Force A-50U AWACS Aircraft

A-50U is intended for detection of air and surface targets, transmission of targeting data to fighters, transmission of radar signals (detection of air targets, including helicopters, cruising missiles, supersonic aircraft) to ground control stations. The most important component of A-50U is advanced and powerful radar system. A-50 is one of the world’s best AWACS aircraft in terms of radio electronic equipment and power-supply system

Russia Offers Brazil Joint Development Of PAK-FA Stealth Fighter

Russia plans to offer Brazil joint development of the fifth-generation combat aircraft, the Sukhoi T-50, according to Alexander Fomin, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

The proposal is reportedly in support of an unsolicited offer by Sukhoi whose Su-35 fighter was taken off Brazil’s shortlist for its F-X2 tender for the purchase of 36 fighter jets worth $4 billion.

PAK-FA Stealth Fighter
 PAK-FA Stealth Fighter 

Russia is still hoping to sell the Su-35s or similar aircraft to Brazil outside the framework of that tender, sweetening the deal with the new proposal, according to Ria Novosti.

New Delhi and Moscow are currently already developing a derivative of the T-50 for the Indian Air Force. According to executives from India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the two sides completed the preliminary design of the aircraft, tentatively dubbed FGFA, earlier this year and are now negotiating a detailed design contract.

Putin Approved the Sale Of S-400 Triumf SAM System to China

Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in principle to the sale of anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 to China, the newspaper "Kommersant", citing a source close to the Kremlin. At the same time director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Alexander Fomin confirmed that negotiations for the supply complexes China are ongoing. The decision to sell the complexes was made in early 2014. 

S-400 Triumf SAM System
S-400 Triumf SAM System

 Ongoing negotiations with China related to the number of complexes and their cost. However, even if a firm contract will be signed in the near future, get new S-400 Beijing could not before 2016. Earlier delivery of arms to China is impossible because first to be held most of the delivery of S-400, ordered by the Ministry of Defense of Russia under the current state armaments program. 

Israeli Defense and Technology Firms Demand Gov’t Ease Limits On Arms Exports To China

Defense and technology firms in Israel have recently requested that the government ease restrictions on exports of military equipment to China.

A source from the Israeli defense industry says that weapon manufacturers in Israel had already gained support from the prime minister’s office as well as the economic and foreign ministries since it is the policy of the nation to expand its economic and political ties with China. For this reason, various government officials within Israel have welcomed the discussion regarding the change of the regulations.

Export to China of certain dual-use technologies that can be used by both civilians and the military are being discussed, as well as the latest generation of unmanned aerial vehicles. Another source from the defense industry said that the increasing difficulty in selling weapons to Israel’s defense ministry is eroding the profitability of the industry, which makes China crucial to the nation’s economy.

 Israel had earned US$7.5 billion in 2012 with the Asia-Pacific region as its biggest market, despite the limits imposed on Israel by Washington in selling defense and dual-use technology to China and other countries in the region. To deal with China, defense firms in Israel must get approval from the defense ministry’s Defense Export Controls Agency, which includes foreign and economic ministry officials.

Under pressure from the United States, Israel has also regulated arms sales to India, Russia and many other East European nations. In 2010, the United States blocked state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries from bidding on a contract to upgrade India’s jet fighters despite the fact that US companies were bidding as well. Meir Shalit resigned from his position as head of defense exports at the nation’s defense ministry for selling military equipment to China after US protests.

Russia May Sell China New Advanced Kalina-class Submarine Technology

Russia is developing a new advanced  Kalina submarine class and may sell them to China, according to reports in Russia’s media.
Last week, the head of Russia’s Navy, Adm. Viktor Chirkov, announced that Russia would build new fifth-generation submarines dubbed the Kalina-class.
“Russia is currently designing a fifth-generation conventional submarine, dubbed Project Kalina, which will be fitted with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system,” Adm. Viktor Chirkov said, according toRussian media outlets.
“Our industry promises to develop this AIP system by 2017 and build the first boat fitted with such a system by 2018,” he added.
The report did not specify what type of AIP technology would be used.

Kalina Class Submarine
Kalina Class Submarine

Submarines equipped with AIP technologies offer significant advantages over conventional diesel-electric engines and even nuclear submarines. AIP systems allow submarines to stay submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, which must surface more frequently for oxygen, and thus give away their positions to potential adversaries.
On the other hand, submarines with AIP systems are much stealthier than nuclear-powered submarines, which must constantly run pumps to cool their nuclear reactors. This pump emits noises that can be used by adversaries to detect the submarine’s presence and location. Thus, AIP-powered submarines can stay submerged for long periods of time while remaining virtually silent.
A number of countries, predominately Western ones but also including ones like India, have acquired or are pursuing AIP-powered submarines. There is also speculation, including by the Indian government, that China’s Type 041 (Yuan-class) submarines—or at least some of the fleet—may be powered by AIP systems.
The development of the new Kalina-class submarines raises questions about a prospective submarine deal Russia is negotiating with China. As The Diplomat has reported before, Russia and China have long been in negotiations over Beijing’s desire to purchase four of Russia’s fourth generation Lada-class submarines. However, Russia’s decision to proceed with production of the fifth-generation Kalina-class submarines may mean that Moscow will not continue producing the Lada-class submarines (so far, only one Lada-class submarine, St. Petersburg, actually exists).

China To Have Nuclear Missiles On Subs Soon: US admiral

China for the first time will likely have subs equipped with long-range nuclear missiles later this year, part of an increasingly potent submarine fleet, a top US officer said Tuesday,
The head of US Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said the latest class of Chinese subs would be armed with a new ballistic missile with an estimated range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,500 kilometers).

"This will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, probably before the end of 2014," Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Locklear was referring to the production of China's JIN-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine and the new JL-2 missile on board the vessel.

"China's advance in submarine capabilities is significant. They possess a large and increasingly capable submarine force," the admiral said.

In October, Chinese state media for the first time showed images of the country's nuclear-powered submarines, touting it as a "credible second-strike nuclear capability."
Locklear said China's submarine modernization effort was impressive.

"I think they'll have in the next decade or so a fairly well modernized force of probably 60 to 70 submarines which is a lot of submarines for a regional power," he said.

China now has five nuclear attack submarines, four nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and 53 diesel attack submarines, according to Jess Karotkin of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
China's production of submarines has moved at a quick annual pace. Between 1995 and 2012, Beijing produced 2.9 submarines a year, according to the Congressional Research Service.

J-31/F-60 or Project 310?

As we've seen the J-20 project proceed to the pre-production prototype stage, Project 310 (Shenyang AC's 5th gen design) is continuing its flight testing. Although, I and many other have called it J-31, it really hasn't become an official PLAAF project yet, so it has no J designation Many have called it the J-21 project, because they expect it to receive that designation once it becomes official.

J-31/F-60 Stealth Fighter
J-31/F-60 Stealth Fighter

There have been a lot of discussions online about where this project is at and how is it funded, so I will give me take here. At this stage, project 310 only has one flying prototype in No. 31001. Some would compare it to No. 2001 of J-20 project, but I consider more as a proof of concept aircraft similar to X-35. For example, I think the pre-production prototypes should not longer see the gap between the engine nozzle and nacelle. From what I observed online, it seems to at least have received some funding from PLAAF to arrive at this stage, although SAC does has enough resource/funding to get here by itself. I think we are unlikely to see a second flying prototype until it becomes an official PLAAF project, since No. 31001 and a possible static prototype can give all the data PLAAF would need to make its decision. Based on all I have read, it seems to be foregone conclusion that will happen. Once it does get designation and full funding from PLAAF, SAC is likely to make numerous changes on the next flying prototype and also start conducting radar and weapon testing.

Just looking from front, Project 310 has the contours that one would expect out a stealth aircraft. One does not need to look far before seeing comparison to F-35 and reading articles about "stolen technology" from F-35. Whether this jet will turn out to really be a stealth aircraft depends on all the little details that the designers have to look through to minimize returns from all around. Until we get to a later prototype, it's really hard to say how well Project 310 will do in that area.

I am generally not too concerned about the electronics on the new Chinese aircraft, because I think they have really made huge progress here. I think they can achieve comparable target identification and situation awareness as F-22/35, since it will come into service at a later point when newer technology will become available. I think the biggest concern for this aircraft is its engine. This is a problem with all new PLAAF aircraft. Clearly, RD-93 will not be powering Project 310 in production. The 9.5t class "Medium Thrust" engine models have been around for several Zhuhai airshows. I would imagine that engine will be used on Project 310 and other projects like UAVs. Even though it has great important, it will not be as high priority as the WS-15 project. Since it began at a later point and has lower priority than WS-15, it definitely won't be ready before WS-15. If we estimate that serial production of WS-15 will be under way by 2020, this medium thrust engine won't be ready for serial production until 2025. PLAAF would have to either wait until then or find an interim selection. A large part of its test flight program may need to be done with a different engine.

US Says F-35 Secrets Showing Up in China’s Stealth Fighter

A cyber espionage operation by China seven years ago produced sensitive technology and aircraft secrets that were incorporated into the latest version of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter jet, according to U.S. officials and private defense analysts.

The Chinese cyber spying against the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II took place in 2007 under what U.S. intelligence agencies codenamed Operation Byzantine Hades, a large-scale, multi-year cyber program that targeted governments and industry.

Defense officials said the stolen data was obtained by a Chinese military unit called a Technical Reconnaissance Bureau in the Chengdu province. The data was then passed to the state-run Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC).

An AVIC subsidiary, the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, used the stolen data in building the J-20, said defense and intelligence officials familiar with reports of the illicit tech transfer.

Pentagon technology security officials in 2011 opposed a joint venture between General Electric and AVIC over concerns that U.S. fighter jet technology would be diverted to AVIC’s military aircraft programs. The Obama administration ignored the concerns and instead has since promoted the systematic loosening of technology controls on transfers to China.

The Office of Director of National Intelligence is known to have details of AVIC’s past involvement in illicit arms transfers and its role in obtaining sensitive F-35 technology through cyber espionage, the officials said.

The F-35 data theft was confirmed after recent photographs were published on Chinese websites showing a newer version of the J-20. The new version of the radar-evading aircraft had incorporated several design upgrades since the first demonstrator aircraft was revealed in 2011.

According to the officials, the J-20 has progressed from prototype to demonstrator. One of its most significant weapons enhancements is a new electro-optical targeting system under its nose.

Additionally, protruding engine nozzles seen in the earlier version have been hidden, an attempt to further reduce the jet’s radar signature. The newest J-20 also appeared with a different radar-absorbing coating.

Photos of the newer J-20 were first posted online on Chinese military forums on Jan. 17. The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board revealed earlier this year that system design information on the F-35 was obtained from cyber attacks.

The new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile systems and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile defenses, along with many other systems, were compromised through cyber espionage, the board said in a report.

Most details of the Chinese cyber espionage campaign to obtain F-35 technology remain secret. However, the Chinese probably obtained the F-35 secrets from Lockheed Martin, its subcontractors, or U.S. allies involved in the development program. Allies that took part in the F-35 program include the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

A Chinese Academy of Military Sciences official, Du Wenlong, told Chinese state television on Feb. 20 that the new J-20’s shortened exhaust nozzles, along with tail and vertical fin modifications, are designed to reduce radar detection.

Du also said that a “revolutionary” breakthrough allowed the twin engines to increase both power and reliability. China’s inability to manufacture quality jet engines has been a weakness of its aircraft manufacturing programs.

Du also said that the electro-optical targeting system provides better surveillance and strike capabilities against both land and sea targets.

The J-20 also has a larger weapons bay than the U.S. F-22, which allows it to carry more powerful missiles that can be used against “aircraft carrier and foreign AEGIS ships,” Du said.

U.S. officials said the new J-20 had undergone ground tests, but it had not been flight tested as of early March.

Richard Fisher, a specialist on Chinese weapon systems, said the new J-20 was flight tested on March 1 and demonstrated the enhanced fifth generation jet fighter features.

Fisher, with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said it is “very curious” that the new J-20 featured its new electronic targeting system under its nose. That location increased its field of view and is similar to the targeting system on the F-35.

Improved J-20 Ready For First Test Flight

Images emerged on 20 February of a modified prototype Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-20 fifth-generation fighter undertaking high-speed taxi runs.
These taxi runs are presumably prior to its maiden flight and suggest it may be a pre-production variant slated for formal testing by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

Photographs of the prototype first appeared on Chinese military web sites in December 2013 and January, although some of these images appeared to have been digitally altered. The prototype carries the bort number '2011' and shows modifications intended to improve engine performance, combat capability and stealth.

Improved J-20 (2011) Stealth Fighter
Improved J-20 (2011) Stealth Fighter

Most noticeable are redesigned engine intakes featuring more of a sloped 'caret' design said to improve pressure distributions for the engine. The vertical stabilizers have been clipped in their outer aft corners and the main wheel doors and the internal weapons bay cover feature larger scalloping to aid low observability. The canopy also features a new brace.

A new electronic targeting system is located below the nose and just aft the radar. This and the J-20's distributed infrared sensor system points indicate Chengdu's ambitions to give the J-20 an optical and infrared targeting and warning system similar to that of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The new intake shape and electronic targeting system may also suggest multirole ambitions for the J-20, which has a larger internal weapons bay than the F-35.

On 16 February China's Securities Times Online reported that a demonstrator version of the 15-ton thrust WS-15 turbofan, the J-20's expected engine, may be completed in 2014. Other sources note the WS-15 may not be ready for service entry until 2020 and indicate that continued difficulties in its development will lead to the adoption of Russian engines for initial J-20 production.

DF-21D Missile Could Sink US Aircraft Carrier

The People's Liberation Army Navy's DF-21D anti-ship missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and has the capability to sink a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
The report released by the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore states that China's Beidou satellite navigation system will help increase the accuracy of the country's missiles greatly. The report, written by various experts in India, concluded that the existence of the DF-21D has shaken the traditional view of the US Navy's unassailable superiority in the Asia Pacific region. The anti-ship ballistic missile is likely to serve as a credible deterrent against American intervention in China's maritime disputes, of which it has several with its Asian neighbors, the report said.
The DF-21D is designed based on itercontinental ballistic missiles and carries manoeuvrable warheads with conventional munitions which can target aircraft carriers at a distance of about 2,000 kilometers, according to the report. The idea of hitting a moving aircraft carrier with a ballistic missile had been unheard of, said S Chandrashekar, one of the authors of the report, adding that the Chinese have come up with a very innovative system based on well-understood components.

Russia Fires ICBM Near Ukraine

Russia said it had successfully test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) on Tuesday, with tensions high over its seizure of control in the Crimea and its threat to send more forces to its neighbour Ukraine.

The Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region and the dummy warhead hit its target at a proving ground in Kazakhstan, Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told state-run news agency RIA.

The launch site, Kapustin Yar, is near the Volga River about 450 km (280 miles) east of the Ukrainian border. Kazakhstan, a Russian ally in a post-Soviet security grouping, is further to the east.

RS-12M Topol missile (ICBM)
RS-12M Topol missile (ICBM)

Russia and the United States signed the latest of a series of treaties restricting the numbers of ICBMs in 2010, but Moscow has indicated it will agree further cuts in the near future and is taking steps to upgrade its nuclear arsenal.

President Vladimir Putin has emphasised that Russia must maintain a strong nuclear deterrent, in part because of an anti-missile shield the United States is building in Europe which Moscow says could undermine its security.

China To Increase Defense Budget By 12.2% In 2014

China plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2% to 808.2 billion yuan (US$132 billion) this year, according to a budget report to be reviewed by the national legislature on Wednesday.
In 2013, the country spent 720.2 billion yuan (US$117.4 billion) on national defense, a 10.7% increase from the previous year.

Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng
Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng
Double-digit growth in China's defense budget in recent years has caused some concerns from western countries. But experts said China's military expenditure is moderate and in line with the country's economic conditions.
Yin Zhuo, director of the Expert Consultation Committee of the People's Liberation Army Navy, said the country's military spending is still far from the level it needs to be as it faces increasingly severe security challenges.
Although the rise in the defense budget in the past three years has surpassed GDP growth, the spending's share in GDP, which came in at 1.4%, is still far below the world average of 3%, Yin said.

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