You are on page 1of 36

Volume 17

Strategic Focus Asia

December 2010/January 2011


Artillery Systems

S i n g a p o r e $ 1 0 R e s t o f t h e W o r l d U S $ 2 0 C O N T R O L L E D C I R C U L A T I O N ( A v a i l a b l e O n S u b s c r i p t i o n D e m a n d )
P P S 1 7 4 4 / 0 9 / 2 0 1 1 ( 0 2 0 1 8 5 ) M . I . C . A ( P ) N O : 0 6 7 / 0 5 / 2 0 1 0











Editorial Director IN FOCUS 5
David Saw,

Executive Publisher & CEO

Vittorio Rossi Prudente,
Chief Operating Officer
Siva Sachi,
MEDIUM MATTERS – The C-27J Transport Aircraſt
Web & Art Director
Vijay Pingili,

Circulation Executive
The Alenia Aeronautica C-27J me-
Khairul Naem, dium tactical transport aircraft has
Contributors already been selected by five Eu-
Ze’ev Cohen, Ron Matthews, Kogi Balakrishnan, Andrew
Drwiega, Peter La Franchi, Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe
ropean NATO nations, the US and
Morocco. In this article we look at
the transport aircraft sector and then
ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES discuss the role of the C-27J in that
sector and the development history
Europe, Middle East, South Africa & South America of the aircraft. After that we explore
Contact: Vittorio Rossi Prudente
Tel: +39 049723548 Fax: +39 0498560792 the market potential of the C-27J in
Mobile: +39 335.6119295
Email: the light of evolving medium tactical
transport requirements in Asia and
ASEAN, People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong around the world.
Kong & Australasia
Contact: Siva Sachi
Tel: +603-77812903/2909 Fax: +603-77812915
Mobile: +6012-905 6825
Helicopter Happenings 21
USA & Canada Regional Helicopter Developments
Contact: Josh Mayer
Tel : 972-816-6745 Fax : 972-767-4442
Email :
Switzerland Artillery in Asia 26
Contact: Robert Rottmeier
Tel : +41216174412 Fax : +41 (21) 617-09-21 A Renewal Of Interest
Mob : +41792104466 Email : 32

Contact: Tamir Eshel
Tel : 972-544-508028 / 972-9-8911792 Chinese Military Developments 32
Fax : 972-9-8919965 Email :


publication for diplomats and professionals in the defence,
security and academic fields. Opinions expressed by con-
tributors in ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY do not
necessarily represent those of the publisher or editor.
This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in Front Cover Picture: Our front cover image for this, the final issue of Asian De-
any form in whole or in part without the written express
consent of the publishers. fence & Diplomacy of 2010, is this Alenia Aeronautica C-27J medium tactical
transport aircraft of the Italian Air Force flanked by two Eurofighter Typhoon
fighters of the Italian Air Force. The Italian Air Force has 12 C-27J aircraft in
service with the 46th Aviation Brigade (46^ B/A), based at Pisa. The 46^ B/A
operates all Italian Air Force tactical air transport assets, apart from the C-27J
Global Business Press Pte. Ltd.
it operates the Italian fleet of 21 C-130J Hercules aircraft. Pisa is also the site for
Level 34, Centennial Tower,
3 Temasek Avenue, Singapore 039190. the Italian National Training Centre for tactical transport aircraft, where there
Tel : +65 6549 7706 Fax : +65 6549 7011
Email : Web : is a CAE Full Flight Simulator (FFS) for the C-130 and in November an Alenia
Distributed by MarketAsia Distributors (S) Pte Ltd, Singapore. Aeronautica FFS for the C-27J was inaugurated. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica )
Printed by Xpress Print Pte Ltd, Singapore. December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 3

The Indian Defence Procurement Roadmap
10th January 2011
A rapidly growing economy, increasing status as
a regional superpower and a global footprint is
transforming India. Also being transformed are
the capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces. Vast Regional Tank Developments
budgets are now available to support an unprec- Asian Defence & Diplomacy evaluates the regional
edented level of defence modernization, as this tank scene, with particular focus on developments
article reports. in India. Other regional tank issues are not ig-
nored, as we look at programmes and possibilities
The Indian Air Force – Continuing in Korea, China, Singapore and other regional tank
Modernisation users. Both newbuild and upgrade programmes are
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has generated a seem-
ingly endless array of operational requirements
in recent years, but it is in the extremely pleasant The Asian Airpower Environment
position of being able to make its requirements
a reality. The scope of IAF procurement plans is This article takes a look at the key air fore pro-
investigated in this article. curement contracts around the region. The aim is
to identify the key procurement programmes and
systems that Asian Air Forcers will be looking at
in 2011. Regional combat aircraft requirements
have never been higher.

Bonus Exhibition

Reserve your advertising space today! Call or write to Vittorio Rossi Prudente T : +393356119295 E :

vilians also killed.

ADVENTURISM This DPRK action was total adventurism and was to a
great extent unexpected. However, it soon emerged that

AND ARTILLERY ROK intelligence means had detected unusual DPRK mili-
tary activity and that activity could have been aimed at
Yeonpyeong-do. The problem was that this possibility
Having written a very large article on North Korean tanks was seen as unlikely. Hence no real warning to the garri-
in the last issue of Asian Defence & Diplomacy (Novem- son on the island to raise readiness or any warning to the
ber 2010), one must admit that we had little intention of local population that an attack was in prospect.
writing about North Korea for quite some time. And then The ROK military response then started to receive criti-
all of a sudden they decide to show a new uranium en- cism, of the six K9 systems on the island only three were
richment facility to a visiting US scientist – Pyongyang’s able to return fire and the Firefinder system was unserv-
way of saying that your sanctions regime does not work. iceable. It took 13 minutes to initiate a response to the first
The fact that they have constructed a new, and apparently barrage and 15 minutes to respond to the second. Of the 80
very modern enrichment facility with 2,000 centrifuges, is rounds fired in response to the first barrage, 35 impacted
proof that the DPRK nuclear weapons programmes is not in the sea and only 45 hit DPRK territory. Apparently none
only alive and well, but potentially is increasing in scope. of the battery of DPRK BM-21 122 mm Multiple Rocket
This comes at a time when the situation in the DPRK is, Launchers that fired on Yeonpyeong-do were successfully
to say the least, unpredictable, as the leadership transition engaged.
from Kim Jong-il to Kim Jong-un is taking place. North The ROK military response was seen as unsatisfactory
Korea is unpredictable at the best of times, but just how and their explanation for their actions in the ROK media
unpredictable they can be was graphically demonstrated was particularly badly handled. In the aftermath ROK De-
by the events of 23rd No- fence Min-
vember. ister Kim
The island of Yeon- Tae-young
pyeong-do sits close to the r e sig ne d.
North Limit Line (NLL) in He was
the West Sea, it is one of a replaced
number of islands belong- by Kim
ing to the Republic of Ko-
rea (ROK) in that area. The IN FOCUS Kwan-jin,
a former
islands are garrisoned by David Saw, Editorial Director C h a i r-
units of the ROK Marine man of the
Corps (ROKMC) equipped ROK Joint
with artillery, generally in Chiefs. In
hardened positions. Civil- his con-
ians on the islands have f i r m at ion
access to public shelters in hearing in the ROK National Assembly on 3rd December,
case of emergency. Kim promised that there would be airstrikes in response
Every month ROKMC artillery conducts firing drills to further DPRK provocations. Most significantly he said:
from one of the islands, in November it was Yeonpyeong- “In case the enemy attacks our territory and people again,
do and the impact area was in the sea, some 20-30 km we will thoroughly retaliate to ensure that the enemy can-
south-west of the island, in ROK waters. Artillery systems not provoke again.”
available included six K9 155 mm 52-calibre self-propelled It also appears that the ROK population, previously
guns, and a number of M101/KH178 105 mm howitzers. generally supportive of a soft line on dealing with North
Also located on the island was an AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder Korea, has run out of patience. This could further increase
artillery locating radar. pressure on the ROK government and military to respond
The artillery drill was completed and then came a bar- decisively in the face of a future DPRK provocation.
rage of DPRK artillery fire, a total of 150 rounds in the first For the ROK government and for the military there
attack of which 90 hit the sea around Yeonpyeong-do and are real lessons to be taken from what happened at Yeo-
60 hit the island itself. ROKMC artillery responded firing npyeong-do. They must make better use of intelligence
80 rounds in response. Then came a second DPRK bar- information and they must modify their procedures and
rage of 20 rounds, followed by a ROKMC response. Two chain of command to allow for rapid response. Half-heart-
ROKMC soldiers were killed and 16 injured, with two ci- ed responses will only serve to make the DPRK bolder. December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 5



M ilitary air transport requirements are driven by a Ready to depart on a night mission, an Alenia Aeronautica C-27J
medium tactical transport aircraſt. During the 1990s Alenia Aero-
number of factors, with the fundamental issues be- nautica started work on developing a new tactical transport aircraſt
ing what do you intend to transport and how far do you to succeed the previous generation G.222. The aircraſt is now in
intend to transport it. Then the issue is where will you service or on order for six NATO nations and Morocco.
be landing: an established airbase, a semi-prepared strip (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica)
or a rough field. Depending on the operational environ-
ment a landing might be out of the question, so then the there is of course the operational environment to be taken
airdrop capabilities of your transport aircraft come into into account, if it is relatively benign then militarised ver-
the equation. To these issues numerous other factors can sions of commercial aircraft are a possibility. However, if
be added, illustrating the point that acquiring the right it is an operational environment that demands operating
transport aircraft to meet military requirements is a com- in harsh conditions then you obviously require a true pur-
plicated process. pose-designed military transport aircraft.
To simplify, it comes down to payload versus range ver- At the top end of the military transport aircraft comes
sus cost (acquisition, operational and through-life). Then what we might describe as the strategic transport aircraft.

6 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


The aircraft that best represents this A C-27J Spartan lands at Hector International Airport, Fargo, North Dakota in October dur-
ing a familiarisation flight. The selection of the C-27J to meet the Joint Cargo Aircraſt (JCA)
category today is the Boeing C-17,
requirement of the US Army and US Air Force was a major victory for this Italian aircraſt.
with a maximum take off weight of The US Air Force is now responsible for C-27J operations. (Photo: US Air Force by Senior
265,350 kg and a maximum payload Master Sergeant David H. Lipp)
of 77,517 kg. Performance and payload
is significantly greater than the clos- continues to obtain orders at a signifi- Another emerging competitor to
est competitor, the Ilyushin Il-76. The cant rate. For example India has or- the C-130J is the Embraer C-390 from
majority of air forces will not be in dered six of the aircraft to support its Brazil. This aircraft is supposed to be
the market for an aircraft in the C-17 Special Operations Forces (SOF) and is available from around 2015, roughly
class, as they do not need the payload intending to add to this order shortly. the same time as the Indo-Russian
capability or performance, and cannot The C-130 will soon start to face MRTA, and has a payload of 23.6
afford the cost. some serious competition in its mar- tonnes. The aircraft already has cus-
ket niche from a number of different tomers signed up in the form of Brazil,
aircraft. Even though India has pur- Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Czech Re-
The Tactical Zone
chased the C-130J and will purchase public and Portugal who at this point
This brings us to the tactical transport more, it is intending to acquire a new are set to order 60 aircraft. Notably
area, a far more competitive area of the transport aircraft known as the Multi- both the MRTA and the C-390 are to
marketplace. This can be sub-divided Role Transport Aircraft (MRTA) being use turbofan engines rather than tur-
into two main areas, effectively the developed by the Irkut Corporation boprops.
high end with a payload of 18 tonnes of Russia and Hindustan Aeronautics Before leaving the high end of the
and upwards and the medium tactical Limited (HAL) of India. This aircraft tactical transport area we should men-
transport aircraft with a payload of 12 has a 20 tonne payload, roughly in the tion the Airbus Military A400M. This
tonnes or below. same class as the C-130J, and consid- aircraft actually straddles the catego-
For many years the high end of the erably more than the Antonov An-32 ry of tactical transport and strategic
medium marketplace has been domi- that it is supposed to replace. India transport. At 37,000 kg its payload is
nated by the Lockheed Martin C-130 will acquire around 40 aircraft, with nearly double that of a C-130, but half
Hercules, with the current version be- Russia to get 100 for both military and of a C-17s. The A400M has its prob-
ing the C-130J. The C-130J has a maxi- civil applications, and a hoped for ex- lems, but eight nations still have 174
mum payload of some 18,955 kg and port market of 60 aircraft. aircraft on order, and the programme December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 7


In the 1960s NATO developed a requirement for a new tactical transport aircraſt, the NATO The same logic also applies in the Ital-
requirement came to nothing but provided the basis for the G.222 to be developed for the
Italian Air Force. Italy would eventually purchase a total of 52 aircraſt for transport and ian Air Force, where the C-27J supple-
special mission applications. (Photo: Aeronautica Militare) ments the C-130J.
The Alenia Aeronautica C-27J pres-
now appears to be getting back on the Chinese Shaanxi Y-8 and the Y-9 ents an excellent means of exploring
track. This is much more than can be to the list of aircraft being considered the medium military transport air-
said for the Antonov An-70, which oc- as well. craft marketplace. However, it should
cupies similar territory to the A400M, Of course there are many operators be noted that Alenia’s involvement in
although its payload is somewhat larg- who do not need to move payloads in the sector predates the arrival of the
er. Being developed by the Ukraine the region of 20 tonnes on a regular C-27J and starts with an older aircraft
and Russia, technical problems and basis, and others who find investing known as the G.222, an extremely
funding shortfalls have plagued this over $60 million in a military transport successful transport aircraft in its
programme, with resolution still be- aircraft to be prohibitive. For these op- own right.
ing sought. erators the medium tactical transport
aircraft is the category to which they The G.222 Era
Expanding Envelope turn to meet their transport aircraft
needs. Here we are talking about a Back in the 1960s, NATO generated
Thus far we have covered the strate- payload of less than 12 tonnes. a requirement for an extremely spe-
gic transport sector and the top end of The medium tactical transport air- cialised medium tactical transport
the tactical transport sector, essential- craft also plays a role with those op- aircraft. At that time it was believed
ly we are talking about a payload in erators who operate aircraft in the that in the future air forces would be
the region of 20 tonnes and upwards C-130 class and above. It performs the operating Vertical/Short Take-Off
for all of these aircraft. If you need missions that would not be justifiable and Landing (VSTOL) combat air-
to move payload of this size over ex- or economical with a larger aircraft. craft from dispersed bases and that it
tended ranges and your budget goes Greece presents a perfect example of would be necessary to support these
from $65 million per aircraft upwards this trend, the Hellenic Air Force has dispersed bases with a transport air-
(flyaway cost), then the aircraft we five C-130B and ten C-130H aircraft but craft that had VSTOL capabilities.
have listed are those that you would has acquired the Alenia Aeronautica In Italy, Fiat Aviazione (later Aeri-
be likely to consider. Of course for the C-27J as a medium tactical transport talia and now Alenia Aeronautica)
sake of completeness we ought to add aircraft to supplement its C-130 fleet. decided to respond to this NATO re-

8 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


quirement and developed a design aircraft) and the G.222VS (2 aircraft) bilities offered by the G.222 are now
known as the G.222. The G.222 was for ECM missions. more appreciated than they were pre-
powered by Rolls-Royce Dart turbo- Internationally the aircraft achieved viously, this has led to the aircraft ob-
prop engines, and with additional some significant sales to Argentina, taining a second life and opening up
Rolls-Royce jet engines providing lift Dubai, Nigeria, Thailand, Tunisia and new market possibilities. Indeed the
to meet the VTOL aspect of the re- Venezuela amongst others. To meet G.222 has become a rather hot prop-
quirement. The NATO requirement the requirements of Libya a new ver- erty in the second-hand marketplace,
never resulted in a procurement pro- sion of the aircraft was developed in leading Alenia Aeronautica to lament
gramme, but the Italian Air Force had the form of the G.222T. Due to a US a lack of suitable airframes to meet
developed a separate requirement for embargo on Libya it was necessary to potential demand.
a medium tactical transport aircraft remove US-sourced equipment from Existing users of the G.222 have
and in 1968 awarded Fiat a contract to the aircraft and this resulted in a ver- looked to extend the service life of
develop the G.222. sion powered by Rolls-Royce Tyne en- the aircraft, for example Nigeria had
The G.222 for the Italian Air Force gines. Libya eventually purchased 20 five G.222 in service and signed a
were not required to have a VTOL ca- G.222T aircraft. The last major order contract with Alenia Aeronautica in
pability and so the design team were for the G.222 came in 1990 when the 2005 covering repair, overhaul and
able to develop the aircraft based on US Air Force selected the aircraft for logistic support of the aircraft. Later
the use of two General Electric T-64 its Rapid Response Intra-Theater Air- the Nigerian Air Force acquired an
turboprop engines. The first G.222 lifter requirement and ordered 10 air- ex-Italian Air Force G.222 via Alenia
prototype flew on 18th July 1970 and craft under the C-27A designation. Aeronautica to add to its fleet.
the Italian Air Force started evalu- In 2005 the Italian Air Force start-
ating the aircraft at the end of 1971. A Second G.222 Life ed running down its G.222 fleet in
Pleased with the design, the Italian preparation for the arrival of the new
Air Force ordered 44 aircraft and the Over 100 G.222 aircraft were built in C.27J (of which more later), with the
first production aircraft flew at the Italy and the programme was con- aircraft being stored at Pisa. Mean-
end of 1975. In the end Italy would sidered to be successful. The possi- while in Afghanistan the US was
acquire 52 G.222 aircraft, including
special mission variants such as the In the end over 100 G.222 aircraſt were built, with Italy being the major customer. Other
G.222RM for radio calibration (5 air- customers for the aircraſt included Argentina, Dubai, Libya, Thailand, Tunisia and Venezuela.
craft), G.222SAA for fire fighting (4 The G.222 gained a reputation for being both rugged and reliable, proving suitable for both
military and humanitarian missions. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica) December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 9


looking to rebuild the aviation capa- Enter The C-27J it soon became apparent that further
bilities of the Afghan National Army performance gains were possible. For
(ANA). In particular its transport ca- During the 1990s work started at example, originally it had been in-
pabilities that at the time rested with Alenia Aeronautica on finding a suc- tended to look at an uprated version
some elderly Antonov An-26 and An- cessor to the G.222, with the obvious of the General Electric T-64 to power
32 aircraft. It was possible to acquire target being the Italian Air Force as a the aircraft. This approach was re-
new An-32 aircraft, but the US was launch customer. The move towards jected, and instead the Rolls-Royce
looking for something with more per- developing a G.222 successor quickly AE2100-D2A engine and the Smiths
formance. evolved from an Italian programme Aerospace (now General Electric)
Eventually this led the US to Ale- into an international programme. In R-391 six-bladed propeller used on
nia Aeronautica and in September 1995 Lockheed Martin and Alenia the C-130J were installed. As a result
2008 a decision was taken to order 18 Aeronautica started discussing devel- the aircraft had substantially more
G.222 aircraft (known as the C-27A oping a new medium tactical trans- power and performance to play with
in this application) for the Afghan port based on the G.222 design. This and further increases in engine power
National Army Air Force (ANAAF). evolved into a baseline configuration were forecast.
The aircraft were refurbished in It- that combined elements of the G.222 The two companies decided to des-
aly, and as part of the contract two airframe with the cockpit and avion- ignate the new aircraft as the C-27J and
VIP modules will be supplied to al- ics of the C-130J. in 1997 formed a company to jointly
low the aircraft to be re-configured Once this work had commenced develop and market the aircraft in the
for VIP missions. More recently the
US has placed an order for two more A US Air Force C-27A flies over Panama aſter departing from Howard Air Force Base. In
C-27A aircraft to bring the ANAAF 1990 the US Air Force selected the G.222 for its Rapid Response Intra-Theater Airliſter
fleet up to 20 aircraft. requirement and ordered 10 aircraſt under the C-27A designation. Later these aircraſt would
be used by the US State Department for anti-drug missions. (Photo: US Air Force)

10 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


A Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) crewmember sits in the door of a G.222 during the 2001 Cobra
form of Lockheed Martin Alenia Tac- Gold exercise with the US. The RTAF originally acquired six G.222 aircraſt, but now its fleet
tical Transport Systems (LMATTS). is down to five. As budgetary conditions for the RTAF are improving they could be looking
The belief was that the C-27J would for a new transport aircraſt and the C-27J would be a contender. (Photo: US Air Force)
form an ideal complement to the larg-
er C-130J. stretchers and six medical person- and off the aircraft. Another typical
Before looking at the evolution of nel. Moving cargo, the C-27J can ac- load would be fighter or transport air-
the C-27J, it is worth having a brief commodate standard NATO HCU-6- craft engines that can be easily loaded
discussion of its performance. The /E (463L Master Pallet) pallets that into the aircraft on their dollies.
C-27J has a maximum take-off weight can carry up to 4,500 kg of cargo The C-27J is designed to meet all of
(basic) of 30,500 kg and a maximum and are used on the C-130 and CH- the requirements necessary for me-
payload of 11,100 kg, maximum land- 47, and HCU-12/E pallets that carry dium tactical transport operations,
ing weight (6 FpS sink rate) is 30,500 up to 2,250 kg of cargo. A typical as one might expect the aircraft is
kg. Performance figures are tactical load would be three HCU-6/E pal- extremely rugged and optimised for
take-off ground run (MTOW, ISA, lets and a single HCU-12/E pallet, or short take-off and landing operations
SL) of 580 metres, landing ground six HCU-12/E pallets. In terms of air on rough/unprepared strips. Once on
roll (MLW normal, ISA, SL) is 340 me- drop capability the C-27J can drop up the ground, cargo or other payloads
tres. Range with 9,000 kg of payload is to nine tonnes, up to five tonnes in can be rapidly loaded or unloaded.
1,852 km and 3,704 km with 6,000 kg the LAPES mode or up to six tonnes Performance in the air is also impor-
of payload. Italian Air Force C-27J air- in the combat off load mode. tant, thus the C-27J has 3 g manoeu-
craft are fitted with a refuelling probe. The large-cross section of the air- vrability and a 2.5 g sustained turn
Maximum cruise speed is 325 KTAS, craft (3.33 metres in width and 2.60 rate at 180 KTAS. The aircraft can also
with maximum service ceiling being metres in height), added to its high be fitted with self-protection capabili-
9,144 metres. The aircraft cockpit is floor loading capability, the C-27J floor ties. In the Italian Air Force C-27J, the
NVIS/NVG compatible. is stronger than that of a C-130, means aircraft is fitted with a radar warning
Payload consists of 60 troops or 46 that vehicles of up to nine tonnes can receiver, missile approach warner and
paratroops, or in a ‘Medevac’ role 36 be transported, and be driven on to laser warning receiver. December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 11


An Antonov An-32 and two C-27A aircraſt of the Afghan National Army Air Force (ANAAF)
US Victory perform a flypast at the 28th April 2010, Victory Day Parade in Kabul, Afghanistan. The
US ordered 18 C-27A aircraſt for ANAAF in 2008; these were ex-Italian Air Force G.222
Having looked at the evolution of the aircraſt that were refurbished by Alenia Aeronautica. (Photo: US Air Force by Staff Sergeant
C-27J and some of its performance Markus Maier)
characteristics; now is the point where
we deal with its fortunes in the mar- older systems such as the C-23 Sherpa, to support ongoing operations in Af-
ketplace. For both Alenia Aeronau- C-12 Huron and C-26 Metroliner. One ghanistan. Then there was an emerg-
tica and Lockheed Martin joining to- aspect of the requirement was that the ing requirement to support disaster
gether to form LMATTS was a logical aircraft would allow access to a great- relief efforts, a mission that would
move, the combination of the C-27J er number of airfields in both Iraq and demand operations from unimproved
and C-130J would meet the transport Afghanistan. The JCA would also re- and damaged runways in both the US
aircraft needs of the majority of coun- place the CH-47 helicopter in many and other areas of the world.
tries. The fact that there were high missions, therefore reducing the im- At the end of 2005, the US Depart-
levels of interoperability between the mense workload pressure than this ment of Defense (DOD) directed that
two aircraft and many shared systems system was under. the US Army and US Air Force look
only added to the benefits of this joint While the US Army was develop- to combine their transport aircraft re-
approach. ing its transport aircraft requirement, quirements and talks commenced be-
The LMATTS teaming arrangement the US Air Force was developing a re- tween the two services. In the mean-
did not last though, the reason for this quirement for what it called a ‘light- time, in March 2006, the US Army
was a US programme known as the weight inter-theater airlifter.’ This issued a Request for Proposals (RfP)
Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA). Originally came about due to the fact that the for the new transport aircraft. Finally
this was a US Army requirement for C-130 was just too big and uneconomic in June 2006 the US Army and US Air
what was described as an ‘organic to use for many missions. In addition, Force reached agreement on the JCA
inter-theater airlift’ aircraft to replace the new aircraft would be necessary programme and it became a truly joint

12 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


activity. The two services defined six JCA competition with a minimum of acquire a total of 16 aircraft. This re-
key missions for the JCA. These were: 78 aircraft to be acquired over the life quirement was seen as necessary to
critical resupply, casualty evacuation, of the programme. The US orders its support the overworked AC-130 gun-
air drop (personnel and supplies), aer- C-27J aircraft on an annual basis and ship fleet.
ial sustainment, troop transport and in July 2010 ordered eight more, bring- What the US Air Force intends for
homeland security missions. ing total orders to date to 21 aircraft. the C-27J in the future is hard to deter-
The potential size of the JCA pro- The US selection of the C-27J to mine. However the total US require-
gramme was estimated to be around meet the JCA requirement was an im- ment for the C-27J is potentially huge
145 aircraft, with 75 for the US Army. portant victory for the Italian aircraft over the next 20 years. The original
With a requirement of this size in with a reference customer. The first JCA outline requirement was for 145
prospect, Lockheed Martin decided C-27J was presented to the JCA Joint aircraft and if you add in other poten-
to offer the C-130J for JCA and this ef- Program Office on 25th September tial applications for the C-27J in US,
fectively dissolved LMATTS. Alenia 2008. However, in April 2009 the DOD this could come to in excess of 200 air-
Aeronautica decided to bid for JCA decided to move the C-27J programme craft.
and formed Global Military Aircraft and mission from being a joint effort While the US attempts to resolve its
Systems (GMAS) with L-3 Communi- to being a US Air Force programme C-27J issues, it should be noted that the
cations to offer the C-27J. While Ray- and mission, with the aircraft being fact that the aircraft is in US military
theon joined with EADS CASA to offer operated by the Air National Guard service opens up a host of possibilities.
the CN-235 and C-295 as Team JCA. (ANG). The C-27J can be offered under For-
The three candidates were reduced These changes in the structure of eign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign
to two on 1st August 2006, when the the C-27J programme, also conspired Military Funding (FMF) programmes
C-130J was eliminated from the JCA to derail a US Air Force Special Op- to foreign countries. Purchasing via
competition, essentially for being too erations Command programme to this route opens up extra markets for
big and too expensive. Eventually on acquire the C-27J and convert it into the aircraft, with a classic example
13th June 2007, GMAS and the C-27J a gunship, with the AC-27J Stinger being Taiwan who would look for an
were selected as the winners of the II designation, the intention was to FMS purchase.

A newly refurbished C-27A for the Afghan National Army Air Force (ANAAF) departs from International C-27J
Naples, Italy. Although ANAAF had Antonov An-26 and An-26B aircraſt in service, and had
acquired the An-32, there was a requirement for an aircraſt with better performance hence Having retired its G.222 fleet, the Ital-
the C-27A acquisition. This year two more were ordered bringing the ANAAF fleet to 20
ian Air Force ordered 12 C-27J aircraft
aircraſt. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica) December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 13


with first deliveries in January 2007 Force has already deployed a C-27J to quirement for aircraft in the C-27J cat-
and last deliveries in May 2009. These Afghanistan to support NATO opera- egory, as does Taiwan. The Republic
Italian aircraft are equipped with a tions in that country. of Korea is also reported to have ex-
HUD for each of the two pilots, self- The C-27J already had four NATO pressed interest in the C-27J and could
protection system and a flight refuel- customers in the form of Italy, Greece, look to secure the aircraft through the
ling probe. The C-27J is in service with Bulgaria and Lithuania, before the US FMS route.
the 46th Aviation Brigade (46^ B/A) of signed up for the aircraft. To these five As to Alenia Aeronautica, they be-
the Italian Air Force at Pisa, the tacti- NATO customers, number six was lieve that the C-27J has enormous sales
cal transport unit that also operates soon added when Romania signed for potential. They suggest that Morocco
the Italian Air Force C-130J fleet of seven C-27J aircraft in December 2007. was an extremely important contract
21 aircraft. Two Italian C-27J aircraft The most recent customer for the C-27J to win, as it has put the C-27J on the
were deployed to Afghanistan from was Morocco that ordered four air- map in Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa
September 2008 to January 2009. craft in September 2008. Therefore as they have identified potential C-27J re-
The first export customer for the of July 2010, there were 64 C-27J air- quirements in Gabon, Ghana, the Re-
C-27J was Greece, with the Hellenic craft in service or on order for seven public of the Congo and South Africa.
Air Force receiving 12 aircraft. Then different customers. Nigeria, already a G.222 customer, is
Bulgaria ordered five C-27J in February seen as likely to trade-up to the C-27J
2006, receiving its first aircraft in No- Future Options in the coming years.
vember 2007, a second in late 2008, with Turning to North Africa, it appears
the remaining three to be delivered in The order intake for the C-27J will be that an opportunity is evolving in
2011. The next customer was Lithu- significantly boosted once the US de- Algeria. Having acquired the EADS
ania, who ordered three C-27J aircraft fines its strategy for the aircraft. An- CASA C-295 aircraft for transport and
in June 2006. All of these aircraft have other factor that will come into play MPA missions, Algeria is now look-
been delivered and the Lithuanian Air are FMS/FMF sales. Israel has a re- ing to add to its transport capabilities
with a more high performance solu-
The C-27J has become one of the most successful aircraſt in the medium tactical transport tion and this could open the door to
category. The aircraſt has 3g manoeuvrability and a 2.5 g sustained turn rate at 180 KTAS. the C-27J. Egypt was looking for a re-
It can carry a payload of 11,100 kg and can fly 1,852 km with 9,000 kg of payload. (Photo:
Alenia Aeronautica)
placement for its fleet of DHC-5D Buf-

14 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


A US Air Force instructor and an Afghan pilot from the Afghan National Army Air Force go
through the pre-flight checklist before departing with their C-27A from Kabul in May 2010. aircraft fleet, but once that happens
It is worth comparing this view of the G.222 or C-27A cockpit with that of the C-27J – the it could be that they will return to
difference is extraordinary. (Photo: US Air Force by Staff Sergeant Manuel J. Martinez) the C-27J to provide a properly bal-
anced transport fleet.
falo aircraft, but its requirement was Then its plans changed to the trans- The Royal Saudi Air Force has a
limited in performance and scope, ports plus four MPA aircraft. Alenia large fleet of over 30 C-130E/H Her-
and this eventually led to an order for Aeronautica is reported to have bid cules aircraft and is apparently work-
six Antonov An-74TK-200A aircraft. the C-27J for the transport requirement ing out its future transport plans. The
The first aircraft arrived, but with no and an ATR-72 based MPA solution. A possible options could include an up-
spares and then the rest of the deliv- decision this programme is expected grade programme for the C-130H fleet
ery programme stalled. It is believed by the end of 2010 or early in 2011. and/or the acquisition of new C-130J
that three An-74 are now in service Qatar presents an interesting ex- aircraft. Whether the scope of Saudi
and that the acquisition is back on ample of how an air force can change transport ambitions encompasses an
track. Originally Egypt was looking its mind on requirements, especially aircraft in the C-27J class remains to
for 10 transport aircraft, thus they are an air force with lots of money at its be seen.
four short of their stated need and this disposal. Qatar had no tactical trans- Elsewhere in the Middle East, Iraq
might yet present a C-27J possibility, port capability and looked to acquire might emerge as a market even though
especially through an FMF acquisi- this capability through the acquisi- they have reportedly acquired six An-
tion. tion of four C-27J aircraft. Then its 32 aircraft. The difference between the
In the Middle East there are a num- ambitions were vastly increased, C-27J and the An-32 in terms of perfor-
ber of potential openings for the C-27J. leading to an order for two Boeing mance and payload is so large, that a
Oman is modernising its capabilities C-17 aircraft (with a possibility of requirement for a new medium tactical
and had generated a requirement for two more) and four Lockheed Martin transport could yet emerge. The United
up to eight transport aircraft, three C-130J-30 aircraft. It will take time Arab Emirates has shown interest in a
MPA aircraft and three AEW aircraft. for Qatar to digest its new transport new medium tactical transport aircraft, December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 15


The cockpit of the C-27J is in a totally different league from that of the G.222, this is the Ital-
ian Air Force cockpit configuration; note the HUD and the multifunction colour displays. This Asian Opportunities
image was taken in the new Italian Air Force C-27J simulator at Pisa, built by Alenia Aeronau-
tica. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica) In Australia, the Royal Australian Air
Force (RAAF) has retired its fleet of
potentially six aircraft plus one more C-27J. Restricted defence budgets, DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft and
with a VIP module. However, having and the fact that there is intense com- will eventually need a replacement.
acquired the C-17 and with a number petition for any requirements in this One driver for this is the fact that the
of major programmes in the decision sector that might emerge, lead Alenia loss of the Caribou capability has seen
phase, its transport aircraft plans will Aeronautica to think that there are the workload of the CH-47 helicopter
have to wait. few possibilities in Europe. Turning fleet heavily increased, and this is in-
Libya had previously acquired 20 to Latin America, there are opportuni- creasing costs while diminishing ca-
G.222T aircraft, but like the rest of its ties here but no firm programmes. pability. The RAAF could eventually
air force, these were rendered inoper- Canada has shown interest in the having a requirement for 10-12 aircraft
able due to an international embargo. C-27J in the context of its requirement in the C-27J class and this is obviously
These aircraft are probably beyond for an SAR aircraft to operate in the an interesting potential market.
economic repair at this point. Add the north of the country and in the Arctic. Exploiting this potential Australian
need for a G.222T replacement to the This is a mission that the C-27J could opportunity could require some in-
need to replace older Antonov An-26 fulfil, even though it would probably novative thinking though. The RAAF
aircraft, and you have a potentially require the addition of a new radar could acquire the C-27J through a di-
significant transport aircraft require- plus FLIR, LLTV capabilities. This rect purchase or via the US FMS sys-
ment. Bearing in mind how good rela- type of ‘special mission’ requirement tem. Or there are other possibilities,
tions are between Libya and Italy, this is seen as an interesting area for the for example leasing (something that
could be a developing opportunity for C-27J, as the aircraft has the capabil- Australia has done with transport air-
the C-27J. ity to accommodate mission specific craft) or a lease to buy arrangement.
Turning to Europe, there are five payloads with no performance com- Inspired by the Australian Customs
countries that already operate the promise. Service Coastwatch maritime surveil-

16 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


lance aircraft programme, another long-endurance UAV, move the sensor While the RSAF Hercules fleet will re-
option could be to contract for the air- package to the UAV and retire the Fok- main in service, they will also need a
craft plus crew and support to provide ker 50. Another possibility is that they replacement for the Fokker 50 fleet in
a negotiated amount of hours of trans- could acquire ex-US Navy P-3B/C Ori- the transport role and this is a real op-
port capability. on aircraft, perform a structural up- portunity for the C-27J.
In Asia there are a number of evolv- grade and life extension programme, The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)
ing requirements for medium tactical then integrate new avionics and sen- has potential for the C-27J. Previously
transport aircraft. Brunei has long sors to provide a dedicated MPA air- the RTAF purchased six G.222 aircraft
wanted to add to its transport capa- craft. An Orion would also make a and today they have five aircraft in
bilities, but it is also looking for an rather useful ELINT platform as well. the inventory. Years of under fund-
MPA/EEZ surveillance capability as Clearly RSAF intends to retire its ing have seen the G.222 fleet starved
well. The aim is to have at least one Fokker 50 fleet, but it is also working of maintenance and spares, thus the
transport aircraft that can move a on enhancing its transport capabili- fleet is currently inoperable. There
platoon of troops, all their equipment ties. The existing RSAF fleet of four was interest in potentially construct-
and stores, as well the capability to KC-130B, five C-130H and a single KC- ing a deal where the five G.222 would
perform MPA/EEZ surveillance mis- 130H are going through an avionic be traded in as a part of a new trans-
sions with a palletised sensor system upgrade and service life extension port aircraft purchase. That failed to
to allow for rapid role changes. programme at Singapore Technolo- progress, instead they decided to pur-
Singapore could also emerge with gies Aerospace. The first upgraded chase four ATR 72-500 aircraft as an
a transport aircraft requirement to KC-130B has been delivered, with two interim solution for personnel trans-
replace its Fokker 50 fleet. Currently more aircraft expected to be delivered port. Beyond that there is an intention
the Republic of Singapore Air Force in 2011. The aim is to keep the Her- to add more transport capability and
(RSAF) operates four Fokker 50 trans- cules fleet in service through 2030. the C-27J is certainly seen as an attrac-
ports, four Fokker 50 MPA aircraft
and a single Fokker 50 ELINT aircraft. An Italian Air Force C-27J on an overseas operation. The Italian Air Force will soon deploy two
RSAF has a plan to upgrade its MPA C-27J aircraſt to Afghanistan to support the two Italian C-130J aircraſt in the theatre. This
will be the third Italian C-27J deployment to Afghanistan. The Italian Air Force considers the
aircraft with a new sensor package C-27J to be an exceptional tactical platform. (Photo: Aeronautica Militare)
and then, once it has selected a large, December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 17


were acquired between 1961 and 1984,

with 53 built at HAL. Fulfilling a tacti-
cal transport role, these aircraft could
be replaced by a C-27J capability.
The C-27J could also prove attrac-
tive to India for operations in the ex-
treme climatic conditions encountered
in Jammu and Kashmir. Here, the
ability of the C-27J to deliver serious
payloads to unprepared strips could
be a bonus. Indeed in December 2009,
the IAF issued a Request for Informa-
tion (RfI) regarding the acquisition of
16 medium-tactical transport aircraft,
and the C-27J is being considered in
connection with this evolving require-
ment. Another intriguing possibility
is the addition of further transport ca-
pabilities to India’s Special Operations
Forces, where the successful combina-
tion of the C-27J and the C-130J might
well be repeated.
These performance characteris-
tics might also see the C-27J interest
India’s paramilitary Border Security
Force (BSF) that is looking to increase
its organic air transport capabilities.
Currently the BSF operates two AVRO
748 aircraft, but it is looking to replace
these with an initial order of two new
transport aircraft, with potentially at
least two more in prospect. The C-27J
On 19th November the first C-27J Full Flight Simulator (FFS) for the Italian Air Force was
inaugurated at the Pisa base of the 46th Aviation Brigade (46^ B/A). The 46^ B/A is the tacti- was evaluated in the north of India in
cal transport unit of the Italian Air Force that operates 12 C-27J and 21 C-130J aircraſt. The 2009 in connection with this require-
training centre at Pisa also houses a C-130J FFS. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica) ment and a decision by the Indian
Ministry of Home Affairs on the fate
tive option. Indian industry. Looking at the Indian of the BSF aircraft requirement is ex-
Despite acquiring 20 G.222 air- Air Force (IAF), their transport plans pected shortly.
craft, the Afghan National Army Air see the acquisition of the C-17 to pro- As noted previously the current
Force (ANAAF) might evolve into a vide a high-end capability, retention C-27J orderbook (including deliver-
C-27J market due to the enhanced of the Ilyushin Il-76 fleet, acquisition ies) stands at 64 aircraft, as of July
performance offered by the aircraft. of the C-130J-30 for Special Operations 2010. Our look at future possibilities
Inevitably a C-27J purchase would Forces (SOF) with six on order and six for the C-27J indicates that this order-
come through the US, but as they are more likely to be acquired, acquisition book ought to expand dramatically in
seeking to build the capability of the of the Irkut-HAL MRTA and in the the coming years. One obvious source
ANAAF it is not beyond the bounds of meantime an upgrade programme for would be the US, at a bare minimum
possibility. 104 Antonov An-32 aircraft. the US Air Force will acquire at least
On the surface India might not seem Looking at that listing one might 17 more C-27J, but that could increase
to offer much in the way of potential have thought that the IAF had covered to cover the original JCA requirement
for the C-27J, but Alenia Aeronautica all of its transport needs, but that is for 78 aircraft. In theory US C-27J re-
would disagree. They do see an oppor- not the case. One capability that they quirements are, as discussed previ-
tunity and further more see real pos- have that is in real need of replace- ously, in the 200 aircraft range.
sibilities to develop a long-term rela- ment is the AVRO 748. These aircraft Looking at the broader internation-
tionship with the Indian military and first entered service in 1961 and 63 al marketplace for the aircraft, and at-

18 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


tempting to be realistic, the numbers might be even bigger than we have a part of a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU)
are very significant. In Sub-Saharan suggested. In the case of the C-27J, if programme. The Italian Air Force is
Africa there could be requirements for the US acquires the original number already looking to add to the capa-
up to 20 C-27J. North Africa and the specified in the JCA contract (78 air- bilities of its C-27J fleet, through the
Middle East also offer real numbers, craft), so much the better for Alenia addition of a DIRCM system for self-
potentially in the region of 45 aircraft. Aeronautica protection and enhanced communica-
Asia, without India but including Aus- tions equipment, for example.
tralia, could be up to 27 aircraft. India Future Developments Although the C-27J is still in the early
could be worth at least 20 aircraft and stages of its life, Alenia Aeronautica
at best around 40 aircraft. Potential Alenia Aeronautica realising that the have already started thinking about
FMS/FMF sales and other countries C-27J has an a service life in excess the future and a potential C-27J suc-
such as Canada could account for over of 30 years ahead of it, has already cessor. Equally, the immense military
20 aircraft. Add all of this together and started working on a roadmap for fu- transport aircraft experience that Ale-
the possible C-27J international mar- ture C-27J developments. Potential nia Aeronautica has could be applied
ket is between 132 and 152 aircraft. enhancements include new avionics, in other ways, for example through
With 64 aircraft already on order increased performance and uprated partnership arrangements. For in-
or delivered, plus future US orders (in STOL characteristics. As this roadmap stance a new transport aircraft could
this case not the full requirement), it for the future of the C-27J becomes emerge out of something similar to
would appear that C-27J production clearer, many of the new capabilities the sort of partnership arrangement
could eventually be well in excess of being envisaged for the aircraft could in place with Russia on the Sukhoi Su-
250 aircraft over the next 15-20 years. be applied to existing C-27J aircraft as perjet 100 programme for a 75-100 seat
Our brief analysis of the C-27J market
has demonstrated that there is sig- A view inside the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J Full Flight Simulator at Pisa. The Italian Air Force
nificant demand in the medium tacti- intends to train 16 C-27J pilots per year at Pisa in the basic C-27J course, as well as provid-
cal transport area; indeed the market ing recurrent training. Other C-27J users will also be able to use the Pisa facility to train their
crews. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica) December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 19


regional jet. translate into collaboration on a mili- needs of other customers. One way of
The Superjet 100 regional jet is being tary transport aircraft with a suitable speeding this process is through joint
developed by the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft partner. ventures and partnership arrange-
Company (SCAC), and here Alenia One country that Alenia Aeronautica ments such as the Irkut/HAL MRTA
Aeronautica acts as the ‘Programme sees great possibilities with is India. programme.
Strategic Partner.’ As such they have We have already discussed the fact Alenia Aeronautica could certainly
acquired a 25% plus one share stake that the C-27J is involved in competi- offer India a partnership arrangement
in SCAC, with a level of financial in- tions for both the IAF and the BSF, then similar to the MRTA for the C-27J suc-
volvement in the development pro- there is the possibility of there being cessor aircraft, but the scope of the
gramme reflecting their shareholding. further requirements for the aircraft Italian company in terms of its activi-
In addition SuperJet International has with the IAF, the other Indian ser- ties in commercial, as well as military
been formed, with Alenia Aeronautica vices and paramilitary forces. These aerospace, creates vast potential for
having a 51% share and Sukhoi Hold- Indian requirements if they turn into real collaboration with India. As such,
ing a 49% share. This company will real orders might set the scene for a Alenia Aeronautica could prove to
be responsible for marketing and sales partnership approach between Alenia be an extremely attractive partner as
for the Superjet 100, as well as delivery Aeronautica and Indian industry that India looks to move up the aerospace
on the western market and post-sales could go far beyond C-27J related ac- and defence value chain.
support. tivities. It remains to be seen how the strat-
The Superjet approach has real at- There can be no doubt that India has egy of Alenia Aeronautica will evolve
tractions for both parties. Sukhoi gets huge potential as an aerospace and in India. In the meantime though it is
assistance in developing the aircraft, defence marketplace, but India is look- apparent that in terms of the present,
in sales and marketing and post-sales ing to move beyond direct acquisition Alenia Aeronautica has in the C-27J a
support. From the perspective of Ale- of foreign equipment and license pro- highly competitive medium tactical
nia Aeronautica, involvement in Su- duction. The aim is that India devel- transport aircraft that has the ability
perjet gives them a real stake in a very ops it own capabilities, initially to to meet numerous global needs in that
promising programme in a new mar- meet its own needs, and then moves sector of the marketplace. Taking into
ket area. A similar approach could on to marketing products to meet the account the current C-27J orderbook
and the market potential that we have
outlined in this article, it would ap-
An excellent image of an Italian Air Force C-27J of the 46th Aviation Brigade (46^ B/A). Note
the flight refuelling probe and the self-protection systems on the front of the aircraſt. Cur-
pear that a target in excess of 250 C-27J
rent C-27J orders and deliveries stand at 64 aircraſt, but the potential marketplace for the aircraft being sold is both realistic and
C-27J could be in excess of 250 aircraſt. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica) achievable.

20 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011



T he international defence marketplace is changing,

being driven by the consequences of the economic
downturn that commenced in 2008. Two years on, we can
US troops experience rotor wash from an Afghan National Army Air
Force (ANAAF) Mi-17V5 helicopter while delivering relief supplies to
the village of Chinari in Afghanistan in August. The ANAAF oper-
see that in Europe financial pressures are forcing severe ates an all Russian helicopter fleet, by 2015 this is programmed to
reductions in defence expenditure. However, in other ar- consist of 58 Mi-17V5 and three Mi-17DV helicopters. (Photo: US
Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Quillen)
eas of the world, recovery from the economic downturn
has been much faster and there are those who experienced
no downturn at all. Elsewhere in the world, there are other major helicopter
European problems have an obvious impact on helicop- players such as Russian Helicopters. This company was es-
ter producers, Europe is home to two of the most impor- tablished in 2006 and includes the major helicopter facili-
tant helicopter manufacturers in the world in the form of ties in Russia such as Mil, Kamov, Kazan, Rosvertol and
AgustaWestland and Eurocopter. With their home market Ulan-Ude. In 2009 Russian Helicopters produced a total of
shrinking, there is no alternative but for them to look at ex- 183 helicopters, 8.3% up on 2008, of which 50% were ex-
port sales. For the US helicopter manufacturers, primarily ported. It is interesting to note that of these 183 helicopters,
Bell, Boeing and Sikorsky, they are cushioned by ongoing 105 were for commercial customers. This is interesting, as
major US government orders, but even here export sales the Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-171 helicopters produced by Rus-
are growing in importance. sian Helicopters continue to be much appreciated in mili- December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 21


tary markets around the world. an indigenous helicopter capability. quirement has existed for some time,
In this region helicopter capabili- ROK industry is certainly no stranger even so, there is increasing pressure
ties are continuing to evolve. China to helicopters, having licensed pro- to acquire a new helicopter and this
is now starting to move into the ex- duced designs from Bell and Sikorsky could become an interesting indig-
port marketplace with its helicopters, amongst others. The next step was to enous programme possibility.
with customers in Africa and through develop a capability that met domes- That the military helicopter mar-
supplying the needs of traditional tic needs and also had the potential ketplace is more than big enough to
clients such as Pakistan, for example to be exported. Defence exports are support all of these producers is evi-
the Pakistan Navy has acquired six seen as particularly important in the denced by a recent series of US De-
Harbin Z-9EC helicopters for its F-22P ROK, in 2007 ROK industry achieved fense Security Cooperation Agency
frigates. Conceivably China could be- $850 million in sales, by 2009 export (DSCA) arms sales notifications to
come a force in the helicopter market- sales had reached $1.17 billion and Congress. In October there was a
place, but that will be through the next this year they hope to reach $1.5 bil- DSCA notification on the sale of heli-
generation of indigenous helicopters lion in sales. copters to Saudi Arabia, this covered
that are under development. There are high hopes that the mo- a total of 70 Boeing AH-64D Block III
tor for their entry into the helicopter Apache attack helicopters, 72 Sikor-
New Ambition export marketplace will be the Korea sky UH-60M utility helicopters, 36
Aerospace Industries (KAI) Surion. Boeing AH-6i light attack helicopters
India also has significant helicopter Developed in association with prime and 12 MD Helicopters MD-530F he-
ambitions, both as a customer and as industrial partner Eurocopter, the licopters. By any standards that is a
a producer. The Hindustan Aeronau- Surion has been selected to meet the lot of helicopters!
tics Limited (HAL) Dhruv is entering requirements of the Korea Utility He-
service in large numbers with Indian licopter (KUH) programme, with the Old Becomes New
military and commercial customers, ROK Army (ROKA) having a firm re-
as well as achieving some export suc- quirement for 245 helicopters. ROKA In Asia there is an obvious and ac-
cess as well. India sees itself develop- also has requirements for a new at- tive market for new helicopters, but
ing a much broader helicopter indus- tack helicopter to replace its AH-1 there is also a strong market for sur-
try, with technology inputs gathered fleet of over 50 helicopters. This re- plus helicopters. One country that has
from overseas, and will hope to make
an even greater impact in the export The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has sought to supplement its helicopter strength through
marketplace. the acquisition of US surplus UH-1H helicopters under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA)
The Republic of Korea (ROK) has programme. This image shows one of five refurbished UH-1H helicopters for the PAF being
set its sights on the development of loaded on to a freighter in Jacksonville, Florida in early November. (Photo: US Army)

22 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


Designed to achieve the multi-mission demands of homeland security

Maximum survivability, built-in safety and superior performances
Excellent value for money in terms of operating and maintenance costs

copters, while the Royal Thai Navy

(RTN) has sought to add to its fleet of
six Sikorsky S-70B-7 helicopters with
the acquisition of six MH-60S helicop-
ters. Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Army
(RTA), the largest helicopter operator
in Thailand, is opting for a mix of new
and surplus purchases.
Earlier this year the RTA purchased
16 Enstrom 480B training helicopters
to refresh its training capabilities, pre-
viously the province of a large fleet of
TH-300C helicopters. Like the other
Thai services it has turned to Sikorsky
to meet its helicopter needs, acquir-
ing S-70A-50 and UH-60L helicopters.
There are also reports of an order for
six Mil Mi-17 helicopters, but no firm
delivery dates.
One of the last ex-US Army AH-1 attack helicopters, now destined for Thailand, going
The RTA has a small attack heli-
through refurbishment in the US in October. The Royal Thai Army (RTA) will be receiv-
ing four AH-1 helicopters to add to its current fleet of three AH-1F helicopters. Pakistan
copter fleet, originally acquiring four
has also been a major recipient of US surplus AH-1 helicopters. (Photo: US Army by Paul Bell AH-1F helicopters. The fleet was
Stephen Ghiringhelli) reduced to three after a crash in 2001,
it is believed that only two of the re-
taken advantage of the availability of come fitted with the GSz-23L 23 mm maining helicopters are now flyable.
surplus helicopters is the Philippines. cannon and four hardpoints. Accord- There was a long-standing require-
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has ing to PAF statements, the helicopters ment to obtain a new attack helicop-
sought surplus helicopters and spares will be equipped with pods for 57 mm ter, but the RTA never had the cash to
primarily from the US to make up for S-5 and 80 mm S-8 unguided rockets, make it a reality. Now the RTA attack
attrition to its helicopter fleet and to ZR-8 bomblet dispensers, minelaying helicopter capability is to be increased
compensate for limited budgets that packs and machine gun mounts in the in strength.
have prevented new acquisitions. cabin. Interestingly it was stated that At the end of October at Wheeler-
US Army Security Assistance Com- the helicopters would have an air-to- Sack Army Airfield, Fort Drum, New
mand (USASAC) have been instrumen- air capability through the Strzala-2M York, work was completed on the last
tal in meeting PAF surplus helicopter missile. This missile is in fact a li- four ex-US Army AH-1 helicopters
needs. In August, 20 refurbished MD- cense produced 9K32 Strela-2M mis- declared as Excess Defense Articles
520 helicopter engines were provided sile (SA-7), which is hardly state of (EDA) by the US Army. The destina-
to the Philippines and in early No- the art, and has not been produced tion for these refurbished helicopters
vember, five UH-1H helicopters left in Poland since the late 1990s when it is Thailand, potentially allowing the
Jacksonville, Florida, by ship for the was replaced by the indigenous Grom RTA to refurbish the three AH-1F
Philippines. The PAF hopes to add system. helicopters that it already has in its
another five UH-1H helicopters to this Thailand was another regional na- inventory.
total next year. US surplus has been tion that opted to use the surplus route
the primary source of UH-1H helicop- to keep its helicopter fleet intact. For Emerging Needs
ters for the PAF, but 20 were acquired almost a decade financial crises and
through and refurbished by Singapore political instability led to helicopters Elsewhere in the region there is no
Technologies Aerospace. being grounded due to spares short- shortage of helicopter requirements.
The PAF is now starting to receive ages and often due to lack of fuel. In The capabilities of the Afghan Na-
an improved procurement budget and recent years circumstances have im- tional Army Air Force (ANAAF) are
earlier this year that led to an order for proved and this has led to some sig- being enhanced under US tutelage, al-
eight PZL Swidnik W-3WA Sokol he- nificant purchases. though its helicopter requirements are
licopters from Poland, with delivery For the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), mainly based on Russian helicopters.
due in the first quarter of next year. their main helicopter acquisition has ANAAF currently operates two Mi-8-
The helicopters are night capable and been three Sikorsky S-92 VIP heli- MTV, 25 Mil Mi-17V5, three Mil Mi-

24 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


17DV and nine Mil Mi-35. By 2015, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) are between six and 12 attack helicopters
aim is to replace the Mi-8 and Mi-35, dependent on ship construction pro- with funding from the 10th Malaysia
to have a fleet of 58 Mi-17V5 and three grammes. If the planned Multi-Role Plan (2011-2015), though numbers are
Mi-17DV. There is also a requirement Support Ship (MRSS) goes ahead, dependent on funding allocation. In
for six training helicopters. then the RMN will be looking to ac- addition there is still interest in add-
Smaller regional nations are also quire three new utility helicopters. ing to the existing Light Observation
moving forwards on new helicopter With a new corvette programme Helicopter (LOH) fleet of 11 AW109,
requirements. Brunei operates a di- for six units getting underway, the with some eight helicopters required.
verse helicopter fleet of six Sikorsky RMN has a problem in that their fleet Downstream they would like to ac-
S-70A/L, 10 Bell 212, six Eurocopter of six AgustaWestland Super Lynx quire utility helicopters as well, but
Bo 105CB, a single Bell 214ST and two series 300 Mk100 helicopters can- this is dependent on how Malaysia
Bell 206. It has plans to replace its Bell not cover two frigates, six OPVs and goes about replacing the RMAF Nuri
212 fleet and the Bo 105 fleet. the new corvettes. Ideally the RMN helicopter fleet.
Having finally ordered 12 Eurocop- would look to acquire six more naval In this article we have attempted to
ter EC725 Cougar helicopters to meet helicopters either more Super Lynx or provide a different view of the regional
the CSAR/SAR requirements of the alternatively the AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopter marketplace, by focusing on
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), that is due to enter service with the some of operators, such as the Philip-
Malaysia is likely to become a very British Royal Navy in 2015. pines and Thailand, who are often ig-
active helicopter marketplace. The The Malaysian Army hopes to be nored as the bulk of attention is usually
future helicopter programmes of the in a position to acquire a squadron of drawn to the bigger players such as In-
dia and China. The regional helicopter
The third AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat test aircraſt made its maiden flight in marketplace remains heavily competi-
November, a total of 62 of these helicopters are on order for the British Army and Royal tive, but the level of requirements are
Navy. The AW159 is due to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2015. In Asia existing Lynx such that there will never be a shortage
customers such as Malaysia and the Republic of Korea could present key export opportuni- of contenders for programmes.
ties for the AW159. (Photo: AgustaWestland) December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 25



I n an era with so many precision strike options, the

importance of artillery on the modern battlefield is of-
ten neglected. This is despite the obvious and continuing
where the bulk of British troops were concentrated, were
caused by artillery. In the Second World War, in the North
African campaign of June 1940 to May 1943, 75% of British
utility of artillery in both conventional and asymmetric casualties were caused by artillery.
military operations. Of course any student of military Between June 1941 and May 1945, the Soviet Army es-
history would be quick to point out that artillery was tablished that 51% of its casualties were caused by artil-
arguably the most lethal battlefield combat system of the lery fire. In 1944/45 that percentage had increased to 61%.
20th century. Analysis of the eastern front in the Second World War
Looking at the First World War (1914-1918), here the demonstrated that it was essential for the Soviet Army to
commonly accepted historical narrative was that the ma- severely degrade German artillery if an offensive opera-
chine gun was the decisive weapon. Yet the fact is that tion was to succeed. On the other side of the coin, esti-
58% of British casualties on the western front in France, mates are that 70% of German losses in terms of personnel
and materiel were caused by Soviet artillery.
Scenes from Yeonpyeong-do on 23rd November, as a K9 self- In the Korean War (1950-1953) almost 60% of US casual-
propelled gun of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps (ROKMC) ties were caused by fire from Chinese/North Korean artil-
moves position, note the damage behind. The island was hit by 60 lery and mortar systems. This last example brings us to
rockets fired by the DPRK in the first bombardment, killing two
the present day, because Korea provides the most recent
ROKMC personnel and injuring 16 others, as well as killing two
civilians. (Photo: ROK MND)
example of the use of artillery in anger in Asia.

26 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


Another picture from Yeonpyeong-do showing damage to a concrete shelter housing a K9

Message By Rocket self-propelled gun, in the main the DPRK bombardment was indiscriminate hitting civilian
and military targets. Of the six K9 guns deployed to the island only three could be taken
into action to respond to the DPRK bombardment. (Photo: ROK MND)
On the 23rd November of this year,
what was apparently a battery of
Korean People’s Army (KPA) BM-21 a Soviet military requirement of 1957 from the rocket bodies. It would take a
122 mm Multiple Rocket Launchers to replace the old BM-13 and BM-14 battery of conventional 122 mm artil-
(MRL) opened fire on the Republic systems, and was developed by GNPP lery over an hour to deliver the same
of Korea (ROK) island Yeonpyeong- Splav, which is still the centre for Rus- amount of firepower on to a target!
do (the KPA also has BM-11 and the sian MRL design today. Essentially the If you were looking for a precision
M-1985 122 mm MRL systems). ROK system consists of the 9P132 40-tube engagement capability, the BM-21
estimates were that 150 rounds were launcher mounted on a Ural-375 truck. would not be your first choice due to
fired in the first bombardment, fol- Total system weight is 13.7 tonnes and dispersion at range, this is far greater
lowed by 20 rounds in a second bom- there is a crew of six. The standard than that of tube artillery. What the
bardment. Of the 170 rounds, or to 122 mm rocket used is the 9M22 high BM-21 is particularly good at is hit-
be more precise rockets, fired, we explosive rocket that weighs 66.5 kg ting area targets and suppressing
know that from the first barrage that with an 18.4 kg warhead. Maximum them. In the Soviet Army an infantry
90 impacted in the sea around the is- range is 20.5 km and minimum range division would have a divisional ar-
land with 60 hitting the island itself. is 5km. It takes roughly 2.5 minutes to tillery regiment within which there
Known casualties include two killed prepare a BM-21 system for action and would be an MRL battalion with three
and 16 wounded from the ROK Ma- the system is ready to move 30 seconds batteries of BM-21, having a total of 18
rine Corps (ROKMC) garrison of the after firing. systems. Being on the receiving end
island, and two civilian dead. In principle a single MRL battery of a salvo from an MRL battalion with
The BM-21 Grad system (Hail) is of six BM-21 launchers can ripple fire 18 BM-21 systems is a most unpleas-
still probably the most widely de- a total of 240 rockets in 20 seconds, ant prospect.
ployed MRL system in the world. On covering a target area of some 950 by We know that in the attack on
the other hand it is hardly state of 600 metres with 441.6 kg of HE war- Yeonpyeong-do that the DPRK MRL
the art. The system was the result of head and some 11 tonnes of fragments systems were firing from prepared December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 27


positions, presumably these were pre- The Other Side was advantageous, as the superior
surveyed as well. The fact that only reconnaissance and targeting sys-
40% of the rockets fired hit the island Yeonpyeong-do is some 12 km from tems available to the ROK ought to
is hardly testimony to the accuracy the DPRK coastline and the large have identified the bulk of these po-
of the BM-21, but as previously stated amount of hardened coastal artillery sitions. This should have allowed the
this is not a precision weapon. positions that are located there. These ROKMC gunners to rapidly and eas-
It would also appear that the DPRK positions are supported, as we know, ily target the DPRK gun positions.
was somewhat restrained in that only by pre-surveyed and established fir- However, if the DPRK are going to
four BM-21 systems were used for the ing positions for MRL systems and prepare new field firing positions
initial attack. Had they used a full presumably for self-propelled and and then deploy into them, then it
battery then the impact of the strike towed tube artillery systems. Com- is up to higher level intelligence and
would have been significantly worse. mon DPRK practice is that MRL and reconnaissance assets to pass this in-
Also the gap between the two bom- self-propelled artillery systems are formation to the ROKMC gunners.
bardments is odd, as we know the BM- based in bunkers and will then de- It appears that there were a total
21 can move 30 seconds after firing. It ploy to their firing positions. of six ROKMC K9 155 mm 52-calibre
also takes ten minutes to reload a BM- From the perspective of the self-propelled guns on Yeonpyeong-
21. So conceivably within 30 minutes a ROKMC defenders of Yeonpyeong- do. In addition there were also an
BM-21 battery could easily fire a salvo, do, the fact that they were so close unidentified number of M101 and
move to a new location, reload, fire an- to so many hostile artillery systems KH178 105 mm howitzers located
other salvo and then move again. That that could engage them was hardly on the island as well. The M101 has
this did not occur is fortunate for the a comforting thought. On the other a range of 11.27 km, while the ROK
ROKMC garrison and the civilians on hand, the fact that the DPRK artil- produced KH178 has a reported
Yeonpyeong-do. lery was emplaced in static positions range of up to 18 km. Conceivably
the bulk of the 105 mm systems are
Ukrainian Army BM-21 Grad (Hail) 122 mm Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRL) during a firing probably located in fixed positions.
exercise. The BM-21 system became operational in the early 1960s and carries 40 122 mm To assist counter-battery fire an AN/
rockets with an 18.4 kg warhead, all the rockets can be fired in 20 seconds. A BM-21 battery TPQ-36 Firefinder artillery locating
can saturate an area of 950 by 600 metres. (Photo: Ukrainian Ministry Of Defence) radar was also located on the island.

28 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011


The primary tube artillery system of the Afghan National Army (ANA) is the D-30 122 mm
Howitzer, with 86 systems in service and an eventual target of 236 guns. These ANA gun- attack there was criticism from ROK
ners are being trained by a team from the Australian Army. Tube artillery might lack the politicians and in the media. Why did
rate of fire of rocket systems, but it is far more accurate. (Photo: Defence, Australia) it take so long to return fire, why were
the DPRK artillery systems not de-
Responses able at that point and that the AN/ stroyed and so on and so forth. Bearing
TPQ-36 was also unusable. Elsewhere, in mind the absence of any warning
The ROKMC garrisons on Yeonpyeo- ROK intelligence did seem to have of DPRK intentions and there being
ng-do and other ROK islands in the established that something was un- no direct order to heighten readiness.
vicinity conduct regular monthly fir- derway in the DPRK, but no specific Added to the fact that a firing exercise
ing drills with their artillery. Prior to warning appears to have been passed had finished and so many systems
the DPRK attack, the Yeonpyeong-do to the garrison at Yeonpyeong-do. were down for repair, responding
garrison are reported to have had a According to ROK media reports it under hostile fire in 13 minutes is not
firing drill with the impact area being took 13 minutes after the DPRK bar- that bad at all.
in the sea 20-30 km to the southwest rage had commenced for the ROKMC As to the accuracy of the ROKMC
of the island. It should be noted that gunners to return fire. They are re- artillery response, had the AN/TPQ-
the DPRK were well aware of these ar- ported to have fired 80 rounds, of 36 been working properly then it is
tillery drills and that they had never these 35 impacted in the sea and 45 conceivable that the counter battery
been seen as a provocative act. The hit the DPRK. Satellite images indicate fire should have been more effective.
DPRK attack was an unprovoked as- no hits on the positions that the DPRK According to some reports coming out
sault. MRL systems had fired from, but there of Korea it seems that the DPRK was
After finishing the firing, the were obvious shell impacts in the vi- actually surprised by the volume of
ROKMC K9 self-propelled guns re- cinity of the DPRK positions. The sec- counter battery fire that it faced and
turned to their garrison where they ond and much smaller DPRK barrage this might have caused the BM-21 sys-
have protected positions. It appears took 15 minutes to respond to. tems to switch firing position earlier
that of the six guns three were unus- Inevitably in the wake of the DPRK than they had intended. December 2010/January 2011 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY 29


The Korean People’s Army (KPA) of North Korea is credited with having over 17,900 guns
Possible Lessons and mortars available. Within that total are some 2,500 Multiple Rocket Launcher (MRL)
systems of 107 mm, 122 mm and 240 mm calibre. As a country North Korea might be short
In the wake of Yeonpyeong-do there of food, but it is certainly not short of artillery. (Photo: via SVT)
are a number of lessons that can be
learned. Firstly there is always the do. Again, had the AN/TPQ-36 sys- gunners respond quickly and deci-
belief that equipment should work as tem been working it is likely that the sively to the DPRK attack. The thing
intended straight out of the box, and ROKMC counter-battery fire would to be taken into account is that the
continue working in the desired man- have been more effective. Though it ROKMC garrison was caught by sur-
ner for as long as necessary. Of course would appear that the ROK military is prise, nobody can expect a small gar-
reality is not like that, for example the becoming more and more interested rison to be ready to respond to an at-
fact that three of the six K9 systems in having gun sound ranging equip- tack 24/7. Had they been at a higher
were not operable. Had the ROKMC ment at the moment. Additionally the level of readiness, which would have
garrison been on a heightened state fact that the ROK has purchased Saab occurred if they had received the
of alert then it is highly unlikely that Arthur C weapon locating radars re- available information on DPRK move-
three guns would have been down. cently indicates some dissatisfaction ments, and had they been given rules
There should not be any criticism with the AN/TPQ-36. of engagement that allowed them to
placed on the K9 self-propelled gun, Certainly if the ROKMC had access fire if fired upon then their reaction
this is a highly rated system. With a to an artillery locating radar and gun would have been far faster and more
crew of five, the K9 can fire a burst of sound ranging systems that would effective.
three rounds in 15 seconds and oper- have greatly helped their cause. But There are lessons that can be taken
ate at a sustained rate of fire of two then that is based on the assumption from Yeonpyeong-do and next time
rounds per minute. Maximum range that there was a functional command doubtless the ROK reaction will be
with a standard HE nature is 30 km or and control network and artillery fire better. The real issue though is to
41.6 km with an ERFB round. It has a direction centre present. Ideally there avoid getting surprised and the fault
sophisticated fire control system and would have been other assets that for that does not rest with the ROKMC
from a static position is capable of get- could have been called upon to pro- garrison, the fault is far higher up the
ting the first round off in 30 seconds. vide more data on the position of the chain of command in Seoul. It is in
All of this performance from the hostile artillery targeting the island Seoul, at the higher command levels
K9 assumes that the vehicle is crewed, and to correct fall of shot. in the military and with the politi-
fully provisioned and combat ready. In an ideal world there are plenty cians, that the real lessons of Yeon-
It is highly likely that was not the of additional systems that could have pyeong-do need to be understood and
case for the K9 guns at Yeonpyeong- been present to help the ROKMC acted upon.

30 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011



C hina continues to make impressive strides in develop-

ing its naval capabilities, with new construction being
provided to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)
PLAN is not only adding to its sub-surface warfare ca-
pabilities, its surface warfare capabilities are expanding as
well. The force of Type 054A frigates continues to be built
at a significant rate. The purpose of this brief article is to at a high rate. The 10th Type 054A is currently under con-
focus on some of the most important developments that struction at the Huangpu Shipyard in Guangzhou, while
have taken place in the latter part of this year. the 9th Type 054A, built at the Hudong-Zhonghua Ship-
In September there was a surprise at the Wuchang Ship- yard in Shanghai, is currently undergoing sea trials off
yard in Wuhan, when the first unit of a new conventional Shanghai. The first Type 054A was only launched in Sep-
submarine class was launched. This unit appears to com- tember 2006, indicating a significant build rate – they have
bine the characteristics of recent Chinese submarine de- launched nine Type 054A frigates in some four years.
signs, although it appears to have a larger displacement, It has been somewhat quieter regarding destroyers for
with a number of characteristics common to Russian sub- PLAN. Two Type 052B Luyang class destroyers were com-
marines. Also launched at Wuchang was the fifth unit of missioned in 2004, while the two very impressive Type
the Yuan class, previously though to be the most modern 052C Luyang II class destroyers were commissioned in
indigenous submarine class destined for PLAN. 2004/2005. All four destroyers were built at the Jiangnan
Shipyard in Shanghai. In
addition, two Type 051C
Luzhou class destroy-
ers were built at Dalian
Shipyard and commis-
sioned in 2006/2007.
There have long been
rumours of a new de-
stroyer class under con-
struction, often referred
to as the Type 052D, but
little more information
was available. Then it
became apparent that a
destroyer-sized unit was
under construction at
the Jiangnan Shipyard,
was this the long await-
ed Type 052D? Well a
destroyer was launched
at Jiangnan in late No-
vember, but thus far the
evidence would seem to
indicate that this is either
a Type 052C derivative
Work on the aircraſt carrier Varyag is proceeding at pace at the
or even a standard Type
Dalian Shipyard, with the vessel due to go to sea in 2011. Recent 052C. More information will become available as the ship
additions include the installation of Type 730 CIWS units (visible is completed at Shanghai over 2011. There is also a second
here) and FL-3000N close-in missile defence systems. There is destroyer currently under construction at Jiangnan, indi-
still a lot to do, but 2011 will be the year of the aircraſt carrier in cating that both ships will be commissioned in 2012/2013.
China. (Photo: via SVT) The Type 052D destroyer still remains a mystery, but

32 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011

to get the latest news and views on the
Asian defence scene.

Regular updates on the latest defence

stories from around the region and around
the world

Key regional defence developments


Procurement & contract information

In-depth comment and analysis covering

the full spectrum of defence in Asia

For details, go to our website

Reserve your advertising space today!

Call or write to Vittorio Rossi Prudente
T : +393356119295
E :

The second 20,000 tonne displacement Type 071 Yuzhao class LPD was launched at the
Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on 16th November. Kunlunshan, the first Type 071 Shipyard and the ongoing works on
was launched in December 2006 and commissioned in November 2007. The arrival of a the aircraft carrier Varyag. Visible
second LPD illustrates the growing investment in amphibious warfare. (Photo: via SVT) progress is being made here and so
estimates of the carrier going to sea
bearing in mind the production ca- Larger Surface Units in 2011 appear to be correct. Recent
pabilities at Jiangnan, there should additions include the installation of
not be that long to wait until a new Kunlunshan (998), the first Type 071 Type 730 CIWS systems, FL-3000N
destroyer class emerges. In the mean- Yuzhao LPD for PLAN, was launched close-in missile defence systems and
time, the two existing Type 052C at Hudong-Zhonghua on 22nd De- decoy launchers. Radars have been
destroyers, Lanzhou (170) and Hai- cember 2006 and commissioned into mounted and the ship obviously has
kou (171), appear to have undergone the PLAN South Sea Fleet on 30th No- power.
a modernisation process though con- vember 2007. The arrival of this unit There is still much work to do on
clusive details of this process are not marked a major boost to the amphibi- Varyag and more weapon systems to
yet available. ous warfare capabilities of PLAN, install, although what these might be
PLAN could finally be moving for- and with an estimated displacement is still open to question. What will
ward on a replacement programme for in the region of 20,000 tonnes, it dem- be interesting will be the air group
the elderly Type 053H/53H1 Jianghu onstrated the growing maturity of of the carrier, PLAN has no concerns
I/II frigates, some 13 of which are still Chinese naval shipbuilding. regarding helicopters but the issue
in service. This potential replacement On 16th November this year, a will be fighters. The Shenyang J-15,
could be the Type 056 corvette de- second Type 071 LPD was launched the purported naval fighter, has been
sign that has been receiving a fair bit at Hudong-Zhonghua. There are ru- seen, though its readiness to become
of visibility in Chinese naval circles. mours that this second unit could operational from Varyag in 2011
The new unit could be a development be slightly redesigned compared to seems debateable at this point.
of the Pattani class OPV built for the the original Type 071, incorporating What is plain with PLAN is that
Royal Thai Navy, Hudong-Zhonghua lessons learned during operations. they are embarking on a major capa-
built two of these 1,440 tonne dis- That does sound plausible. What the bility growth programme and that
placement, 95.5 metre length vessels. expansion of the Type 071 fleet indi- Chinese shipyards are more than
Available information indicates that cates is that PLAN is serious about capable of building at a high rate. In
the Type 056 will have a 76 mm gun, amphibious operations, an LCAC 2011 with the carrier going to sea, new
FL-3000N close-in missile defence class has also been developed for the destroyers, frigates and conventional
system, YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, and LPD as well. submarines, PLAN will become an
a helicopter deck but no hangar. Finally we move on to the Dalian even more formidable force.

34 ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY December 2010/January 2011