China showcases New-Generation Frigate and S26 Submarine

The China Shipbuilding Trading Corporation (CSSC) showcased its next-generation trimaran-hull frigate and the S26 air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine (SSP) at the 2017 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which is concluding in Abu Dhabi.

The S26 SSP appears to be the AIP-equipped variant of the S20 diesel-electric submarine (SSK), which CSSC has been marketing for export since 2013.

Although the S20 SSK was not offered with AIP by default, a customer could opt for it separately. It was not clear if CSSC was offering an AIP of its own or if the end-user would have to acquire it separately. With the S26, CSSC is offering its Stirling AIP system (IHS Jane’s).

CSSC Timaran Frigate

In comparison to the S20 SSK, the S26 SSP has a heavier displacement (2,660-ton vs. 2,200-ton), is longer (79.5 metres vs. 66 metres) and slower at top speed (18 knots vs. 20 knots). However, CSSC did reveal the S26’s maximum diving depth and surface range at 300 metres and 14,816 km, respectively.

Russia Planing To Test Fire Rocket Mounted Zircon Hypersonic Missile

In the spring of 2017, Russia may test a rocket mounted Zircon Hypersonic missile for the first time. The launch is said to be conducted within the scope of the global non-nuclear deterrence strategy.

The source did not specify the carrier, from which the missile was to be launched.

Zircon mounted Hypersonic Missiles are planned to be used on Yasen-M nuclear submarines, as with the well as with the Husky's Submarines and some surface ships.

Hypersonic speed is Mach 5 or faster. Mach 1 is the speed of sound which is about 300 meters per second, or 1,224 km/h.

The Zircon missile was designed for the Russian Navy at NPO Machine Building (Reutov, Moscow region). The company also develops advanced warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles known as "Object 4202."

The range of the missile will be about 500 km, whereas the speed of the new missile is said to reach Mach 5 or six.

Zircon missiles can be used as armament for surface warships and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as aircraft and coastal mobile missile systems. It is believed that Onyx and Zircon missiles are designed to implement elements of the concept of strategic non-nuclear deterrence.

India Started Development of Ghatak UAV and AMCA Stealth Fighter

Seed funding to commence design Work for Ghatak UCAV and AMCA has been processed and preliminary work will begin soon. A part of the funds will also be used to design and develop critical stealth technologies for the AMCA stealth fighter project.

Both Ghatak ACAV and the AMCA 5th generation stealth fighter are awaiting final clearance from the Prime Ministers Office. Development time for both projects is estimated to be seven years according to government sources.

If the work on Ghatak and AMCA commences in 2017 then both birds can debut in 2025.

The Narendra Modi government is set to give the green light to a Rs 3,000-crore plan to develop Ghatak, a new engine that will power India's first unmanned combat aircraft, or drones capable of delivering bombs as well as tackling aerial threats, as part of a project that envisages major participation of the private sector.

Ghatak will be a derivative of the abandoned Kaveri project that had been in the works for over two decades, officials said. The key difference in the current plan is the proposed participation of the private sector in a significant way.

The drone is being designed to be invisible to radars with its radical 'flying wing design'.

India to Deploy Massive Tank Army Along Border With Pakistan

The Indian Army is set to deploy over 460 new T-90SM main battle tanks (MBTs) along India’s border with Pakistan, senior Indian defense officials told IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly on January 19.

The new T-90SM MBT (other designations T-90AM or T-90MS) is the latest and most modern version of the T-90 (which in turn is a modernized variant of the T-72 MBT), and has specifically been designed for export by Russia.

Myanmar in Advanced Negotiations with Pakistan to Licence-Build JF-17 Fighter

After deciding to purchase 16 JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft in 2015, Myanmar is now in advanced negotiations with Pakistan to licence-build the third-generation fighter, defence industry sources in Yangon and sources close to the Myanmar Air Force (MAF) told Jane's in mid-January.

If an agreement is reached, Myanmar's bid to manufacture the single-engine combat aircraft - co-developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) - could mark a significant step forward in the country's efforts to expand its local defence industry.

As the MAF phases out its obsolete fleet of F-7M Airguard and A-5C 'Fantan' combat aircraft purchased from China in the 1990s, licensed production of the JF-17 Thunder would also mean that the aircraft will likely become the MAF's workhorse over the coming decades in much the same way as it has moved to prominence within the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

JF-17 Fighter
JF-17 Fighter

At least 70 of the fighters are in service with the PAF, with the first ones having entered service in 2009. Expectations are that the PAF will induct up to 150 JF-17 Thunder fighters in the coming years.


The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is expected to place its formal order for 50 JF-17 Block-IIIs from the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in the first half of 2017, reports Alan Warnes (on Asian Military Review).

These are part of the initial allotment of 150 JF-17s the PAF committed to when it signed onto the program in 1999. Currently, the PAF has more than 70 JF-17s in service, with PAC crossing 30 JF-17 Block-IIs by 2017 and on-track to rolling out another 14 single-seat Block-IIs in 2017.
JF-17 Thunder Two Seat Version
JF-17 Thunder Two Seat Version

Three two-seater JF-17Bs will also be built, of which two will be assigned to the PAF. Alan Warnes learned that these JF-17Bs will be used in “testing and development” for accelerating weapons integration.

Air Marshal Arshad Malik, the Chairman of PAC, was also enthusiastic about the JF-17’s export prospects, noting that PAC’s production output could be increased to “cope with future exports.”

Currently, 3 and 16 JF-17s are on order by Nigeria and Myanmar, respectively. Azerbaijan is reportedly re-interested in the JF-17, while Myanmar is reportedly in talks for additional fighters.

Regarding the JF-17 Block-III, Warnes noted that the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technologies (NRIET) KLJ-7A and a Leonardo radar (possibly Vixen 1000) are viewed as the leading options for the Block-III’s active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar requirement.

Notes & Comments:

Based on the wording of the article, it appears that JF-17 Block-III production is scheduled to begin shortly after the conclusion of the PAF’s Block-II run.

While the AESA radar bid has narrowed to the KLJ-7A and a Leonardo system, the issues of helmet-mounted display and sight (HMD/S) systems, new electronic warfare and electronic countermeasures, and new munitions are still open. However, seeing that the Block-III program will be put into motion this year, there may be industry traction in each of these issues through 2017.

It also appears, though unconfirmed, that once currently set exports are completed, PAC will only produce Block-IIIs (for export and domestic use alike). In fact, Alan Warnes stated that PAC will “not halt” JF-17 production between Block-II and Block-III, meaning, prospective export customers from late 2017 or early 2018 will see the JF-17 Block-III.

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