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Friday, September 6, 2013

September Updates & Quick Thoughts on Super Hornet Block III

I did a poll not so long ago to decide which new blog article I was going to write and the winner was: China's Anti-Access Strategy: Submarines. I have not forgotten my promise and I'm working on it. The second most popular choice, the uncertain future of America's Raptors, will likely be posted sometime after the submarine article. However, I did just start my junior year at college so I don't have as much time for blogging as I did over the summer. I might not be able to publish articles as frequently for you guys depending on my work load, which is considerable at the moment. I"m an econ major with a planned computer science and politics double minor. I will still post articles on a regular basis but there will likely be a greater ratio of shorter opinion pieces to thorough research pieces such as the Pivot series of articles. Thank you for your continued patience.  

Quick Thoughts on Super Hornet Block III

As many of you know, Boeing's Block III Super Hornet demonstrator has been getting a lot of attention in the aviation community as of late. The Block III promises increased radar reduction measures, new more power engines, conformal fuel tanks, upgraded cockpit and displays, a laser missile warning system, and an internal IRST system. As you might expect, it did not take long for arguments calling for the elimination of the F-35C to surface (again) and supporters of the F-35C to rallied to its defense.

Frankly, I don't see the Super Hornet and F-35C as being mutually exclusive aircraft, neither does the US Navy. The US Navy is scheduled to order 290 F-35C aircraft which will serve alongside nearly 550 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The reality is, BOTH aircraft have their relative merits and the US Navy is more capable as a result of both aircraft being fielded. I'll go through my reasoning in the next segment of The Pivot series which is concerned with increasing naval capabilities in the Pacific. In the meantime, I recommend you give the Boeing media brief a quick look over:


  1. Hay Matt. (take your time Matt no rush at all study comes first)

    You might know this or you might not.

    The deal for the S35 has gone through and china will be receiving it's first set of SU35s in 2015 after Russia orders have been completed in 2014.

    The deal will be signed next year, the Russian manufacture are already putting planes into production line for china.

    China and Russia now discussing advance Radar and Missile combo for the airplane. Which is on top of the Su35 price tag.

    For 100 planes I gather China will be buying the rights to produce there own version and some engine technology transfer will accrue with those numbers.

    China was hell bent only on 24 su35, for 100 su35 Russia would have to give transfer technology, and china would have to paying good money$$$. At least engine part technology so they are not dependent on Russia for parts any more.

    One of many sources. & pretty much everyone I chatted to thinks the deals done.

    My thoughts why.

    Why Russia might sell this to China?

    -India has started doing reviews of all military purchases with Russia, and are trying to weed of Russian Tech.

    -India is not happy at all about having to send Jet engines to Russia to be repaired or key parts are only repaired by Russian parts.

    -France and India are starting to do parts for Russian Engines, most likely upsetting Russia.

    -Russia Struggling to Sell the Su35s in large numbers to any country. Only china will be able to buy 100 and maintain them.

    -Other Su35 or Su30 or Su27 sales are like 8 or 12 at most 24. IN other words no one has the money to buy the fighter jet and keep them running.

    1. Hey Stone. I did hear but I still think the sale is more beneficial to the Chinese than the Russians in many respects. Sukhoi wants to keep the production line open for the Su-35 for as long as possible but in many ways, its chief competitor has been itself (e.g.Su-27SKM, Su-30SM sales). China certainly has the money to spend on 100 Su-35's and it would make a great addition to their air force considering their current fleet of J-10's and J-11's is not impressive on a quality basis. It would also hedge against a potential setback in their 5th generation fighter program(s). If you don't mind me asking, what do you think of Abbott + Liberal victory? I'd imagine US-AUS ties will not be significantly affected.

    2. It will be even stronger, Abbott is a more conservative and wary when it comes to china.

      For example, it was the liberal party who brought up the option on Buying Nuclear Submarines from the USA, Under Tony Abbot as opposition, but I don't think it will happen.

      They drop that idea due to public backlash towards anything Nuclear. Both from Lib's, Labor and Greens. Most Liberals are against the Nuke Sub option as well.

      It's the Abbot government who wants to buy $2 billion worth of Drones from the USA.

      Also they are wanting to buy 100 F35. Even though our Air Force chief has said we don't need nor want 100. Due to the lack of Range. I think we might end up with about 48 personally and more F18

      So Abbott is very pro USA.

      As for China, don't understatement china capability to build quality fighter jets.

      Even the Russian who have seen the J10 and J11 up close are impressed in their quality, But then turned around a stated
      "I don't understand why china are having so many difficulties with there Jet engine programs"

      The J20 and J31 still have along way to go, they will have issues with their engines and avionics. I also would expect that one or two will crash as they start pushing the aircraft limits.

      It's hurting them without a 5th gen engine, all the testing they are doing will be cosmetic until the get one in them and start really pushing large test HR's. It's all about Hr's in the Air.

      As for the photo. It's a big leap frog step, from where they came from 10 yrs ago. Also don't forget the downloaded the hole F35 program as well and some of the F18 and F16 form Boeing as well.
      Even the USA doesn't know how much they got. All they where able to gather that the last file download was Huge.

    3. Its never a good idea to underestimate one's competitors but there are a number of problem areas beyond engine technology that remain problematic for China (including basic quality control).

      "'The J-11B program is in big trouble; the Chinese have lost a lot of aircraft in crashes,' said the U.S. source. 'They have also reached a technological plateau and need help going to the next step beyond the Su-27/J-11.'” -

      While its undeniable that the Chinese aerospace industry has made major gains over the last decade, there is still a lot that needs to happen before the catch up to Russia let alone the US. Much of what is publicly known or seen relates to the airframes themselves rather than the internal avionics, sensors, software, etc. Just because you can do fancy aerobatics clearly does not mean you can fight better. Countries have been building solid 4th generation air frames for more than three decades now, the modern software and internal systems/avionics are harder to master at this point. Thus far, the cited performance figures of Chinese indigenous fighter radars are on par with late 1980s to early 1990s era US fighter radar systems. In many ways, the number of aircraft rather than their individual quality is what makes the Chinese air force more formidable than most in the region.
      The reverse engineering is troubling but the US will continue to innovate and so long as the Chinese don't surpass the US in that regard the US will manage. (Although if Congress continues to cut R&D and send foreign born US college educated immigrants back to their country of origin we are going to have problems...)

    4. Good find on the article, i have not come across it before, but most of what is said i had already gathered.

      China is no way near where the USA is at. USA is about 15-20 years ahead of china in Aircraft design. lol it's that funny.

      I think this is the scale, this is Just my opinion. ( I might be wrong and a lot of ppl will disagree with it)
      USA- 20+ years ahead of China
      USA- 15-20 years Ahead of Russia
      USA- 10-15 years ahead of EU

      The USA has been Flying the F22 since 1990's, Russia is just now testing their T50 in 2013. that's a 20+ year head start.

      The 3 main companies in the USA are test 6th generation air craft which are flying, and most like designing a 7th gen aircraft in the works.

      I read somewhere that the USA has about 20+yrs worth of flight HR's compared to the rest of the world.

      The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier dose on average 16,000 hrs worth of f18 flight hrs per year. That's more than most country's.

      Yes, agree china are having huge issue with engines and fighter jets. Losing them in training accidents, their is also the issue weather china can learn from their mistakes and improve. Which some reports say they can not.

      For example: Apr 1st 2013, the Su27 crashes, while the plane was still hot form the fire, the PLAF said it was due to "pilot error" that caused the crash. (without doing investigation) Few months later they had to admit it was engine failure of the china built engines. But the PLAF did not accept that outcome.

      Your point about China Aerospace is good, but it also explain alot about their jet engine design. (point form)

      - Back in the late 1990 chines Aerospace program was put as a nation priority, china expanded their program and heavily funded it.
      -But what that also did, was lose a HUGE amounts off talented ppl form the their Jet engine programs.
      -They also spent big on education into rocket technology and other fields of the Aerospace program, which then drew all their talent into Rocket engines and manufacturing.
      -This has work to china's massive success. As they have proven to be a very capable aerospace program, that also had no help form western or eu partners. Even Russia did not help that much. So china takes all the credit.

      -So the effect of a very successful Aerospace program has cost the PLA their jet engine industry and a key reason why they have had huge issue. But that is one of many keys issue.

      -china can produce a high quality rocket booster and engines, but have issue with Jet engines, missile engines and helicopter engines.

      -Well Why?

      The Russia ask the same questions,(as i have mentioned before) the Usa make their conclusion and you and me are having this discussion with other ppl who also ask the question why?

      They pulled all their resources into Aerospace, thinking that they could buy/copy/revers engineer the tech.
      The chines culture has issue as well, struggling to try and fail and learn and innovate. (innovation in china is a Very Big ISSUE in china)
      China are really struggling to produce HQ parts, and they have been given access and technology, but they still struggle.
      Some say it's because the cut corners when manufacturing the Fins on the engines. They don't buy the right machines, instead build copy's at not the same quality, even when they are giving the license to build those machine.
      Their Quality control is a massive issue.

      IMO, it's a combination of all those things above.

      Is china a threat to the USA, No. Is china a threat to the region... well?

      Should the USA be worried... Always, can USA stop china, NO. It has a right to defend it's ppl from all threat's.

      Gee, I did it again, was only going to wright a quick response.

      lol, :-)

    5. forgot to add this, that just pop up

      shows the cockpit on the new range of fighter jets.

    6. lol, don't worry about it stone, I always like to hear what you have to say :D I would agree with most of your conclusions in regards to China's aerospace industry. What do you mean by can the US stop China though? Btw, nice cockpit photos, they look a lot like the F-22s.

    7. Containing of china, the USA is not going to be able to stop or slow china growth of it military and capability.

      Even with the Military sanctions they have come so far.

      I think 2015 to 2025 will be interesting to see how far and capable china defense force can be. Within this 10 year period china projected to have in service it's J20, (J31?), new J10 and new J15 in large numbers.

      But I got a theory that the J15 will have some new engines and upgrades at the same time the SU35s comes into service.

      I also expect with in that 10 year period we will see a chines Bomber. To be announced on Jan around the 10-15th.

      copy and past the link into the bar.

      It's will be interesting to see if china advances or stalls in it's technology. We could have 10 years of disasters out of china air-force. Or great success which cause major concern.

      Hard to say.

      Interesting time ahead.

      Matt continue with study that takes first priorty, spend some time in china, learn the language, make a few connections and travel abit. You have all the time in the world.

      Then become an expert about china work for a private company and make $$$$ per year as a think tank advisory.

      Anything is possible, in life. But focus on the study. Learn to isolate yourself with Facts and then make a conclusion, not Fox news view of china. ha... the world is different when you travel.

    8. From the US perspective, I don't think its not in our best interests to try contain China like we did to the USSR (especially from an economics perspective its just not plausible). China is not an enemy of the US but their not our "friend" but mutual interests, at least economic, exist. I think the US strategy aught to be one of military deterrence with political and soft power engagement. A lot will happen within the PLAAF within the next ten years I think an often uncovered area that is rapidly advancing is their developments in space. A stealth bomber, like the ones in the pics, with a similar role as the B-2 would be worrisome as it would grant them the ability to potentially attack the US mainland at least with tanker support. I'd imagine China will succeed on some fronts and fail or make minimal progress in others.

      I have considered working for a think tank and I think it would be cool but from what I've read many of people in think tanks have PHD's. I'm likely to get a masters but I don't think I could stand getting a PHD. I don't mind hard work its just much of what is taught in college seems incredibly arbitrary to me and I'd like to get out there and help my country in some way. Lol Fox news, I do watch them from time to time but only for the lolz :) Very true with regards to travel, I have traveled through Europe but not Asia at this point. I'll see what I can do.

  2. After I posted I seen this. So i just add this note to above.

    Bottom of the page no 435, the New J15 cockpit.

    >Even though it's the training simulator, it's the only photo i have seen that has been actually one I would think is real.

    :note it also looks very different from the Su35 and more western.

    So why are they buy SU35s, the reason,
    -variety of different technology.
    -Still china is lacking the confidence in their technology.
    -Su35 tech will help build up china hybrid technology (that's what I call it.)
    China tech
    China/Russia Tech
    China/USA tech (stolen)
    China/Russia/US Hybrid tech


    1. Interesting find. Its certainly possible that this is legit given that the US has had liquid crystal displays for more than a decade and its fairly standard now among new European and Russian fighter aircraft too. Rather than the display itself though, I think the software behind it is just as important. Its unclear if their software can provide sensor fusion and intigrate the sensors in a similar manner to US and Russian displays though (which we can't tell from pictures really).

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. As the new above stuff, you might want to have a read through this site.

      this page.

  3. Good luck with your studies Matt.