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Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

(Source: Tom Demerly)
China Has Emerged as a Preeminent Global Strategic Super Power: What Does It Mean?
During the past five years China’s defense programs have not accelerated, they have increased by multiples into segments the Chinese had not previously been involved in. The introduction of a developmental aircraft carrier program, the fielding of an operational stealth fighter, the deployment of the world’s longest range ICBM and several new state-sponsored defense programs including tactical aircraft and helicopters intended specifically for export sale signal a parallel emergence of China’s global defense doctrine along with their dominant economic influence.

But what are China’s strategic and tactical air capabilities and, more importantly, what can we theorize about their intentions not only in Asia, but around the world?

China’s new defense and aerospace initiatives are a strategic necessity to provide foundational security for their rising economic influence globally.

Two years ago, in 2015 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked China as the number one economic superpower in the world. That year China surpassed the United States based upon the purchasing power parity of GDP indicator (gross domestic product). The IMF reported that China produced 17% of the world gross domestic product in 2014 passing the U.S. GDP of 16%. China’s increased global influence has inspired low and middle income countries to emulate China’s approach. These Chinese allies now engage in partially state-sponsored rapid economic growth including the Latin American countries, Brazil, Argentina and Columbia as it emerges from a protracted drug war. India and Pakistan are now also aligned with China on several significant defense and economic initiatives.

While the subject of China’s emerging military is vast, there are several standout defense aerospace programs that provide an insight into China’s global motives.

China’s Operational Stealth Fighter: The J-20
China’s Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter has just officially entered active service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF): “China’s latest J-20 stealth fighter has been officially commissioned into military service, Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian told global media in a September 28, 2017 press release on the Xinhua.net and the official state defense media website.

Analysts suggest the J-20 is likely a medium-long range interceptor roughly analogous to the interceptor role of legacy aircraft like Russia’s older MiG-25 Foxbat, albeit much more sophisticated, and comparable to a Gen. 5 fighter.

There have also been comparisons to the U.S. F-22 Raptor, although the F-22 has emerged in combat in Syria as a precision strike low-observable aircraft in addition to its air superiority role. Western observers have suggested the primary low-observable capability of the J-20 is from the front of the aircraft, but perhaps not at other aspects, suggesting the J-20 is optimized for the interceptor role at least initially.

At different times, both in 2016 and 2017, there were unconfirmed reports that China may sell the J-20 to Pakistan in what would be the first-ever sale of a stealth air superiority specific Gen 5 aircraft in the export market (the multinational F-35 is described as a multirole Joint Strike Fighter, not exclusively as an air superiority interceptor like the J-20 or the U.S. F-22, which has not been exported outside the U.S.

Given this and more information about the J-20 it can be reasonably suggested that this aircraft is intended primarily for defense of Chinese air space and, if exported, some of its border allies. Sharing air defense with friendly border countries makes sense since China shares a border with a staggering 14 different countries. The U.S. only borders 2.

China’s DF-41 ICBM: Global Strike Capability in World’s Longest Range ICBM.
Contrasting China’s regional defense initiative with its J-20 aircraft is the global nuclear strike capability of the Dongfeng-41 solid-fuel, portable launch platform Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

The Dongfeng-41 or DF-41 is an impressive and menacing missile system. It has the longest range of any ICBM in the world, surpassing the U.S. LGM-30 Minuteman III by a significant margin. Various sources quote the U.S. LGM-30 as having an approximate strike range of nearly 8,000 miles. But the Chinese and external analysts suggest the range of the DF-41 exceeds 9,000 miles.

Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

© China’s massive DF-41 ICBM has the longest range of any nuclear missile. (Photo: RT)

The DF-41 ICBM, developed beginning in late July, 2012, takes a page from Israeli ICBM development on their Jericho 3 ICBM by being so fast it is likely impossible to intercept. The DF-41 flies at Mach 25 or 19,000+ M.P.H. enabling it to strike nearly every target in the world in less than an hour.

Another advantage to the DF-41 ICBM system is its launch platform. As with many Russian systems, it is launched from a wheeled, mobile vehicle platform making its launchers difficult to track and target.

Finally, the DF-41 carries up to 12 large nuclear Multiple, Independently targeted Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads, increasing its effectiveness against multiple large, hardened targets and decreasing the ability to intercept it after re-entry into the atmosphere during its terminal attack phase.

By any measure the DF-41 ICBM with its stealthy, mobile launch platform, extremely long range, massive payload and very high speed position China as a preeminent global nuclear force with the attendant diplomatic might that capability wields.

The Shenyang J-31 Gyrfalcon: China’s Joint Strike Fighter?
The Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle or Gyrfalcon (or “FC-31 fifth Generation Multi-Purpose Medium Fighter”), is China’s second stealth fighter jet.

The first prototype of the aircraft performed its maiden flight on Oct 31, 2012, and made a public appearance on Nov. 12, 2014 at Zhuhai Airshow.

Gyrfalcon is China’s multirole, (claimed) low-observable tactical aircraft roughly analogous, in mission if not in capability, to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It is intended for export to partner nations, it boasts a supposed low-observable configuration, is slated to be built in a naval/aircraft carrier (although not STOVL) and is claimed to be able to perform both the precision strike and air-to-air role.

The aircraft may have had some teething problems in early development.

The vertical stabilizer configuration was completely reworked from early versions that seemed to mimic the twin tails of an F-22. The J-31 has since been seen in its newest version with a swept-back twin tail.

Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

© A new carrier-based variant of the developmental J-31 may be in the works. (Photo: O+Nil)

The latest version of the J-31 was seen last year on December 26, 2016, during its first flight: it was significantly re-worked, heavier (three tons more) and at least 20-inches longer than the early prototypes according to most sources.

The latest J-31 variant appears to be a more completely developed tactical aircraft with an Infra-red search and track ball passive sensor (IRST ball).

The wings have been re-worked into a claimed lower radar cross-section shape and new engines have been installed that provide greater thrust to compensate for the additional weight. The new engines are also smokeless, a significant tactical necessity. There are also claimed improvements to its search and targeting radar. Chinese officials and media have hinted at some sensor-fusion capability to hand-off targets to other aircraft and perhaps weapons assets, as with the F-35s capability to direct weapons. Perhaps the most significant claimed future capability project for 2019 is re-engining the J-31 with indigenous WS-19 turbofan engines, providing supercruise capability without afterburner. The U.S. F-22 has supercruise but the F-35 does not.

Finally, the J-31 Gyrfalcon is a twin-engine aircraft to the F-35s single engine.

The Chinese Aircraft Carrier Program: From Buying Used to Building at Home.
That China has even embarked on an aircraft carrier program speaks volumes about their future role in global security. Aircraft carriers are about power projection. They operate beyond a country’s borders to secure its interests around the world. While the idea of having a U.S. aircraft carrier on station anywhere in the world is normal, the deployment of Russia’s only carrier in support of operations in Syria made headlines. When Chinese carriers visit India, Africa and South America the impact will be significant.

China is not new to an aircraft carrier development program. Their research into aircraft carriers dates back to at least 1985. In November of 2016 the Chinese declared their completely refitted 67,500 ton ex-Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, a Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier built in Russia, as fully operational. It was re-commissioned the Liaoning (CV-16) type 001 aircraft carrier.

Most recently they have installed a new Z-8JH heavy rescue helicopter on board Liaoning expanding its role from power projection to humanitarian aid.

The Liaoning carries eight Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark multi-role tactical aircraft on board. They bear a strong resemblance to the Russian SU-27 aircraft family. Currently the J-15 launches using a ski-jump arrangement as with Russian and soon UK aircraft but at least one modified J-15 was photographed with a catapult bridle on its nose wheel for land-based testing of a new magnetic catapult system likely to be used on the next Chinese aircraft carrier, the yet-to-be-named CV-18, Type 002 aircraft carrier of entirely Chinese indigenous design to be built by the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai.

Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

© Chinese Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark aircraft on board the carrier Liaoning (CV-16). (Photo: Xinhua)

Chinese Gunships: A New Category for A New World Order.
On May 18, 2017 China’s new Z-19E attack helicopter built by the state-owned AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industry factory made its first public flight. State news agency Xinhua said the Z-19E is built for both the domestic and export market.

The Z-19E is the first modern helicopter gunship for the Chinese. It features the usual gunship mix of helmet-sight cued cannon mounted in winglet pods, missiles and rockets.

The aircraft uses a covered Fenestron-style internal tail rotor borrowed from the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin helicopter. The cockpit is armored and the crew seats are energy-absorbing for enhanced survivability.

The Z-19E will likely be an affordable alternative for countries not shopping from the United States or Russia for an import attack helicopter solution. This likely includes several potential customers on the African continent as well as Asia and South America.

Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

© The Z-19E is a cost-effective attack helicopter solution for export. (Photo: Reuters)

Chinese RPA’s, Already an Export Success with New Models Coming.
China has already sold remotely piloted aircraft, RPAs, to Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Their newest RPA, the CH-5 CaiHong (Rainbow) flew for the first time this summer on July 14 in Hebei Province.

Jane’s Defense quoted Shi Wen, chief engineer of the CH series RPAs, as saying that the CH-5 outperforms all Chinese RPAs when it comes to endurance and payload. “The UAV is as good as the US-made General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper: a hunter-killer drone often deemed by Western analysts as the best of its kind,” Wen claimed.

Also aiming for export buyers, China has boasted that the new CH-5 is “Less than half the cost” of the U.S. built General Atomics MQ-9 according to journalist Stephan Chin of the South China Morning Post. China claims the CH-5 can stay aloft for “up to two days” and is configured to carry up to 16 guided air-to-ground weapons.

Not for export is China’s secretive “Sharp Sword” stealth drone. The advanced jet-powered RPA is designed to carry a heavy weapons load of over two tons. It is 33-feet long with a wingspan of 44-feet.

Chinese Stealth Goes Operational, Carrier Program and Export Initiatives Accelerate

© The secretive Chinese Sharp Sword jet powered long range stealth drone is not for export. (Photo: Xinhua)

The Sharp Sword has more than a passing resemblance to the U.S. X-47B drone and the British Taranis UAV. Initially, analysts suggest the Sharp Sword will be used in the reconnaissance role over dense air defense networks along with maritime surveillance. Follow-on versions will be configured as first-strike weapons against heavily defended targets for a “first day of war” scenario. As with the U.S. jet-powered stealth drones there is planning for a carrier launched version also.

This is just a brief overview of some of China’s vast expansion in modern defense and aerospace projects for its domestic and newly expanding export market. Given China’s industrial capacity and new global economic dominance we are likely to see many more.

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Supacat Announces at DVD2018 That Its All Terrain Mobility Platform Will Be Upgraded

Supacat Announces at DVD2018 That Its All Terrain Mobility Platform Will Be Upgraded

Millbrook, Bedfordshire, the UK (BulgarianMilitary.com), 20 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: Supacat

The UK maker of high mobility vehicles, Supacat, has announced at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2018 exhibition a new programme, under which its All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP) will be modernized, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The original vehicle is still reliable, flexible and capable workhorse although it has been in service with the UK MOD, foreign militaries and other non-defence sectors since the early 1980s (more than 30 years).

Read more: The Procedures for the Bulgarian Land and Air Force Modernization Projects Start

“This is an exciting time for Supacat as we seek to harness the rapid advances in hybrid propulsion and autonomous technologies made over the last few years to enhance the capabilities of our products and team for the benefit of our defence and non-defence customers,” underlined the Engineering Director at Supacat Steve Austen

The modernization programme will include upgrading of the engine and drive train. A hybrid drive train will be integrated into the platform as well. For the purposes of developing the alternative drive solution Supacat are working together with the University of Exeter.

Read more: 21 BMP-2 Fighting Vehicles Upgraded for the Slovak Armed Forces

“The Knowledge Transfer Partnership is an exciting opportunity for us to use the latest academic research in industry to improve and modernize what is already a hugely successful vehicle. It is fantastic to work with a company like Supacat who have a huge wealth of experience and a really agile approach to engineering,” said Matthew Harvey of the University of Exeter comments.

The All Terrain Mobility Platform of Supacat is designed to carry a payload of 1600 kg. The Platform has already been successfully proven in lots of military and humanitarian missions in Canada, Malaysia, Afghanistan, the Gulf, the Falklands, Bosnia, and Kosovo. It can be transported within or underslung below a range of air platforms.

DVD is a biennial two-day Defence industry exhibition held at Millbrook Proving Ground. This year it has been scheduled to take place on 19th and 20th September 2018.

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Cyber and Electronic Warriors of the Future Will Be Trained at New Leonardo Facility

Cyber and Electronic Warriors of the Future Will Be Trained at New Leonardo Facility

ROME, Italy (BulgarianMilitary.com), 19 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: Leonardo

The global high-tech company and one of the key players in aerospace, defence and security Leonardo announced on Friday, 14 September 2018, that at a ceremony on the same day the UK’s Chief of Defence Intelligence Air Marshal Philip Osborn officially opened a new training facility of the company, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The new training facility will be used by Leonardo to train and educate technical specialists within the Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) domain. The company has in invested in that new training centre more than £2M in response to the growing market demand for training in the skills needed to operate in today’s electronics-driven battlespace.

Read more: Leonardo Unveiled Its BriteCloud 55-T for Military Transport Aircraft Protection

It shall be reminded that Lenorado has run a base in Lincoln since 2009, where UK Armed Forces based at the nearby Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington and visiting delegates from allied nations have been trained.

At the new Leonardo Academy facility, UK MoD personnel will be trained in protection of platforms against high-tech threat radar systems. In addition, the Academy will offer a range of domain knowledge modules that provide users with a structured course of education from overview to expert across the CEMA environment, some of which will be part of a Masters of Science (MSc) programme.

The Leonardo Academy in Lincoln will also host delegates from international allies, including Brazil and South Korea. Approximately 70% of the training is expected to be provided to international customers.

The company is quite well prepared to provide the mentioned types of training because it employs some of the best UK experts in CEMA and is one of the main suppliers of such technology to the UK Armed Forces. It shall be mentioned here that Leonardo provides more than 60% of the avionics needed for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft in service with the RAF and its allies, It also delivers protective equipment and support for the helicopter fleet of the UK.

Read more: Extra money for technical support or C-27J Spartan stays on the ground

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Technology of Sonardyne Selected by the USNSWC for Underwater Vehicle Testing Ground

Technology of Sonardyne Selected by the USNSWC for Underwater Vehicle Testing Ground

HOUSTON, Texas, the USA (BulgarianMilitary.com), 18 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: Sonardyne/The US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division’s SFOMF (South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility).

An underwater target tracking technology of the Houston-based company, Sonardyne Inc., has been selected by the US NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center), Carderock Division for use at its SFOMF (South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility), learned BulgarianMilitary.com

Read more: Lockheed Martin Will Provide up to 200+ eCASS Stations for the US Navy

The Carderock Division of the NSWC is located in Maryland. It is the research, engineering, modelling, and test centre for surface and undersea technologies of the U.S. Navy or “the force behind the fleet” as its motto is. It is the largest, most comprehensive organization of this type in the world. The Division is close to the Gulf Stream, due to which Carderock’s SFOMF ensures an important open ocean test environment for developing subsea systems and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) not only for the U.S. Navy, but also for the maritime industry as a whole.

Read more: The US Cyber Security Office Will be Supported by Booz Allen Hamilton for 5 Years

Therefore, for the purposes of supporting the above mentioned activities of the Centerk, Carderock Division has ordered the high accuracy Ranger 2 Ultra Short Baseline (USBL) acoustic tracking system of Sonardyne together with a GyroUSBL transceiver, Nano and Wideband Sub-Mini 6 Plus (WSM 6+) transponders as revealed by the company today.

Read more: The High-Speed USNS Carson City Is Tested on the Black Sea for Logistics Purposes

The Ranger 2 system is intended for accurate tracking of the underwater position of any subsea system or UUV. The system may track systems in shallow and deep water, near the surface and over very long ranges. With the help of Nano and WSM 6+ transponders, vehicles of any size may be accommodated.

The Ocean Engineer at the NSWC Matt Young commented, “During the tender process, Sonardyne’s Survey Support Group was able to provide us with performance predictions using their USBL System Error (USE) software tool. This service isn’t offered by anyone else and was invaluable when selecting the perfect system to suit our needs. The team was also forthcoming with information and technical details about Sonardyne’s products; no question was too much trouble to answer.”

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BAE Systems Introduced Its Innovative New Information Security and RMF Capability

BAE Systems Introduced Its Innovative New Information Security and RMF Capability

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland, the USA (BulgarianMilitary.com), 18 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: BAE Systems

Yesterday, 17 September 2018, BAE Systems introduced its innovative new information security and risk management framework (RMF) capability, Epiphany, at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland, the USA, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The VP and GM of BAE Systems’ Air Force Solutions business Pete Trainer underlined, “After just a few minutes of answering common organizational process questions, Epiphany can begin automating an organization’s most complex and time consuming processes, including the completion of detailed regulatory paperwork. The solution meets Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement security standards and is ready for use in stand-alone, cloud, or public facing environments.”

Read more: BAE Systems Is Developing Software Modelling Conflicts for DARPA

Epiphany is a highly configurable solution, which uses electronic workflows, centralized storage, and smart data optimization features for reducing the labour and documentation and putting enterprise data to work to solve agency challenges.

Epiphany is a process, as well as a secure information management solution capable of searching an organization’s historical data and completing automatically many standard compliance documents while safeguarding the processing, storing, and transmission of critical national security and weapon system information.

Read more: Thales, BAE Systems and CGI Team Up for the Needs of the UK Royal Navy

The detailed document repository of Epiphany stores all relevant project information for managing document version control, while tracking in real-time the status of all reviews and approvals. The framework of Epiphany is customizable and features an easy to use workflow guide for creating new process document templates. As soon as these user-generated templates are added to Epiphany’s library, the completion of future reports by using the new templates can also be automated through using its built-in smart data capabilities.

About BAE Systems

BAE Systems provides a wide range of solutions and services and thus enables militaries and governments to successfully carry out missions. The company offers large-scale systems engineering, integration, and sustainment services in the air, land, sea, space, and cyber secotrs.

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