And from Ukraine drying as a gift
So, what did Roblin hook with? First of all, my opinion, which is quite original and contradictory at the same time.
It is worth agreeing with him on the part that China (China) is generally indebted to the USSR (USSR) in the sense that if it were not for the supply of our aircraft, then the Chinese Air Force would hardly represent such a significant force today.
The first sign was the MiG-15 (MiG-15) back in 1950. And then, why really, China just started copying our aircraft. For the first decent Chinese aircraft J-5, J-6 and J-7 are, in fact, cloned MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21.
Shameful? Not at all. These were cool machines, and the MiG-21 is still quite normally operated in a number of countries. Effectively, I would say. The Pakistanis will confirm if anything.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia sold to China the fourth generation Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker jets, powerful twin-engine aircraft with excellent super-maneuverability characteristics. ... Aviation Shenyang Aviation Corporation has developed three clones of the Flanker of the Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter - this is the J-11, as well as the carrier-based version of the J-15 Fling Shark and focused on performing strike missions J- sixteen".
Let's say not everything is so simple. The J-15 is a copy of the Su-33, but we did not sell or give it away. For the J-15, the Chinese should say thanks to the Ukrainians who sold the unfinished Varyag, together with it they donated not just two Su-33s from the ship's group, but also with all the documentation. So, for China, it became a matter of purely technology to arrange their copying.
Has the student surpassed his mentor?
Roblin cites research by British analyst Justin Bronk of the Royal United Service Institute, RUSI, London, United Kingdom, the oldest (since 1831) British defense think tank.
Bronk believes that "the student may have already surpassed his teacher." Argumentation? Naturally.
“... China, starting from the position of dependence on Russian aircraft and other military equipment, was able to create its own modern enterprises for the production of aircraft, instruments and weapons systems, which are superior in their capabilities to Russian ones ... China is increasing its technological gap from Russia in most areas related to the development of combat aircraft. Moreover, the Russian industry is unlikely to be able to recover the lost areas of competitive advantage. And the reason for this may be deep structural, production and budgetary problems compared to the situation in the Chinese defense sector. "
A bold statement, but you must admit that it also contains a grain of truth. The fact that China is exporting engines from Russia is for now. Many experts also use this word. Simply because China has almost everything to master the production of engines. And as soon as this "almost" is eliminated ...
In fact, China makes its own aircraft engines. Another question is that they are still much inferior to Russian ones in the main thing: in terms of service life and reliability. However, time is working for China. And it is quite possible that in a few years, alternative versions of the WS-10B and WS-15 engines will be able to catch up with their Russian counterparts.
And what about us with "Product 30"?
With weapons, too, Russia is ahead of its neighbor. But about avionics and other electronic components - yes, it's difficult to talk about. And it's not even about technology or hands. It's about money.
Russia in 2020 will spend $ 70 billion on defense, China - $ 190 billion.
Actually, that's the difference. Two and a half times.
Our rockets with Chinese microcircuits in their "brains"
Plus, do not forget how well-developed the electronics industry is in the PRC. And that our rockets fly with Chinese chips in their "brains", and not vice versa. And if necessary, communist China will very easily be able to exercise its advantage in industrial space and labor. By multiplying all this with technology, it will be very easy to ensure that China has total superiority.
Moreover, the Chinese really want to have all the best and most advanced. And not by buying for petrodollars, but by studying and producing at our facilities.
Peking Reverse Engineering
Yes, of course, reverse engineering (direct copying) and industrial espionage are the reality of the Chinese day today. However, if the resources and capabilities of intelligence allow it to be done - why not? Not everything can be bought today, which means - why not steal?
Once we sniffed contemptuously at Chinese cars, calling them more than derogatory. Today, a Chinese-made car has taken its place on the streets of cities around the world and even in Hollywood films. It is not easy to predict what will happen next, the plane is more complex, but Chinese water and not such stones can exude dust.
Of course, this does not mean that everything is unambiguously bad for us.
It is worth noting that not everything was copied by the Chinese. There are planes that are still beyond the reach of their neighbors such as Tu-160 and MiG-31. True, these are not Russian models either, so it's just good that we have them, and China doesn't have them.
But even those aircraft that are currently being built in Russia are in demand in the world. It is fighting. The PRC also participates in the world trade in aircraft, but they are more successful in drones and training vehicles, as they are cheaper.
However, one can agree with American and British experts in the sense that if China improves its engines to the level of Russia, then aircraft manufactured in China will be more attractive on the market, especially for those countries that cannot afford American, European and Russian aircraft. because of their price.
And there are more than enough such countries in the world.
And the Chinese military has something to interest representatives of colleagues from poorer, but ambitious states. Indeed, there are a number of points on which Chinese aircraft are ahead of Russian ones.
For example, the increased use of composite materials (composite materials). The Chinese are really great here. And reasonably, and in step with the times. The J-11B, J-11D and J-16 are all used very extensively in these aircraft. This, in turn, entails a reduction in the weight of the vehicle, which means the possibility of installing additional systems and weapons.
It is believed that these aircraft have already outstripped their prototype, the Su-27. The point is to catch up with the aircraft made on the basis of the Su-27 in Russia. It's not that easy. But the introduction of composite materials is a good step along the way.
Second: the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars. Here, China is also moving forward with leaps and bounds.
The Americans have been using active phased array radars on their fighters for nearly two decades. Russia says active phased array radars have finally begun to be installed on the stealthy Su-57 fighter and the MiG-35. However, many of the Su-35S produced do not have an active phased array radar. And while the state of work on the radar, which is planned to be installed on the Su-57 fighter, remains unclear.
Today, China is already routinely installing active phased array radars on J-11B / D, J-15 and J-16 fighters, as well as on the light single-engine J-10 and on the stealth J-20 fighter.
And the Chinese know how to keep their secrets
True, the Chinese radar with AFAR, let's say, is still little-known and classified. And the Chinese know how to keep their secrets. So how good the Chinese radar is, how confidently it detects the enemy and at what distance - while this information is not available to the masses. As well as information about how many (in percentage) PLA Air Force aircraft are already equipped with radars with AFAR.
But there is no doubt that they exist and work.
And if China is able (and there are no reasons to prevent this) to equip all its aircraft with new AFAR radars, this will definitely give the PLA Air Force an advantage over the Russian Air Force, where a certain number of aircraft of the latest designs are selectively equipped with new AFAR radars.
Of course, radar is one of the components of modern combat. The suppression of the radar station is an important combat moment, and here Russia is traditionally strong with its electronic warfare means, which is undeniable. So far, it is undeniable, but it is very difficult to compete with Russia here. But not impossible.
But in the field of other weapons, China is making progress, according to Roblin. In the past ten years, the PLA Air Force has received two very good missiles at its disposal. The first is the PL-2, which in terms of its characteristics is close to the American AIM120C missile, and surpasses the Russian R-77 missile in its range of action.
But the R-77 is, after all, 1994, the year it was put into service. So the comparison looks somewhat unprofitable.
However, China also has a second development, the PL-15 missile, which has an even longer range than the latest AIM-120D missile. The PL-15 rocket also has a dual thrust engine that allows it to reach speeds of up to 4M.
Nevertheless, both the R-77 and the AIM-120D are missiles of the last century. The fact that the PL-15 is superior to them is not surprising, since the American (1991) and Russian (1994) missiles are frankly outdated. It is not a great honor to outstrip rockets with nearly thirty years of service.
It makes sense to catch up and overtake Russia in such a competition not with the P-77, but, say, with the P-33 or the P-37M, of which there are not so many in the troops as we would like, but they exist and continue to come. But the range of these missiles (320 km) is a subject for conversation.
In general, the Chinese engineers still have work to do.
The next item will be fashionable stealth (Stealth Aircraft Technology).
Some experts today describe the Chinese Chengdu J-20 fighter as the first credible fifth-generation stealth fighter developed outside the United States.
Roblin in his article compares the J-20 to the F-22, saying that the Chinese fighter is inferior to the American aircraft in maneuverability. So be it. However, there are many parameters, according to which the Chinese plane will be head and shoulders above the Raptor. Deservedly, by the way, since the Raptor can be called whatever you want, but not - a successful aircraft.
In the article, Roblin cites very interesting statements from the report of the same Royal Joint Institute for Defense Research of Great Britain about the Su-57.
According to the British, the Su-57 will have an effective dispersion surface at least an order of magnitude greater than that of the F-35 and several orders of magnitude greater than that of the F-22. Therefore, it cannot be considered a worthy competitor to either the American F-22 or the Chinese J-20 as an aircraft designed to gain air superiority.
That is, British experts put the J-20 and F-22 much higher than the Su-57, which is definitely a compliment towards the Chinese fighter. Indeed, the Chinese military has spent a lot of money on the development of its stealth aircraft.
Another question is whether the J-20 is as good as a fifth generation fighter in terms of engines?
Of course, in China, work continues on the deck version of the J-31 Big Falcon, the brainchild of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, but it is difficult to say how successful this project will be.
Given the growing needs of naval carrier-based aircraft, the project is likely to be completed.
Modern military operations in the theory and practice of using aviation (especially in terms of work on ground targets) are increasingly based on the fact that dropping a large number of bombs on the target area is a less effective method than just one or two high-precision shells that destroy the target. However, so far, the large-scale use of high-precision (and very expensive) weapons associated with huge financial risks.
Recently, Russia has developed many options for high-precision guided weapons, but its stocks are limited, and therefore, in combat use in Syria, the Russian Aerospace Forces preferred to use unguided bombs and missiles.
Another problem is the limited accuracy of the Russian GLONASS satellite system, which is used for calculations and navigation. But if we compare GLONASS with its accuracy of 3 meters and "Beidou-3" with twice the accuracy - here, as they say, comments are unnecessary. And the number of high-precision missiles in China will be easily and naturally leveled by the low accuracy of their navigation system.
But - the road will be mastered by the one walking, and the issue with navigation can be resolved in the near future. Moreover, China's orbital constellation is growing day by day.
With regard to target designation systems, here Roblin is confident that Russian aircraft remained in the last century, using more complex and less accurate methods such as integrated guidance systems in the aircraft or the use of telecontrol operators in two-seater aircraft such as the Su-30 or Su-34.
The American and the British are confident that the Chinese electro-optical target designation system, which is now installed on the latest Chinese fighters, including the J-10, J-16, and J-20, has clear advantages over the Russian system.
In addition, China is developing and even exporting a range of high-precision missiles and bombs for deployment on combat drones.
Drones should be discussed separately.
With all due respect to fighters and bombers, more and more attention is paid to unmanned aerial vehicles. If only because the operation of these aircraft does not consume such a complex resource as pilots. UAVs are also cheaper, and the capabilities are no worse than those of normal aircraft. Therefore, it is quite natural that this direction will attract both attention and funds.
An unmanned vehicle (in the role of both shock and reconnaissance) is already becoming an indispensable assistant to the aircraft.
China is in perfect order with drones.
Over the past two decades, China has developed a wide range of both reconnaissance and strike drones, starting with the small and cheap CH-2 and Wing Loong, which have proven more than successful as they are actively exported. Next come the jet "Cloud Shadow", "Divine Eagle" capable of conducting strategic reconnaissance, the supersonic reconnaissance WZ-8.
And, if we consider the concept of using UAVs jointly and for the benefit of conventional air forces, then here China is noticeably ahead of many countries, including Russia, which does not have any attack UAVs at all.
Yes, it was announced the start of deliveries in 2021 in terms of some kind of attack drones, but their name was not even announced. Although the Russian Air Force has at its disposal a whole range of tactical reconnaissance vehicles that have proven themselves in Ukraine and Syria.
While the drone program in Russia may ultimately prove very fruitful, it continues to be surprising that China, Israel and Turkey today use and export a variety of combat drones, while Russian military counterparts do not yet have such weapons.
But unmanned aerial vehicles are only support for normal aircraft.
The student is not ahead of the teacher
Speaking about the advantage of Chinese planes over Russian ones, as it was said, in the style of “the student outdid the teacher,” here it is worth putting everything on the shelves.
1. Engines. So far, Russia is definitely ahead. 1-0
2. AFAR. In China, the program is easy and simple to implement, questions only in quality. 1-1
3. Composite materials. China is ahead. 1-2
4. Electronic warfare systems. Russia. 2-2
5. Armament. Russia. 3-2
6. Electronics. Target designation, avionics. China. 3-3
This list does not include precision weapons and stealth. It makes perfect sense. Because there is no reliable open data for an objective comparison of these parameters.
If we consider the situation in this (truthful) perspective, then the student (China) has not overtaken the teacher (Russia). Moreover, Russia retains its advantage in the area of more serious, in my opinion, divisions. But this does not mean that everything is beautiful and calm. The fact that China is following the path of the development of modern military technology and with huge leaps is an indisputable fact.
It is clear that Messrs. Roblin and Bronk wanted to hurt us with reason. But I think it didn't work out.
Yes, the American and British experts praised the Chinese with all the heart. But with us - not very well reasoned yet.
Although quite rightly pointed out our lag in certain types. It is what it is.
In addition, the Russian Air Force has another indisputable advantage over its Chinese counterparts: combat training received in Syria. And this is such a thing, you see, which gives a very significant advantage.
But this is just as temporary as China's lag.
And everything can turn out in the course of time exactly as the roblin and bronchial gentlemen would like.
And in order not to succeed ... It is necessary to constantly and very well remember those who breathe down our heads. And develop in the right direction.