Sunday, November 25, 2012

Speaking of Boats that Have Planes Land on Them...

China's got 'em now.

China lands first jet on its aircraft carrier
BEIJING – China has successfully landed a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, which entered service two months ago, the country's official news agency confirmed Sunday.

The Liaoning aircraft carrier underscores China's ambitions to be a leading Asian naval power, but it is not expected to carry a full complement of planes or be ready for combat for some time.

This was the same aircraft carrier, mind you, that the Chinese purchased from the Soviet Union back in the Clinton days - and we were told it was going to be a floating casino. Why would the Chinese need an aircraft carrier, skeptics scoffed; they'll never match us in naval power. Those of us who were concerned about the Chinese acquiring Soviet military hardware were ridiculed as right wing extremists looking for a new boogeyman in the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold war.

Well, here we are some 14 years later and our capabilities are degrading - and the subject of Presidential ridicule during debates - while the Chinese are projecting international naval power for the first time in recorded history.  Wonder how much exported computer technology from the 1990s wound up in that carrier? Wonder how much they've been able to reverse engineer since 1998?

May you live in interesting times, indeed...

That is all.


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Wonder how much exported computer technology from the 1990s wound up in that carrier?"

Pfft! Heck with that! Probably 99% of what required dedicated, specialized computers in 1998 can be done today with a couple of hacked cell phones and a little ingenuity. The biggest challenge would be building the physical interface with the shipboard hardware, and the drivers to run it.

(Now I've got a vision stuck in my head of an old Soviet carrier being run by a bunch of Chinese knock-off iPads. That would actually be kind of cool, now that I think about it.)

Old NFO said...

Yep, it's bout to get interesting in WESTPAC!

Daniel in Brookline said...

Ugh. I hate thinking about that aircraft-carrier remark from the second debate -- and that such a petty, NASTY, small-souled man will be our President for another four years.

He has demonstrated that he is utterly unqualified for the job. God help us all.

TerriLiGunn said...

Funny thing watching their test bird land on deck, its going to crush the nose landing gear with in 20 landings. Look at an F-18 nose landing gear then a F-15, then compare it to that POS they had landing. There is a reason the 15 was changed to 18 for aircraft landings.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Japanese Defense Forces will start praying for the repeat of the divine wind pretty soon.


Geodkyt said...

Um, the F-15 and F-18 have nothing to do with one another's design history. The F/A-18 is simply an upsized version of the loser of teh "light Fighter" program that was wone by the F-16. (Which created no small list of problems when they turned the YF-17 prototype into the F-18 -- for one, they seriously hosed the fuel fraction, resulting in a stupidly short-legged bird by US standards.)

Fragile nose gear is not, in and of itself, a problem. . . provided you're willing to accept lower service life between replacements, and design for rapid replacement. After all, that is basically the entire Soviet/Russian PMCS and RAM-D program in a nutshell -- don't design it to last longer than it is likely to survive enemy fire anyway, use big, easy to swap modules, and plan for front line "servicing" to be "pull & replace" with little or no attempts at "repair"; repair and refurb is done at rear area depots, far from the fighting.

(Heck, that's how they were able to get the performance out of their crappy engines they did -- they didn't care if they burned up at a rate that would make a circa 1956 USAF maintenance officer blanch.)

Not the typical NATO sustainability plan, but one that worked well for the Soviets, Russians, Chinese, and everyone one else two steps above "troglodyte" who is, or has been, equipped with Commie kit.

TerriLiGunn said...

Sorry, I thumb type everything so I over simplified. Basically the approach of field swapping is throwing bad money after stupid money. Fast, but it aint as cheap now. Even in China, those parts are complex metal work that take a high level of skill, and thus higher paid workers.

Ed said...

Chinese Skittles!

Geodkyt said...

Terri -- it IS more expensive, UNLESS production costs and maintenance skill costs are reduced enough by the cheaper assemblies.

Nations that literally could not maintain "US" style kit can do just fine with "Soviet" style kit -- because the high skill maintainers AREN'T spread out amongst front line units, but are gathered together in the People's Really Large Depot #221, for economies of scale on their skills.

Also, don't disregard the fact that this carrier DOESN'T have a catapult system. That is a HUGE driver in how beefy the nose gear needs to be on a carrier plane.

BECAUSE we use a nose gear catapult system, there's a whole chapter devoted to designing landing gear in the CVN NATOPS. . . which is not, I will point out, actually written as a guide for aeronautical engineers -- it's just that the Navy feels it is so critical to carrier operations that they included it in the "playbook" for carrier operations intended for the carrier crew.

No catapult means that for teh nose gear, it's just a series of really hard landings on a hard surface -- which hotshot AF pilots do all the time, to the musical accompanyment of the grinding and snapping of teeth of their maintenance NCOs.

Geodkyt said...

BTW, someone out there will be wondering WHY they aren;t using a catapult system. Three reasons:

A. Designing catapult and recovery systems is hard. After decades of dismal results, the French finally threw their hands up in disgust and bought American catapults.

B. You don't just "adapt" an aircraft for catapult launch and tailhook recovery. Now, it is not uncommon for tactical aircraft to have a tailhook capability for "Oh, SHIT!" use on short fields. However, NO ONE designs for catapult launch for land based aircraft. To stress an aircraft for cat launch, it goes to the bones of the airframe, otherwise you'll just rip off whatever the catapult is hooked to. The necessary structure adds MONDO parasitic weight and volume, and is something you need to do when starting from the ground up, NOT a retrofit or "minor modification" of an existing land based design.

C. Given A & B, and the fact that the Soviets were planning on equipping this carrier with supersonic Yak-41 Freestyle STOVL fighters (program cancelled, which pretty much killed the Russian CV program as force projectors) and the very short field capable MiG-29N, they reasonably decided they could get by with a ski jump configuration, no cat.

Sigboy said...

What about that Orion they captured in the nineties? I'm sure that contributed too.

Geodkyt said...

The 2000 electronic surveillance bird their incompetent fighter pilot rammed? The one where the ChiComs claimed our propeller driven patrol plane chased down a Mach 2 interceptor? (Old NFO, stop hyperventilating. Shooting coffee out your ears is prbably "conduct unbecoming". {grin})

Probably didn't contribute much to the carrier directly, although I'm sure it contributed a LOT to their general air search and targeting radar programs, possible quite a bit to their secure comms program.