Quantcast
This Week in Defence News
September 18, 2019

This Week in Defence News

26 February 2016

Every Friday, Quwa offers coverage and short-form analysis of various news topics. It can be a challenge to offer in-depth reporting for every interesting news piece, so we invite you, our readers, to engage and share with us your knowledge and insights on issues and topics that interest you the most.

Be sure to get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter!

New Chinese missiles revealed at the Singapore Airshow

The China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. (CATIC) began marketing its TL-2 and TL-7 missiles at the Singapore Airshow, which took place last week.

With a range of 180km, the TL-7 is a sub-sonic anti-ship missile (AShM) capable of being launched from surface warships, aircraft and ground-based launch systems.  According to Dr. Richard Fisher, a close observer of China’s military developments, the TL-7 is likely based on the KD-88. CATIC is positioning the missile to compete against the C-802A, which is offered by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).

It is unclear what improvements the TL-7 offers over the C-802, which has seen some success in the export market, but a lighter weight AShM could be compelling, especially for fighter aircraft such as the JF-17.

The TL-2 is a short-range air-to-ground missile designed for use by light aircraft, such as the ASN-209 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The TL-2 has a range of 6 km and an accuracy of 2-8 metres CEP. Specifics have not been given in terms of the TL-2’s guidance options, such as the question of whether it is capable of being tipped with a millimeter wave (mmW) seeker.

China presents L-15 as a multi-role fighter option

CATIC is also pitching the L-15 lead-in fighter-trainer (LIFT) platform as a lightweight multi-role fighter.

At the Singapore Airshow, CATIC showcased a mock-up of the L-15 equipped with a range of air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions. Defense News was able to identify the SD-10 beyond visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), PL-5E-II within-visual-range air-to-air missile (WVRAAM), and LS-6 precision-guided bomb (in its 250 kg and 500 kg formats).

Although designed as an advanced trainer, the L-15 has the physical performance benchmarks to operate as a fighter. For example, the L-15 possesses a maximum payload of 3000 kg (distributed across six hardpoints), ferry range of 3,100 km, and combat radius of 550 km (Air Force Technology).

With China’s full arsenal of exportable air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions, the L-15 can give aircraft competing for the low-end of the market, e.g. advanced trainers, lightweight fighters (e.g. JF-17), and light attack aircraft (e.g. Super Tucano), serious competition.

Is the KG600 EW/ECM pod available for sale?

At the Singapore Airshow, Defence News was also able to spot an L-15 mock-up equipped with the KG600 electronic warfare (EW) and electronic countermeasure (ECM) pod. If the system shown on the L-15 is indeed the KG600 (and not the older KG300), it would be a fairly significant development. The KG600 is at the center of China’s tactical EW strategy. For example, not only is it equipped on its various combat aircraft, such as the JH-7A, but it is also a key element of its J-16-based dedicated-EW aircraft.

CATIC FC-20 is the J-10A

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) also marketed the FC-20 at the Singapore Airshow. It seems the FC-20 is simply the J-10A, and not the much improved J-10B or J-10C.

For those not familiar, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had planned to induct 36-40 FC-20s as part of its fleet modernization program. However, it has since walked away from the idea, and is opting to center its short-term fighter-acquisition needs on the JF-17 and F-16.

To the PAF, the FC-20 simply did not offer enough of a performance jump (relative to existing PAF fighters) to justify the costs of inducting an entirely new platform. AVIC’s confirmation that the FC-20 is the J-10A and not the newer J-10B/C offers additional and much-needed context into the PAF’s view. In fact, Alan Warnes, a leading defence aviation observer and writer (especially in regards to the PAF), also noted (in July 2015) that the J-10B was not cleared for export.