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J-20 and Other News from Zhuhai Air Show 2016

China made it official this week that J-20 is coming to Zhuhai air show. All of this is quite interesting when one compares this to how long before J-10 made its first visit to Zhuhai Air Show. Clearly, China has taken a more confident and transparent approach in its military programs in the past 10 years. At this point, J-20 has started Low rate initial production batches, but has yet to achieve IOC. To that end, AVIC must be confident enough in the progress of flight-testing program to allow J-20 to appear in China’s most prominent aerospace exhibition.

A couple of years ago, PAK-FA had an epic failure when one of the prototypes had fire damage while delivering a flight performance in front of IAF officials. Certainly, the pilots were most likely instructed to put on a show to impress PAK-FA’s largest export client, but the aircraft was also clearly not up to task. The result of that embarrassing incident was extensive delays in the flight-testing program while that prototype was getting repaired. More recently, Russia finally officially adjusted the initial induction of PAK-FA to 2018. It had been obvious for quite a long time that they were not going to make end of 2016, since the fixed up prototype and new prototypes have just recently surfaced. I have not kept up to the progress of J-20 units, but it seems like the first LRIP frames may have already arrived at FTTC. FTTC should very soon start training with this new aircraft. IOC may be achieved by late next year. Of course, engine remains to be a major concern for the J-20 program. It’s still not known at this point what is powering aircraft. It would seem to be a special variant of AL-31FN, but this will be an interim solution until WS-15 is ready. At its induction, J-20 will be quite underpowered.

J-20 Black Eagle
J-20 Black Eagle


Aside from J-20, other big-ticket items like J-10B, KJ-500, Y-20, Z-10K and H-6K will all be physically displayed in the air show. Since a real J-10B came, the serial number was finally allowed to show. Maybe after this appearance, China will allow J-10B pictures to be published without the serial numbers photoshoped. Zhuhai air show has traditionally been an occasion for China to show its latest UAV and missiles (many of which are still in conceptual stage). It will certainly be the case again this time around. While we have already seen well know UAVs like CH-5 and Wing Loong-2, we are also seeing new concepts that could very well make their mark in the export market. The latest one we saw is Cloud Shadow UAV which looks a lot like SkyWing UAVs that have already test flied.

Finally, a recent national day parade in Turkmenistan showed that all of its SAMs, missiles, radar systems and UAVs are all imported from China. All of this is quite unexpected since Turkmenistan has traditionally been under the overwhelming presence and influence of Russia. At this point, China is clearly making inroads against Russia in many export markets.

China, Pakistan to deploy warships to safeguard Gwadar port

China will deploy its naval vessels in coordination with the Pakistan Navy to safeguard the Gwadar port in Balochistan and trade under a bilateral trade corridor, according to a media report on Friday.

Besides the joint deployment of warships, Pakistan is considering the purchase of super-fast vessels from China and Turkey for a special squadron to be positioned at Gwadar to secure the deep sea port, an unnamed Pakistan Navy official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

“A squadron may have four to six warships,” the official said on the sidelines of the IDEAS 2016 defence exhibition in Karachi.

The super-fast vessels would be “bought soon” in view of their immediate need in the fleet and two warships had already been deployed at Gwadar, the official said.

The role of Pakistan’s maritime forces had increased since the country made Gwadar operational and expedited up economic activities under the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the official said.


India has for long expressed concerns about the Chinese Navy’s involvement in the Gwadar port, which is at the heart of the CPEC.

The Tribune quoted another unnamed naval official as saying that Pakistan has kicked off the process of establishing the region’s largest shipyard at Gwadar. A similar ship-building project is being considered for Port Qasim in Karachi.

The two advanced shipyards will design and develop ships and other security equipment for the Pakistan Navy.

“The existing shipyard, the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, lacks capacity to meet new requirements of the force. Its (PNSC) performance, however, would improve in competition with the two under consideration,” he said.

Pakistan and France sign MoU on technical collaboration for JF-17 Thunder

KARACHI: Pakistan Air Force signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a French company on technical collaboration in production of JF-17 Thunder jets during the ongoing IDEAS 2016 defence expo on Thursday.

As per the MoU, the French company will provide technical assistance to Pakistan Air Force for electrification of JF-17 Thunder jets.

Air Commodore Waqar Haider signed the said MoU with the French company.

Earlier at the expo Pakistan also signed an agreement with Turkey to sell 52 Super Mushak basic trainers and is preparing Super Mushak jets for Nigeria and Qatar.

Vixen-1000E AESA with IRST showcased at IDEAS 2016 at Karachi

At IDEAS 2016 Leonardo showcases its Vixen 1000E with IFF and SkyWard.
Vixen 1000E is a high performance AESA radar designed for fighter/interceptor aircraft building on over 60 years of Selex ES’s fire control radar experience. At IDEAS 2016, Leonardo showcases the Vixen 1000E radar coupled with the company's SkyWard infrared search & track system and the Selex ES SIT426 Active Electronically Scanned Identification Friend-or-Foe (E-Scan IFF).

Vixen 1000E features an innovative roll-repositionable AESA antenna to provide a full ±100ยบ field of regard allowing maximum situational awareness and platform survivability. This Wide Field of Regard (WFoR) allows the aircraft to turn away after missile launch, whilst still maintaining datalinks to the missile.

The AESA antenna is coupled to fully digital multi-channel exciter/receiver and processor Line Replaceable Units (LRUs). These provide a comprehensive mode suite which includes air-to-air, air-to-surface, interleaved and support functions, which can be readily adapted or extended in software to meet future needs.


Vixen 1000E
Vixen 1000E



The SkyWard is an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system. It has been designed and developed to satisfy the more demanding requirements of 5th generation fighter aircraft with an embedded solution. A pod configuration is also available to allow easy installation on existing platforms. It comprises two Line Replaceable Units (LRU) - a Sensor Head Unit (SHU) and a Processor Unit (PU).

The Selex ES SIT426 Active Electronically Scanned Identification Friend-or-Foe (E-Scan IFF) Interrogator is a state-of-the-art solution, which allows effective exploitation of the new capabilities offered by next-generation AESA radars, such as the SELEX Galileo Raven.

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