Wednesday, July 25, 2007

China SAC is researching anti-stealth UAV

One Blog on Chinese Internet one week before appeared an article written by an employee from the Technological Institute of AVIC I Aviation R&D Center. The content is a text record of a visiting in Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC). Now the article has been forced to be deleted just because several hidden projects were uncovered by the online text.

From the blog resource, it can be discovered that SAC is busy on the carrier-borne fighter technologies developing, designing the 5th generation fighter and even jointly developing strategic “anti-stealth” UAV, other than the manufacturing of J-8F/G and J-11 fighter.

SAC now is still improving the J-8II fighter. At present, J-8B/C/H have equipped with PL-11 air missile (a Russian missile copy, range from 20 to 22 km) to archive the look down/shoot down ability. SAC has produced J-8F with new air avionics to attack two objects simultaneously with PL-12 active radar missile (55 km). J-8G, an anti-radar variant, can perform a “wild weasel” task with YJ-91 active anti-radar missile. And JZ-8, the newest one of J-8 family, is modified with optical-electronic reconnaissance pods and surface-air datalink.

The blog said that the J-11B project is initiated in June 2002 and SAC is developing carrier-borne fighter J-15 from J-11B. But the design and production of landing hook, tail centrum shortening and folding wing are technical difficulties blocking J-15’s came out.

“Snowy Owl”, is a China’s fifth generation fighter project name firstly known by outside world. SAC’s fifth generation fighter is not beyond some analyzers’ prediction, such as triplane configuration with canard, low observation (RCS <0.3 square meter), Supersonic cruise and super mobility.

In SAC, the choice of foreplane arouses a drastic dispute. Some points sited the foreplane’s compromise to fighter stealth, which is summarized by U.S. After its research, SAC however accepted the eclectic stealth performance affected by canard configuration, because PLA Air Force has no necessary to keep a global air striking ability like U.S. Air Force.

SAC admitted the superiority of U.S F-22 and F-35, so it is carrying a Sino-Russia joint-project: “Supernal Hawk” strategic high Altitude and Long Endurance (HAE) Anti-Stealth UAV. The so-called anti-stealth UAV actually is an air-based bistatic radar warning system. “Supernal Hawk” UAV will probably coordinate with PLA “KJ-2000” AWACS or establish a warning network by 2-3 UAVs. The typical deployment method is to place one UAV forward on the high altitude above the west pacific to supervise the directions of Japan and Guam. The UAV can hold the height advantage to search F-22 or F-35. The location information of objects will passively transferred to rear AWACS or other UAV and then guide missile attack.

The handicaps of the project however are aeronautic design, long endurance turbofan engine and sensor. So SAC plans to get Russian’s engine technologies and aircraft design experience to satisfy large-scale Drone’s HAE performance. And the sensor of UAV will presumably be china-made large Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar with conformal Antenna.

In 2006 Zhuhai Airshow, SAC demonstrated a concept combat UAV model named “Dark Sword”. Now it has been clear that China is fairly active on UAV research area where the Chinese Aviation Industries can greatly reduce technology gap with western countries.

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