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Crisis and Russia ................................. 2 Under New Year Tree ......................... 20
SINCE 1997

Nikolay Laskov


Alexander Chernov


Vladimir Ilyin
The Russian President
MARKETING DIRECTOR Dmitry Medvedev Visits Salut .............. 8 Airshow China 2008 ........................... 22
Alexander Kiryanov


Nina Gusyakova


Dmitry Bykovskiy


Sergey Kovalski Vladimir Putin Visits

Tactical Missiles Corporation ............. 11
EDITOR J-10 «Tzianbin»:
Vladimir Karnozov
«the dragon» is ready to fight ............ 25

Vladimir Zhilinko


Alvina Kirillova
Sergey Velichkin


Anton Pavlov Ups & downs for United Aircraft ........ 12

ADA LCA light multipurpose fighter .... 34

Nikolay Laskov, Vladimir Karnozov, ITAR-TASS, HAL,

Chinese Ministry of Defence

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35 27
Vladimir Karnozov


After collapses in 1991 and 1998, the Russian economy was on the way of recovery for almost ten years, riding
on the back of rising oil and natural gas prices. Late last year the petrodollar income started contracting. This
poses a threat to Vladimir Putin’s grand plans on reinstalling Russia as a manufacturing nation. What is going
to happen to Russian aviation?

The world-wide financial crisis started in made in November, when the oil was selling for enterprise. The SAM.146 powers Sukhoi Superjet
autumn 2008, with liquidity problems hitting certain merely 34-38 dollars. The strategists calculated, 100 small commercial airliner. If not for the
North American banks. During the fourth quarter however, that, even at 50 dollar per barrel, the crisis and inflated banking interest rates, Saturn
of the past year it evolved into a global economy Russian economy will make losses. would never have gone back under government
downturn. Now, the crisis is taking its toll on The strategists have predicted a budget deficit control. This view is widely shared in the Russian
Russia’s power and capability. The country’s GDP this year, after a decade of profitable growth. The aviation community.
rose by 6% in 2008, against 7% in 2006-2007, years of 2009 and 2010 will be to be critical for the
reflecting poor results of the last quarter. This year Russian industrial enterprises and airlines. Some Addiction to petrodollars
GDP is expected to have no growth or even fall by of them will fly into bankruptcy or be devoured by Russia is as much dependant on export of
few percent. larger and more stable players. The Russian govern- fossil fuels and raw materials as the oil-rich Arabs,
The Russian power will continue to contract for ment has indicated that it is ready to buy stakes in Iran, Venezuela etc. Saudi Arabia holds the title of
awhile. In crisis environment, the world’s consump- private and mixed-capital companies provided they world’s largest oil exporter. Russia comes second.
tion of fossil fuels runs low. Manufacturers reduce operate in the strategic areas or carry substantial But Moscow takes the lead when it comes to a
production rates due to weak solvent demand. social function. This will increase state share in the grand total of raw material export, taking account of
They buy less energy and raw materials to feed economy, on the account of private capital. natural gas and minerals. Officially, the share of the
their plants and factories. Economists believe that In December 2008 Kremlin-controlled struc- fuel sector in the nation’s economy is given at some
Russian economy will go strong again after the tures increased their stake in NPO Saturn to over 30%. But some experts estimate that the share of
price of crude oil rises above 70 dollars per barrel. It 50%. It made the first case in the recent Russian “fossil fuel + raw materials” – based sector of the
will be doing more or less OK with the figure within history when privately-control aero engine manu- Russian economy is as large as 70%.
the corridor of 50-60. facturer went back from the private hands to the
When this story was written, the price was fluc- state control. Saturn makes D-30KP/KU turbo-
tuating between 37 and 45 dollars. That’s below the fans for Il-76TD/MD airlifters and Tu-154M airlin-
critical mark. And this reduces the amount of money ers, AL-55 non-reheated turbojets for Hindustan
at hand to support Russia’s ailing defense industrial Aeronautics HJT-36 trainers, cruise missile pro-
complex, military and civil aviation. pulsion systems, marine and industrial turbines.
Kremlin strategists working on the country’s The company hired much money for the PowerJet
2009 annual economy plan balanced it on the SAM.146 turbofan project undertaken jointly with
assumption that during the year a barrel of crude Snecma of France. But it ran out of funds in late
oil would sell at 50 dollar on average. There is some 2008. The government moved for rescue, provid-
hope their assumption may turn out right. It was ing money in exchange for a control stake in the

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

A good example of how issues with energy

resources can influence relations between great
powers and their collaborators is the natural
gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It took
Moscow and Kiev a whole month to come to terms,
with dead losses exceeding US dollar 5 billion for
Russia alone. Political damage to the relations
between Moscow and Western powers is difficult
to underestimate.
There has been bravado in the Kremlin-
controlled offices and the mass media about “sub-
stantial and growing” achievements of the current
administration in the deed of improving the national
economic system. Reality is darker. The Russian
economy remains strongly dependant on raw mate-
rial exports, which account for over 70% of hard
currency earnings. Volume of domestic manufactur-
ing stays low.
Little is produced in the home territory these
days. In contrast, the Soviet Union manufactured Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin and his Putin’s administration has tirelessly been sew-
almost everything locally. Home-made products ministers did not care much for downturn in domes- ing the network of oil and gas pipelines. This effort
provided the lion’s share of the Soviet Union’s own tic production of processed goods. And they had has not been purely economical; it has carried a
consumption. In fact, the Soviet people saw very had reasons for such an attitude. During Yeltsin’s political significance. New pipelines have been laid
few foreign-made products in the shops, with the term Russia’s sovereignty was threatened. The down to provide more links between the oil fields in
rear exemptions being Indian tea, Cuban sugar and Kremlin inhabitants were preoccupied with fighting Siberia and the consumers in Europe and Asia.
Egyptian fruits. separatists on all sides and doing other things to The Kremlin has made a few steps aimed at
All changed in the 1990s. Collapse of the keep Russia united. They succeeded, saving the strengthening Russian presence and influence on
communist-style command economy opened doors federal republic from a sort of collapse that hap- the global market for fossil fuels and the sources of
wide to foreign manufacturers. The Japanese came pened to the Soviet Union (and which had sparked energy in general. Putin’s administration made great
with their cars, the South Koreans with home appli- separatist movements in the largest of former efforts in Venezuela, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia
ances, Chinese with clothes and the Europeans Soviet Republics). and other oil-rich countries of the developing world.
with all sorts of machinery (save war machines) Economy-wise, Russia kept afloat by means The policy of befriending other oil exporters has
etc. Airbus and Boeing duly obliged Russian carri- of increasing oil and metal exports. Heavy taxes produced mixed results. However, it is certainly an
ers seeking modern, fuel-efficient and comfortable on exporters provided a stable flow of petrodollars achievement that, as of today, Moscow’s relations
airliners. Their number in the Russian fleet has into the state treasury. This helped Moscow raise with the above mentioned countries are best ever
exceeded 300 units (including 84 B737s, 16 B757s, a stable income in the hard currency. It was big in history.
76 A320s, 27 B767s and 12 B747s). enough to buy from the West what the nation was After fifteen years of “don’t bother me any
Not surprisingly, local output of commercial no longer producing at home. longer, my little brothers” policy towards Cuba and
airplanes, ships, machine tools, power units and Vladimir Putin continued Yeltsin’s policy and Syria, the Kremlin has recently chosen to resume
all other sorts of high-tech machinery dwarfed. In perfected it. He strengthened state control over the financial and military aid to Habana and Damascus.
some areas, such as super heavy trucks and high- industry, including large producers of fossil fuels and Conveniently positioned in terms geographical,
power gas turbines, Russian production ceased raw materials. At the same time, these companies Cuba and Syria are meant to serve as bases for
entirely. This was because the foreign competitors enjoyed favorable terms as far as business expan- Russian penetration into their neighborhood: the
offered a better combination of price, reliability, sion and technical renovation were concerned. Spanish-speaking America and the Muslim world
consumer qualities and after-sales support.
Today, it is difficult to name even few high-tech
areas where Russia has been keeping pace with
the US, European and Japanese manufacturers.
Perhaps the only exceptions are certain points in
defense, nuclear power and space. The leading
positions there have been kept with great difficulty.
Quite often, Russia’s leadership in a particular area
is due to the huge Soviet-time investments into
base science, technologies, development centers
and production sites.
Aviation is the area where Russia lost a lot in the
past fifteen years. To such an extent, that in some
key areas the Russian manufacturers needs huge
investments to regain competitive level. For instance,
the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) needs Rouble
500 billion to attain competitive level with the leading
western manufacturers by 2015. Of that total, Rouble
300 billion is required for development programs,
and 150 billion for technical renovation. As of this
time, government-approved programs allocate less
Tu-204 in CUBANA colors
than 30 million in the period of 2009-2010.


AutoVAZ in Togliatti (makes Lada and Kalina series

cars). Also, there is a tiny production of UAZ 4x4
vehicles in Ulianovsk. Moscow-based AZLK ceased
production completely; Izhevsk (Izh) and Nizhny
Novgorod (GAZ) dropped their legacy models in
favor of out-of-production Korean and US designs.
By car numbers, local production accounts
for less than 40% of total sales. By value, it is
less than 20%. In 2005 Russian arms vendor
Rosoboronexport assumed control over AutoVAZ
“so as to save it for the nation”. While the maker
continues afloat, the change of proprietor does not
seem to have brought feasible changes in Lada
The Russian government has been following
the situation in the automotive industry. But findings
have been rather upsetting. The national legacy cars
sector will invariably continue losing its positions to
foreign manufacturers. Furthermore, the open doors
policy attracted Chinese makers. They seem to have
been using Russia as a convenient testing range for
their cheap products.
The Kremlin tried to amend the situation by
offering global car manufacturers erect their plants
in the Russian territory, promising relaxed taxation
terms. A few Japanese and European makers seized
this opportunity. They opened “screwdriver assem-
bly workshops”, producing copies of “global model”
cars. Although these new workshops have created
some new jobs in Russia, they produced little effect
on the overall situation in the Russian automotive
industry and the inner market. And this could not
have been otherwise, since most of the car com-
ponents are imported (rather than made locally).
When the crisis hit, the Kremlin had a rude awak-
ening. Newly erected “screwdriver” factories did
not decrease the inner market dependence on the
outside world in the given area. With a substantial
drop in car sales in the late 2008, the newly erected
facilities had to stop working. Relatively low-rate,
“screwdriver”-based sort of in-house manufactur-
ing does not justify local production economically
in competition with ready-to-use cars assembled by
respectively. Besides, Syria and Cuba have some both Moscow and Tehran that, through expansion bigger plants abroad.
natural resources that need substantial investment of mutual trade and joint industrial undertaking,
to exploit. Moscow shows willingness to provide the two nations may lessen their dependence on A manufacturing nation
the requisite funds and technologies in return for the West. Russian and Iranian manufacturers would There is a growing understanding in the Russian
control over those resources. expand outlet for their products, thus enlarging their society and the corridors of power that the national
Despite a heavy pressure from the West insist- anchor markets. economic policy should be based on the notion
ing on Iran’s isolation, Moscow has been developing that Russia is a manufacturing nation. The country
relations with Tehran. This involves direct deliveries Automotive industry developed that way since the dawns of time.
of advanced rocketry (like the Thor-M1 surface- As it was mentioned above, the Russian manu- In the early Medieval, Slav swords and mails
to-air missiles – 29 launchers were shipped in facturing industry has been suffering from the were most desirable trophies for both European
2007-2008), and prolongation of license production transition from command to open-doors economy. and Asian invaders, including German knights and
rights for Russian designs such as armored vehicles Heavy and medium machinery and electronics have Mongolian cavalrymen. Better quality of Slav-made
and assault rifles. The two large oil exporters have been most affected. arms became apparent in 1240, when the army
not become close friends, thought. But they have Let us take automotive industry for illustration. of Novgorod (Rus strongest northern city) subse-
been improving coordination of their efforts on the Production of Russian legacy cars has halved. The quently crashed the elite of the Swedish (1240, the
global scene. There is a growing understanding in nation now has only one large maker in the form of Battle of the Neva River) and the German knights


YEAR 1917 October 1924 1928 1930 1933 1941 June

17500 combat
NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT 1109 326 1078 1581 3165
12100 training

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

Europeans for permanent residence. This helped and Germany. Stalin laid foundations of the Soviet
Russia master many of the then-advanced European military-industrial complex, which later evolved into
technologies. Although in somewhat smaller scale, the Russian defense-industrial complex. Whatever
this strategy was carried out by Peter’s successors. is being said and written today about Lenin and
As a result, the Imperial Russia kept pace with the Stalin, one fact remains undisputed: the communist
Western Europe on military technologies, including leaders succeeded in bringing the Russian industry
artillery and armored ship building. into a new quality level, sufficient enough to defend
There is a lot of evidence to that. Perhaps the USSR from its aggressive neighbors such as
the most illustrative is naval hardware: battle- Japan and Germany.
ships, armored cruisers and submarines. Warships When, in the late 1930s, the world went onto a
of these classes were constructed by domestic massive war, the Soviet Union emerged as a promi-
manufacturers to the standards corresponding to nent exporter of advanced war machines. Moscow
those in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and supplied fighters, bombers, tanks and cannons to
the United States. From time to time, the Russian Republican Spain, China, Czechoslovakia etc. The
Imperial Navy purchased new warships in other Soviet-made equipment fared well against that of
countries. The purpose was to assess them and, the Japanese in China and Mongolia, and against
if necessary, set up local production. But larger that of the Germans and Italians in Spain.
portion of newly made weapons was developed In particular, the popular Polikarpov I-16 was
domestically. Thus, Russia kept among world’s top the world’s first fighter to have retractable landing
five countries in advanced weaponry making and gears. Equipped by powerful M-25 radial piston
armed forces organization. engines (later replaced by more powerful M-62/63 –
Born in 1917, the world’s first Republic of the these motors were manufactured in Moscow, at the
Workers and Peasants had to fight enemies on enterprise now known as MMPP Salut), the I-16
all sides of its immense territory stretching from developed top speed of 450km/h, a record for its
The Baltic and Black Seas all the way to Pacific time. Strongly-built and agile, I-16 fighters won
waters. The new Kremlin inhabitants understood numerous air duels with contemporary Japanese,
early in their careers the importance of high- German and Italian designs.
tech, massive local production of military equip- In summer 1939 the Red Army aviation and
ment. Revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin launched armor units crashed numerically larger Japanese
GOELRO project calling for “total electrofication” expedition force in Mongolia. Japanese equipment
of the country. Thus, Lenin laid foundations of was outclassed by the Russian one. Suffering three
Russia’s next-generation economy. times larger losses and complete defeat in the
(1242, the Battle of the Chudskoe Lake). These In 1929 Josef Stalin launched the great indus- battlefield, the Japan made decision to maintain
great victories reflected the fact that Slav-made trialization campaign by adopting the Soviet Union’s peace with the Soviet Union for the next five years.
armor was stronger and lighter than that of the first Five Year Economic Plan. In four years that “Disproportioned” losses in 1939 made Tokyo
opponents. followed the Soviet industry assembled 4,289 new refrain from attacking the Soviet Union even when
In 1380 the Moscow-led army of the united aircraft, and 2952 more in 1933. The new indus- its strategic ally Germany had its forces fighting at
Russian duchies crashed numerically larger force of trial policy focused on erecting thousands of small, Moscow outskirts in winter 1941/1942.
the Golden Horde. Again, the Russians demonstrat- medium and large plants all over the country. When fascist Germany invaded Soviet Union
ed better quality of their armor. Besides, for defense Among others, aviation plants were erected in in June 1941, VVS RKKA (acronym for the Air
of cities and castles, the Russians used cannons. Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Komsomolsk-upon-Amur. To force of the Workers and Peasants Red Army) had
Their craftsmen went swiftly from light guns to this day these plants remain Russia’s largest pro- 17,500 combat aircraft. This number included 9,288
very heavy cannons (such as the Tsar Cannon, now ducers of fighter aircraft. fighters (of which about two thousand copies of
a Kremlin memorial). Artillery was something the In the 1930s, the Soviet Union developed brand-new MiG, LaGG and Yak types), 5,065 frontal
nomad invaders did not have. faster than any other country. In 1939 it became bombers (including 458 Pe-2 diving bombers),
The fall of Kazan (a khanate on the Volga River) the world’s third largest economy after the USA 2,147 heavy bombers, 611 close air support air-
to the army of Ivan IV the Terrible in 1556 led to
merging of the Russian and Tatar technologies. This
enabled Russia to capitalize on this unique blend of
European and Asian achievements in arms manu-
facturing techniques. And helped the tsar’s army
withstood heavy pressure on Eastern and Western
directions. In many ways, the Russian victories of
the time were due to the advanced blade and fire
weapons produced in the country.
In 1709 the Battle of Poltava saw Peter the
Great soldiers defeating Europe’s strongest army
of the time, that of Carl XXII of Sweden. This great
victory was preceded by Peter’s sustained efforts
on improving the structure of the Russian army and
industry by means of West-European “technology
insertions”. Since then Peter’s lasting legacy was
mobilizing Russian resources to complete on equal
terms with the West.
Under Peter the Great, Russia became an empire.
St. Petersburg attracted great many talented West


In 1990s the Russian government made Rouble

exchangeable. It was definitely a quantum leap in
the economy management. But this measure alone
did not save the national banking system from a
complete collapse in 1998. The most plausible
explanation of the 1998 events is that that the Urals
brand oil was selling for merely 7.8 dollars per
barrel, the lowest point in the recent history. In the
conditions of weak demand, Russian oil production
drops by 40%. It then ran at 6.2 million barrel daily,
making it just 8.3% of world’s production – the
export was 2.3 million, or 7.5% of OPEC capacity.
As the oil price grew again, the Russian finan-
cial system recovered. In 2000 the price went up to
planes (including 249 Il-2 armored attack aircraft) in 1991. Some experts, including then– Russian 30 dollars. This urged Russia rise its daily produc-
and 560 reconnaissance. prime-minister Egor Gaidar, believed that the sharp tion to 7.7 million barrels against Saudi Arabia’s 8.7
The bloody and vigorous war with the fas- fall of crude oil prices delivered a final blow to the million in 2002. This quickly stabilized the nation-
cist Germany 1941-1945 gave another boost to Soviet Union. Why and how did it happen? Gaidar al economy. During 2003-2007, Rouble to Euro
development of the Russian weapons school and has the answer. exchange rate was more or less stable, averaging at
production capability. The Soviet Union managed The 1973 war in the Middle East caused a sharp 35 (it floated between 33.33 and 37.83). During the
to produce more aircraft, tanks and cannons than rise in oil prices, from 1.9 dollar at the turn of the first three quarters of 2008 the exchange rate fluctu-
Germany. Despite heavy losses in 1941-1942, the century to 12 in 1974. This urged the Soviets to sell ated between 36 and 37. The US dollar was selling
Red Army’s might grew fast, surpassing that of the their “black gold” to the West for hard currency. The at 30.6 Roubles in September 2003. It dropped 27.7
invaders in 1943. Although the German industry market accepted the offer. In the period of 1971 to in 2005, and then steadily fell (2006 – mid 2008) to
was larger, the Soviet Union attained high produc- 1975 the daily production of oil in the Soviet Union the lowest point of 23.2 in July 2008.
tion rate of military equipment by increasing its rose from 7.6 million barrels (one million ton) to The International Monetary Fund commended
share to 65-68% of the total output. 9.9 million barrels (1.4 million ton). This enabled on the strong economic performance of the Russian
During the war, the Soviet Union manufactured the Kremlin not just stabilize the national economy economy, noting that it had been “not only to high
102,8 thousand tanks and self-propelled cannons – the Soviet Union launched massive investment oil prices”, but also “a good marco economic
against 65 thousands for Germany. The Soviet programs in the national defense and questionable management”. Was it just some flattery for the
aviation industry grew fast. In 1941 the industry “free-bee” programs on support of communist- Kremlin? Months after this comment came, the
had 466,4 thousand workers on about 80 plants, style political regimes in the developing world. period of Rouble’s stability ended. In October 2008,
including 174.4 thousand people employed on 24 the exchange rate to Euro came to 34.4 (reflect-
airframe and 7 aero engine plants. Daily produc- ing the relative rise of the dollar to Euro) and then
tion output exceeded 50 airplanes. In 1945 the skyrocketed to 41.63 at the year-end. The dollar
Soviet Aviation industry increased its labor force to also rose sharply, to 30 a the year-end and 33.5 in
640,213 and number of airframe plants to 34. January 2009.
After WW2 the Soviet Union’s might was only The main source of anti-crisis measures in
matched by that of the USA. Moscow even managed the Kremlin’s possession is so-called State Gold
to outdo Washington in space, by placing Sputnik and Hard Currency Reserves. In autumn 2008
into orbit in 1957 and making Yuri Gagarin first man the reserves rose to US dollar 600 billion. At the
in space in 1961. Only USSR and USA appeared end of the year the figure dropped to 430 billion
capable of development and series production of (no official explanation was given). “In recent
strategic bombers (the Tupolev Tu-95 and Tu-160 As time went on, Kremlin planners got used years it has become increasingly difficult to collect
versus B-52, B-1B and B-2) and intercontinental to these “extra funds”. They put together national and analyse meaningful data on Russian Federal
ballistic missiles with multiply warheads. In the economy development plans, taking for granted budget, and particularly the finances of Russian
last years of its existence the Soviet Union created smooth petrodollar flow into the state treasury. national defense, owing to a number of presenta-
through-deck aircraft carriers (other producers the The Soviet leaders mistook the behavior of the oil tional changes” – a good remark on Page 209 of the
USA and France only) and nuclear-powered subma- market. They allowed too much exposure of the Military Balance 2008 issued by the International
rines (US, France, UK and China only). national economics to the international market Institute for strategic studies (IISS, London).
Sometimes the high Soviet technologies outside their control. After a rise to 35-40 dollar per In late 2008 the Russian government made
became available to its friends and neighbors. barrel in the late 1979-early 1980, the oil prices fell decision to provide Rouble 5 trillion to major
During 1988-1992 the Indian Navy operated the from the peak of 50-60 to 15-17 dollars per barrel Russian banks so as to help Russian financial
Chakra, a nuclear submarine of the Project 670 in the late 1980s. The price then stabilized at this system survive the crisis. Four banks were named
type that previously served the Russian Navy as level for a decade. as primary receivers: Saving Bank, VTB, VEB and
the K-43. The Indian Navy acquired eight Tupolev The Soviet Union tried to keep its earnings high Gazprombank.
Tu-142 ASW aircraft sharing airframe and systems by increasing, in 1987-1989, the output to 12.6 mil- So far, none of prominent Russian banks
with the Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber. Next step is lion barrels daily or nearly 20% of the world’s total. went bankrupt. While executing a more careful
associated with the Project 971 nuclear subma- Export rose to 3.7 million barrels daily or 15% of approach to lending money than before the cri-
rine, Tu-22MR supersonic maritime reconnaissance OPEC capacity. Still, because of the low prices, the sis, the banks remain busy and afloat. Ups and
aircraft and the INS Vikramaditya through-deck flow of petrodollars came lower than expected. This downs with the Rouble do not seem to bother
aircraft carrier. caught Moscow off guard, and corrective action them much, since many deals are made in the
was not made. The oil-addicted industry did not “dollar+Euro” coordinates.
Oil trap timely curtail large-scale production of numerous Banks are fine; who is suffering? Let’s look
The pace of Russian technology development and expensive weaponry. This soon rendered the at the Index of Moscow MMVB exchange. It
slowed down with the collapse of the Soviet Union whole country a bankrupt. dropped from 1,600-1,800 points in early 2008
A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

down to some 600 in October – December 2008.

I then dropped tobelow 600 in January 2009.
The Russian exchange index went down by three
times, while the western counties registered drops
by one-third at maximum. This reflects the fact
that foreign and local investors have been pulling
their money out of the Russian economy. The lat-
ter is no longer “a point of growth”. The oil selling
at 45 dollars per barrel, at the level of 1980, the
Russian economy is of no interest. The investors
are likely to come back when the crisis is over and
the oil prices go up again. It is not expected before
2010-2011, though. tion (Rostechnologii). The new carrier, which is yet basket, further by 30-50%. (One dollar changed for
to be formed, may provide serious competition to 23.2 in July 2008, and for 31-33.5 in January 2009).
Forecast Aeroflot on both domestic and international routes. The weak Rouble would render export orders lucra-
Will Putin’s Russia follow the path of the While the Kremlin’s promises may sound well, tive for the industry. It increases competitiveness of
Soviet Union in similar circumstances? It remains will they be kept? At the end of the past year the the Russian products in the international market.
to be seen. There are signs that the attitude of the Russian government and banks gave the ailing Our prediction for 2009-2010 is the follow-
Russian decision makers and society to the issue manufacturers and airlines only a fraction of the ing one. We expect Russian aviation industry to
of “real” and “virtual” economics is starting to promised funds. This fact was acknowledged by execute a narrower focusing on well-selling legacy
change. The decision in favor of “real economy” Russian president Dmitry Medvedev on 10 January. products such as the Sukhoi Flanker series fighters,
development would entail a set of measures aimed When visiting MMPP Salut plant (Moscow-based Mil Mi-17 helicopters and Tupolev Tu-204 airliners.
at development of in-house manufacturing capabil- manufacturer producing AL-31F/FN and AI-222 Expected annual output is 40-50, 60-70 and 10-15
ity. One of the reasons is to lessen dependence on engines for Su-30MK/34 and Yak-130 warplanes), units respectively. At the same time, the schedules
the global market. he said the government works too slowly imple- of next-generation products will shift further into a
Today’s oil-based economy does not provide menting anti-crisis measures in the real economy. more distant future.
stability in the view of unpredictable behavior of He added that the current banking rates are not Explanation is that production cycle for a
the fossil fuel prices in the global marketplace. The affordable for companies of the heavy industries. certified aircraft, be it a Su-30MK, a Mi-17 or a
oil price dropped from 144.8 dollar per barrel (July Medvedev is certainly right. The Russian banks Tu-204, falls between 12 and 18 months. Pricing
2008) down to 34.4 (November 2008), more than offered the industry credits at 6-10% before the (manufacturing expenses, labor costs, customer
fourfold within four months! This fact gives evi- crisis and 16-20% after it hit. The latter is too value etc.) and price degradation over years of
dence of how unstable the global market can be. expensive for the manufacturing industry with long operational service are known or predictable.
The Kremlin has made some corrective actions. cycles, such as aircraft production. Banks will fund production of the tried products
It has pumped Rouble 5 trillion into the four lead- Critics say the Russian government unspoken since the risks involved are relatively low, and the
ing banks. It also provided support to a tiny group policy is to wait passively for the oil to get expensive time cycle is short enough. Newer products may
of airlines and industrial enterprises. On the eve of again, while providing restricted support to a nar- offer higher gains, but they imply higher risks and
the New Year Vladimir Putin said the government row circle of “real economy” companies. Russia’s longer return times. The latter is less acceptable in
is putting together a list of 300-400 strategically Central Bank is expected to purposely reduce value the conditions of liquidity shortage, market stag-
important and up to 1,500 socially important enter- of the national currency in relation to US Euro/dollar nation and instability.
prises. These will receive financial aid from the
Russian government and favorable credits from the
four leading banks. On 26 December the Russian
government issued the list with 290 enterprises on
it, including United Aircraft Corporation, RSK MiG
and KAPO.
Besides, the Russian government has pre-
pared draft of the law for State Weapons Order
2009-2011. Spending on national defense is going
to be increased, Putin said. Besides, the govern-
ment is ready to increase the share of state funding
in research-and-development projects that were
previously meant to have shared funding (Russian
government, export customer, investors, manufac-
turers’ own money). These measures shall support
the Russian military industrial complex suffering
from a system crisis.
The federal budget for 2009 provides govern-
mental air of Rouble 2.5 billion to airlines operating
“socially important routes”. Draft budget for 2010
is twice that amount. Which airlines may get the
money? Not clear yet. It is believed that a good
portion will go to OOO Aviakompania. This is a
newly established company that is accepting con-
trol over AirUnion, Atlant-Soyuz, GTK Rossiya and
Vladivostok Avia. The merger is controlled by Sergei
Chemezov’s Russian Technologies state corpora-

Alexander Velovich
Photos: Nikolay Laskov


n January 11, 2009 the Russian President Addressing the meeting, President Medvedev Secondly, what makes the situation even more

O Dmitry Medvedev visited Salut MMPP

(Moscow Machine-Building Production
Plant), got acquainted with manufacturing process
said: “As early as October, I gave a series
of instructions to the Government, which were
directed towards the systematic support for the
difficult, and what creates problems, is the fact that
most businesses have quite serious deficits in their
cash reserves. The interest rates on credit taken
of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines and sector during the global financial crisis. The have increased, and additional demands are made
chaired a meeting to discuss issues of stabilisation Government is working, those instructions are on companies to secure their credit against assets,
of the situation in real economy. The President being fulfilled, although, I must admit that at and other guarantees supporting the credit applica-
was accompanied by his Assistants, Deputy Prime the moment we are not in a position to say that tion. And all this, of course, has led to the decreased
Ministers and other Members of the Government, we have done all that is necessary. The imple- profitability of industry, and in many cases has led
the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed mentation of these measures is happening more simply to businesses operating at a loss.
Forces, the Mayor of Moscow, and heads of several slowly than we expected, and what is more impor- Thirdly, all these factors have made the situation
leading Russian banks. tant, more slowly than the current circumstances regarding the budget more difficult, and of course,
Salut is one of the leading Russian manufactur- require. I have just looked at the data: only 30% particularly in the regions. Practically everywhere
ers of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines. of what had been envisaged has been carried out, we forecast a decreased budgetary income. To sum
It was founded in 1912 and now produces AL-31F and parts of the instructions have extended the it up – it’s a complex situation. I should say that we
engines for the Su-27/30 family of fighter aircraft time by which they need to be completed. We did foresee this. This is wholly difficult time. The
as well as other products vital for national defence must get to grips with all of this, and take the main thing, that I wanted to speak about, is the fact
and energy industry. Salut was one of 295 enter- necessary measures to energise our work. that we must be swifter both in our actions, and in
prises defined by the government in December, Let me say that this is by no means a simple the answers we find to these problems. We have set
2008 as crucial for national economy and bound situation, the volume of industrial production in to work on passing the regulations and subordinate
to receive government’s support to overcome the the period October-December last year, on aver- legislation, but even here, many things are simply
global financial crisis. age, fell by more than 6% per month, compared taking an unforgivable length of time”.
with the same period in 2007. Of course, this was President Medvedev pointed out some posi-
Russian engine manufacturers included in the the result of the decrease not only in domestic tive factors of the current economical situation: “a
list of enterprises crucial for national economy demand, but also in the significant fall in export lowered price on raw materials and on components,
and bound to receive government’s support to prices which fell significantly in several different which in the long run are sure to give industry the
overcome the global financial crisis: Chernyshev production areas. In metallurgy there was a fall in ability to run a more flexible pricing policy. “Today,
MMP (Moscow), Klimov (St.Petersburg), Perm prices from 30 to 70%, in the machine building (and of course this is bad for our metallurgists,
Motors Plant (Perm), Salut MMPP (Moscow) sector the global market price fell from 20 to 60%. but nonetheless for companies such as “Salut” it
Saturn (Rybinsk), UMPO (Ufa). All this, of course, does nothing to make the situ- does have also a positive effect) the price of metals
ation more straightforward. is falling. But here we simply need to look at the

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

price offered to our consumers for the products. Of economy has been created as part of Government, reform”. These particular words may be regarded
course it should be accompanied by a fall in produc- comprising key industries and organisations, and it as a victory of Yury Eliseyev, the Salut Director
tion costs, which would be no bad thing. And, in had taken several most important decisions. General, who is reported to oppose the inclusion
the end, even on the background of a falling growth The President warned against reorganizations of his plant in an integrated engine-manufacturing
rate, we could see an increase in labour efficiency and reforms for purely the sake of reforms them- concern controlled by Russian Technologies cor-
in industry this year, irrespective of the very difficult selves in the difficult times of the financial crisis: “I poration. Salut still retains the status of a Federal
context”. The Russian President reminded that a am just drawing attention to the fact that our main State Unitary Enterprise. This year the Russian gov-
commission on increasing sustainable growth in the task is the protection of our production base, not ernment plans to provide RUR 300 billion (Russian
roubles) for credit guarantees for businesses, of
them one third is dedicated to the defence indus-
try complex.. However, the president remarked:
“All these credit procedures are very bureaucratic,
including in the banks themselves, where the time
it takes to make the agreement is simply endless”.
“Today it is simply unforgivable for the documents
to take so long to complete”, he added.
Prepayment for work on national defence
orders and on federal programmes was another
question discussed at the meeting. The president
stated: “The work on this is going extremely slowly,
everyone is complaining. Another theme that we
ought to consider – is what additional measures,
and mechanisms are needed in order to raise the
overall efficiency of the all steps we have taken
both in the budgetary-financial sphere and in the
support of the real economy”. The president urged
Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to take the issue
under his control and to implement changes to
administrative technology “adequate to the current
tasks before us, and which is fully focused on the
serious financial crisis”.

Emergency Medicine of Peace and War Time
means of immobilization for children and adults:
vacuum, folding, disposable

means of transportation
of injured and wounded persons

folding equipment and furniture for

- mobile medical systems
- autonomous tent camps
- mobile logistics systems

first aid and other kits

water purification systems


Build. 5A/2, Vozhdey Revolytsii str., Nizhny Novgorod, 603054, Russia
Tel/fax: +7 (831) 225-02-01, 225-03-33,
Alexander Velovich


n 15 January, 2009 the Russian Prime that in 2008 80 per cent of TMC’s revenues came financial trouble due to objective causes and

O Minister Vladimir Putin visited the head-

quarters of Tactical Missiles Corporation in
Korolev, near Moscow. Avoiding traffic jams, the
from export orders, and only 20 per cent – from
contracts from the Russian Armed Forces. Among
the leading customers Obnosov names India and
those which have constant difficulties because of
systematic poor management. Top manager of the
latter ones are likely to be easily replaced because
prime minister arrived at the TMC premises in a China, and recently Venesuela, Algeria and Vietnam the state still keeps them in the Federal property.
helicopter. He made a tour of the missile manufac- as well. This year the proportion of export and The government and the Central bank have
turing plant and then Putin chaired a meeting on domestic revenues is expected to change signifi- provided commercial banks with substantial
the measures of state support to enterprises of the cantly in favour of domestic orders. money to credit the real economy sector, how-
defence industry complex. Deputy Prime Ministers In December, 2008 the Russian government ever so far this money is scarcely reaching enter-
Sergey Ivanov, Igor Sechin and Alexei Kudrin, approved the list of 295 enterprises crucial for the prises because of very bureaucratic procedures of
the Minister of Economics Elvira Nabiullina, the national economy and bound to receive financial approving bank loans.
Russian Central Bank Vhairman Sergey Ignatyev support from the state. TMC, Almaz-Antey PVO The Prime Minister mentioned also the neces-
and over 30 other government officials, repre- Concern, United Aircraft Corporation, RAC MiG sity to continue investments in technology mod-
sentatives of financial institutions and director and other major defence industry enterprises are ernization of production plants as well as crucial
generals of Russian defence enterprises attended included in that list. research and development programmes. “We have
the meeting. Taxation preferences, state guarantees for bank to optimize federal defence task programmes and
TMC incorporates 19 enterprises develop- loans including writing off bank interest payments direct the saved money for completion and realiza-
ing and manufacturing missiles and other guided and direct loans from the Central bank of Russia tion of projects critical for upgrading the technol-
smart weapons for the Russian Air Force and the are among the measures considered to provide ogy level of our defence industry”, said Putin.
Navy. The situation at TMC corporation is typical support for the defence industry. The state budget Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
of Russia’s defence industry which incorporates figures for 2009-11 provide for RUR 100 billion for Alexei Kudrin confirmed that “optimization and
about 1,400 entreprisese employing over 1.5 mil- state loan guarantees, plus RUR 50 billion more for restructuring are needed, however, he warned that
lion people. Putin acknowledged that the economic subsidizing interest rate payments, anti-bankruptcy there would be no increase in the overall sum of
crisis has influenced the denece industry complex. measures and direct capital investments. R&D and production technology investment pro-
“Many enterprises of this segment have encoun- The Prime Minister stressed: “As I said more grams. So some of them could benefit only at the
tered delays of payments for shipped orders, than once, we have to thoroughly monitor the expense of the others.
their creditor’s debt has increased, they have met situation in the real economy sector, and literally in Indirectly acknowledging that so far restruc-
difficulties in getting bank loans”. Under these a day-by-day mode evaluate the efficiency of anti- turing of the defence industry has not brought
circumstances, “an adequate reaction of the state crisis measures which awe are working out in order anticipated results, the Prime Minister instructed to
is needed,” said the Prime Minister. to make, if needed, additional decisions in time speed up work on boosting efficiency of integrated
The Russian government plans to spend over and correct what has been already adopted and defence industry holdings. “What for have we
RUR 1 trillion (Russian roubles, about $30 billion planned”.Amendments to Russia’s Taxation Code formed them? We need to make them really com-
USD) for defence orders in 2009, and about RUR have been adopted to make easier procedures of petitive, and thus not only meet the requirements
4 billion in the years 2009-11. Putin believes that tax debts restructuring and providing investment of our Armed Forces, but also expand the export
this spending will allow the defence industry to tax loans. potential of Russia’s defence industry”. Detailed
survive in the crisis when orders from commercial The Prime Minister warned that the gov- strategy how to reach that objective has not been
sector have fallen significantly. Boris Obnosov says ernment will differentiate between enterprises in made public, though.


UPS & Vladimir Karnozov


Typescript of an interview with Alexey Fedorov, UAC president and
Chairman of Executive Board

– Please tell us about results of the past year. these new establishments by moving plants and in 2008. Preliminary calculations indicate that the
How restructuring of the Russian aviation industry design houses under control of these units and production output came to about Rouble 100 bil-
has been going? specializing them. lion, roughly the same figure we reported for 2007.
– In the past year we carried on with consistent “Combat Aviation” business unit will take into In the conditions of world-wide financial crisis, it is
efforts on reforming core business and enterprises shape during 2009. It will take after Sukhoi and not bad, at least in my view.
of our corporation. Let me remind you, the United MiG companies, by accepting control over their A special effort – perhaps not so visible one
Aircraft Corporation was established in 2006, in assets. Initial plan called for forming this structure yet – has been done in the sphere of renovation.
accordance with the decree of the president of the sometime later, with completion of the founding We have done a lot introducing new technologies,
Russian Federation. UAC strategy was approved in process in two years’ time. But life makes us go purchasing new equipment and installing it. Today,
February 2008. It postulates that the Corporation’s faster. We had to initiate the founding process in anyone of our plants has newly installed facilities,
structure shall have three new business units. the end of 2008. tooling, machines etc. This is something that
Initial plans allowed us three years to set them up As per UAC itself… it is up and running now, shall help us boost our competitiveness, improve
and running. But life makes us go faster. By the following completion of the founding process and manufacturing quality and reduce costs. Higher
end of 2008 the business units “Civil Aviation” and forming of the core team in the head office. By competitiveness shall enable UAC to hope for
“Transport Aviation” had been established. Now now, the core team has been formed. It enables larger orders in conditions of the modern market
we are doing some structural work to supplement us carry out all the functions that were prescribed dominated by western manufacturers.
for UAC by the presidential decree [dated February – How hard is it to restructure the Russian
2006] and charter documents. By far and large, aviation industry?
UAC has accepted the function of control over the – It is a hard work, indeed. The new system is
whole of Russian fixed wing aircraft manufacturing being created not from a clean sheet. Much rather,
industry. Besides, councils of directors have been it is being created on the base of what Russia
formed on all daughter companies. inherited from the Soviet Union. Foundations of
Corporate Strategy provided base for putting the Soviet aviation industry were laid down back
together plans of our subsidiaries. The Strategy in the 1930s. That time the Soviet Union erected a
was approved by UAC board of directors in the number of new plants, and these still remain larg-
beginning of 2008. It was then submitted to the est in the country. Those are the aviation plants
government for approval, and got it. The Strategy in Komsomolsk-upon-Amur, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk
lists aircraft models that UAC shall manufac- etc. Process of reforming this industry, changing
ture at its plants. It also gives exact figures for its structure and tuning it to the realities of the
production output. modern world is a very hard work that requires
So, the primary result of the past year is that determination, patience and managerial skills.
we laid firm foundations for our industry to start – How long will it take UAC to restructure the
functioning as a system. industry? And how much will it cost?
As we speak, I still do not have yet exact fig- – We need to invest over one billion dollars
ures for UAC operational results and performance into technical renovation of our enterprises. In

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

large part, investments go into development of

commercial aircraft production. More funds – in
order of several billion dollars – are needed for
development of new airplanes employing new
technologies. Related plans and programs are
supplemented by direct funding from the state
budget and by governmental measures meant
to help us raise funds on the financial market. I
believe that, despite the difficult situation in the
world’s economy, these plans and programs
will materialize.
We are working to enlarger production output
of our primary civilian product, the Tupolev Tu-204
narrow body airliner. Its assembly line is set in duced in the next ten to twenty years? Selection state budget allocations as primary source? Are
Ulianovsk. In the meanwhile, UAC is setting up of suitable models was quire serious. We took you also targeting private capital?
production of new-generation regional aircraft, into consideration the overall market situation, our – At this stage, state financing is, of course,
the An-148 in Voronezh and Superjet 100 in ability to penetrate certain markets in the global the primary source of funding for UAC. Our
Komsomolsk-upon-Amur. Next year we shall bring marketplace, development of new technologies. Strategy calls for three phases of company devel-
these new aircraft into the marketplace and hand Screening took time and was very serious. It was opment. The first one is anti-crisis management,
their first deliverable examples to airlines. Thus, rendered complete, though. it runs till 2010. At this stage the focus is on
with addition of those two models, our current Now, we simply cannot put on hold programs recovery of our plants and design houses. Later
product range will expand considerably. that are on the list approved by the government – on, in 2010-2011, we shall enter equity markets
There are important programs going on in the the list UAC submitted to government together through the mechanism of Initial Public Offering
military aviation. Development of the Su-35 and with its Strategy. We submitted it and won govern- (IPO). Since that time, we expect higher income
MiG-35 multirole fighters continues in full gear. mental approval. Today, we are all set to achieve of private investments into UAC programs. The
These new aircraft shall appear in the marketplace every target set before us by the President of Strategy also calls for the period of stabilization,
in near future. Russia and the Chairman of the Russian govern- from 2011 till 2015. Private capital is expected
Ulianovsk is selected for production of the ment. There is no alternative to this: we either to take the lead that time. Then, in 2015, we shall
Ilyushin Il-76 heavy air lifter in a much upgraded master new products or forget about the future of enter the period of profitable growth. Private capi-
version with modern avionics, onboard systems the Russian aviation. tal prevails over state investments, with minimiza-
and power plants. This aircraft is compliant to – How does our plan correspond to the general tion of the government’s role as investor. That time
all national and international requirements. It situation in the global aviation market? we will live on our own money and hired private
can operate with the Armed Forces and com- – The situation in the global aviation market is capital. To achieve this, UAC plans to employ vari-
mercial airlines. Ulianovsk-built Il-76s of this such that without development of new generation ous mechanisms and tools normally used for this
renewed version can fly around the world with- aircraft, without fulfillment of investment projects, purpose in the developed world. This period of
out restrictions, since they are compliant to all there is no chance to ensure future of the Russian time is expected to coincide with a rapid growth of
international regulations. industry. I do not exclude the very chance of intro- the international aviation market, both combat and
– These days, when people listen to the radio ducing corrections into our ongoing programs. civil aviation. Our goal is to get properly prepared
or watch TV, they hear about job cuts and eco- Changes that would reflect current economic situ- and, when it is high time for it, move forward and
nomic downturn. When I hear you it seems that ation as far as production volumes are concerned. capture a sizeable portion of the market.
UAC lives in another world, with plans for higher Markets are contracting right now. Seemingly, in – How confident are you when you speak
production output and introduction of new prod- the next two-three years there will be no solvent about chances of this great plan to come true? It is
ucts. Why is that so? demand for new aircraft. But understanding of difficult to image that it will come true today, in the
– If we do not launch new projects then there this reality does not eliminate the very need for conditions of world-wide financial crisis.
will be no future for the Russian aviation industry. us to create new products. So, we will introduce – Issues pertaining to financial support for
That’s why we have no choice but to continue with new products in the military sphere and in the our capability extension programs were discussed
all of our key projects. Corrections to our plans civil aviation. There is no doubt about that. It is at UAC council of directors on 30 December.
may take place, in terms of funding available for the only way for the Russian aviation industry to The council took place in the White House of the
a certain project. When UAC Strategy was being stay in business. Russian Government. It was chaired by the dep-
worked out, we thought it over very carefully. – You said that UAC has a requirement for uty chairman of the Russian government Sergei
Especially, what aircraft models should be pro- billions of dollars to be invested. Do you consider Ivanov. Council members gave their assessment


of the current situation in the industry, voiced their

ideas and plans for the future. They also discussed
issues pertaining to corrections to the mecha-
nisms of state support to the aviation industry.
By far and large, these mechanisms have been to
do with subsidizing banking interest rates (the gov-
ernment “slashes” interest rates on credits taken in
commercial banks). When these mechanisms were
introduced, it was taken for granted that UAC would
enjoy rather easy access to hired capital (there was
every indication to this). There were positive deci-
sions made by the council of VneshTorgBank (VTB),
as well as leadership of other large banks, including
the Savings Bank and VTB. However, at the end
of 2008, all changed. It happened that access to
affordable credit lines became more difficult. In
fact, the access was severely limited. Because of
this, we have not managed to make use of a large
portion of government-promised subsidies. In other
words, the state support, which had been promised,
was not actually rendered to us because we did not nisms, we shall be able to continue with technical programs. On the contrary, in 2009 we will create
manage to arrange enough credits. renovation of our core enterprises. Thus, we will be some new jobs. Surely, we will make steps to opti-
I believe that the mechanisms of state support able to increase production of our new airplanes. mize structure of our staff. There are too many of
shall change in this New Year of 2009. The volume My prediction is that the private capital will managers and auxiliary workers. At the same time,
of support may even stay the same, though. It is be reluctant to take part in the long-term aircraft we will increase numbers of those who actually
necessary to introduce special measures of state manufacturing programs. Because of the risks work in the shops. We will re-train people currently
insurance for the industry. We have applied to the that are high enough and the fact that capital employed in auxiliary areas.
government with respective initiatives. Today, the turnover time is rather long. Therefore, for us it – Perhaps re-training programs will address
state insurance becomes absolutely necessary. It is very important that the Government keeps vol- not only UAC staff, but also other industries. Are
is an irreplaceable tool in the conditions of manual umes of promised state support, while introducing there any signs that people from other industries
control over the economy – something we have changes timely into the mechanisms of state sup- seek for jobs in the aviation industry?
today, in the time of the crisis. We believe that, port and insurance. – Yes, there are indications for that. Figuratively
through successful employment of these mecha- – You said that, in the New Year, the volume speaking, UAC is a locomotive of a very large indus-
of state support would stay unchanged. What was try. About 100 thousand people are employed on
the level of that support in 2008? UAC enterprises. With all of our supply chain taken
– In the period of 2009-2010 a total of some into account, the number of jobs in the whole of
26-28 billion Rouble is allocated for us in a num- Russian aviation amounts to half a million. We
ber of Federal Target Programs. The lion’s share need new technologies, and, respectively, skilled
of the government funding goes to us along the personnel. In plain words, we need people who can
lines of the Federal Purpose Programs entitled see to newly installed equipment, to ensure that
“Development of civil aviation” and “Development this equipment works to capacity and in an effec-
of Military Industrial Complex”. I hope that the allo- tive way. After UAC was established and started
cations in these Programs will remain unchanged working on ramping up production, we began to
and that the money will actually be provided. feel shortage of skilled personnel. Our industrial
Aircraft manufacturing is one of the industries partners feel the same. They have also launched
that determine technical level of any large country restructuring process and invested a lot into new
and its defense capability. Because of the economic technologies and equipment. Our industrial part-
downturn the Russian government is considering ners feel shortage of skilled personnel, and so they
cuts in the state budget allocations for long-term execute programs on training and re-training of
investment programs. But I believe these cuts will their personnel, and invite professional people to
not apply to aviation-related allocations. take vacancies. All this requires a huge amount of
Besides, there is a hope that the above named work. We have agreed to join forces. We have pre-
Federal Programs will actually be revised for high- pared a list of measures that we would undertake
er volumes of state investment into the aviation jointly with our suppliers, including those on train-
industry. Current version of the Federal Program ing and re-training of aviation industry personnel.
“Development of Civil Aviation” expires in 2010. A – How does UAC product range look like? Does
newer version is being put together right now. We it differ much from the one that the Russian avia-
expect the renewed version of the Program to be tion industry had had before UAC was founded?
approved by the Russian government soon and put – Our product range was firmed up last year.
into force in 2011. We also hope that this new ver- What we had in the beginning was a collection of
sion would contain larger figures of state support all the models that our plants were manufacturing
for the aviation industry. at that time, plus those that our design houses
– Mass media reports on job cuts both in Russia were developing. Smaller half of these models
and abroad. Are you going to cut your staff? passed screening. Quite simply, the models that
– Unlike other industries, we plan neither cuts made the larger half did not have prospects for
to our staff, nor freezing or shelving of our key future. We focused on those models that had

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

some sales potential, those that could sell in the

open market, and those that were in demand with
our customers. It is still possible that UAC prod-
uct range changes somewhat, to reflect recent
changes in the global market for new aircraft
and in the view of the possibility that UAC joins
international alliances. We continue talking to
our European partners in EADS and also those in
Boeing of US. We are talking to the Indian aviation
industry. If we do join an international alliance,
some corrections to UAC production range may
become necessary.
– Does Russian industry lag behind the West in
high technologies? If so, how big is the gap? How
long will it take Russia to catch up with the West?
– In the sphere of combat aircraft, we are same
level with the world leaders. Sukhoi and MiG have
some fairly advanced models that meet expecta-
tions of our customers and compete successfully
on the international market. Roughly, we control
10-12% of the global market of frontline aviation.
New products are coming soon. They will further
increase our competitiveness and make it possible I do not want to abuse other plants by not Russian aviation industry take part in those pro-
to enlarge our market share, up to 15-16%. naming them here, but those that I mentioned grams as suppliers. That industry is wide spread in
The most problematic situation is with civil avia- above are the primary ones. They generate the terms geographical, with hundreds of enterprises
tion. There is certain technological gap here. We are lion’s share of our industry’s production output. located all over the vast territory of the Russian
planning to catch up with the West by 2015. We are They also work on new projects that UAC plans Federation. A large part of those have been inte-
going to do this by means of streamlining produc- to launch. grated into the Rostechnologii State Corporation
tion of the Superjet and selling it in large quantities – Cooperation with other industries. What sort (“Russian Technologies” headed by Sergei
world-wide. Not just the baseline model, the Superjet of influence do UAC activities produce on dwelling Chemezov). Recently, we have signed a frame-
100 that is undergoing flight trials. We put faith into points and towns where your plants are located? work cooperation agreement with Rostechnologii.
the MS-21, a new design in the class of narrow – All nine aircraft manufacturing plants that in You see… It does not make sense to develop
body commercial airliners. This airplane is meant to UAC structure are core enterprises for the cities aircraft manufacturing plants without develop-
make history. It shall be a real breakthrough for the they are situated. Some of these are situated in cit- ing their supply chain – plants that produce aero
Russian aviation industry. Certification of this new ies with population as large as one million or more, engines, avionics and all sorts of onboard systems.
product is scheduled for 2016. just to name Voronezh, Kazan and Novosibirsk. Developing only UAC plans is way to nowhere.
One more product with which we will be Those enterprises play important role in the eco- Rostechnologii has launched a huge effort on
positioning ourselves in the global marketplace nomic life of their home cities. There are other consolidation of enterprises in the supply chain, on
is a widebody short-to-medium haul airplane factories that are situated in smaller cities; they their technical renovation, on specialization of cer-
(ShFBSMS). Development of this aircraft goes on are largest industrial enterprises there. Cities that tain enterprises and creation of new products. New
in accordance with a governmental order. This house those factories cannot live without them aircraft types require modern engines, avionics
new design is still under development, it is taking economically. The plant in Komsomolsk-upon- and onboard systems. Only working hand-in-hand,
shape. It is an open question whether UAC will do Amur provides a good example. the United Aircraft Corporation and Rostechnologii
this project alone or in a global partnership. UAC is a head company on aircraft manufac- can both succeed. They can make Russian aviation
UAC plans to launch production of all of these turing programs. Great many enterprises of the a success story of this century.
new types by 2015. We believe UAC will be a
worthwhile player in the global market for com-
mercial airliners.
– Does UAC have points of growth? Where
are they?
– If we mean the places where production
of our new models is unfolding, then “yes”, UAC
does have “points of growth”. Sukhoi has plants in
Komsomolsk-upon-Amur and Novosibirsk where
Superjet production lines are being set up. Irkut
Corporation’s main production site in Irkutsk
installs new equipment and tooling for the MS-21.
Ulianovsk will make more aircraft, as we plan
expansion of the Tupolev Tu-204 family and com-
mencing production of the improved Il-76.
After the 70-seat Antonov An-148 is mas-
tered in Voronezh, the VASO plant in that city will
become the center of competence for regional
aviation. The plant in Kazan will remain the only
center in our country to make airplanes for the
Strategic Aviation.


Alexander Velovich

his year the Indian Air Force (IAF) will con- well as fitness and efficiency of the radar’s subsys- Mikhail Belyaev, test pilot of RAC MiG who was

T duct comparative flight tests of combat air-

craft participating in the MMRCA (Medium
MultiRole Combat Aircraft) tender for deliveries of
tems”. The Phazotron director general Vyacheslav
Tishchenko states that “the corporation will ensure
the demonstration of the MiG-35 in India”. “We also
at controls of the MiG-35 demonstrator together
with Nickolay Diorditsa during the test flights, com-
mented on the radar’s performance: “Already in
126 new fighters to the service. For the contract confirm that we are ready to transfer all key AESA first flights the radar had showed very good results.
with estimated value of $7-10 billion the MiG-35 technologies to our Indian partners”, he adds. We are confident of its great potential”.
competes with the F-16, F/A-18, Rafale, Typhoon
and Gripen. Aero India 2009 air show will take
place in February at the Yelahanka Indian Air Force
Base near the city of Bangalor. It is expected that
there all major participants of the MMRCA tender
will do their best to present most favourably the
aircraft offered to the IAF. Regarding the MMRCA
tender the IAF is known to be most interested in
technology transfers, and, in particular, technol-
ogy of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)
antenna for the airborne radar.
The first Russian AESA radar has been devel-
oped specifically for the MiG-35 by Phazotron-NIIR
corporation, which developed airborne radars for
many MiG fighters, including MiG-21, MiG-23,
MiG-25 and MiG-29. In early December, 2008
results of the recent phase of ground and flight
tests of the new Zhuk-AE radar were disclosed.
According to Phazotron-NIIR’s statement, “the radar
is functioning steadily in various modes, providing
detection and tracking of aerial and ground targets.
Ground and flight tests have proved correctness of
the radar’s concept and major design decisions, as

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

Prior to Aero India 2009 show we met with

Phazotron-NIIR corporation deputy director gen-
eral, chief designer of Zhuk-AE radar for the
MiG-35 Yuriy Nikolayevich Guskov. He told us
about the results achieved in the AESA flight
tests. The Zhuk-AE demonstration unit installed
in the MiG-35 prototype provides about 130-140
km detection range of a fighter-size target. With
beefing up the radar’s performance, in particu-
lar, increasing the number of transceivers in the
antenna array, it is planned to achieve 250-280
km detection range. This exceeds capabilities of
existing radars of heavy fighters.
The twin-seat MiG-35 program demonstrator
with 154 board number will fly to Bangalor. In
demo flights at the air show Indian pilots flying
board 154 will be able to familiarize themselves
with principal modes of the AESA radar: detection
and tracking of aerial targets head-on and tail-on
looking up and looking down as well as ground
mapping. The Zhuk-AE chief designer promises
that the Yelahanka air base and aircraft at the
static park of the air show will be seen on the
radar display.
While in the demo flights at the show the
crews will be joint Russian-Indian, in the tender
flight tests the IAF pilots will fly the MiG-35 by
themselves. One more MiG-35 prototype will be
provided to the IAF for tender flights tests. That
will be a derivative of the MiG-29K naval fighter
with which the new model has a high level of stan-
dardization. The flight test program will be highly
intense and versatile. Yuriy Guskiv comments: “We
are prepared for that, we have recent experience
of the flight tests of Kopyo radar for modernized
MiG-21s of the Indian Air Force. We know how
thoroughly the IAF conducts flight tests”. Yuri Guskov, General Designer Phazotron-NIIR Corporation
The MiG-35 can be delivered in single-seat
as well as twin-seat configurations, everything
depends on the customer’s requirements. Guskov applied the radar screen was absolutely blank, any previous radar. In spite of the fact that it
explains: “The single and twin-seat airframes are there were no aerial targets of chance to be seen. is a new radar, still in development, we did not
absolutely identical, even the cockpit canopies are But when the flight tests began, everything came have any failures as such. We keep an eye on the
the same. There is just one more big fuel tank in to normal. In the very first flight all five encoun- trancievers’ parameters, watch how they perform
the single-seater instead of the back cockpit. There ters with the target provided stable detection at in flight, communicate with Micran of Tomsk,
is no strict distinction between pilot and naviga- the predicted range”. the supplier of transceivers. Most of them stay
tor/weapons control officer in the twin-seater, Important conclusions can be made from as soldiers in the line of columns, all parameters
both pilots can fully control the aircraft and all its the results of the first test flights. Guskov says: remain unchanged. But some deviations occur, we
systems from either cockpit. There is a Russian “The AESA radar has high reliability, higher than analyze them”.
saying “one head is good, but two are better”.
Pilots give hints to each other, and help mutually
in flight. This is especially important while flying
demanding missions when much attention must
be paid to watching cockpit displays”.
Telling about the AESA flight tests which
went not without overcoming certain difficulties
the chief designer recalls: “The RAC MiG design-
ers had made a stake on us, and while there had
been no results, there was some tension. Some
high ranking program managers had doubts,
they said that maybe it would had been better to
seek co-operation with French or Israelis. Even
more so because at first we did not see any aerial
targets, even when switching on the radar on the
ground. The preparation position of the aircraft
on the airfield was in front of a hill that shadowed
the airspace, so in ground tests when power was


The chief designer adds: “We implemented transmitting power. In ordinary radar you could Russia has additional trump cards in the IAF
modular design that allows to extract a transceiver apply load to transmitter and just measure the tender. First, it is vast experience of military-
from the array just with a screwdriver, to check it output. And in AESA demonstrator there are 680 technical co-operation between our two countries.
with test equipment and, if needed, to substitute transmitting channels, and you have to measure Second, it is readiness to equal partnership on
with another one. This design approach was abso- the integral transmitting power. So new method- the basis of most modern technology transfer.
lutely right, it proved itself very well. Once we had ology is needed that would be able to determine Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Russia, said
a need to dismount some of the transceivers. So how the emission pattern is formed. The AESA during his visit to New Delhi in December 2008:
we were able to do that, to take some transceivers can have different transmitting and receiving beam “we count that together with our Indian colleagues
to the laboratory, verify their parameters in the patterns. You can emit in one direction and receive we will be able to offer new forms of co-operation:
evening, and the next day to take them back to from another. And now you understand that you these could be technology transfers, creating joint
the airfield, install in their places and continue the have an absolutely new instrument at hand, and venture production enterprises and other forms of
flight tests without interruption. Such design adds you have to learn how to use it”. partnerships beneficial to both sides”.
some weight, and our radar now weighs about 220 The Phazotron specialists feel deserved pride Recently Yuriy Guskov visited India and got
kg, but I consider that to be a justified trade-off for for the results achieved. Yuriy Guskov says: “When thoroughly acquainted with capabilities of the Indian
modularity and convenience of maintenance”. everything began to function, it gave a powerful electronic industry. He has opinion that it is ready
For radar developers a step to AESA is a quali- emotional impulse for all those involved in the to acquire and master industrial technologies of the
tatively new phase. Probably it can be compared program. There was no need to hurry up anybody, AESA radar, including those of monolithic integral
only with the introduction of jet engines instead of each person did best and worked with utmost chips (MIC), and Russia is ready to transfer these
piston ones. Yuriy Guskov recollects his feelings: intensity. And everybody felt joy. When I was technologies. And it is very important that the
“So the first Russian AESA is flying and perform- reporting the results of the first flight to our regu- indigenous Russian AESA Zhuk-AE radar has only
ing. At last it has happened. Still for me it was lar management meeting, I thanked everybody, indigenous components. At the same time British,
very unexpected when so many people began to and quite of a sudden those gathered burst with French and Swedish AESA manufacturers to some
congratulate us. Then I understood how impor- applauses. People had seen the results of many extent rely on American suppliers. And it is known
tant this event was. While there were no results, years of their work”. that Americans usually are reluctant to transfer to
some of the industry leaders reprimanded us. It Now Phazotron-NIIR together with the trans- anybody key defence technologies.
was hard to explain that it was an absolutely new ceiver developers, Micran JSC and Semiconductors It is important to mention that if Russia shared
radar, nothing of that kind had been ever tested in Research Institute, both of Tomsk, is refining technologies with India, it would not loose any of
Russia. If it were traditional transmitter-receiver- technologies of serial production of the AESA them. All that is being done to win the IAF tender,
antenna, such a radar could have been developed radar. Major tasks are to increase reliability and will be used to the benefit of Russia’s defence as
in half a year. And here, with AESA, every step was to decrease cost of transceivers. Guskov stresses: well. The MMRCA tender is of utmost importance to
made with difficulty. Just an easy example: how to “We can say that we have mastered the AESA Russia. The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,
measure sensitivity? It’s an easy task if you have technology. There were several critical positions speaking at the meeting of the Commission on
separate transmitter and receiver. Then you could there, and in course of research and development Military-Technical Co-operation, said: “Defence
apply a calibrated signal to the receiver’s input and program we had to solve these problems. And we export strengthens our reputation as one of the
just measure the sensitivity by noise coefficient. have done that. Now we are just clearing up some leading industrial powers of the world”. The head
But in AESA all amplifiers are inside the antenna! points, refining technology, expand its capabilities. of the Russian state stressed that “weapons export
And there are several hundreds of them, and their It is fortunate that we work with Micran of Tomsk is an important channel of income to the state bud-
sum provides the needed performance. So we as one team. And there was no blaming each other get”, and the significance of military-technical co-
had to measure sensitivity by substitution method even in the most difficult situations, and we had operation grows especially in the time of financial
with a horn antenna, comparing results with the some of those, no attempts to transfer responsi- crisis. Phazotron has made all than depends on
MiG-29K radar with ordinary slot antenna. Hence bility to a partner. We analyze the results of the the corporation to ensure Russia’s high chances
we had to develop relevant equipment that would development together, look for solutions, find in the competition with the leading combat aircraft
be able to verify every radar. It was the same with them and advance further”. manufacturers of the world.

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

850 show offs.

With 850 exhibitors at 2007, where will you be on show in 2009?

Dubai Airshow 2009

Leading the Aerospace Industry



Vladimir Karnozov


Speeches of Russian aviation industry leaders before Russian media representatives, 20 Dec. 2008

UAC and its subsidiaries invited prominent of 2009! I am amazed of what I have seen in this in the sphere of aircraft manufacturing and the air
Russian journalists and representatives of the museum today. Honestly, I had not expected that transportation system. I want you to remember
international media working in Moscow to “New there could be some good people among us who the passing year as a good one for the sphere in
Year tree” sort of event. It happened in the premises do not only grow their business, but also do this which we work, the sphere of aviation. As for the
of the Museum of Vehicles located west of Moscow wonderful, important work for next generations. New Year of 2009, let me wish that all of you here
city. Here is typescript of the speeches the Russian This is a great deed! There is much goodness in will have many good happenings in your life, so
aviation leaders made at this assembly. it, which makes our war veterans satisfied. Also, it that we would be proud of the profession we have
Alexey Fedorov, President, chairman of the pleases those who work in the sphere of aviation. chosen, and the job we have been having. I wish
Executive Board, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Hopefully, you will agree to me saying that the year that the family life will make us happy more often
Today, in this Museum of Vehicles, we have of 2008 – and we have assembled to say “goodbye” than dissatisfied. Well, from all of my heart, let me
assembled for a meeting of aircraft developers and to that year – was not easy for the aviation industry wish you all the best in the New Year! Please never
manufacturers with those people who create the and the airline industry. I think it is possible to say forget that we do have one thing in common, those
image of our industry, who write, take photos and with confidence that the next year is going to be of us who create new aircraft, who develop onboard
produce reports about the Russian aviation and our even more difficult, if not critical. At the same time, systems, who actually makes new aircraft, and who
Corporation. a lot has been done, many good happenings have write about aviation, who create public image of
Absolutely fantastic and remarkable this place occurred. I will not spend much time naming all our aviation. Good things to all of you, all the best
is! I am honored to be here with you today, to of the achievements we have had. Just one thing: in the New Year!
speak about our achievements in the passing year. this year some newly built Russian aircraft took to Mikhail Pogosyan, UAC first vice-president for
And to wish you every success in the New Year the air for the first time. Great changes occurred program coordination, general director of Sukhoi
The passing year was quite eventful. Most
important things that happened were the follow-
ing: the Sukhoi Superjet 100 prototype made its
maiden flight; the Su-35 fighter entered trials.
Those are most important, but not the only events
that happened. I want to draw your attention to,
perhaps, not so visible event as maiden flight of
a new aircraft, but still very much an important
event. We have improved mutual understanding of
the common goals that we, at UAC, have set before
us. We have been watching how, step by step, the
United Aircraft Corporation is gradually becoming a
workable team with good coordination and mutual
support. Not so long ago we were just a collec-
tion of independent companies, which were put
together on a list… that’s it, the UAC was formed

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

new step. Production rate at Ulianovsk factory is

reaching one airframe each month. It is, of course,
not something that makes us happy, but it is far
better that we used to have in not so distant past.
For us as a leasing company, it is important indeed.
Because our private investors trust us, they invest
their money into our aircraft acquisition and leas-
ing programs. These are investors that come from
Russia as well as other countries. The private capi-
tal stays with us. And all these good people come to
us prepared. They come prepared because of you,
the journalists who produce reports, who put into
light some bright things in aviation, and also not so
bright. For us who work in the financial sphere, who
see to sales of the domestic industry products, it is
very important. And it is certainly so because the
financial analytics and the airlines read every day
that come out in the press. That’s why they are well
prepared. I want to raise this glass to partnership
of the team that is assembled here today. In the
coming year, which is going to be not an easy one,
it is so important to keep trust and understanding
among us. Your experience and knowledge, your
vision of the situation, understanding of the issues
that our industry has, are important. I wish the New
Year to be beautiful to all of you. Let it make you all
happy! I wish you great holidays, so that you have
some rest and then come back with your batteries
recharged. So that, in the New Year, we would have
more power to fight for a better world. The world
that would see more Russian aircraft flying and
more airplanes coming out of assembly shops. Let
our production rates double and triple! I wish you
all every success in the New Year!

that way. Now, we are a team. UAC structure is

taking shape, with business units being formed
inside of it. I think that for those of us who work in
UAC, these changes and trends are very important.
This is a good indication that we have been moving
forward. I hope the passing year helped us become
more understandable to mass media. I think there
is a growing understanding between those who
work in aviation and those who report on the events
that happen in the sphere of aviation. I do not think
that it is necessary that we all think similarly. But
what we do need is feedback, so that we would
understand the situation better. We need feedback
so that we would apply the common sense when
analyzing chain of events. Let me say a word of
thanks to all journalists here present. I thank them
for the work they have done and for the attention
they have paid to us and our aviation. Secondly, I
would like to raise this glass to unity between us
and for understanding between us, those who work
in aviation, who make aircraft and whose, who
make reports covering aviation events. Aviation is
something we have in common. All the best to you
in the New Year!
Alexander Roubtsov, Ilyushin Finance Company
general director, UAC Executive Board member.
In the passing year we delivered a record num-
ber of airplanes to airline customers. Less than we
had planned, though. Still, one more step has been
made towards restoration of series production of
Russian commercial airplanes. UAC has made this


Vladimir Karnozov


hina’s aircraft industry is a rapidly grow-

C ing branch, gradually catching up (not

without Russia’s hand) with technical and
engineering lagging behind western countries.
The biggest country in the world with the popula-
tion of 1,3 bln releases today competitive fourth
generation fighters, places into orbit manned
spaceships and earth satellite vehicles, creates
regional passenger liners and unmanned flying
vehicles of different designation. Strong evidence
of China’s high level aircraft industry was shown
at the seventh aerospace show Airshow China. It
started November, 4 in Zhuhai airport Guangdong
The exhibition demonstrated that modern
China has achievements in the aerospace area it
can be proud of. “And should be”, – thinks party-
economic head of the country. Unlike the previ-
ous shows this one differed in the huge number
of high-ranking officials for Zhuhai. Suffice it to
say at the opening ceremony there were four
members from the Political bureau of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of China
(CC CPC). At the tribune Army, Air Force and
Navy Commanders of People’s Liberation Army
of China (PLAC) took their places near deputy
Prime-minister Zhang Dejiang and Minister of
defense Liang Guanglie. The Rostov Helicopter Production Complex (Rostvertol) signed a contract for the delivery of a
Mi-26TS helicopter, the best-selling helicopter in the world, to China at Airshow China 2008. A num-
In the presence of such respectable audi-
ber of documents connected with helicopter deliveries were also signed.
ence PLAC Air Force which presence at previous “This is the second contract for the delivery of Russian Mi-36 helicopters to China,” Rostvertol
exhibitions was formal showed its beauty. The general director Boris Slyusar told Interfax. “The first was signed in August 2006 for the leasing of a
pilots displayed the aircraft that had never been Mi-26 helicopter to a Chinese company for three years. Later, the Chinese company bought it outright.
shown before in public. We’ll give you the most We signed the transfer for it today too.”
important of the full-scale exhibits:

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

say if real fighter will come out of it or not”.

Today the same specialists say as one: “J-10 is
born”. Chinese military are very satisfied with the
vehicle. The project has thoroughly defended all
not small financial, manufacturing and intellec-
tual resources invested in it. Dragon can not only
fly perfectly. It can also successfully use guided
weapon in the training area – guided bombs with
optical or TV guidance, and also guided missiles
with radar head, television “eye” and infrared
eye. At their stands Chinese firms continuously
showed videos about work of J-10 crews at train-
ing areas.
Western sources say one hundred J-10s
have been built. Some Russian sources bring
this number to 300. According to the available
information our country hasn’t imported such
number of AL-31FN engines to China yet. But it’s
worth remember there is also Tai Hang Chinese
“clone” of AL-31F. J-10 was shown exactly with
this engine before the scrupulously selected
Zhang Dejiang, Chinese Vice-premier and Boris Slyusar, Rostvertol General Director journalists at the first official presentation of this
on Airshow China 2008 plane last winter.
According to the information available the
– Two J-10 light multifunctional fighters the whole equaled F-16 and MiG-29 level. Dragon work on the upgrade J-10 sometimes nominated
known as Dragon; pilot steadily showed difficult exercises on his Super-10 is on. Maybe this vehicle is being devel-
– Two J-8-II interceptors; vehicle unavailable to Chinese planes before. Small oped for Chinese Navy for flights from aircraft
– FBC-1 Attack aircraft (another designation deviation angles of the pressurized instrument carriers. Its difference is in using more power-
– FH-7A) known as Flying Leopard; section and careful operating afterburning brought ful engine – either AL-31FM2/3 or augmented
– Cargo tanker aircraft on the basis of the to the thought that Dragon pilot didn’t force out Tai Hang. There is also possible replacement of
H6K bomber (developed Soviet Tu-16); the vehicle. standard radar with slot array (worked out by
– Z-8K heavy lift helicopter (“cloned” French Two-three years ago foreign specialists told Chinese specialists on the basis of British, Italian
Super Frelon); me: “J-10 is still thing in itself, it’s difficult to and Israeli models delivered to China in 1990s,
– Z-9WE medium combat helicopters
(Chinese edit of Dolphin);
– Z-11W light helicopters (Equreuil /
Especially should be mentioned that the lat-
ter two were shown equipped with guided missile A famous British magazine Flight International fall bombs, H-6s are actively converted into cruise
weapon. published the Directory: World Air Force review missile carrier, tanker aircraft and EW aircraft.
Separately there was shown Mi-171 medium giving the numbers of the military aviation of all Its possible to suppose these vehicles will be in
transport helicopter. Though there were no expla- the countries in the world for mid-2008. For today service next decade.
nations of this vehicle, it is supposed to be the first this is the newest analysis of this subject. Though Today the main combat aircraft of the People’s
of this type manufactured in China (at the aircraft in this review (as well as in other publications of Republic of China tactical aviation is the Q-5
factory in Sichuan Province) using kit of parts pro- such kind) there is quite much inaccuracy and supersonic day-time light attack aircraft (deep
duced at the plant in Ulan-Ude. frank “information noise”, it gives quite good idea modernization of the MiG-19 tactical fighter made
To this impressive “composite squadron” of of the current aviation condition in different states. by Chinese specialists in early 1960s). There are
flying vehicles the industry added air prototype of And through some supplementary material it’s also about 500 aircraft of this type in service mainly
the L-15 supersonic operational trainer (based on possible to get information about the changes of the equipped with free-fall bombs and unguided air-
the Jak–130 with AI-222 augmented engines) and size of aviation in some states. to-surface missiles.
Modern Arc 600 turboprop air carrier (developed According to the review, the Chinese Air Force The J-7 tactical aircraft (the MiG-21) is the
An-24/MA60 with Canadian engines and American currently includes 120 H-6 strategic bombers most extended Chinese fighter produced in PRC in
avionics), that made its first flight in October 2008. (Tu-16 manufactured in China under Soviet license some modifications: day-time J-7-I and J-II (devel-
The demonstration flights began right after at the aviation plant in Harbin) and 250 H-5 tactical opment of the MiG-21F-13) and also all-weather
the greetings of the exhibition organizers and bombers (Chinese Il-28 modification). And if H-5 is J-III (MiG-21ML). On the whole PLAC Air Force has
Guangzhou governor. It was started by the new- an outdated one capable to carry only “iron” free- 392 J-7 aircraft of all modifications.
est J-10 fighter main exhibit of Sirshow China
2008 and the “face” of Chinese aircraft industry.
Manned by a combat pilot Dragon showed perfect
maneuverability and all that at 30 degrees heat
and high humidity. It didn’t show any breathtak-
ing exercises such as Pugachev’s cobra, hook or
tail-dive. It limited the show only to the classic
exercises – combat turns, low speed nose-up
pitch run. Judging by the demo flights turn rates
and momentary time-to-climb shown by J-10 on


Second in the number of China Air Force’s the rest are 4th generation vehicles (F-16, Csingo, and also experimental board radar unit Jemchug
vehicles is Su-27 type fighter. There are 151 Mirage2000-5). from Phazotron – NIIR corporation) for a new one
Su-27SK tactical aircraft and Su-30MK multifunc- In the nearest years, the Chinese Air Force with electronic scanning. Its construction is likely
tional two-seater fighters imported by Russia and will receive another 135 Su-27/J-11 aircraft, to use the technology given to Chinese partners
also 98 J-11 (Su-27 copy produced in PRC). Thus, some J-10 fighters and maybe FC-1 light fighters from Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of
on the whole China has 248 Su-27 aircraft and its (mainly manufactured for exporting). At the Instrument Design in the late 1990s, when experi-
modifications. It’s worthy to note that this is the same time all the H-5, Q-5, J-6 and partly J-7 mental copy of Pero aerial was sent to People’s
biggest group of Su-27s beyond Russia. aircraft of early year of manufacture are likely to be Republic of China.
The number of J-10 fighters (Chinese 4th gen- discarded. H-6 aircraft will stay as nuclear weapon
Having created a good J-10 lightweight
eration aircraft equipped with one AL-31F engine) carriers. Thus by the middle of the next decade the
is according to Flight International 140 vehicles. Chinese Air Force will number 1000-1100 combat fighter China is still not so good in developing
It is possible that in the nearest future J-10 will aircraft, about 50% of which will be modern “4” a heavy one. While the perspective vehicles are
become China’s main fighter instead of J-6 and Q-5 and “4+” generation vehicles. worked on hard, industry continues producing
1st generation vehicles. To solve EW tasks there are two Il-78 reequipped time-tested J-8-IIМ. At the posters of the con-
The number of J-8 interceptors (close to the aircraft at China’s disposal. In the short term the Air solidated corporation AVIC (created through the
Su-15 in their weight dimension characteristics Force will get also eight IL-78 cargo tanker aircraft. fusion of AVIC1 and AVIC2 before the very open-
and performance) has reduced a bit and now is The review doesn’t give any data about the number ing of Airshow China 2008) there was shown a
only 96 aircraft. The reduction is likely to have been of Chinese airborne early warning aircraft, though new upgraded modification of this veteran. Its
done through discarding early modifications J-8 it’s known that PRC works hard in this direction. tests will begin in one or two years. And while
and J-8-I. At the same time small-batch manufac- Military transport aviation of China has gradu-
the homeland industry is creating its own fourth
turing of J-8-II probably continues even today. ally reduced because of discarding numerous Li-2
Though, the reduction of J-6s (MiG-19) looks and Il-12 reciprocating military transport aircraft generation heavy fighter, China can continue buy-
most radical. If in 2001 there were 2800 vehicles manufactured in 1940-50s. An-2 not long ago in ing such kind of aircraft in Russia.
of this type (which made Chinese tactical aviation service with the Air Force also disappeared. As By the end of the second day of Airshow
almost the most numerous in the world), now, a result today PLAC military transport aviation China 2008 PLAC Air Forces commander general-
according to Flight International, there remained has quite modern flying stock consisting of 5 colonel Siui Tsilan appeared at Russian exhibition.
only 25 J-6 fighters. Boeing-737, 5 An-12, 83 An-26, 5 An-30, 27 Il-76 FGUP Rosoboronexport deputy CEO Aleksandr
And finally J-5 (MiG-17) 1st generation fighters (with another 30 having been ordered), 4 MA-60, 4 Mikheev met him. The commander attentive-
absolutely disappeared from the AF, having been Tu-154 (and another 9 in reserve) aircraft. ly examined the exhibits of Rosoboronexport,
manufactured in big amounts by Chinese aviation In the Air Force’s helicopter fleet there are 31 Vertolety Rossii, ANK Sukhoi, NPK Irkut, NPO
industry in the 1950-60s and also imported by the Mi-8/171 assault support helicopters and 7 SA321s.
Saturn, SPARK and UOMz. Telling him about the
Soviet Union to PRC. It’s worthy to mention that The training aircraft are represented by 170 new
still in 2001 there were more than 1700 J-5 tactical JL-8 (K-8), also 149 JJ-6 (two-seated operational main offers from Russian firms Mikheev espe-
fighters of different modifications in the PLAC Air trainer modification of J-6) and 39 JJ-7 (on the cially noted Mi-26 and Ka-52 helicopters, Be-200
Force combat and reserve units. basis of J-7) vehicles. amphibious plane and also SPARK equipment.
Thus there are currently 1770 combat aircraft On the strength of relatively small army aviation The most time Siui Tsilan spent near Sukhoi
in the PLAC AF, which is some times less than there are 3 Mi-6s, 198 Mi-8/17/171s, 22 S-70Cs, stand at the large-scale model of the newest
there used to be at the beginning of the decade. At and also 6 SA342s and 99 Z-11s, part of which is Su-35 4++ generation fighter. The PLAC Air
all this, the part of “4” and “4+” generation aircraft equipped with assault antitank weapon. As trainers Force commander asked Aleksander Mikheev and
complexes (Su-30MK, Su-27, J-11 and J-10) there used 22 HC-120 helicopters (with another 6 Sukhoi deputy director general Sergey Sergeev
makes 22%, 3rd generation aircraft (J-8) – 5%, ordered) and 48 Z-11s. one question after another. He asked about Su-35
2nd generation (J-7) – 22% and 1st generation Obviously the weak point of Chinese Air Force
combat capabilities, operational range with full
(H-5, H-6, J-6 and Q-5) – 51% . is practically full absence of specialized attack
To compare, according to the Flight International, helicopters. combat load, targeting complex and munition
today the Russian Air Force numbers more than PRC naval aviation has 30 H-6 missile bomb- stockpile. Siui Tsilan highly estimated combat
1900 combat aircraft, US Air Force– more than ers, 150 H-5 torpedo bombers, 23 Su-30MKK and capabilities and aircraft specifications but at all
2300 (and 390 in reserve). And Indian Air Force (the MK-2 (another 50 have been ordered) multifunc- this he pointed out to Russian guests that J-10
second Asian nuclear power) numbers 740 combat tional fighters, 98 J-6 fighters, 30 J-7s, 124 J-8s flies not worse than Su aircraft and also China
aircraft, 23% of which are “4” and “4+” generation and 100 Q-5 attack aircraft. Despite that the Navy has “something” from perspective researches.
vehicles (Su-30 MKI, MiG-29 and Mirage2000), disposes 20 newest JH-7 bomber-fighters, which The secret of Chinese success is simple.
47% – 3rd generation (Jaguar, MiG-23 and MiG-27) Flight International on some reason put into the Monthly average salary of workers and engineers
and 30% – thoroughly modernized 2nd generation training aircraft category. varies from 200 to 300 US dollars which is much
fighters (MiG-21 bison). There are 53 Su-39MKI in Despite that Chinese Navy disposes a Jak-42
less than in Russia and gradually less than in
the Indian AF. Another 177 aircraft of this type will cargo aircraft and helicopter inventory including
be imported in the nearest future. 3 AS-565s, 8 Ka-28s, 8 Mi-8s, 3 SA365s and 19 Western countries. At all this it’s quite possible
The main potential rival of China is Taiwan Z-9Cs. to live on it in People’s Republic of China using
which Air Force numbers 484 combat aircraft, 45% The substantial negative side of naval aviation is the advantages of socialistic state structure. In
of which are “2+” generation fighters (F-5E/E), and absolute absence of antisubmarine aircraft. the 1960s-70s China founded the basis of its
own aircraft industry school. It was reserved in
the 80s and was forced at the end of the century.
Today the country is strong on its way to indus-
trialization and economic cooperation with global
companies which gives money to the treasury
and makes possible mass investment into aircraft
industry. At first the main work was concentrated
in “cloning” good foreign models. But gradu-
ally Chinese are coming to its own “free art”.
Patience and labor peculiar for Chinese turn the
question of reaching world aircraft manufacturing
heights into the question of time and maybe not
so long.

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

Vladimir Ilyin


«In the summer of 2007 a Chinese J-10 fighter mentioned that by the middle of 1980-ies Chinese the Chinese authorities that a considerable push is
“Tzianbin-10”, created on Israeli Lavi basis with Peoples Republic had Air Force though almost required which would at least substantially reduce
Russian engines АL-31FN, managed to shoot the most numerous in the world but outdated. if not eliminate the gap between CPR and the USA,
down an American multipurpose fighter of the 5th The front-line aviation НОАК consisted of several and Western Europe in the sphere of military avia-
generation F-22 Raptor above the Taiwan Strait. thousands of fighters of the 1st generation MiG-17 tion construction. And this push was only possible
During the incident subflight Su-30 blocked other (J-5) and MiG-19 (J-6), and also fighter-bombers with foreign technical assistance.
American Air Force aircraft off the “Feathered Q-5, slightly «diluted» with two – three hundreds In the middle of 1980-s Ministry of Defense and
Raptor”. The shot down Raptor fell down the of a bit more modern (but, nevertheless, hope- Central Military Committee CDC of CPR decided to
continental part of China and after that was taken lessly outdated as well) J-7 planes (variations of stop working at «Tzian-9» fighter. This project,
to pieces “for spare parts” by the locals. And the «MiG-21F-13») and J-8 (increased double-engine still being under development, was accepted out-
successfully catapulted F-22 pilot was “quietly” – «clone» of the same MiG-21). All the equipment dated and prospectless. Instead, main efforts were
by mutual consent of the parties – sent by the correlated at best with the technology and concept concentrated on a new project – «Tzian-10», that
Chinese to the American Command…». of the early 1960-ies and couldn’t stand up with was thought to be created on J-9 interceptor tech-
This message as well as other ones of the kind modern foreign aircraft systems. nological basis, that started being developed as
appeared in the mass media and in the Internet in CPR started attempts to create own, purely far back as 1964. This single-engine 13 ton plane,
the autumn of 2008, having caused great anxiety Chinese fighter as far back as late 1950-s, i.e. made upon the scheme «duck» and designed for
in aviation related circles. Chinese aircraft industry almost right after aircraft industry establishment М 2.5, represented a Chinese version of Sweden
was traditionally discussed as something inferior and production start of the first Chinese series Saab JА.37 «Viggen» with a number of solutions
and ineffective, incapable of manufacturing battle fighters «Tzian-5» (MiG-17). But the only true borrowed from the Soviet MiG-23. However, J-10
planes that can compete with those produced by success in the sphere could be considered J-8 had Israeli roots as well (the Chinese were not so
USA or European aircraft industry. Now a number interceptor development in 1970-ies that was an confused with “the 5th item” of the questionnaire
of commentators have radically changed their enlarged double-engine version of the very same as their Soviet colleagues then).
point of view evaluating Chinese fighters as almost MiG-21. Since 1960-s China worked at designing It should be mentioned, that by the early
the best in the world, being capable of shooting of a most ambitious J-9 fighter project, based on 1980-ies Israel aircraft industry level increased
down the newest American “invisibles” of the Russian and (less) European technologies, and considerably compared to 1950-s, when the indus-
5th generation. So, we’ll try to figure out what also accomplished considerable modernization of try started literary from nothing. That was due
«Tzian-10» (the very plane that is said to have J-8 fighter (later on resulting in J-8-II occurrence, to high professionalism of people employed in
shot down F-22A) actually is and to what extent it also comprising a number of 3rd generation MiGs aircraft construction (a lot of Israeli engineers
is dangerous to American “Raptors” (and not only elements). However, considering their general used to work in European, American and Soviet
to them)? properties these planes were way behind MiG-29, aircraft construction industry), as well as due to
An image of any armament system has F-16, «Mirage»2000 and other aircrafts of the 4th the experience, accumulated at constructing quite
a reflection of the time when it was created. generation that had already been in series produc- a successful for its time «Kfir» plane on the basis
Speaking about J-10 manufacturing it should be tion by that time. It was more and more obvious for of French «Mirage»5 fighter. All the abovemen-


battle action radius of the plane that actually was

suitable for the Israeli having the neighbouring
Syria as a basic potential rival.
The fighter detailed engineering was started
in October 1982, and on December, 31, 1986 on
Israeli aircraft construction company IAI flight-test
base the first flight of «Lavi’s» prototype took
place. The aircraft was piloted by a famous test
pilot Menahim Shmul. The first Shmul’s flight was
followed by others, after a year the second plane
was ready, five more experimental aircrafts were
being built, and also a series of 300 fighters was
being prepared with supply start in 1990. However,
on August, 30, 1987 Israel Cabinet voted 12 votes
«for» and 11 «against» and closed the program.
The reasoning mentioned trivial budget difficulties,
but everybody understood that «Lavi» was merely
tioned enabled the Israeli to start solving a more weapon of ”air-to-surface”» and “air-to-air” type. sacrificed to the economical interests of the USA:
complicated problem that is the construction of The plane was equipped with single engine American corporations, producing F-16 и F/А-18
a battle plane of completely unborrowed design, Pratt-and-Whithey PW1120 (with thrust 8440 kilo- fighters, felt in the «novice» potential threat to
that would eliminate Israeli Air Force dependence gauss on experimental samples and 9200 kilo- their interests in international weaponry market,
on foreign aircraft supply. The new fighter, which gauss – on series aircrafts), providing maximum and «Lavi» was to a great extent developed on
was named «Lavi» («Lionet»), was designed for speed for «Lavi» that is М=1.85. The engine was American money sent to Israel as financial aid...
striking tasks (immediate aircraft support and created on the basis of the turbojet engine F100, Program shutdown actually put an end to
battle field isolation), as well as for fighting air being smaller and lighter. PW1120 series produc- Israeli pilot-controlled military aircraft engineering.
supremacy together with more powerful planes of tion was to be organized in Israel at American But they were very well aware of high market price
F-15 type. It was to substitute for attack aircrafts authorization. Empty plane mass was 7070 kg for technical solutions acquired during «Lavi»
Douglas А-4 Skyhawk and fighter-bombers IAI (somewhat less than F-16С), non-equipped take- development. And if real planes sale appeared
«Kfir» С.2/ С.7 in Israeli Air Defence. off weight – 9990 kg, maximum take-off weight impossible because of political and financial pres-
One-place single-engine «Lavi», constructed – 19230 kg, and maximum combatant load mass sure on the part of the USA, it was possible to
according to aerodynamic configuration «beskh- on external suspension – 7260 kg (record number try selling at least «paper», technical documents
vostka – tailless» with horizontal tail surfaces» for aircrafts of the type). I.е. «Lavi» was designed for the new fighter, thus recovering part of the
(this configuration is often called «duck», though as a light fighter-bomber, first of all oriented at finances spent on the plane development. Having
it’s not perfectly right, considering ailevators on striking tasks solution above the battle line and in considered all «pros» and «contras», Israel gov-
the wing of «Lavi») with a triangle low-positioned tactical background. At that the plane had excel- ernment made such an offer to China.
wing and belly fixed air scoop a la F-16, had lent maneuver characteristics (stable bank angular As a result Tel-Aviv signed a secret (first of all
modern airframe design, 22% of which (by mass) speed at altitude 4.5 km – 13.2 deg./s, unstable – for the Americans) agreement about cooperation
accrued to structural components. I’d like to bank – 24.3 deg./s), provided by high specific with CPR in the sphere of development of a new
note, that as for the amount of composite materi- parameters (thrust-to-weight ratio at normal take- fighter for НОАК, on the basis of «Lavi» project.
als used, «Lavi» was almost not inferior to the off mass 0.83, nominal wing pressure 336 kilo- The Chinese party, greatly interested in newest
American F-22А plane of the 5th generation that gauss/m2) and perfect aerodynamics. All that, western military aircraft construction technolo-
appeared much later. The Israeli fighter was fit- together with high performance on-board weap- gies acquisition, and having no specifically warm
ted with digital wire-guidance 4-channel system onry system, made the «Lionet» a dangerous rival relations with most orthodox Arabic regimes, was
without duplicate mechanical wire, developed by for 2nd and 3rd generation fighters. At the same eager to extend defense technological cooperation
the Israeli company МVT jointly with American time rather low fuel effective output (0.37) limited with Israel. In September 1988 the concept of
Lear Astronics. For its time the system was a great
technical achievement.
The on-board RADAR system of «Lavi» con-
sisted of 70% Israeli developed elements and was
not inferior to the best foreign analogs. In par-
ticular, on-board multimode pulse-Doppler RADAR
Elta EL/M-2035 with slot array was comparable
by its characteristics to the newest American sta-
tion АN/APG-68, designed F-16С fighter. It could
trace air targets on «by-pass», field mapping and
avoidance of ground obstructions. Target detection
range of «light fighter» type was 55 km.
The Israeli plane cockpit was equipped with
three multifunctional indicators on electron-beam
tube: one coloured and two monochromes, as well
as with wide-angle windshield indicator. Especially
for «Lavi» the first in the world helmet-mounted
rear-sight indicator was also developed (further
used on Israeli F-15 and F-16). Fighter weap-
onry was placed on 11 joints of external store and
switched on both non-guided and guided defeat

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

new aviation system was confirmed at the joint At the end of 1990 – beginning of 1991 they But in December of 1991 the Soviet Union col-
session of the Chinese Communist Party Central started building real metal model of the plane lapsed. Altogether Soviet aircraft industry started
Committee, aviation ministry, and scientific tech- «8810» in Chandy. By that time 606th and 607th collapsing as well. The hope to bring project S-37
nical committee of the ministry of defence of the research institutes finished bench-top labour- to a flight sample was vanishing, and the Eltsin
People’s Republic of China. And in October of the rent of power plant and on-board RADAR for the Russia seemed to China a much less reliable
same year the first batch of technical documenta- 8810th model. defense and trade partner than the USSR. As a
tion received from the Israel party, was directed for Perhaps, initially J-10 plane (as well as «Lavi») result, the Chinese again had to rely basically on
deep examination to 601-st and 611-th research was to be equipped with the Pratt-and-Whitney own strength, as well as on «half-legal» foreign
institutes (however, a number of sources indicate PW1120 American engine. But after the events of assistance (bought, it should be mentioned, for
601-st institute only). At this stage the program got 1989 on Tyananmyn square in Beijing, any defense- big money). Under the circumstances considerably
official name «Project 8810» (or «Project 10»). technical aid from the USA and their NATO allies was «promoted» «Project 10» acquires priority again.
The history of Chinese aircraft construction is out of the question and China had to apply for own, At the end of 1993 aircraft construction plant
a most secret theme. Many events and solutions of far less perfect engines. Even within the frames of in Chandy finished assembling flight-demonstra-
20 years old can be discussed in supposition mode J-9 program in CPR an engine with thrust of 12400 tional sample of the new fighter. Its appearance
even today, based on far and away incomplete kilogauss was created, known as WS-6 (probably, was not much different from the original «Lavi».
and rather contradictory information, coming, at its manufacturing «unauthorized» construction It was a one-placed plane with engine «V-13C»
to a great extent, from Taiwan and Hong-Kong
sources, often providing unchecked information.
Nevertheless, even on the basis of this kind of
information one can draw a conclusion that J-10
was from the very beginning considered not as
a destroyer of air supremacy fighting (as it is
introduced even today in a number of Chinese
and foreign publications), but as a tactical striking
plane, fighter-bomber, aimed at substitution for
numerous Q-5 fighter-bombers produced at the
beginning of 1960-s on the basis of Soviet 1st
generation MiG-19 fighter.
As Dimitry Regentov wrote in his article pub-
lished in the magazine «World’s aeroshows» (pub-
lishing house «Intervestnik») No. 6/2002, and
perhaps most completely (at least in Russian
mass media) illustrating the process of program
J-10 formation and establishment, «initially the
new fighter project development was assigned
to aircraft construction company in Sian (Shensi elements of American F100 were used). However, (WP-13C, 7000 kilogauss, Chinese accelerated
province). But as long as it got an order for later the program was shut down. version of the Soviet turbojet engine Р-11) and
heavy fighter-bomber FBC-1 «Feibao» develop- In 1990, after 25 years break, Soviet-Chinese series catapult seat of Chinese manufacture, but
ment («Flying leopard»), in 1991 Shenyan aircraft defense-technical cooperation was renewed. As a with aircraft equipment and on-board RADAR
construction company «Shanfei» (Lyaonin prov- consequence, Chinese high-ranking military men designed in Israel.
ince) and the «Chanfei» aircraft construction com- (most of them started their career at the time of In the first part of 1994 aircraft-demonstrator
pany from the city of Chandu (Sychuan province) «great friendship» and were brought up in Soviet completed the first successful test flight. After for-
got the right to participate. But soon the project school spirit) were detailed enough acquainted tunate debut J-10 got a name «Tczyanbin» («The
leaders, considering the fact that «Shanfei» was with recent native designing in aero techniques, Winged Dragon»).
busy with J-8 plane park modernization, fully capable of rising interest of the Chinese party. In However, in 1993 there appeared a threat to
transfer J-10 project to «Chanfei» company, which particular, they were shown a project of perspec- Chinese – Israeli defense – technical cooperation.
includes one of the leading battle planes develop- tive S-37 attack-fighter. This one-placed single- Mass media revealed information about “Lavi’s”
ment centers — 601-st research institute. So, engine plane, developed both to suit the require- documents having been given to the Chinese that
why the decision was taken for the benefit of the ments of domestic Air Force and for export, to caused indignation of the USA. At the beginning
«Chanfei» company? greater extent, than «Lavi», met the requirements of 1995 American Secretary of Defense William
The thing is that as far back as in 1980 by of the Chinese Air Force, developing in the Soviet Perry «suggested» to Itshak Rabin, Israeli Prime-
the decision of State Council, CDC and scientific tradition spirit. Multifunctional, perfectly equipped Minister that Tel-Aviv should stop participating
technical committee of the ministry of defence of and protected, possessing high characteristics on in Chinese fighter development. The suggestion
PRC research institute № 601 in the city of Chandy low altitudes and high handling qualities, provid- remained unanswered. But further cooperation still
is defined as the general developer of J-7-III fighter ing possibility of usage from airfield, S-37 made had to be ceased: already by the middle of 1995 a
project (Chinese version of the Soviet all-weather the greatest impression on Chinese Air Force small note glimpsed in western mass media about
MiG-21МF). The staff was successful at perform- authorities, literary penetrated by the ideology of Israel official assignment of “Lavi” aircraft docu-
ing the task that is why the Chandy Company was the indeed extraordinary project. Under the cir- ments to China. Having considered the results of
also chosen this time, as they had good working cumstances, when the cooperation negotiations cooperation, the parties seemed to have taken a
experience with relatively modern aero techniques. on S-37 program started with the USSR, fighter- satisfactory – both to Beijing and Tel-Aviv – deci-
According to the CDC decision, the project also bomber on the «Lavi» basis was likely not to have sion to separate on having achieved an important
involved a number of other Chinese leading aircraft seemed that promising to the Chinese. Agreement intermediate goal – aircraft-demonstrator con-
construction companies. 606-th research institute in principle was reached, according to which China struction. Further Israel participation in the J-10
(aircraft engines), 607-th research institute (on- was to receive the 1st batch of 180 Soviet planes. program was fraught with relationship aggrava-
board RADAR development) and other branch- Later on, obviously, «Chinese» S-37 authorized tion with the USA, and China was likely to have
wise centers were enlisted as well...» construction was meant. felt powerful enough to victoriously accomplish


the program without Israeli participation. Since

then «Project 10» started its independent, purely
Chinese, life.
Probably to a great extent under the influence
of deep investigation and critical consideration
of S-37 project, they started in 601-st research
institute redesigning the initial «Tczyanbin» proj-
ect. Striving to make J-10 «even more strik-
ing» resulted in considerable enlargement of
the Chinese aircraft (that enabled to increase
fuel tanks capacitance and probably undertake
additional measures for battle survivability sys-
tem perfection), change in tail unit construction,
reconfiguration of cock-pit that became more
spacious. Airframe construction hardness had to
be improved, wing surface – increased. This con-
figuration made the fighter heavier that is why it
became even more urgent point for the designers
to invent a new, more powerful engine.
The engine development for J-10 was per- At the end of 1997 the first loss happened: By the autumn of 1998, after two years of
formed by 606-th institute together with a num- during the test flight aircraft with board number intensive tests, the first stage of program J-10 was
ber of adjacent structures since 1990. Turbojet «8810-02» suffered a crash. Flights were discon- finalized. The ceremony devoted to the event was
engine was identified as WS-10 and was presum- tinued and the best Chinese specialists started visited by the first State person – General Secretary
ably accounted for the thrust about 10000-11000 investigating the causes of the accident. Integrated of China Communist Party Central Committee
kilogauss. There is evidence, that for «Tczyanbin» study of wreckage on flight test range of research Tszyan Tszemin. Sparkling newly painted fighters
equipment alternative engine was also created, institute 611 was performed, at that in western from «8810-03» to «8810-06» were lined up on
WP-15, but this engineering seems to have been and Taiwan mass media appeared statements that the ground, and the aircraft with board number
further stopped. the Chinese party turned for assistance to Russian «8810-04» performed a show flight demonstrat-
In the meantime, in the middle of 1996, test specialists, with whom they jointly managed to ing stunts.
fighter, constructed according to the corrected proj- puzzle-out the case. At the beginning of 2000 the second stage
ect, performed its first test flight. It was assigned On March, 23, 1998 the third prototype of the of «Tczyanbin» flight tests was over, and in May,
number «8810—01». Half a year later they finalized plane performed its first test flight, «8810-03», 2002 information appeared about the first batch of
plane «8810-02» construction, which design was that had modified tail unit as well as new, Chinese four pre-series fighter-bombers – with index J-10А
considerably changed. In particular, cock-pit was developed weaponry control system and catapult – disposal to НОАК Air Force. On March, 10, 2003
again reconfigured, air scoop design was changed, seat. In the spring of 1998 this fighter was after the aircraft was officially army-accepted. Six one-
it got adjustable, and to reduce RADAR detection all equipped with «nominal» WS-10 engine, which placed fighter-bombers were directed to Air Force
waveguide channel was altered to S-shape. But as made it possible for the first time to develop super- flight-test center, where tactical tests went on up
well as the demonstrator-aircraft, the first test fight- sonic speed during horizontal flight in the middle to the beginning of 2004.
ers seemed to have had the same «non-nominal» of 1998 (applicable to J-10). Actually, this engine- On December, 26, 2003 two-placed exercise-
WP-13C engine, that enabled to develop subsonic upgraded fighter «8810-03» was considered the battle J-10S aircraft got off first that was different
speed only. first “true” J-10. from J-10A, besides new cock-pit with extended

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

hood, longer fuselage that made it possible to pre-

serve one-placed aircraft fuel tank capacity.
The first series batch of J-10A aircraft was
disposed to the Air Force of the People’s Liberation
Army of China in 2004-2006. And by the middle
of 2008 Chinese Air Forces and Navy count-
ed, according to the most optimistic estimation,
approximately 100 – 140 J-10А fighter-bombers,
and also two-placed exercise-battle J-10S air-
crafts. All in all, from non-official sources, Chinese
Air Force is supposed to be increased up to 300
aircraft of the type by the middle of next decade.
Moreover, up to a hundred fighter-bombers will be
army-accepted by Chinese Naval coast aviation.
Some more dozens (or maybe hundreds) of the
aircrafts can be exported.
So, what is the new fighter that was so labori-
ously and persistently created by Chinese aircraft
It certainly should be mentioned that the plane
can be absolutely free called a great achievement
of CPR aircraft constructors, who managed to cre- level of planes like «Rafael» or «Tayfun» (i.е. up to Experimental planes «Type 10» seem to
ate almost new battle plane on the basis of a for- 1.5 – 2.0 m2 in SHF-range radio waves). have been equipped with Israeli on-board RADAR
eign prototype that is not inferior to the best world The first five pre-series J-10 aircrafts were EL/M-2035, designed for «Lavi» aircraft. There
analogs. J-10 program embraced a number of equipped with WS-10А engines(11200 kilogauss) was information about the Chinese version of the
most modern technologies, including quite perfect of Chinese design, and all the following fighters RADAR – JL-9. There is information about JL-10A
aerodynamics, airframe construction with wide were equipped with more powerful, light and RADAR station on experimental and pre-series
application of composite materials, digital remote efficient Russian turbofan АЛ-31FN (12500 kilo- aircrafts (China manufactured as well).
control system, and modern data-controlling cock- gauss), that were modification of АЛ-31FN with However the first series J-10A were most likely
pit field. Design and production of J-10A were held low-position drive gearbox. Now China has pur- equipped with Russian stations «Zhemchug» (man-
applying computer assisted CAD/CAM systems. chased from Russia 180 engines of the kind. 100 ufacturer – «Phasotrone-RRI») mass 180 kg, that
Thus, if earlier Chinese battle planes were of them were manufactured (or are manufactured) were developed version of on-board RADAR station
technically about a generation behind their foreign in Moscow, in the «Salyut» plant, and 80 – in the «Zhuk», partially made on western element base
analogs, now after «Tczyanbin» series production Ufa City. This number of engines gives a good and having higher characteristics (several stations
started this gap was almost overcome. image of the amount of the first J-10A aircrafts of the kind were supplied to China at the beginning
As it was mentioned above, J-10A is designed batch ordered by Chinese Air Force. of current decade). The following fighters batches
as fighter-bomber, meant to act jointly with J-11 In 2006 «Salyut» offered to China an upgraded are equipped, according to Chinese mass media,
(Su-27) battlefield fighter (Air supremacy fighter). version of turbojet engine, АL-31F-М1, with thrust with on-board RADAR station «Type 1471» (KLJ-1),
I.е. here we can guess approximately the same 13500 kilogauss, increased life-cycle, digital con- that are obviously Chinese version of «Zhemchug»
«duet» that Americans formed in 1980-ies by trol system of FADEC type, and also with multi- having improved characteristics while «working»
aircrafts F-15 and F-16 and today they apply for angle УВТ system. It should be mentioned, that the with ground targets. The station can detect target of
F-22 and F-35. engine upgrade designed for «Su-27» aircrafts, is «fighter» class in front hemi-sphere at range up to
«Tczyanbin», having lateral static unsteadi- already army-accepted by Russian Air Force. 80 km and provide for «air-to-air» missile homing
ness, constructed according to aerodynamic con- There is also a reserve (mobile) version of at the distance up to 60 km.
figuration delta with horizontal tail surfaces» with power plant for «Tczyanbin» – upgraded WS-10А According to some statements, at the begin-
a triangle middle-positioned wing, having lead- engine with FADEC control system and thrust, ning it was intended tо equipped J-10 aircraft with
ing edge flap and ailevators, arrow-type, wing- increased by two tons (up to 13200 kilogauss), cer- the 23-mm high firing speed six barrels gun. But
attached all-movable horizontal tail surface and tified in China in 2006. Regardless of lower thrust, in current configuration it is equipped with the
single-fin vertical empennage, complemented by as well as bigger, than of АL-31FN, dry mass and 23-mm conventional two barrels built in gun “Type
two belly small surface fins. Main landing gear size, these engines, being non-limited by Russian- 23-3” (the Chinese version of our GSH-23 gun). It
with relatively narrow track gage is retracted into Chinese contract, are likely to be applied for export is located on the left side of the fuselage, in front
fuselage, into «pockets» on the sides of air scoop fighter versions. of the main landing gear wells.
channel. Rectangular adjustable air scoop with
movable upper air inlet wedges is placed under
fuselage. There is a four-channel digital wire guid-
ance system that is likely to be the developed ver-
sion of the same system in IAI plane «Lavi».
Airframe construction is basically made of alu-
minum alloys with wide application of carbon plas-
tics. Though initially the measures of «Tczyanbin»
RADAR detection reduction were of quite limited
nature, they can be developed further (in particular
– modern radio absorbing coverings and materials
implementation, metal coating of cock-pit glass
cover, etc), that will enable to decrease J-10 abso-
lute cross-section from present 5 – 6 m2 to the


Probably this weight must be taken as the most American fighter-bomber F-16C Block40 and
realistic one. J-10A are designed to accomplish nearly the same
The fuel tanks capacity of the J-10A aircraft in type of combat tasks. So it makes sense to com-
comparison with the “Lavi” aircraft was increased pare the characteristics of both aircrafts. This most
nearly two times and reached the level of 4500 mass modification of the F-16 fighter-bomber,
kg. As a result of this the ratio of the fuel weight which came to service within the US Air force
to the dry weight of the aircraft became 0.51. And in 1990 and was equipped with the augmented
now it reaches the same ratio (It should be men- double-blow turbojet engine F100-PW-220(10800
tioned that it is quite high) as F-35A (0.55) and kgs), primarily was designed to attack ground
F-35C (0.61) fighters. That is why the flight range targets. F-16C is equipped with the airborne radar
without external fuel tanks at high altitude, which AN/APG-68 (weight is 160 kg; antenna’s diameter
is for J-10A equal to 1850 km (in accordance is 0.38 m). It provides mapping mode, and also
with Jane’s All the Worlds Aircraft reference guide can detect air targets, such as “light fighter” at
2008-2009) looks to be quite realistic or even the range up to 45-50 km. Moreover, Block 40/42
marked down a little bit. According to the mass is equipped with suspended containers with the
media the ferry distance of 3000 km for the J-10A aiming-navigation equipment LANTIRN and also it
with three external fuel tanks (two of them with is equipped with the helmet-mounted acquisition
the capacity of 1600 kg each and one with the system (analogue of Russian “Schel” system).
capacity of 800 kg) also looks quite realistic (or The American aircraft is not as heavy as the
marked down). Chinese one (F-16C dry weight is 8300 kg, nor-
Quite heavy and various assortment of combat mal take off weight is 12600 kg). Fuel weight in
load, it is equal to 4000-4500 kg (in some sources the internal fuel tanks of the F-16C is 3100 kg,
– up to 5500 kg), seemed to be an advantage of maximum combat load is 5500 kg. Chinese air-
the J-10A as the aircraft primarily task is to attack craft maximum speed (corresponds to M=2.1-2.2)
ground targets. It is installed on the eleven external is rather higher than F-16C (which possesses
pods. Six of the pods are under the wings and five M=2.00). The efficient flight range of J-10A with-
of them are under the fuselage. The external fuel out suspended fuel tanks is more than (1850-1900
tanks can be installed on the internal wings pods km in comparison with 1600 km of the F-16C).
and on the central fuselage pods. Two front under Action radius at the minimum flight level with the
fuselage piers are used for mounting various con- normal combat load (for J-10 A is 460 km that is a
tainers with optoelectronic and aiming-navigation little higher, than F-16C has (400 km).
As it was already mentioned above, the first equipment. Takeoff thrust-to-weight ratio of both aircraft,
J-10 test samples had the same airframe, as the However, “Tczyanbin” really being a multipur- while the takeoff weight is normal, is nearly the
“Lavi” fighters. That is why aircraft dry weight pose combat aircraft, also does not relinquish to same (F-16C – 0.86 and J-10A – 0.87). Steady
(equipped with WS-6 type engine) probably was any up to date European aircraft in fighter pos- state theta displacement rate of the comparing
from 7100 to 7300 kg (let’s remind, that “Lavi” sibilities. It has maximum speed equal to Max aircraft is nearly the same: for “Lavi” it is 13.2
fighter dry weight is 7030 kg). Further on the M2.1-2.2 and service ceiling (17000-17500 m). degrees per second, for J-10A it differs little,
aircraft was considerably increased in dimen- These characteristics exceed the characteristics of and for F-16C it is 12.8 degrees per second. At
sions and therefore it become heavier. So, the the analogue European aircrafts of the fourth gen- the same time the rate of momentary roll-out for
airframe weight was also increased. According eration “4+”. J-10А possesses practically equal “Tczyanbin”, designed as “bes’hvostka with PGO”,
to the different sources it is now not less than with the French fighter Dasso “Rafael” of the “4+” is considerably higher (nearly 23-24 degrees per
8000-9730 kg. In some sources, particularly in generation thrust-to-weight ratio and also nominal second in comparison with the American aircraft
Jane’s All the Worlds Aircraft reference guide pressure on the wing (0.90 and 358 kgs/m2 in – 17.3). For F-22A fighter it is 27-28, for “Rafael”
for the period from 2008 to 2009, the dry weight French fighter and 0.87 and 360 kgs/m2 in Chinese and “Tayfun” it is 24.8, for SU-30MKI it is 22-23,
of the J-10A aircraft is mentioned as 8750 kg. aircraft, respectively). and for F-15C it is 16-17 degrees per second.
Later modifications of «Freedomfighter» –
F-16C Вlock 50/52 and F-16C Block 50/52+, that
were supplied to armament already in XXI, almost
simultaneously with J-10A, are equipped with more
powerful engines F100-PW229 or F110-GE-129
(13000-13200 kilogauss), probably providing for
American fighters inconsiderable dynamic advan-
tage to the Chinese aircraft.
One more foreign analog (and potential rival)
of J-10A is Japanese (American-Japanese, to be
exact) multipurpose fighter Mitsubishi F-2, that
was being created since 1987 to substitute for
fighter-bombers Mitsubishi F-1. The prototype
of the plane performed its first flight in October
1995, and the first series fighter was disposed
to Japanese Self-defense Forces in 2000. By the
middle of 2008 Japan had at disposal 76 F-2 out
of 94 ordered. The cost of a series F-2, according
to Japanese mass media, is $108 mln.
As well as J-10A, F-2 is based on a foreign
prototype – «never realized» American project

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

«Agile Falcon», pro-actively developed by the Considering all that, all in all, regardless of
company General Dynamics in 1980-1990-ies as a bit more conservative «board», J-10A today
a considerable upgrade of F-16С aircraft, pos- seems to possess better combatant facilities than
sessing improved maneuver characteristics (in its Japanese analog.
particular, unstable roll-out speed should be 21-22 Of course, in its competition with the American
degrees per second). However, opposite to «Agile fighter – as to air supremacy fighting – F-22A
Falcon», Japanese fighter is oriented at, first of «Raptor», also equipped with on-board RADAR
all, not for air supremacy fighting and air defense, station with АFАR, the Chinese fighter-bomber
but on striking tasks solution (in particular – “air- has few chances to win both in close and distant
to-ship”). missile combat (however, as well as most of other
F-2 is somewhat enlarged (with «Agile Falcon» fighters of «4» and «4+» generations). That is why
wing surface 34.84 m2) F-16 with hardened air- the described at the beginning of the article air
frame, which is designed with wide application combat, supposedly having taken place in 2007
of modern composite materials. As a power plant above the Taiwan Strait between J-10A and F-22A,
American double-blow turbojet engine General is likely to be related to the category of newspaper
Electric F110-GE-129 (13200 kilogauss) is applied, or Internet «fakes».
providing М=2. Dry aircraft mass is 9530 kg, fuel But for the fighter-destroyer of the 5th genera-
mass in inner tanks – 3600 kg, and maximum tion F-35A the new Chinese aircraft can be quite
take-off mass – 22100 kg. Action radius at «anti- a dangerous rival. And if to consider that number
airborne» tasks solution (with two “air-to-ship” ratio F-35А and F-22А, according to the existing
missiles ASM-1/2, two guided missiles AIM-9 and plans of the USA Air Force, must be approximately
ПТБ) is 840 km. 9:1, than air combat between “Tczyanbin” and
As far as we can see, the Japanese equipped “Lightning” II can appear a usual thing in hypo-
their aircraft with more powerful and heavier thetic Chinese-American conflict of 2010-2020.
engine (dry mass АЛ-31Ф is 1530 kg, where- It’s out of the question that unfeatured F-35A
as F110-JE-129 – 1740 kg). At the same time equipped with on-board RADAR station AN/APG-81
inner tanks capacity in F-2 is much less than in with АESA and «built-in» in the integrated digital
“Tczyanbin”. As to relative fuel mass (0.51 without data-control system, will be considerably superior
ПТБ) the Chinese plane is considerably superior to to the Chinese fighter in missile combat in non-
its Japanese rival (0.38), which provides for J-10A visual range, «playing» with it, almost “one-sided”
better range characteristics. The Japanese aircraft (enough to mention that “Lightning” II can detect AESA, as well as undertaking additional measures
has a similar to “Tczyanbin” thrust-to-weight ratio its rival, having ERS in heading flatten surface, to reduce J-10А RADAR detection must come by
(0.88 – 0.90), that seems to explain similar break- equal to several meters, at the range of 160-170 the second half of 2010-ies (i.е. when the mass
down characteristics and ascensional rate of both km, and “Tczyanbin” can «see» F-35A with ERS army-acceptance of F-35 is to start) should equal
planes. =0.5 m2 at range of only 15-20 km. However in the the chances of both fighters in remote air combat
It should be specified that the Japanese air- close maneuver air combat lighter and more flex- as well.
craft is less known than the Chinese analog, ible J-10A will have all the advantages. The striking armament of J-10A today mostly
though even 10 years ago F-2 construction pro- But all the speculations are only true for includes aerial bombs and non-recurrent bomb
gram was rather broadly highlighted in Japanese unlikely «duel» combat between the two fighters. holders gauge 250 or 500 kg, as well as НАР.
mass media, herewith some editions even called In real life it’s not single aircrafts that fight but Thus, in one of the standard striking configura-
the plane «the second «Zero» (meaning the aircraft groups. That is why in the conditions of tions the aircraft can carry up to eight free-falling
famous Japanese fighter of the Second World War large-scale armed conflict simpler, cheaper and bombs gauge kg 250 кг, two suspended tanks and
Mitsubishi А6М «Reisen», more famous under wholesale “Tczyanbin” is likely to have additional two «air-to-air» missiles PL-8/9/13 of small range.
American «nickname» «Zero»). But as far as we «bonuses» in front of more expensive and more However lately China develops up-tempo guided
can judge by the present, quite scanty press infor- complicated «Lightning»II. aviation ammunition, which is first of all to equip
mation, as well as by the decrease in the number It should be also pointed out that the most the newest multipurpose fighters J-10A.
of F-2 fighters ordered by Japanese Self-Defense probable equipment of the Chinese aircraft with In 1998 tests of the first Chinese series
Forces from 130 to 94 units (non-reasoned by any perspective on-board RADAR station with ESA or GB LT-2 finished, which was created in LOEC
noticeable changes in Japan foreign-policy posi-
tion since the beginning of the current decade),
«the second «Zero» far and away not completely
supported hopes of its designers, that conditioned
rather moderate present «PR» of the aircraft.
It should be mentioned that F-2 – is the first
in the world series battle aircraft, equipped with
on-board RADAR station with АФАР. But this is
just the very case when «you must spoil before
you spin». Japanese RADAR station having ultra-
modern structure and element base (as well as no
less «modern» cost), even today after almost 8
years of aircraft system operation, doesn’t match
design parameters: according to Japanese mass
media, detection range of air targets for this on-
board RADAR station is less than it was even of
the archaic station AN/APQ-120 of F-4EJ aircraft
«Phantom» II, equipped with dish aerial.

J-10A FIGHTER AND ITS PROTOTYPE THE IAI”LAVI” AIRCRAFT CHARACTERISTICS tude of bomb-dropping) on range of 7-18 km and
Type of the aircraft “Lavi” J-10A hits the target with the precision up to 30 m.
Wing span, m 8.78 9.70 FT-3 is small gauge ammunition (250 kg);
the shell is fitted with folding wing module. On
Length, m 14.54 15.50
the tail module (inside which there is a unit of
Height, m 4.78 4.78 inertial-satellite guidance system) four aerody-
Wing area, sq.m 33.00 39.00 namic small empennage tops are installed, behind
which Х-shaped tail unit is fitted. Manufacturers
Dryweight,kg 7070 8750
state, that this type of aerodynamic configuration
Takeoff normal weight, kg 9990 11440 provides for better gliding stability, as well as con-
Takeoff, mаximum weight, kg 18370 19300 tributes to application range increase (according to
some sources it reaches 60 km).
Маximum combat load, kg 7300 4500
Heavier than FТ-3, GB FТ-2 mass 440 kg (con-
Fuel capacity, kg: ceptually similar to the American GB Boeing Long
In the internal fuel tanks 2625 4500 Shot) is equipped with new folding wing module
In the external fuel tanks 4165 4000
with large elongation. They inform, that КВО of the
ammunition is 20 m.
Маximum М 1.85 2.20 CASC also created unique, having no analogs
Maximum ground-level М 1.20 1.20 in the world, superlight (mass – 35 kg) GB FТ-5,
Climbing capacity, м/s 254 – aerodynamically similar to the American 500-kg
aviation bomb Мк.83 mass 500 kg. Ammunition of
Economic range without external fuel tanks, km - 1850
the kind can be applied not only at pilot aircrafts
Ferry range, km - 3000 (in particular J-10А), but also at small combat UAV,
that are sure to be investigated in China as well.
(Luoyang Electro-Optical Technology Development LOEC is as well developing high-precision To fight over-water targets J-10А can be
Center) based on the Russian CАB-500L. Presently aviation ammunition of the second generation, equipped with new light “air-to-ship” missile
this ammunition is produced in series. They equip, that have bigger tonnage, interference protection С-704, developed by CASIC (China Aerospace
besides J-10A, new light bombers JH-7A (army- and application flexibility. If КАБ of the 1st gen- Science and Industry Corporation). Guided missile
accepted by CHINA Air Force), upgraded fighter- eration LT-2 had only optical semi-active homing is equipped with tele-homing head and is capable
bombers Q-5G, multipurpose fighters J-8-IIМ, and head, in the new ammunition, LT-3, it will be com- of effectively hitting boats and small ships in
also light fighters JF-17 («Super-7»), supplied to plemented with composite inertial-satellite guid- daytime, in plain weather conditions. Solid fuel
Pakistan. Guided bomb has the standart deviation ance system. Aviation bomb, by its composition “air-to-ship” missile with start mass of 300 kg has
3 – 5 m, semi-active optical homing duration 20 reminding of the American CАB GBU-31 JDAM, range of 35 km. It is produced according to regular
sec and capture range homing head system, equal has a tail quickly-mounted unit with aerodynamic aerodynamic scheme with trapezoidal crosswise
to 4 km. controls and control system module as well as wing and tail unit. The upgraded version of the
GB-1 is army-accepted as well, manufactured plated aerodynamic surfaces, meant for gliding missile – С-704KD – is equipped with infra-red
by the state corporation Sichong Group and seem- characteristics improvement. all-day homing system.
ingly being a developed version of GB LT-2. It is On GB LT-3 new optical coordinator is applied To fight small-sized moving targets in com-
equipped with optical semi-active homing head, as well, substituting for wind direction indica- bat CASC creates «air-to-surface» missile AR-1.
providing КВО of about 3 m. Ammunition mass – tor type coordinator, used on GB LT-2. The Guided missile, as to its dimensions similar
570 kg, besides J-10A it is also carried by light new ammunition is conceptually close to GB to the American helicopter missile AGM-114
fighters JH-7А. GBU-54 and «Upgraded Payvuvai» IV, also having «Hellfire», has optical semi-active homing sys-
LOEC Center in 2006 finished guided gliding combined (inertial-satellite + optical) guidance tem. Optical axis of the laser corrector has angle
aviation bomb tests that were indicated as LS-6. The systems. with longitude missile axis, which facilitates
ammunition is equipped with optical semi-active CASC (China Aerospace Science and surface targets capture.
homing system. Its mass 540 kg, warhead mass Technology Corporation) creates a set of high- J-10A weaponry will be also supplied with
is 440 kg, shell diameter is 377 mm, wing span – precision aviation weapon «Fay Teng», in particu- antiradar missiles– Russian Х-31П or Chinese
2.46 m. LS-6 wing is made of carbon plastics. They lar – guided aviation bombs FT-1 and FT-3 with guided missile of the similar type. At the same time
inform that during the tests the bomb showed stan- inertial-satellite guidance. Bomb FT-1 (500 kg) a disadvantage of the Chinese fighter consists in
dart deviation 7.5 m. It should be mentioned that has crosswise wing small elongation and cross- the absence of strategic-tactical cruise missiles in
bombs LТ-2 and LS-6 were publicly demonstrated wise developed tail unit with controls, having its ammunition, similar to the Russian Х-59М and
in 2008 within the weaponry of J-10A. electric drive. It can glide (depending on the alti- Х-59М2, American JASSM or European «Storm
Shadow» and KEPD-350. However, China will pos-
sibly purchase the weaponry for J-10A in Russia.
For missile air combat of intermediate
range the Chinese fighter can be equipped with
«Шаньдян-10» (SD-10) missiles, that are the
authorized version of the Russian missile of Р-77
type with combined (inertial + active RADAR)
guiding system. Guided missile of the type must
be basic weaponry of «air-to-air» type for Chinese
multipurpose fighters Su-30МКК and Su-30МК2
(J-13), as well as upgraded Su-27СК (J-11).
But the standard aircraft ammunition is
Chinese missiles of intermediate range «Пили-11»
(«Удар молнии-11», PL-11) and «Pili-12»

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

(«Thunderbolt-12 (Удар молнии)», PL-12). The missiles PL-11/PL-12, two PL-8/PL-9 and three government approved the plans of acquisition
first one is a bit altered Italian missile Alenia suspended fuel tanks. As we can see, as far as of 36 fighters J-10 type in export version (it is
«Aspid»1А. Its development started in 1992, and guided weaponry of “air-to-air” type is concerned called FC-20, and it is going to by 100 more air-
PL-11, equipped with semi-active mono-pulse the Chinese fighter is almost not inferior to the craft. Thereat according to Mass Media the prime
radar homing head, has the starting mass 220 best foreign analogues. cost of one fighter was appreciated as 41 million
kg, maximum speed, correlating with М=4, and The updating of “Tczyanbin” is running on. US dollars. Possibly, these fighter-bombers (in
shooting range in front hemi-sphere up to 40 km. Most probably the evolution of this advanced case contract for aircraft delivery will be made)
They informed about successful manufacturing of aircraft will be continued in the direction of further will be equipped with Chinese double-flow turbo-
its upgraded version – PL-11A – with active radar increasing of its air characteristics due to install- jet afterburner WS-10A engines and west made
homing head. ing more powerful engine with UVTAL-31 FN-M1, airborne radars (the most possible version is
PL-12 missile is the newest Chinese develop- and also due to decreasing of radar and thermal GRIFO2000 radar with slot antenna).
ment among the weaponry of “air-to-air” type, per- detection ability, adaptation of the up to date avi- In October 2007 there was information about
formed jointly with Russian specialists. Its devel- onics and armaments. It was mentioned in mass Iran’s intention to purchase 24 planes of “Tczyanbin”
opment started in 1999, and in that second half of media with citation of “the circles being closed type. Though later the Iran party officially declined
current decade « Pili-12» was army-accepted by to Chinese aircraft industry” that in 2006 airborne the fact of negotiations with the Chinese about
PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY OF CHINA. Missile radar “Type 1473” was created in China for J-10A J-10 purchase, it can still be presumed that some-
with double-mode hard-fuel engine has starting aircraft. This radar is able to detect J-11 (Su-27) thing was done in this direction. Among other
mass of 220 kg (according to other data – 180 at a range exceeding the range of detecting J-10 potential purchasers Thailand, Nigeria, Angola and
kg) and aerodynamic configuration similar to aircraft by airborne radar N001E, which is installed Sudan were also mentioned…
«Pili-11». It is equipped with composite guidance on “Sukhoi” aircraft. If you take into consideration On the whole it can be stated, that on the
system similar to Р-77, and can use the so-called that ERS of Su-27 several times larger than the international aircraft market “Tczyanbin” rep-
«plunging» trajectory, providing shooting range same of J-10A, then you can supposed that the resents a new product of good quality, capable
up to 80 km. they also informed that the missile new Chinese radar is able to detect an air target of competing with aircraft industry production
was developed with air-burning engine, having “light fighter” type (ЭПР=3м2) at the range of of the USA and Europe. As to our country, I’d
maximum range increased up to 150 km. 80-90 km, and the range of detecting a target like to remind of the fact that F-10 is to a great
Besides, the fighter can carry intermediate like Su-27, will exceed 100km. Probably they are extent the result of native aircraft industry (in
range missiles with ТGS PL-13 or PL-13M, that talking about the radar with ФАР of passive type, any case, engine, as well as pert of avionics and
are authorized versions of the Russian missiles that is developed in China independently (but with armament there are Russian). And if the USA
of Р-73М type capable of hitting air targets at the Russian specialists as consultants) since 1990. once ignored the prototype of “Tczyanbin” – the
range up to 20-30 km. Missiles, equipped with The other way of possible J-10A upgrading Israeli aircraft «Lavi» – for the benefit of own
thrust vector control system, can fly with 40-times is installation of Russian airborne radar on the aircraft industry (indeed, what is small Israel in
overload and developed the speed relative to aircraft. comparison with the large USA?), it would be
М=2.5. Starting mass of PL-13 is 105 kg, and In prospect it is possible to equip “Tczyanbin” very stupid of Russia to behave like that towards
PL-13М – 115 kg. aircraft with Chinese or foreign made (first of all the Great eastern neighbour. “Tczyanbin” air-
Nominal J-10A armament also includes small with Russian) radar with EASA. craft is already created, series manufactured
range thermal missiles PL-8, PL-9 and PL-9С Although F-10aircraft is delivered now to and (whether anybody likes it or not) will inevi-
(starting mass 115-123 kg), that are developed Chinese Air force and Navy only, a number of other tably join world aircraft market. Under these cir-
version of the Israeli guided missile «Piton»3 foreign countries have already taken interest in this cumstances the position of our aircraft industry
(Chinese-Israeli defense-technological cooperation fighter. It is quite natural that the first would-be supporting J-10A program and participating in
heritage of 1980-1990-ies). Missile weapon can be customer, most probably, will become Pakistan, the aircraft production, looks like perfectly right.
used in different combinations, for example – four the main China partner on military-technical coop- As smart managers say: «If you can’t prevent
missiles PL-11/PL-12 and two PL-8/PL-9 or two eration. In April 2006 it was told that the Pakistan the booze-up, you should head it…».


Vladimir Ilyin


ndia, the second world’s most populous coun- sible exception of F-22A. The high level of training and occasional failures. The history tells us that this

I try and a nuclear power, has today one of the

largest and rather modern air force of 740
aircraft with 23% of them belonging to 4th and
performed by Indian pilots is recognized by those
of the U.S. Air Force, who are not at all bad in the
profession, but have been repeatedly “beaten” by
type of persistence is inevitably rewarded…
The first “nearly homemade” Indian aircraft
was the HF-24 Marut fighter-bomber (Spirit of the
4th+ generations (Su-30MKI, MiG-29, and Mirage Indians at international war games. Tempest) designed under the supervision of Kurt
2000), 47% are 3rd generation (Jaguar, MiG-23, All the fighters of the Indian Air Force, however, Tank, who is an outstanding German designer,
and MiG-27), and 30% are 2nd generation MiG-21 have been developed and often built abroad, in who made FW 190 and Ta-152 piston fighters,
fighters with half of them made of MiG-21bison Russia, France, and the U.K. Despite the consider- which were among the best in the world. Marut
deeply upgraded aircraft advanced to nearly 4th able success made by the Indian aircraft industry made its maiden flight in the March of 1961 and
generation. One can assess the quality level of within the past decades, until recently the Indian was initially designed for the top speed of Mach 2.
the Indian Air Force aircraft fleet knowing that in were unable to learn a complete cycle of making a The British license-built Rolls-Royce Orpheus Mk
the middle of 2008 it totaled 53 Su-30MKI aircraft combat aircraft from look to batch production. India, 703 turbojet the Indian aircraft makers had avail-
with a combat potential exceeding that of any though, has been making efforts in this direction for able was underpowered and a super sound speed
foreign batch-produced fighter with the sole pos- about 50 years now, ignoring financial predicaments could be reached only in dives.
The Indian aircraft industry manufactured 147
Marut jets. The fighter-bombers were used during
the India-Pakistan war in 1971. Some attempts
were made to build an advanced and more speedy
HF-73 fighter-bomber based on HF-24, but the
sole prototype was lost during tests. One series-
built Marut aircraft can be now observed in the
polytechnic museum of the city of Bangalore.
Among the Indian designs of the 1960-1980
was the Ajeet air superiority aircraft made in 1975
based on the Folland Gnat subsonic fighter. India
also made Kiran jet trainers, and a number of
piston trainers.
In the late 1970s, the Indian Air Force Staff
worked out AST 201technical requirements for
development of a light fighter to replace MiG-21
and Ajeet. The primary task of the future aircraft
was air defense, and the secondary – direct air
support of land forces and (partial) insulation of
combat zone. The aircraft was to be small, travel
at a supersonic speed, have high maneuverability
and advanced arms systems.

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

The initial development program of the new

jet under implementation in the “depth” of the
Air Force was called Super Gnat, which in a way
mainly positioned the future fighter as a successor
to Gnat-Ajeet. The affordability and cost effective-
ness were the widely used criteria for the program.
Under the long-term Indian Air Force development
plan adopted in 1981, the new Indian aircraft were
to replace 11.4% of fighter squadrons by 1991
with the goal of 40% to be reached by 1994-1995.
The Air Force determined its total demand of the
aircraft at 250 jets.
The preparatory work for creation of the air-
craft that could be called a fourth generation com-
bat jet was launched in 1980. A group of Indian
Air Force and Industry experts drafted a report
then saying that a such-like program was techni-
cally and economically feasible. At the same time for selecting specification requirements for the be relocated to one of western firms, possibly British
the authors of the report thought that some parts main aircraft systems. The initial development of Aerospace. As N.Rao put it, the cost of the project
of the new aircraft (some onboard equipment, the LCA multipurpose onboard radar project was development was estimated at $500 million.
systems, and construction materials, including jointly carried out by the Electronics and Radar The project works on LCA were lead by
onboard radar, flight-by-wire control system, and Development Establishment (LRDE) of the Indian the ADA headed then by Dr. Kota Harinarayana,
composite materials) would have to be purchased Defense Ministry and HAL. The choice of a power a renowned Indian aircraft builder. Hindustan
abroad. A bit later (likely in the middle of 1983) plant for the LCA is of primary importance. At the Aeronautics Limited (HAL) became the leading
similar reports (with alike conclusions) made on early stages of the program prototype fighters contractor to take charge of the main part of
the Indian government’s order were provided by were supposed to be fitted with foreign engines the program with its research and development
four west-European aircraft builders: BAE, MBB, (the RB199 bypass turbofan engine with after- department located in the Indian “city of science”
Dornier, and Dassault-Breguet. In the very year of burner was mentioned among others), and the Bangalore. The construction of the first prototype
1983, the government made a fundamental deci- series-produced aircraft were to be powered by a was to be launched in 1990 with the first aircraft
sion to launch the program. The Indian new gen- future GTX Indian engine. to be ready a year later, in 1991.
eration fighter was finally given the green light! In accordance with initial calculations, the new As it has been mentioned before, the LCA was
In the May of 1985, the Aeronautical aircraft was to have tailless configuration, a delta intended to be an aircraft meeting rather strict
Development Authority (ADA) founded in 1984, wing with a front edge curve (both completely tail- speed and maneuverability requirements. It was
as it seems specially to implement the fighter pro- less configuration and tailless configuration with to be very stable and steerable, reliable, easy and
gram, presented the government with a detailed small-surface foreplane located close to the wing cheap to use, and also demand a relatively short
report on the perspectives of the new aircraft were considered), an aerodynamically unstable take-off and landing strip. The latest aircraft tech-
based on previous research. A month later, the Air structure, and a digital flight-by-wire control sys- nology was to be integrated in the fighter’s design:
Force made customer technical specifications for tem. Composite materials were supposed to be reduced static stability structure, composite mate-
the fighter and a group of HAL experts was teamed widely used in the airframe design. rials of key design elements, digital multichannel
up in the ADA to perform the pre-draft preparation The specification demands were also gradu- flight-by-wire control system, integral “board”
of the project called LCA (Light Combat Aircraft. ally clarified. Under preliminary estimates, the with microprocessors, “glass” cockpit, up-to-date
Indian Defense Minister N. Rao told the parliament LCA empty weight was to be around 6,000 kg, onboard radar, automated breaking control sys-
commenting on the event that the “completely and the max takeoff weight was to total 10,500 tem, etc.
Indian aircraft developed by Indian experts with kg. So the weight of the fighter was to be close The French impact on the LCA look resulted
minimal help provided by foreign firms…will not to that of the main Indian combat aircraft of the in the aerodynamic structure of the aircraft. The
lag behind aircraft of other countries in the level of time MiG-21. Media reports would repeatedly say tailless scheme, which was profoundly advanced
applied technical solutions.” According to the min- that LCA was to have better performance than the by Dassault’s Mirage aircraft, was chosen. Though
ister, the LCA was to be prepared for the maiden F-16 U.S. fighter. the use of foreplane would improve maneuverabil-
test-flight as soon as 1989. The LCA production was supposed to be ity, it would also result in a 0.76 m longer fuselage,
Expulsion of various designs of the new fighter arranged in Bangalore. There was a reservation, as well as to greater weight and radar signature.
started in the aerodynamic tunnel of the National however, that if the wing of the aircraft was to be On January 7, 1986, the Defense Research and
Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL), as did research made of coal-plastic, the console production could Development Organization presented a detailed
fighter construction plan to Prime-Minister
R.Ghandi and the minister of defense. The plan
laid the basis for the LCA program. It is noteworthy
that the Indian government, traditionally avoiding
putting all eggs in one basket where military and
technical cooperation is concerned, simultane-
ously collaborated with the Soviet Union and
western countries. The LCA program was explicitly
“focused” on the West. Besides Dassault other for-
eign firms were engaged in the program, including
Alenia providing assistance in manufacturing coal-
plastic panels for wing coating, Martin Marietta
(control system), and BAE (consultancy for devel-
oping the aircraft automatic control system).


system. For a number of reasons the system din and number of weapons, as well as new avionics
not satisfy the Indians and in 1993 the U.S. General equally effective against air and ground targets.
Dynamics (currently Lockheed Martin), which had The LCA concept was close to the follow-
obtained a lot of experience in the field while cre- ing aircraft: JAS 39 Gripen (Sweden), Ching-
ating and upgrading F-16, was chosen to create a Kuo(Taiwan), and FC-1 (Super-7, China/Pakistan).
four-channel digital flight-by-wire control system. The look of the new fighter was influenced not only
The digital flight-by-wire control system final by technical, but also political issues: India, which
adjustments were carried out in the U.S. through was gaining international importance, needed not
modeling at a special NT-33 aircraft with additional only an aircraft, but also a kind of a symbol
checks performed at the F-16 fighter. The works of national independence in the field of high
were completed in 1996. technology.
In 1986, India concluded a contract with the It is noteworthy that, though, the Indian fighter
In the March of the very 1986, a U.S. Defense U.S. General Electric for the delivery of F404-GE- was designed for the Air Force, at the early stages
Department delegation came to India, which com- F2J3 engines to be used for LCA prototypes. It was of the program a deck-landing aircraft based on
prised 20 experts working in military R&D facilities supposed to be a temporary measure with further it was also considered: the Indian Navy bought a
specialized in aircraft and engine building and prototypes and series-produces aircraft to be fit- British-built Vikrant in 1961 (19,500 metric tons),
radio-electronic systems. Cooperation between ted with Indian engines. It is common knowledge, which proved highly effective in the war of 1973.
India and the U.S. in the LCA program was dis- though, that there is nothing as permanent as A more powerful Viraat (former Eagle) ship was
cussed, including such issues as building the temporary measures… bought in the U.K. in 1996. It had a deadweight of
fuselage, development and construction of avia- The LCA outline design started in 1987 and 28,700 metric tons and had Sea Harrier fighters.
tion electronics. Pentagon officially announced its finished in 1988. The works were carried out with India had plans of further upgrade of aviation and
intent to support India’s HAL in the LCA aircraft Dassault’s technical support (the support price aircraft fleet of deck-landing aircraft.
development. was $10 million). The aircraft under construc- On March 31, 1990, the new fighter project
Looking ahead we will say that the fuselage tion was to closely meet the requirements of the was officially approved. At the end of the year a
finally remained to be Indian, but the Americans local theatre of operations and fully integrate the LCA prototype construction was to be launched.
further received contracts for deliveries of engines, national combat expertise, including that obtained Note that the maiden flight of the new Indian
advanced alloys, and composite materials, as well during the India-Pakistan war in 1971. fighter was initially and optimistically planned for
as for development of the LCA digital flight-by-wire The analysis carried out by Indian experts 1991, but later postponed until 1992. In 1990,
control system. The development of the system is showed that the new multipurpose fighter was to the Indian Defense Ministry announced that the
worth focusing on. The Indian gave up the idea of be close to MiП-21 (which proved perfectly effec- construction of the “demonstration” aircraft was
making this crucial element of the aircraft them- tive in air fights with Pakistani F-86, F-104, and delayed until 1993 citing technical reasons so that
selves at early stages of the program. In 1988, F-6) in its main features. It also was to have better the wheeling-out was to take place in 1994 with
Dassault offered its analogue flight-by-wire control maneuverability, farther range, increased variety the maiden flight to follow no sooner than 1995.
All that meant that the beginning of series produc-
tion of the Indian fourth generation fighter would
start most optimistically in 1997 with the first
batch-produced jets to enter service not in 1996
as it was planned, but in the XXI century.
The Indian chief of staff said commenting
these decisions that “the delay of the LCA fighter
program can prompt the armed forces to consider
fielding a new type of an “intermediate” fighter
to replace MiG-21 and MiG-23”. As a possible
replacement both General Dynamics F-16 and
Saab JAS 39 Vigen supersonic aircraft and sub-
and BAE Hawk 200 were considered. The subsonic
aircraft would result in considerably reduced costs
while maintaining a high strike potential, but the
Hawk 200 or AMX fighting potential was evidently
not enough for winning air superiority formerly
performed by MiG-21.
Another possibility is that the combat field
insulation task could be performed by additionally
ordered MiG-27M fighter-bombers, whereas direct
air support could be carried out by 80-90 AJT
upgraded combat trainers purchased by the Air
Force. Looking ahead, the Indian Air Force gave
up the idea of subsonic attack planes rather soon
due to low combat potential and survivability, the
supersonic F-16 and JAS 39 jets are considered by
the Indians as the LCA “gap fillers” in the frames
of the MMRCA program in 2009, 20 years after
the described events. It is really true that unlike
Europeans, who are always in a hurry, the sons of
the most ancient Indian civilization don’t take two

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

or three decades for a long period of time even in

the dynamic field of military aircraft building.
In the late 1980s – early 1990s, the further
LCA strategy implementation was considered for
changes. For instance, a simplified version of the
fighter deprived of some earlier planned technical
solutions was offered to be built as soon as pos-
sible with minimum costs. And no sooner than at
the second stage of the program, when a simpli-
fied version was launched into series production,
extended work on a “full-fledged” LCA was sup-
posed to start. Besides, a number of squadrons
initially planned to be fitted with LCA aircraft
were then to receive advanced MiG-21. Looking
ahead, it is noteworthy that we can see today this
scenario implemented: 125 MiG-21UPG entered
service of the Indian Air Force partly filling the the sound speed for the first time. On August 14, Vigen based on the Blue Vision radar of the BAE
LCA “gap”, the LCA Мk.1, which “do not entirely 1998, the second TD2 prototype was wheeled out Sea-Harrier.
meet the requirements of the Air Force” are being from an assembling workshop. Just like TD1, it But then some problems of adjusting the
batch-produced and the work on “full-fledged” also had the F404-GE-F2J3 U.S. engine. Its flight Swedish radar to the Indian “board” emerged and
LCA Mk.2 completely satisfying the customer tests started no sooner than 2002. in 1997 a decision was made that the LCA radar
demands have started. The TD1 and TD2 were first publically demon- with features close to those of PS-05/A be made
Another LCA’s alternative to appear in 1991 strated at the international air show Air India 2003, by HAL’s radio electronics department on its own,
is also worth mentioning. A project of a new which took place at the Yelahanka Airbase near which did not exclude possible technical support
S-37 fighter combining high striking potential Bangalore on September 5-9, 2003 (the author of provided by foreign partners. Two test-bed aircraft
and good “fighting” capabilities was offered dur- the text was also present at this even historic for based on HS478М were fitted to flight-test the
ing the U.S.S.R. Air Force commander-in-chief E. the Indian aviation). The LCA flight let the Indians onboard radar.
SHaposhnikov visit to India. After the collapse of feel justified pride. Two matrix color displays were used to show
the Soviet Union followed by the fall of the Soviet Many of the Bangalore citizens to visit the flight and tactical information at the test aircraft.
aircraft building, though, the offer quickly became show were engaged in the aircraft industry so the They were MFD-55 crystal based and made by
irrelevant. flight of the new fighters made them also proud of the French firm Sextant Avionics. The resolution
In 1993, the Indian government finally sanc- their work. From the “aerobatic” point of view, the of the displays was good enough to show a great
tioned the construction of a flight-demonstration LCA flight resembled that of a MiG-21. The Indian number of special signs and symbols neces-
(experimental) LCA item. In the May of 1995, aircraft showed a rather good rate of climb. The sary during the flight. It is woth mentioning that
the fuselage was launched into production, and Indian printed media said later that the LCA TD similar displays of the firm were installed at the
in December that year the coal-plastic wing fol- “has a rate of climb exceeding that of MiG-29,” Mirage-2000-5 and Rafal French aircraft, as well
lowed. The ceremonial wheeling-out of the LCA which has the initial rate of climb of 300-330 mps as at the Franco-German Tiger helicopter. Foreign
TD1 (technological demonstrator, first) took place depending on the variant. But these claims are composite materials were used to build the LCA TD
on November 17, 1996 lagging nine months likely to be invented by the authors. and PV aircraft to make 30-34% of the airframe,
behind the schedule. But the customizing of the jet Along with the creation of the aircraft itself, an which resulted in reduced weight and bearable
proved to be longer than expected and no sooner unhurried but purposeful work on the development g-loads of between +8 and -3. A ten-year program
than April 1997, test-pilot Rakesh Sharma, the of the LCA onboard radar was under way. In 1991, was initiated to have these materials produced by
first Indian spaceman, who visited the Mir Soviet the design of the onboard radar for the aircraft national chemical companies and until it ended the
Orbital Station, started the ground tests of the jet. was launched. Under initial plans, the fighter was materials were imported.
On January 4, 2001 the LCA fighter made to be fitted with an Indian version of the Swedish According to the Indian media reports, the
its maiden flight and was later named Tejas Ericsson/GEC-Marсoni PS-05/A, pulse-doppler R&D works on the LCA program and construction
(Radiance). On August 1, 2003 the jet exceeded multipurpose onboard radar developed for JAS 39 of TD1 and TD2 pilot aircraft cost India 21,880


million rupees ($730 million at 1992 financial plastic use the Indians decreased the weight to The LCA thrust-to-weight ratio with the F404
yea’s exchange rate). The overall costs of the the record low for a fighter of the class – to 5,500 with a normal takeoff weight was to be 0.91
development of the new fighter, including the kg, which seamed rather possible. The composite compared to 0.81 of JAS 39 and 0.87 of MiG-
engine development expenditures and excluding materials were supposed to be used in the wing, 21bis, which would in theory give the Indian
series production were estimated at 50,000 million empennage and control surface design. aircraft acceleration and maneuverability features
rupees ($1.4 billion). The percent of the composite materials used exceeding foreign aircraft of the same class.
The opinion of the U.S. experts about the LCA in the LCA roughly twice exceeded that of the U.S. The LCA design speed and height features were
aircraft is also of some interest. Having studied the F-22A Raptor fifth generation fighter and its Soviet slightly worse than those of MiG-21 (Mach 2.0,
features of the aircraft, they said it was “the next analogue MiG-MFI jet. For a comparison, the Saab 17,000-19,000 m compared to Mach 1.7 – 1.8,
generation of F-5 type aircraft.” They mentioned JAS 39 Gripen with a structure close to that of 16,000 m), but were good enough for effective
that the design features of the fighter were high the LCA and a similar engine (Svenska Flygmotor fight with up-to-date foreign tactical aircraft. In
enough with the small size and relatively low cost, RM12 based on the same F404) and a radar was general, the Indian Air Force was to receive an
which would provide a good demand for it on the 6,620 kg, that is 1,120 kg more. At the same aircraft comparable with the best similar foreign
world market. The Americans said, though, that time, the internal fuel tanks of the Indian aircraft, jets and exceeding some of their features.
“the fighter has a relatively small specified life, according to advertizing brochures, was to accom- The construction of the first two prototype
which will make it operational within 14 years, modate 2,400 kg of fuel compared to 2,270 kg of vehicles PV1 and PV2 was launched in 1998.
whereas the advanced western fighters had the the Saab aircraft. The LCA fuel efficiency was 0.44 The traditional natural model of the fighter was
same feature was much better.” The ADA chiefs compared to 0.34 of the Jas 39. The LCA prede- replaced by a virtual model, which was a 3D data
said to clarify the point that the LCA operating life cessor in the Indian Air Force, MiG-21bis (empty base of detailed information on the configuration
was calculated based on heavy climate conditions weight – 5,350 kg), was fitted with the R-25-300 and design of the aircraft (a similar approach was
and if the aircraft is used in countries with a milder augmented turbojet engine with the thrust of 7,100 first used in the U.S. for the development of the
climate, the specified life could be extended. kgf and had only 1,790 kg of fuel in internal tanks Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit low observable stra-
Due to the fast tempo of mastering the lat- (fuel efficiency also 0.34). It is little surprise that tegic bomber, and was later used for F-22, F-35,
est technology in aircraft building showed by the the LCA practical range of 2,000 km was to be and T-50 fighter programs.
Indians, the LCA design specifications looked close to that of heavier fourth generation foreign PV1 took off on November 25, 2005, and
impressive. So, while at the initial stage of the fighters (F-15 and F-16) and be much better than the PV2 followed on December 1, 2005. Exactly
program the design empty weigh was estimated that of not only MiG-21bis (1,250 km), but also of a year later, on December 1, 2006, flight tests of
at 6,000 kg, then due to optimism in wide coal- Gripen (1,700-1,800) km. the PV3 started. The fourth pre-series aircraft PV4
initially built as s prototype of the LCA-Navy carrier
fighter was further delivered as the second series
jet LSP2. Then an prototype of the PV5 two-seat
combat trainer was launched, as well as navy
prototypes NP-1 and NP-2, which have not started
flight tests as of today.
It should be mentioned that the takeoff weight
of empty demonstrator aircraft LCA TD was far
from the announced record low figure for the
series aircraft and totaled according to the Indian
media 6,800 kg. The pre-series LCA PV1 had more
carbon-plastic and the weight reduced to 6,300 kg.
The LCA PV2 had the design composite material
figure of 43%. But this fighter was also fitted with
some organic electronic equipment, armament,
as well as some onboard systems, which were
not installed on previous versions. It was likely to
ESTIMATED PERFORMANCE OF SERIES-BUILT TEJAS increase the weight again. The exceeding weight
became one of the crucial problems for the Tejas
Wingspan 8.9 m
Length with pressure head bar 13.20 m On April 12, 2007, the first series Tejas Mk.1
Height 4.40 m fighter LSP1 made its maiden test flight. On June
Wing surface 38.40 m2 16, 2008 it was followed by LSP2 (former PV4).
Another six series aircraft (LSР-3 – LSР-8) were
Empty weight 5,500 kg
supposed to be tested until the end of 2008, but
Internal tanks capacity 2,400 kg when the article was being written the information
Takeoff weight on LSР-3 – LSР-8 flights was not available.
Unlike the fighters of other developing nations,
Air superiority derivative 9,000 kg
which are powered by engines made in Russia, the
Strike derivative 12,500 kg U.S., France, or the U.K., a decision was made to
Max combat load 4,000 kg develop a specific engine for the Indian fighter,
which would compete with fourth generation
Max Mach number 1.6-1.8
bypass turbofan engines with afterburner. The
Service ceiling 15,200-16,000 development of the engine called Kavery with the
Operational range 2,000 km design static thrust in the full afterburning mode
Ferry range 3,000 km
was 8,500-9,000 kgf (a bigger figure was also
announced – up to 9,200 kgf), was entrusted to
Max exploitation g-number +9.0/-3.5 the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE)

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

in Bangalore. The French firm SNECMA decided to

provide technical assistance to the Indian experts.
The bench test of the Kavery bypass turbofan
engine with afterburner started in 1996. The engine
was supposed to power five PV1 – PV5pre-series
aircraft. But the works on the engine development
started to delay. As a result, another 17 F404-JE-
F2J3 General Electric engines (7,300 kgf) were
bought in the U.S. to power demonstration and
pre-series jets. All the aircraft are now receiving
new and more powerful F404-GE-IN20 General
Electric bypass turbofan engines with afterburner
(8,200 kgf) developed on the Indian order with
design elements of the Swedish RB12 F404-400
bypass turbofan engine with afterburner and with
a digital control system of the F414.
Despite delayed works, the Indian Air Force
seemed to be optimistic about the perspectives of
the “national” engine in the first half of the current
decade. According to announcements made by
Indian government in 2005, the LCA series aircraft
were to start receiving Kavery engines in 2009. In
early 2005, an engine of the type developed 96%
of the maximum design thrust during tests. According to unofficial data, though, an aircraft of Let us focus on technical features and design
Flight tests of the bypass turbofan engine with the 220 item series would cost $35 million, which specifications of the Tejas Mk.1 first Indian series
afterburner installed at an LCA were planned to seem much more true to life. supersonic aircraft.
begin in December 2006 and January 2007. The The Tejas planes were planned to start enter- The light single-engine multipurpose fighter
problems to occur during the final engine adjust- ing the Indian Air Force inventory in 2008 replacing has the tailless aerodynamic structure with a high
ments seem to have not been solved. As a result, MiG-21FL, and MiG-21ML. It is noteworthy, that delta wing variable-swept on the fore edge, single-
in February 2006 ADA concluded an agreement the Indian Air Force currently has 19 air squadrons fin tail unit and one bypass turbofan engine with
with the French firm Snecma for support with of MiG-21 aircraft produced on a Soviet license. afterburner installed at the fuselage rear. The static
works on the engine so as to make it flight-capable A total of 125 MiG-21bis were upgraded to MiG- stability of the aircraft is reduced. The Tejas fea-
in 2009-2010. The goal was not achieved either 21UPG(bison) and the rest, which are both morally tures, the designers claim, are to be as follows:
and despite the official continuation of the Kavery and physically outdated, are to be replace in the – high maneuverability;
program, the idea of installing the engine at Tejas near future. – multifunctionality;
aircraft, at least in the mid-term planning, seems In 2005, the Indian Air Force concluded a 20 – all-weather day and night capability;
to have been finally refused. billion rupees (over $445 million) contract with – compatibility of cockpit instrumental equip-
In the 1990s, the Indian Air Force were going the HAL for the delivery of the first 20 series ment with night vision goggles;
to buy at least 200 LCA fighters and 20 two-seat Tejas aircraft Mark 1 with F404-GE-IN20 General – low radar echo, which is one third of that of
combat trainers (while optimist would announce Electric bypass turbofan engines with afterburner, similar size fighters (that is about 2 m2).
300 or 500 jets) with the initial combat readiness to including 16 single-seat fighters and four two- The aerodynamic structure of the aircraft is
be reached in 2003 with the full combat readiness seat combat trainers. The agreement also had an claimed to provide minimal wind resistance, little
to follow in 2005. One LCA of the 220 item series option for the purchase of another 20 aircraft. HAL specific wing load, high rate of turn for bank, yaw and
was expected to cost the humble $21 million. The ordered a total of 24 F404-GE-IN20 engines cost- pitch, as well as good takeoff and landing features.
sum later escalated to $22.6 million, which is also ing over $100 million at General Electric in early About 43% of the series-produced LCA air-
very little compared to other 4+ generation aircraft. February 2007. frame is made of composite materials. The fighter
skin is 90% composite materials. The use of large
coal-plastic panels provided a much lighter design,
as well as a reduced use of fasteners with 5,000 of
rivets necessary compared to 10,000 of a similar
size fighter with an all-metal riveted design. The
use of composite materials saved the necessity of
drilling 2,000 holes in the airframe inevitable for a
usual all-metal design.
The wing is made of composite materials
(longerons, wing ribs and skin), fuselage skin
and air inlets, as well as the elevons, keel, rud-
der, and air-brakes and undercarriage flaps. The
coal-plastic skin is 2.4-2.7 mm deep. The airframe
design largely incorporates aluminum– lithium and
titanium alloys.
As a result of implementation of some new
constructional materials (first of all composite
materials) and the latest technologies the duration
of manufacturing period of one LCA aircraft had to
be reduced from 11 to 7 months.


The fighter’s wing has reduced sweep in the TD1 and TD2 test fighters are equipped with with other elements radio-electronic equipment
root which is made in order to provide the pilot the General Electrics F404-GE-F2J3 (1х7300 kg(f) and weapons via three digital data buses which
with forward and downward lookout as it is stated. augmented dual-flow turbojet. Serial planes were correspond to MIL-STD-1553B standard.
A three-piece wing-slat is situated on the wing supposed to be equipped with the Indian GTRE In fuselage nose section the X-range MMR
leading edge and the wing trailing edge is occupied GTX-35VS “Kavery” engines (1х8500 – 8800 kg(f) (Multi Mode Radar) multipurpose coherent pulse-
with two-piece elevons. with the Douti/Smith KADECU digital control sys- doppler radar station is placed. It was designed
As it was mentioned previously the wing con- tem, however this engine never passed through on the basis of the Ericsson PS-05/А radar sta-
struction is almost entirely made of composition the test stage. As a result the MK1 fighters have tion. The station is capable to track up to 10 air
materials. Most of the longerons and stringers, been equipped with the US F404-GE-IN20 aug- targets, allocate two most priority targets among
upper and lower one-piece skin panels which are mented dual-flow turbojets (8200 kg(f) and were them and ensure launch of two “air-to-air” active
fastened with screws to the longerons are made of updated specially for the requirements of the Air radar homing missiles for one of the targets. In the
these materials as well. The slit vortex generators are Forces of India (tropical edition). “air-to-earth” mode the radar carries out district
mounted in the wing and fuselage matching joint. The internal tanks of the aircraft volume is mapping, provides detection of small targets, their
The aircraft’s fuselage is semimonocoque 3,000 liters. Five external fuel tanks with the vol- engagement with onboard weapons, flight in the
type. Two speed brakes are situated in its tail-end ume of 800 or 1200 liters can be placed under a terrain avoiding land obstacles fly-by mode. The
on both sides of the vertical stabilizer and made wing and the fuselage. In the long term the under- slit antenna has small weight – less than 5 kg.
of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Two fixed hemi- fuselage fuel tank was planed to be replaced with a The development of the station was carried out by
spheric section air intakes are placed on the sides conforming external fuel tank of the same volume the HAL company together withERDE (Electronics
of the fuselage. which provides considerably smaller aerodynamic Radar Development Establishment).
Though dimensions of «Ajita» are brought to a resistance and smaller radar cross-section. Besides onboard radar (the basic onboard
minimum that together with the use of composite On the right side of the fuselage at cockpit information mean) the aircraft can be equipped
materials provides it with small optical and radar- windscreen a fixed inverted-L type aerial refueling with external multichannel (thermal, television,
tracking signature. In the aircraft design a number receiver is mounted. laser) Lightning container tested onboard one of
of additional measures on decrease of radar cross- The plane having reduced static stability is LCA aircrafts in 2007.
section are implemented. Such measures are: equipped with the Martin Marietta four-channel The aircraft has modern information and con-
– Giving to channels of the air intake of the digital electronic remote control system with the trol board of pilot’s cockpit corresponding to
bent Y-shaped form, aimed to shield compressor higher level of protection against external elec- the requirements to aviation complexes of «4 +»
blades from direct radar tracking; tromagnetic influences. There are no duplicating generation. The basis of this complex are two
– Rather wide application of radio absorbing analogue or mechanical systems onboard. liquid crystal multipurpose full-color display (the
materials and coverings; The basis of the onboard radio-electronic size of the screen is 125х125 mm) with a push-
– Use of passive sensors and tracking equipment complex makes a duplicated computer button frame as well as the wide-angle indicator
devices. (32 bit, ADA programming language), integrated on the windscreen with holographic optics. In the
twin-seater variant of LCA there are four displays
PART OF CONSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS (BY WEIGHT) IN LCA AIRCRAFT (125х125 mm) as well as two multipurpose con-
trol panels which have liquid crystal displays.
Technical demonstrator (ТD) Pre-production vehicle (PV)
For conducting near air fight the aircraft is
Aluminum alloys 57,0% 45,0% equipped witha helmet-mounted visor manufac-
Carbon fiber-reinforced plastic 30,0% 43,0% tured in Ukraine. The works on integration of
the Israeli helmet-mounted sight-indicator with
Steel 5,0% 4,5% avionics were conducted. The controls of “Tejes”
Titanium 6,0% 5,0% are made by HOTAS principle that allows to pilot a
Other materials 2,0% 2,5% fighter without releasing control levers.
Radio-electronic warfare and communication
means are integrated with other elements of avion-
ics into the joint «Mayavi» (“Fokusnik”) onboard
complex. There are both built-in electronic warfare
equipment (station of detection of a radar and
laser irradiation, containers with shoot off heat
flares and chaffs) and external containers with
active jamming equipment.
The remarkable feature of the aircraft weapon
system is presence of both Russian and the west-
ern aviation weaponsin its structure. The Lightning
container with thermal and television (with high
definition) positioning and targeting equipment as
well as laser range gauge and target designator
(that provides possibility of application of guided
aviation bombs (KAB) and other precision weapon
without any external means of illumination) is sup-
posed to be mounted on the special (eights) under
fuselage suspension joint.
The plane is equipped with a built-in GSH-23L
gun (23 mm) with the allowance of am munitionof
220 rounds, placed under the fuselage (it is similar
to MiG-21bis fighter). On the seven external joints
of a suspension (six under wings and one under

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

fuselage) according to the initial projectvarious

weapons with the total weight of 400 kg including
short and medium range “air-to-air” missiles (of
Russian, French and American manufacture) could
be mounted.
The Russian R-77 guided missile (till 2010
India should receive 1600 missiles of the kind from
Russia) and Indian DRDO ASTRA missile which
will go through flight tets in 2011 are themedium
range missiles with the active radar homing sys-
tem. The ASTRA guided missile of the 1st stage
should have the maximum range of fire equal to
45 km. And more sophisticated missile of the
2nd stage should engage the targets on counter
courses at a distance of up to 80 km.
Short range missiles with TGS are represented
at “Tejas” with the Russian R-73 and French Matra
“Majic”. The “air-to-surface” weapon includes
Russian Х-59МЭ, Х-59МК, Х-35 and Х-31. The
craft should carry guided aviation bombs (up to with too optimistic belief of the developers in the high level of probability, that after similar delays
KAB-1500), unguided air-to-surface missiles, free- composition materials design of the glider and and technical failures any European, US or Russian
falling bombs and bombing cartridges of various overestimation of their ability to work with carbon program in the field of military aircraftwould be
types. However at “Tejas” Mk.1 the weight and the fiber-reinforced plastic. Probably, the acquiring stopped (enough to remember a sad destiny of
weapons designation on external joints of suspen- of extra weight appeared during the design of a US programs of F-111B, А-12 (АТА), RAH-66
sion may probably be essentially reduced. number of systems also took place. «Comanche» or our program called MFI). However
By the middle of 2008 two LCA demonstration Thus, serial «Tejas» weighs much more than for India the «Tejas» aircraft is nevertheless more
aircrafts three test aircrafts and two planes of Mark its Swedish analogue «Gripen». It has inevita- than just an aircraft. «Shining» is a symbol of
1 first series had been constructed and transferred bly caused correction of other characteristics of appropriation of entire independencein such major
to flight tests (six more are under construction). the fighter. So, thrust/weight ratio of the fighter for national defense area as military aircraft engi-
Their total time in the air exceeded 1000 hours in (0.75-0.78 at normal take-off weight) became a neering by the state. For such country as India
December, 2008 . The first serial fighter accord- little bit less than at MiG-21bison. Maneuverability, which has ancient cultural traditions, huge human
ing to the Minister of Defence of India should be acceleration characteristics and climbing capacity potential and thus some centuries were under a
transferred to the Air Forces in 2011, and the first also decreased. Combat load of 4000 kg became colonial heel, it has not only defensive, but also
squadron of 20 LCA combat aircrafts is expected unattainable for «Tejas» Mk.1. Now it may reach huge political value. Therefore it is possible to
to reach initial battle readiness in 2012. 1500-2000 kg as its best (not exceeding the cor- expect, that program the LCA program neverthe-
It seemed after many years of delays that LCA responding parameter of Mig-21). Most likely, less will be continued and led to victorious end.
at last came to the “home straight” and the Indian these aircrafts became comparable in the criterion Though it was decided to abstain from further
Air Forces have received the “national” fighter. of «range – combat load». serial orders of the “Tejas” Mk.1 aircrafts, the
However as it turned out the optimism was prema- In various sources it was specified, that the Indian Air Forces and the HAL company work
ture: in the autumn of 2008 referring to the national maximum speed of LCA should be М=1.6-1.8. on the sophisticated version of the craft called
Ministry of Defense it was declared, that the serial However during tests, judging by the media reports, «Tejas» Мk.2. However the new contracts for
craft possesses «superfluous weight». The exact the value of M did not exceed 1.4. Probably this the serial production with the ADA agency will
figure of the overweight was not pronounced, value is also maximum for serial «Tejas». be signed only after it is obvious, that this craft
however it is possible to assume, that it appeared As a result of all these disappointments in meets the minimal requirements of the country
to be rather essential. As a result the “Tejas” Mk.1 the end of 2008 the MoD of India took a serious Air Forces.
aircrafts as it turns out, possess underestimated decisionfor itself to refuse further purchases of the It is supposed, that in “Tejas” Mk.2 design a
(in comparison with the estimated) flight charac- «Tejas» Мк.1 fighters, having limited the number number of the improvements directed on optimiza-
teristics and do not correspond even to «minimal of serial fighters with 20 units (i.e. one squadron). tion of aerodynamic characteristics and weight of a
requirements of the customer for combat load». It has endangered the further continuation of the glider will be implemented. Replacement of some
It was reported, that the weight of empty whole program. It is possible to assume with a elements of design, in particular – the chassis
“Tejas” MK.1 aircraft exceeds the estimated one
by 1500 kg, i.e. makes not less than 7000 kg (and
probably more). It is necessary to say, that the
growth of the craft’s weight during its designing
is quite usual. For example Mig-29 became 1.13
times heavier during the period between the initial
project and the first serial fighter (from 9,670 to
10,900 kg) that however didn’t make any remark-
able consequences for the program. Probably
the weight of the US F-35 grew even more sig-
nificantly but also did not result in any troubles
for the designers. However the increase of this
major characteristic by 1.27-1.30 times neverthe-
less forced the Air Forces of India reject further
purchases of this “overweight” fighter. Excessive
weight of the LCA can be possibly explained


(that indirectly testifies to considerable increase phased array called ELTA EL/M-2052 is observed. to the customer in 2012) following the results of
of weight of «Tejas» Mk.2) is supposed also. The model of this station was shown at the the international competition in which generation
However the most essential part of moderniza- international exhibition «Air India – 2005» in “4 +” fightersparticipate such as MiG-35, F-16I,
tion will be installation of the new, more powerful Bangalore. It is necessary to say, that very little is F/A-18E/F (F-18IN), «Rafael», EF2000 and JAS 39
engine chosen in the framework of the interna- known about this station intended for equipping «Gripen».
tional competition. In December, 2008 the ADA of F-16 class crafts (its weight makes «130 – 180 Chronic prolongation of implementation terms
agency planned to direct to the General Electric kg»). It has a small rectangular antenna. And the of the LCA program made in the mid-nineties
andEuropean consortium Eurojet Turbo an offer on information presented in exhibition booklets, to the Indian Air Forces begin search of alternative
participation in this tender. put it mildly, raise certain doubts. In particular, variants of modernization fighter park allowing
The F414 engine (10000 kg(f) applied in F/A- the declared ability of EL/M-2052 to detect to to support necessary qualitative level before the
18E/F) or EJ200 (9200 kg(f) installed in EF2000) 64 air targets simultaneously looks colored (in “national” fighter enters service.
are expected to allow providing performance of the US radars AN/APG-77 installed at F-22A this In 1996 the Russian-Indian contract providing
primary requirements of aircraft performance parameter makes, on various information, 20-28 modernization of 125 MiG-21bis fightersto the
characteristics which were initially required for targets). At the same time it is possible to assume level of MiG-21-93 has been signed. The modern-
the LCA craft by the Indian Air Forces. The com- that the characteristics of this station (which most ized MiGs which got an Indian name MiG-21UPG
petition winner-company will delyver 99 engines. probably is just going to be created) will be at the (sometimes they are called MiG-21bison) started
The agreement will include an option for addi- level of the latest European and American onboard to arrive in the Indian Air Forces in 2002, and by
tional delivery of 49 more augmented dual-flow radio stations with automatic phased array. In 2008 the program had been practically finished.
turbojets as well, that, taking into account the particular, the declared range of enemy’s light Modernization concerned basically the onboard
reserve engines should provide manufacture of fighters detection for EL/M-2052 of148 km looks radio electronic equipment and weapons of the
125 «Tejas» Mk.2 fighters. quite convincingly. aircraft. «Bison» has received new pulse-dopler
After the winner in the tender of engine manu- In January, 2009 the ADA agency signed the radar «Kopiyo-21I» with slit antenna, practically
facturers is chosen the modernization of the LCA contract with the European concern EADS, provid- not conceding to the MMR station created for LCA
fuselage for the chosen engine will be performed. ing rendering to the Indian party help in updating (target detection range with radar cross-section
At the same time the “Tejas” Mk.2 twin-seater «Tejas». Thus the main attention will be paid to of 3 м2 is 57 km, simultaneous tracking of eight
crafts will still be equipped with the F404-GE-IN20 struggle for weight decrease and measures for and engagement of two targets), modern weapons
engines (probably, using the option of 20 aug- chassis strengthening as well. The program is cal- control system, allowing to use the guided “air-
mented dual-flow turbojets of this type). culated for 48 months. Thus the first «Tejas» Mk.2 to-air” and “air-to-surface” weapons, the inertial
One more basic difference of «Tejas» Mk.2 in the serial configuration will take off not earlier navigation system upgraded with the module of
from Mk.1 can be a new radar complex. By 2004 than in 2014, i.e. practically simultaneously with satellite navigation and also the complex of weap-
after many years of delays two MMR test radar the India-Russian fighter of the 5th generation. ons practically identical with the corresponding
stations were constructed. However in 2006 it We remind that initially it was planned, that complex of LCA. Thus the modernized aircraft
became known that works on creation of this air- the LCA aircrafts first of all will replace the fighters completely kept the high flight characteristics of
craft radar met serious problems which questioned of MiG-21 type and «Ajit». However «Ajit» “quit- the MiG-21bis fighter whichnot concede to the
terms of completion of the program. And the radar ted the stage” in 1991 still before the prototype characteristics of «Tejas».
station itself corresponded to the requirements of of «Tejas» took off for the first time. Later the After 125 MiG-21UPG practically corresponded
the early 1990s could not be considered modern MiG-23BN fighter-bombers (entered the service f to the level of generation «4 +» became part of the
any more in second half of this decade. In 2007 the the India AF after the failure with “Marut”) were Indian Air Forces the problem of the 2nd genera-
agreement providing rendering to the Indian party added to the list of aircrafts submitted for replace- tion fighters replacementbecame much less sharp.
help in operational development of the station by ment for LCA. However and these crafts left the It may have allowed the management of the Indian
an Israeli company Elta was signed. Searching for service in 2007 not being replaced with a new Air Forces to take easy the regular delay of the LCA
a new onboard radar station corresponding to the Indian multipurpose fighter. The MiG-21Ml and program connected with the necessity of creation
requirements of the present day was begun at the MiG-23MF aircrafts also should be replaced since of a new modification of this fighter, deprived of
same time. 2012 not with «Tejas» but with the multipurpose the disadvantages of the 1st generation fighters.
Presently the possibility of equipping “Tejas” MMRCA fighter: 126 crafts of this type should Most likely the modernized Swedish fighter
Mk.2 with Israeli radar station with automatic enter the service (with transfer of the first vehicle «Gripen» NG which started flight tests in 2008 will
become the nearest analogue of «Tejas» Mk.2. This
aircraft equipped with a new onboard radar with
automatic phased array has the extended fuselage
with the volume of the fuel tanks increased by 40
% and the F414G engine (10,000 kg(f), allowing to
fly with supersonic cruiser speed (up to М=1.2).
The weight of the empty aircraft has increased by
400 kg (i.e. to 7000-7100 kg), the maximum take-
off weight has made 16,000 kg, and ferry range
with full fuel tanks is 4070 km.
Besides the basic single-seater variant of the
«Tejas»fighter intended for the Air Forces, the
working out of other modifications of this aircraft
is conducted. In particular the training-combat
twin-seater variant of the fighter was being cre-
ated. There is a twin-seater training-combat pro-
totype PV5 is under construction. This aircraft in
general is similar to the single-seater. It carries
similar to «Tejas» Мк.1 onboard equipment and
weapons. The difference is in absence of a fuel

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

tank for 410 l behind the cockpit instead of which

the cockpit of the second pilot is created. Thus
part of fuel is moved to the additional capacities
located in other places of the glider. As a whole
the twin-seater at insignificant reduction of range
practically completely keeps the potential of the
Works on the deck-based variant of the fighter
called LCA-Navy are going on. In due time together
with the pre-series LCA crafts two prototypes of
this plane – NP1 and NP2 were laid down. Their
construction was essentially prolonged, and now it
is reported, that NP1 can be presented not earlier
than the end of 2009.
It was reported, that the generality in avionics
of the deck-based and land-based fighters makes
99 %. At the same time LCA-Navy should have
insignificantly changed control system, reinforced
chassis with the increased course of the shock-
absorbers ensuring landing to the deck of the
Aircraft carrier with a big vertical speed and
take off from a launching-ramp. In the design of
the glider of the deck-based fighter the corrosion-
resisted materials are used.
One of the constructional features of LCA- foreign (including Russian) organizations, and the The Air Forces of India together with the indus-
Navy which distinguish it from other deck-based ship project was performed with the assistance of try considered also plans of further development of
fighters is the fuselage nose section with radio an Italian firm Fincantieri SpA. LCA which possibly can be partially implemented
transparent cowling of the onboard radar which The ship with the displacement of 37,500 т, in the «Tejas» Мк.2 project. In particular, it was
descends at take off and landing (as it is at Tu-144 the length of 252 m and the width (by a flight deck) supposed to lower radar signature of the fighter
or Т-4) by 4 degrees. That improves the lookout of of 58 m is supposed to be equipped with four essentially by applying some new, more effective
the pilot at actions on the aircraft carrier deck. gas-turbine engine with total capacity of 108,000 radio absorbing coverings developed in India in the
In the root of a deck-based aircraft wing h.p., providing speed of up to 28 knots. According conditions of high secrecy since 1980s.
the additional rotary surfaces are supposed to to initial plans, the aircraft carrier should become The works on advanced, more powerful vari-
be installed. All these changes have resulted in operational in 2012, and in 2017 it was supposed ant of the “Kavery” augmented dual-flow turbojet
increase in weight of the glider in comparison with to transfer the second practically the same ship were conducted. At the expense of application of
the weight of a coast-based fighter. to the Naval Forces. However later the plans were monocrystal blades developed by Metallurgical
Essential changes have also been made in the modified and the term of the «Vicrant»’s entering research laboratory of MoD of India, it was planned
fuel system of LCA-Navy: new means of quick fuel service was prolonged at least till 2015. to increase gas temperature behind the turbine to
draining for emergency landing to the deck soon It is supposed that the new Indian aircraft car- 1850 degrees. According to the estimations the
after take off are provided. rier will carry 12 fighters and 12 helicopters. It was new engine would allow LCA to fly with supersonic
Take off of a deck-based fighter should be originally planned, that those fighters will be LCA- cruiser speed. The works on a three-dimensional
carried out by means of a launching-ramp habitual Navy, however the mixed plane park consisting of thrust vector control with a axe-simmetrical nozzle
to the Indian ship pilots, without use of catapult. LCA-Navy and MiG-29К (the first aircraft of this control system, and on a digital control system
Landing to the deck will be carried out by means type have been transferred the Indian Naval Forces with the full responsibility intended for modernised
of three-barrier arrester and brake hook. The small in 2008) was being discussed later. Taking into augmented dual-flow turbojet as well. Application
size of the fighter allows to do it without the sys- consideration the long terms of construction both of thrust vector control, according to the Indian
tem of the wing folding complicating a design. This in the LCA program and in the construction of the experts, allowed to create a variant of LCA without
system is regular for the majority of other modern Indian aircraft carrier, it is possible to assumethat vertical plumage in the long term, that essentially
deck-based fighters with large dimensions. real appearance of LCA-Navy on deck the Indian reduced its radar signature.
Any characteristics of LCA-Navy were not ship can take place not earlier than in the end of On the basis of the “Kavery” engine it was
announced but it is known that the weight of this next decade (if it in general will take place). planned to develop an unboosted variant with the
fighter is 800 kg more than the weight of «Ajita» Thus it is required to add changes in the increased degree of limbation intended for the
Mk.1 (i.e. should make about 8,000 kg). design of the deck-based aircraft similar to the perspective training and combat aircraft. However
The deck-based variant of the LCA fighter is changes in the design of«Tejas». As a result the today after an actual failure of the «Kavery» pro-
planned to be used from the board of a perspective weight of the deck-based craft will grow even gram these plans will hardly be implemented in
light aircraft carrierproject «Vicrant» (the second more, that will inevitably require more increase the near future.
with such a name) laid down at the shipyard of the wing area. The power-plant problem may also In 1996 the financing of research works on
Cochin Shipyard Limited in Cochin on October, require resolving: even at transition to the F404 creation of a larger multipurpose fighter MCA
7th, 2005. Creation of this ship was conducted augmented dual-flow turbojet (10,000 kg(f) the (Medium Combat Aircraft ) on the basis ofLCA
since the middle of 1990s in the framework of the thrust/weight ration of the deck-based aircraft were started. MCA had to replace the “Jaguar” and
ADA program(Air Defense Ship). Initially developed can appear insufficient to take off with full com- “Mirage 2000” aircrafts in 2010s. This aircraft was
as a light aircraft carrier with the displacement of bat load from a launching-ramp. Apparently, the intended to complement the Su-30MKI heavy mul-
25000 т, ADS (project 71) has gradually grown to Indian designers will encounter many difficulties tipurpose fighters. However after the signing of the
the sizes approximately equal to the sizes of heavy in order to to deny the Americans convinced, that India-Russian agreement on jointwork on creation
aircraft carrier “Kiev”. The help in creation of the it is almost impossible to make a good deck-based of a fighter of the 5th generation, theМСА program
Indian aircraft carrier was rendered by a number of aircraft of an land-based fighter... might have lost the urgency for India.

Vladimir Karnozov


irst brand-new A330-200 entered Russian respective agreement at Farnborough Aerospace Aeroflot distributed press-releases which stated

F service in the last month of the past year.

On December 10 Aeroflot – Russian airlines
hold ceremony of meeting the aircraft arriving from
International 2008. It seemed that AerCap was
very much involved in the cooperative programs
between the European and Russian industries.
that the deal for this particular airplane was signed
in March 2008 (in other words, a year after the big-
ger deal), with Wahaflot Leasing 1 Limited based
Airbus plant in Toulouse where it was built. Many Therefore, it came as a big surprise when the in Cyprus. But this was not the end for surprises.
dignities and ordinary people gave their attendance. very first A330-200 for Aeroflot appeared to be… Speaking on behalf of owner at the acceptance
Among them there was minister for transporta- owned by quite another proprietor! When the ceremony in Sheremetievo was Erik Dahmen. He
tion Igor Levitin. But the minister did not spoke side VP-BLX landed in Moscow – Sheremetievo, introduced himself as senior director with Waha
before audience. Why? Reasons were many. Here
are just a few of them. The deal on ten A330s for
Aeroflot was a part of a bigger one that involved the
Russian government, United Aircraft Corporation,
EADS, Airbus, Aeroflot and AerCAap – to name
only big players. It was arranged in spring 2008.
The Kremlin permitted purchase of new European
widebody jets in return for its maker’s obligations
to provide some work for the ailing domestic indus-
try. That work was meant to be additional orders
for manufacturing of parts for Airbus mainstream
models such as A320 family of narrow body jets,
A330, A380 widebodies and, in the future, for
A350. The Russian industry was also promised a
work share in the A350 project, which will spend
in development a few years. Aeroflot insisted on
replacement of A330s for A350s when the latter
becomes available. Airbus accepted this, yet not
through its own leasing arm, but via AerCap leas-
ing company. The Russian flag carrier placed order
for 10 A330s, with a rider of their replacement for
A350s. Shortly after AerCAP agreed to serve launch
customer for A320P2F converted freighters – the
joint program of EADS, Airbus, UAC and Irkut.
CEO Klaus Heinemann applied his signature at the

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )

Capital, an Abu-Dabi leasing company. Little was that of Goldman Sachs. The rest belong to public Apart from Aeroflot, AerCap has it aircraft placed
heard about both of those, which sparked our inter- and unnamed private individuals. On 18th February with SkyExpress (one B737-500) and Transaero
est. Below is the interview with Mr. Dahmen gave 2008 Waha Capital, the Abu Dhabi-based and Abu (one B737-400). Again, these transactions involved
our correspondent at the delivery ceremony on Dhabi Securities Exchange -listed holding com- the securitization portfolio AerCo, for which AerCap
December 10, 2008. Waha Capital traces its history pany, announced that its investments in aviation, acts as servicer/marketing agent.
to Oasis Capital (In Arab language, “waha” means finance, real estate, infrastructure and maritime
“oasis”). To many of the non-natives, waha sounds and logistics sectors will exceed AED 20 billion
similar to the name of the religious leader of the 18 over the next three years. This and other news
Century, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi from the group can be found on their corporate
(1703–1792) who started a new flow in Islam. Now, site On 19 October
this flow is prevailing in certain countries, including 2008 Waha Capital reported a net profit of AED 40
Saudi Arabia. Men calling themselves Wahhab’s million for the third quarter of 2008, an increase of
followers fought against Russian army and law 34 percent over the corresponding period last year.
enforcement forces in Northern Caucasus and are These figures were given by HE Hussain Al Nowais,
answerable for many terrorist activities in Russia’s Chairman of Waha Capital.
homeland territories. While “waha” and “Wahhab” AerCap’s involvement in Russian programs is
may sound markedly different to the native dwellers longer and greater than Waha’s. Late last year the
of the Arabian peninsula dwellers, it does not for company had a total of 24 aircraft contracted for
most of the outsiders. And this puts them on their lease with Russian airlines. Five of these aircraft
guard. This is one of the reasons why the Russian were delivered to the airline customers. “This
minister for transportation preferred to keep mum shows how important the Russian market is for
at the ceremony. Apparently, he had not expected us”, commented Frauke Oberdieck, Vice President
this sort of challenge, perhaps not merely linguistic. Corporate Communications with AerCap. Most of
There was another reason for Levitin to stay silent. aircraft are intended for Aeroflot – Russian Airlines
The new Aeroflot airplane is actually registered well and its subsidiary Aeroflot-Nord. As of late 2008,
off the Russian coasts, on the islands of Bermuda. Aeroflot operated six A320 family aircraft. First
Hence its registration: VP-BLX. The ministry made AerCap-owned A320 was delivered to Aeroflot in
it clear that it prefers Russian carriers to put July 2008. Remaining five deliveries are due by
their aircraft in the Russian register and get “RA” March 2009. The Russian flag carrier also has on
registration. Aeroflot does not seem to have been order ten A330s. Deliveries started in December
listening to the authority. But let us go back to the 2008. These shall complete in April 2010. Aeroflot-
lessor. Waha Capital calls itself “diversified invest- Nord signed for six B737-500s, of which two were
ment company”. It holds some 40% in Addax Bank delivered in 2008. The remaining four aircraft are
based in Bahrain and has “interests” in Malaysia, owned by the securitization portfolio AerCo, for
Ireland, US, Liberia and Cyprus. About 15% of which AerCap acts as servicer/marketing agent.
company’s shares are in hands of Mudaba sover- Deliveries of these airplanes started in September
eign wealth fund based in Abu Dabi, and 3% – in 2008, in the view of completion in February 2009.


that invests in in aviation, finance, real estate, infra-

structure and maritime and logistics sectors. Waha
is just registered in Abu Dabi; it is actually owned
by the Arabs. So, it is a truly Abu Dabi company.
We are based there and have very close ties to
the Abu Dabi government and other companies
there and the United Arab Emirates. It is a stable
company, professional. It has strong shareholders.
We are based in the country where there is a lot of
strategic views. Well, everybody heard of Abu Dabi
and Dubai, what they are doing in the world. We like
to think that we are part of this process, part of that
strategy, that of growth and the future.
– How many aircraft does it have in its fleet?
– I do not know what is above the top of my
head. But we have an internet site – when people
can check this. Our corporate site is http://www.
– Is the A330-200 being handed over to
Aeroflot a good asset for your company?
– It is a fantastic aircraft and a good asset, too.
Besides, Aeroflot has a very good name in the mar-
ket. So, for us, it is all round good transaction.
– How many aircraft has Waha placed in
Russia so far?
Interview with Waha Capital, Erik Dahmen, – For the moment Waha has only two aircraft power, and do a transaction in the view that you in
senior director, marketing. for Aeroflot. This A330, and one A320 which was the future will be able to sell the aircraft. Obviously,
delivered to Aeroflot two weeks ago. We are open with a whole intention to make a profit.
– Mr. Dahnen, could you please tell us about for discussions for some more, but we have no – Was the sale of Aeroflot aircraft caused by
your company? transaction apart from those two aircraft we have the world-wide financial crisis?
– Waha Capita is Abu Dhabi-based and Abu already purchased. We do not have anything else in – No, it is not related to the crisis, not at all.
Dhabi Securities Exchange -listed holding company Russia right now. But while I am here in Moscow, In fact, we agreed that would buy this aircraft well
of course I will to our friend in Aeroflot about before the crisis even started. We bought these
opportunities to do more business in the future. aircraft and placed with Aeroflot.
– What are the Russian airlines you are going – Once we touched on the crisis, does it affect
to speak to? your company’s business?
– I do not really know. As a leasing company – It affects everybody. For sure, it affects us.
based in Abu Dabi, we are very interested in the Sometimes you see that some of our airline cus-
Russian market. I am here to find out if there is tomers are having financial difficulties, or having
something more we can do. We have spoken to difficulties like many other airlines in the market.
some in the past. I have spoken to Transaero, as These are difficulties with the financial market, fuel
well as Sibir. But these are people we do not have prices etc. For us as a leasing company I think the
business with. crisis brings new opportunities. As it always does.
– How did it happen that AerCap signed the Smaller people selling, fewer investors… so, it
original agreement with Aeroflot for ten A330s, brings opportunities for whose who stay in this
but the first aircraft was actually provided by quite business.
another leasing company? The crisis brings opportunities, but on the
– I do not know. The company in question is funding side, the financing side, it brings chal-
called AerCap. That’s not my company. AerCap lenges, including us. I think that in future transac-
bought and leased ten A330s to Aeroflot. Our com- tions you will find that there are fewer banks that
pany, Waha capital, purchased one of the A330s, are lending money. In our discussions with banks
plus an A320, from AerCap, with a lease to Aeroflot. we have already found that. We have already found
So, we did not buy aircraft directly from Airbus – that people are less willing to lend money. It is not
instead, we bought it from AerCap. so much for Waha, but it is the case with some
– What’s in common between AerCap and other leasing companies.
Waha? – It seems that the aviation market contracts.
– We are a leasing company and like AerCap, Do you agree with this?
we are also listed on stock exchange. Both of our – Yes, I believe that there are fewer inves-
companies has a fleet of aircraft that we own and tors and fewer buyers. So, you are right, it is a
lease to airlines worldwide. That’s all. narrower market now. On the other hand, I think
– Why AerCap sold Aeroflot’s aircraft to that there is a good hope that in the New Year the
Waha? crisis will loose up a little bit. Banks, for example,
– I do not know exactly why AerCap sold the are optimistic. Banks that are now having liquidity
aircraft. My guess is that AerCap always had an problems, that will in the New Year sort themselves
intention to sell their aircraft. Which, I think, is a out. And will be more readily available for the leas-
strategic move. Thereby, you use your purchasing ing companies like us and others.

A I R F L E E T · 1 . 2 0 0 9 · ( 7 5 )




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