PAFs lethal potency–150 FC-20s, 250 JF-17 Thunders & 75 F-16s


By: RupeeNews | Moin Ansari

The Pakistan Air Force has unveiled plans to purchase, build and fly more than 150 J-10 planes, one the finest flying birds in the Chinese inventory. This acquision (which includes shared development, improvement in design, and local manufacting in Pakistan) will add unprecedented fire power to the PAF which is continueing to build, and export the JF-17 Thunders. Islamabad plans to build more than 500 JF-17 Thunders and keep at least 250 of these for its own use.

Some versions of the redesigned J-10s will take off in 2009, however the official flight date for the Pakistani FC-20s is 2015, but in actuality the Pakistanis are way ahead on the schedule and working beyond the J-10 redesigns. The PAF is looking beyond the JF-17 thunders and the J-10s. The design for the next generation of Pakistani aircraft has already begun. The Chinese J-10s are ready for export now. The rediesgn and upgrade of the FC-20s will take about five more years. Here is a report by Defense Industry Daily, a very respectable news source on defense equipment.

Pakistani FC-20s--improved and redesigned versions of J-10s made per Pakistani specifications--will be manufactured in Pakistan

Pakistani FC-20s–improved and redesigned versions of J-10s made per Pakistani specifications–will be manufactured in Pakistan: In November 2009, a long-rumored deal was announced for China’s Jian-10/ FC-20 4+ generation fighter, whose overall performance compares well with the F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft that Pakistan has ordered from the United States.

Pakistan and China have been cooperating for a number of years on the JF-17/ FC-1 Thunder, a low-medium performance, low-cost aircraft that has attracted interest and orders from a number of 3rd World air forces. In November 2009, a long-rumored deal was announced for China’s Jian-10/ FC-20 4+ generation fighter, whose overall performance compares well with the F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft that Pakistan has ordered from the United States.

The J-10 has been reported as a derivative of the 1980s Israeli Lavi project, and reportedly incorporates an Israeli fly-by-wire control base that was transferred in the project’s early years. The change in relations that followed the Tienanmen Square massacre hurt the J-10 project badly, however, forcing the replacement of planned Western avionics and engines with Chinese and Russian equipment. The required redesign was very extensive, affected all areas of the airframe, and took over a decade, amounting to the development of a new aircraft. The first operational J-10 unit entered service with the PLAAF in July 2004.

China has reportedly ordered 100 J-10s to date. The initial Pakistani order is for 2 squadrons, but could expand as technical cooperation and orders increase. The $1+ billion sale represents the J-10’s first export order… but almost certainly not its last.

AIR_J-10.jpg

Chinese J-10
(click to view full)

Nov 11/09: Widespread reports surface that Pakistan has signed a $1.4 billion contract for 36 of CATIC’s Jian-10 fighters, which will be known as FC-20 in Pakistan. The deal is described as a preliminary agreement, and there are reports that Pakistan may eventually be interested in acquiring up to 150 of these aircraft. Retired Pakistani general Abdul Qayyum is qoted as saying that:

“The agreement should not simply be seen in the narrow context of Pakistan’s relations with China…. There is a wider dimension. By sharing its advanced technology with Pakistan, China is … also saying to the world that its defence capability is growing rapidly.”

The UK’s Financial Times echoes this theme, noting that the $21.7 billion Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) group is rapidly emerging as a big military goods exporter. The group is also involved in China’s civilian aircraft program, and gives only total revenue figures, but the Financial Times quotes industry sources who believe a recent remerger of 2 split-out groups late in 2008 was aimed at creating a bigger and internationally competitive player.

It is not clear whether Pakistan’s FC-20s will carry Russian Salyut AL-31FN turbofans (17,130/ 27,557 pounds dry/afterburner thrust) that are similar to the engines in many SU-27 family aircraft, or the larger Chinese WS-10A derivative (reportedly a lesser 16,523/ 24,729 pounds dry/afterburner thrust) developed by China’s AVIC Aviation Engine Institute and Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group. Pakistan’s Daily Times |IBN Live | Press Trust of India | Times of India | UK Financial Times.

Pakistani FC-20s improved the J-10B

Pakistani FC-20s improved the J-10B: Nov 11/09: Widespread reports surface that Pakistan has signed a $1.4 billion contract for 36 of CATIC’s Jian-10 fighters, which will be known as FC-20 in Pakistan. The deal is described as a preliminary agreement, and there are reports that Pakistan may eventually be interested in acquiring up to 150 of these aircraft. Retired Pakistani general Abdul Qayyum is qoted as saying that:

March 7/09: The Associated Press of Pakistan reports that a contract for 42 co-produced JF-17/ FC-1 fighters has been signed in Islamabad by China’s CATIC and the Pakistani Air Force, financed by “seller’s credit.” Production capacity is listed at 15 aircraft in the first year, rising to 30 aircraft per year thereafter. Pakistan has been flying 8 aircraft to work out tactics, techniques, and procedures, and expects to stand up the first JF-17 squadron before the end of 2009. The aircraft will be based at Peshawar, alongside existing Chinese-made Q-5/A-5C “Fantan” fighters that are a hugely modified Chinese derivative of the MiG-19, and their accompanying JJ-6/FT-6 MiG-19 trainers.

The article adds a quote from Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed. He reiterates that cooperation on China’s canard-winged J-10/FC-20 is also progressing, with first deliveries to Pakistan expected in 2014-15. CATIC’s President MA Zhiping reportedly added that the first FC-20 aircraft built under that agreement would fly in 2009. APP | Pakistan’s The News.

March 29/07: Pakistan’s The News International references an interview that Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed gves to Jane’s:

“On other important projects with China, the Pakistani air chief also revealed that Pakistan is well advanced in negotiations with China on the possible acquisition of up to 40 J-10 fighters which are the most advanced fighter aircrafts so far produced by China. Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf was given a detailed briefing on the J-10 during his last visit to China.

“We are serious in our discussions and, as air chief, I look forward to getting this programme (of the J-10) to a stage where we can contract this. I am looking at two squadrons of aircraft, anywhere between 32 and 40 platforms,” said the Air chief.”Defense Industry Daily

The Pakistan Airforce has become an essential ingredient in the design and manufacture of Chinese aircraft. The Sino-Pakistani symbiosis is developing some of the best planes anywhere–at a fraction of the cost. The original metallurgy was Chinese, but now the manufacturing expertise developed in Kanbra and Sargodha provide valuable feedback to Beijing about the viability of the redesign. The PAF places tremendous pressure on the PLA Airforce on upgrading the aircraft to world class standards. The basic designs of the aircraft are taken from Russian prototypes, but the avionics, cockpits, and aerodynamics are provided by the PAF to the PLA Airforce. The joint ventures assist both countries in producing world class aircraft in record time.
J-10 b

 

In December 2008, rumors were rife of the J-10’s latest incarnation, the J-10B, had taken off for the first time. Now in April 2009, we see the initial leak of images for this plane. The J-10B appears as the next iteration of China’s vaunted 4th Generation fighter and looks to take the J-10 to the 4.5 Generation level.Grande Strategy

Why did Pakistan refuse the F-16s? There are three reasons for this location, location and location. The J-10s come with TOT (transfer of technology) while the F-16s come with stringent rules and regulations. The earthquake in Azad Kashmir allowed Pakistan a prefect opportunity to dump the F-16s and place an order for the J-10s also known as the FC-20s. Now, the time is near for receiving the FC-20s.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has shown a great deal of interest in the J-10 project as a possible substitute for Western combat aircraft for its high end requirements. The PAF, however, wanted a more modern version. Just as the FC-1s (and before the FC-1, the F-7s) were significantly upgraded due to the PAF’s push for improvements, the J-10 appears to be going through a similar phase. The reason for this is that the PAF has a far closer view of Western technologies and trends and thus can provide deeper insight than more insulated Chinese expertise. The J-10B in all likelihood has had major input from the PAF and is the FC-20 that the PAF has ordered. Grande Strategy

Is there a difference between the J-10s and the FC-20s. There is a world of difference. The Pakistan Airforce is one of the few Airforces in the world that flies Chinese and US equipment. The PAF has a lot of experience with F-86s Sabres, F-104s, and of course the F-16s. The Chinese have neither the experience nor the US equipment. Therefore it is very important for the PLA Airforce to partner with the PAF in designing and upgrading Russian designs. The PAF has been instrumental in helping the Chinese improve the basic deisgn of the FC-10s which emerged as the JF-17 Thunder. The PAFs role in improve the J-10s is recognized by the Chinese. The FC-20 is a vastly superior plane than the original J-10.

Chinese experts were observed giving exhaustive information on the J-10A to military delegations from Angola, Nigeria and Venezuela at the air show. Venezuela seemed most interested in the aircraft.

The first foreign buyer of the J-10A will be Pakistan, a source from the Chinese aviation industry said. In March, Pakistan’s Air Chief Marshall Tanvir MehmoodAhmed confirmed that a deal with China had been reached, and the aircraft would be delivered in 2014 and 2015. The version for Pakistan will be called the FC-20. UPI Asia. (Andrei Chang is editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, registered in Toronto, Canada. John Wu is a reporter for the same magazine.)

Pakistan-China friendship mapPakistan used the earthquake as the perfect opportunity to gently turn down the offer of 60 F-16s (block 50) to Pakistan and reduced the number of American planes to be purchased. The Pakistanis then further diversified the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). In Pakistani minds, the US is an unreliable arms supplier. Pakistan has suffered many times by American sanctions. President Musharraf and PAF head was invited to China to evaluate China’s latest toy, at the time, the J-10.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has shown a great deal of interest in the J-10 project as a possible substitute for Western combat aircraft for its high end requirements. The PAF, however, wanted a more modern version. Just as the FC-1s (and before the FC-1, the F-7s) were significantly upgraded due to the PAF’s push for improvements, the J-10 appears to be going through a similar phase. The reason for this is that the PAFhas a far closer view of Western technologies and trends and thus can provide deeper insight than more insulated Chinese expertise. The J-10B in all likelihood has had major input from the PAF and is the FC-20 that the PAF has ordered. Grande Strategy

Pakistan is in midst of building about 500 JF-17 Thunder fighters, probably the biggest build up of planes in the history of the world. This is one of the greatest achievements of the Pakistani government in the past 8 years. This project removes the Pakistani defense from the shackles of foreign government. One can argue about the comparison with 4thgeneration American state-of-the-art planes, but this much is clear—it was designed for Pakistan, and is being produced in Pakistan. Serious plans are underway to upgrade the plane to new levels.HongKong, China — China is aiming at a substantial share of the international market for third-generation fighter aircraft, with a particular eye on oil-rich third-world countries as part of its arms-for-oil strategy. This was evidenced by the high-profile display of its J-10A fighter at the 2008 Zhuhai Air Show last November.

China did have its own indigenous engine on display at the show, the Taihangturbofan engine, with a thrust power of 13,200 kilograms – although some experts say it is only 12,800 kilograms. The Taihang’s exterior design and modular structure, as well as the processing and polishing technologies of the core machine and engine blades, seem to be an improvement over China’s previous aviation engines, but it is still far behind similar systems from Russia and Western countries.

Pakistan, on the other hand, is not a traditional client of Russian aircraft. Therefore Russia allowed its engines to be used on the JF-17 fighters China is developing with Pakistan. The same arrangement may therefore hold for the J-10A. UPI Asia

India, which according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is supposed to be a friend of Pakistan and not an “enemy” has been meddling with the Chinese and the Russian deals on aircraft exports. Delhi unsuccessfully tried to halt the export of the Russian engines to Pakistan when it was manufacturing the JF-17 Thunders. Delhi failed to convince Moscow and Pakistan got the Russian engines. There is a Pakistani plan to upgrade the JF-17 Thunders with Chinese made engines ultimately manufactured in Pakistan.

The J-10B incorporates a new small ECM housing on the vertical stabilizer and this stabilizer also appears to be longer and ending in a “shark-fin”. The ECM housing is similar to the housing on the JF-17. The two ventral fins are also extended further and are larger irrespective of the shark-fin. The aerodynamic refinements of the longer vertical stabilizer and the ventral fins appear to be a result of the DSI intakes which create greater lateral forces on the aircraft.

The wide angle HUD featured on the J-11Bs seem to have also appeared on the J-10B. While it cannot be confirmed, it appears that the cockpit itself has been redesigned extensively. Other than the new ECM housing on the vertical stabilizer, new MAWs appear on the tail bump. Just below these, curious breaks appear on the fuselage that some observers are referring to as possible formation lights “slime lights”, but expert opinion from a Lockheed Martin source suggest that they are FLIR sensors. A redesigned satellite communication unit appears right behind the cockpit.

A retractable refueling probe is likely, given the development of the J-10 thus far, and is possibly located on the port side, not visible in the latest photographs. The photographs also suggest new under-wing pylons. These appear to be strengthened for a variety of possible uses, ranging from larger drop tanks to ASMs.

The engine is likely to be either a redesigned WS-10A (B?) or possibly the WS-15, a new generation engine currently in advanced development. This would not only have higher thrust than the AL-31s, but also feature TVCs, giving the J-10Bs vaunted agility an even greater boost. The actual engine on the aircraft presently on the released pictures, is the AL-31. Grande Strategy

Both China and Pakistan want to build the FC-20s with Chinese Engines and Pakistani technology on license from Europe. Thus the upgraded FC-20 will truly be a different plane than the original J-10.

The J-10A is currently equipped with Russian-made AL-31F aviation engines. It is unclear whether Russia will permit China to install these engines on its aircraft and then export them to Pakistan. Such a move would have not only economic but also political repercussions, considering that Pakistan’s rival, India, is a major purchaser of Russian arms.

For this reason, the export version of the J-10A fighter is still under design. Both the engine and the weapon systems on board will be different from the domestic version, according to the source from the Chinese aviation industry.UPI Asia.

India’s unnecessary interference in the JF-17 Thunder deal did not delay the design to manufacture of the Thunders. The first squadron of the Thunders was recently placed in combat operations in Peshawar Air base. While Bharat is purchasing $10 Billion worth of airplanes because it cannot produce its own, the Pakistanis are now in the forefront of aircraft development.

India has been using the Russian AL-31FP engine extensively in its fighter aircraft. If China exports large numbers of J-10P/FC-20 fighters outfitted withRussian engines to Pakistan, India will be much more concerned over this deal than with China’s earlier export of JF-17 2.5-generation fighters to Pakistan. As a third-generation combat aircraft, the J-10A will pose a real threat to the Indian Air Force.

With this concern, India sent a strong delegation to the Zhuhai Air Show to expand its contacts with the Chinese, led by its air chief of staff. The Indian Air Force’s aerobatics demonstration team also put on a performance at this event. UPI Asia

Curiosity killed the cat. The Bharati generals are curious about what Pakistan has been able to do with a basic Chinese design, and which to their chagrinthey have been unable to do with Russian equipment. Bharat’s LCA and Tejas fighters have been in development for the past two decades with no end in sight while the JF-17 Thunders have already been operationalized with a squadron ready for combat in Peshawar. 450 more are on the way.

At the Singapore Air Show earlier last year, Indian Air Chief Marshall Fali Homi Major had already carefully inspected the simulation cockpit of the JF-17, which is being jointly developed by China and Pakistan. His trip to Zhuhai was to examine the J-10A/ FC-20 fighter. UPI Asia

The Russian-Indian arms relationship has been in the doldrums, the victim of geopolitical wrangling as well as Russian reluctance to transfer technology to Delhi. The case of the Russian Aircraft Career is a classic lesson in a relationship that has gone sour. The Russians keep escalating the price of the carrier, the Indians keep complaining and there is no agreement on the delivery of the Admiral G.

In contrast to India’s increased interest in engaging with China, Russia sent a much smaller delegation than usual to Zhuhai. For the first time, Russia did not exhibit any combat aircraft or radar systems at the air show. Some representatives of Russian enterprises even cancelled their planned trips to China at the last minute.

Since China has achieved technological independence it does not bank on Russian planes or technology.

The J-10B incorporates a new small ECM housing on the vertical stabilizer and this stabilizer also appears to be longer and ending in a “shark-fin”. The ECM housing is similar to the housing on the JF-17. The two ventral fins are also extended further and are larger irrespective of the shark-fin. The aerodynamic refinements of the longer vertical stabilizer and the ventral fins appear to be a result of the DSI intakes which create greater lateral forces on the aircraft.

The wide angle HUD featured on the J-11Bs seem to have also appeared on the J-10B. While it cannot be confirmed, it appears that the cockpit itself has been redesigned extensively. Other than the new ECM housing on the vertical stabilizer, new MAWs appear on the tail bump. Just below these, curious breaks appear on the fuselage that some observers are referring to as possible formation lights “slime lights”, but expert opinion from a Lockheed Martin source suggest that they are FLIR sensors. A redesigned satellite communication unit appears right behind the cockpit.

A retractable refueling probe is likely, given the development of the J-10 thus far, and is possibly located on the port side, not visible in the latest photographs. The photographs also suggest new under-wing pylons. These appear to be strengthened for a variety of possible uses, ranging from larger drop tanks to ASMs.

The engine is likely to be either a redesigned WS-10A (B?) or possibly the WS-15, a new generation engine currently in advanced development. This would not only have higher thrust than the AL-31s, but also feature TVCs, giving the J-10Bs vaunted agility an even greater boost. The actual engine on the aircraft presently on the released pictures, is the AL-31.

Like the J-10S, a J-10BS is also eventually likely. This would be an advanced trainer with the 360 degree view similar to the J-10S. EW/Wild Weasel variants could also eventually be possible.Grande Strategy

Now reports are surfacing that China has been able to duplicate the SU-27, the most lethal bird in the air. The Chinese version of the Sukhoi SU-27 (Flanker) is now called the J-11. The Su-30MKI (another derivative of the SU-27), a heavy-class fighter, with the F-16C Block 50, F-16C Block 60, and F-18E/F aircraft is largely theoretical. The American Fighters belong to conceptually different fighter classes and have their own, preferential areas of combat employment. The F-18E/F version, owing to the F/A-18 basic design, features a more pronounced strike-mission capability, while in terms of dimensions, this aircraft is close to the Russian fighter.The basic price for the J-10A is about US$29.3 million, according to the Chinese source. Considering that China aims to sell this fighter primarily to oil-producing countries – and is prepared to trade it for oil and other natural resources – it could be an attractive option for such countries.

A general assessment of the export version of the J-10A fighter can concludethat its engine has less thrust than the F-16 Block 52, while its radar system is more or less on a par with the Zhuk-ME multifunction radar on the Russian MiG-28 SMT. This is because Russia’s Phazotron Design Bureau exported to China three sets of its Zemchung multiroleradar systems after 2001, allowing China to come up with its own version of the Zhuk-ME radar. This radar has a detection range of 120 kilometers for 5m2 aerial targets and can attack four targets in the air simultaneously.

 

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  1. May 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

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