Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chinese fighter designer compares J-15 to F/A-18 Hornet

My guess is that J-15 is probably more comparable to F/A-18C Hornet then F/A-18F super Hornet.
The chief designer of the Shenyang J-15 fighter has compared the aircraft to the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, and suggests that the developmental J-31 could one day serve aboard Chinese aircraft carriers.

In an interview with Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Chinese aircraft designer Sun Cong said that the J-15 is "generally close to the US F/A-18, reaching world class standards".

He adds that the J-15 could have a combat radius of over 1,000km (540nm) if powered by domestic engines. This comment could corroborate reports that the J-15s conducting flight tests aboard the aircraft carrier Liaoning are powered by Russia's Saturn AL-31F, and not the domestically produced Shenyang WS-10A.

For its part, in December 2012, the defence ministry said the J-15 is powered by the WS-10A. Industry observers, however, are dubious about this claim owing to Beijing's well-known struggles with jet engine technology.

In the interview, an abstract of which was published on China's defence ministry website, he said that developing the J-15 presented special challenges. Aside from a requirement to have equal "combat capability" to land-based aircraft, naval fighters must also have exceptional low speed performance for landing on a carrier deck.

In the version of the interview published on the People's Daily website, Sun said that he hoped the J-31 would become China's next carrier-borne fighter. This section of the interview was excluded from the version on the defence ministry's website.

Beijing's plans for the J-31 is unclear. It is uncertain whether it is designed as a competitor or complimentary type to the larger Chengdu J-20. A model resembling the J-31 was also shown in the AVIC hall during Airshow China in Zhuhai in November, which could suggest that Beijing seeks a foreign partner in the program.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

China's first solid-fuel rocket to debut before 2016

Since China already has all solid-fuel missiles in service, this new solid-fuel should not be too difficult.

China's first solid-fuel rocket Long March-11 is expected to make its first launch before 2016, a senior official of the rocket's designing institute said on Saturday.

Liang Xiaohong, deputy head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, said the rocket will be easy to operate and cost-efficient to launch. It can remain in storage for long period and reliably launch on short notice.

"The development of the Long March-11 will greatly improve China's capabilities to rapidly enter the space and meet the emergency launching demand in case of disasters and emergencies," he told Xinhua.

The Long March-11 rocket system consists of a solid-fuel rocket and a launching support system. It will apply China's largest solid-fuel rocket engine, he said.

China has made more than 160 launching of liquid-fuel rockets successfully but is yet to make breakthrough on the development of the solid-fuel rockets.