PLAN Catapult Development Thread, News, etc.


ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
None of these things mentioned are particularly difficult are they? It's only a matter of investing funds and giving time to trial. They have the tools and people to do it. Along with the research labs, universities, infrastructure. All that is required is time and money. Both of which China has in relative abundance. This is the main reason for China having so much promise, few countries have the infrastructure in place for future growth and development. Semi conductor tech is not like engine tech. The latter requires much more trial and error, playing around with manufacturing and materials. Semi-conductor tech benefits much more from more commercially accessible manufacturing techniques and materials. This is the main reason why Asia was so quick to catch up and then completely dominate all areas of electronics (only other serious western nation capable of all this is USA). Electronics is much easier and barriers for progress, less difficult to overcome especially when you want to achieve certain results and have all the necessary tools to develop those results.

I just don't think the reasons for allegedly not being able to manufacture the higher end chips is much of an issue or priority at this point. Building these supercomputers and improving research in other fields using them is a greater priority. China's got many other areas that it's far behind on and being on parity with a tiny handful of countries in an area that isn't an absolute necessity is wasteful.
 
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Max Demian

Junior Member
Registered Member
None of these things mentioned are particularly difficult are they? ... Semi conductor tech is not like engine tech. The latter requires much more trial and error, playing around with manufacturing and materials.
Are you kidding me? Semiconductor manufacturing tools are extremely complex products. A cutting-edge EUV system costs more than a stealth fighter. The only two countries in the world able to produce state-of-the-art litho-scanners are Netherlands and Japan. And this is just a part of the equation.

I just don't think the reasons for allegedly not being able to manufacture the higher end chips is much of an issue or priority at this point.
My point was that not being able to manufacture modern litho tools is a strategic liability if your only suppliers are your potential enemies.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Fair enough. I'm far from an expert on litho tools. Didn't (don't) even know what they really are.... some sort of spectroscopy tool? But there's a problem with that sort of thinking.

1. Not being able to currently manufacture something doesn't mean one can never manage. E.g. Germany don't manufacture stealth fighters. That does not mean they are incapable of this or won't in the future.

2. Following the thinking that allowing potential enemies supply you with important tools doesn't mean you'll never have access to them. E.g. Japan was and is a resource poor nation. War efforts require massive amounts of fuel and steel. Those must also be imported from somewhere. Getting a sure and steady supply of many materials, tools etc of things one doesn't have is always going to be the case for almost every country so I still don't think being able to manufacture these tools are such a priority or threat to security even in case of war. I'm sure there are ways for Chinese to get their hands on these things somehow and that's assuming they don't already have programs to develop these.

How important are these things in manufacturing chips? If absolutely necessary, China must already have their hands on them to make their own chips which they have been doing for years now? Either on loan or bought outright. They must already be reverse engineering them if not already done.

As far as we know, Americans don't have quantum satellite communications so does this mean all their communications are interceptable and they are running a strategic risk in not immediately pouring massive resources in developing countermeasures or their own?

My point is strategic liabilities are everywhere if you want to look for them. China's are not particularly pressing in comparison to many that exist. The biggest factor to consider for example is stockpile of raw materials for war. How long can certain countries fight large scale wars? Maybe for a week at best before they run out of ammunition and guided weapons? They won't have the fuel and steel to continue manufacturing after that. Wouldn't that be a bigger strategic liability? Something like litho tools (even though I'm unaware of their importance) must be a smaller priority. But I guess your point still stands. I don't think many of us here consider China to be a chip manufacturing power. Not yet at least. But improvements have been made in recent years and they are making their own chips which power some of the world's greatest supercomputers. As far as we know, quantum computing is an area China is strong in and leading in some respects so maybe they just see other areas to be more deserving of funding. It's one of the only nations that manages to have a finger in almost all areas of known technology and this has only happened in the last few decades. With an individual productivity rate (economic terms) being only small fraction of the US, given enough time (just a few decades) we can almost be certain of only greater impact in high tech fields. Including semiconductors.

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Above article mentions; "U.S. companies are also leaders in most semiconductor manufacturing equipment subsectors, except lithography – where Dutch and Japanese manufacturers are the leading global suppliers". Is there a reason why this is? No idea about this tech or industry but seems to me like maybe there's a chance that this isn't a priority otherwise why wouldn't the US also be a leader given their dominance in semiconductors? It may not make economic sense to try and compete with established masters but if there exist some strategic imperative, I'm sure we'd see US be a major player too. Rest of semiconductor manufacturing equipment shows China being a serious player as well so it adds to the point that there must be some reason for these large powers to not be big players in this particular field i.e. a chance this isn't super duper important in the context of wartime embargoes etc. Just me speculating that's all.
 
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Figaro

Junior Member
Registered Member
Not sure how reliable Minne Chan is but SCMP's most recent EM article ... the bit of how a steam catapult could not launch J-15s seems highly dubious o_O
China’s aircraft carrier conundrum: hi-tech launch system foold, heavy fighter jets

PLA Navy’s J-15s, based on a Soviet design more than 30 years old, are world’s heaviest carrier-based fighters


PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 9:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 9:07pm

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China’s second home-grown aircraft carrier could be a world-class warship if it uses a domestically developed hi-tech launch system, but the hefty fighter jets it would have to launch remain a fly in the ointment for the country’s naval power aspirations.

While Beijing is narrowing the aircraft carrier technology gap with the United States, the country’s carrier programme is still hindered by the capabilities of its carrier-based warplanes.

China spent more than a decade developing its first carrier-based fighter, the J-15, based on a prototype of a fourth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-33 twin-engined air superiority fighter – a design that is now more than 30 years old.

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The J-15, with a maximum take-off weight of 33 tonnes, is the heaviest active carrier-based fighter jet in the world but the sole carrier-based fighter in the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Its weight is one of the key reasons military leaders have pushed for the use of an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) on China’s third carrier, construction of which is expected to start next year, rather than steam-powered catapults, a military source told the South China Morning Post.

“The maximum take-off weight of the J-15 fighter is 33 tonnes and experiments found that even the US Navy’s new generation C13-2 steam catapult launch engines, installed on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, would struggle to launch the aircraft efficiently,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.

The US Navy also relied on a heavy carrier-based fighter in the past, the 33.7 tonne F-14 Tomcat. But they were replaced by the lighter F-18 Super Hornet in 2006 after 32 years of service. The maximum take-off weight of an F-18 Super Hornet is 29.9 tonnes according to the website of manufacturer Boeing.

All carrier-based aircraft need to jettison their munitions and burn off their fuel before landing on a carrier to reduce runway damage and the risk of a fire or explosion. The empty weight of the F-18 is 14.5 tonnes, three tonnes less than the J-15, which means the J-15 causes more damage to a carrier runway when it lands.

“If China insisted on using steam-powered catapults to launch the J-15, it would look like forcing a toddler to run with [Chinese hurdler] Liu Xiang and [Jamaican sprinter] Usain Bolt,” the source said. “That would be so embarrassing!

“EMALS’ experimental results showed the new technology is able to catapult the J-15 fighter more easily and more efficiently. In the short-run, it’s impossible for China to produce lightweight fighters, so why not take the better route and use EMALS directly?

The source said China was confident about its EMALS technology now that it was able to produce its own insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) chips, a key component of the high-efficiency electric energy conversion systems used in variable-speed drives, trains, electric and hybrid electric vehicles, power grids and renewable energy plants.

The technology was developed by China’s first semiconductor manufacturer, Hunan-based Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric, and British subsidiary Dynex Semiconductor after the Chinese company acquired 75 per cent of Dynex’s shares in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

An integrated propulsion system, a technological breakthrough developed by top PLA Navy engineer Rear Admiral Ma Weiming and his team, will enable China’s second home-grown aircraft carrier to use the world’s most advanced launch system for its fighter jets without having to resort to nuclear power.

An aircraft carrier uses a lot of electric power for take-offs and landings and the integrated propulsion system will be able to provide it. Ma has said experimental results showed the system could result in fuel savings of up to 40 per cent for an aircraft carrier.

EMALS, with a higher launch energy capacity, will also be more efficient than steam-powered catapults, allowing for improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability, and more accurate end-speed control and smoother acceleration.

In an interview with China Central Television broadcast on November 3, Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Equipment Research Centre, said China had done “hundreds of [land-based] tests” using EMALS with J-15 fighters in the past few years.

Yin’s comments indicate China might now have mature and reliable EMALS technology. But they also revealed an embarrassing fact: the next generation Chinese aircraft carrier, equipped with a US-style catapult launch system, will still be launching outdated fighter jets.

The US and the former Soviet Union had different combat strategies in mind when they designed their aircraft carriers. For the US Navy, carrier-based fighters were the key weapons of a carrier battle group, while the Soviets opted to add different types of missile launchers and warplanes and relied on an inefficient ski-jump launch ramp.

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and its sister warship, the 001A, which was launched in April, both have runways featuring ski-jump ramps, which limit them to launching one fighter jet at a time. The catapults used on US carries can launch up to four aircraft simultaneously.

“There are limits to China’s J-15 as it was developed based on the Su-33, which was designed for the former Soviet navy’s Kuznetsov-class carrier, the predecessor of the Liaoning,” another source close to the PLA Navy said.

The Liaoning, then an unfinished Kuznetsov-class carrier known as the Varyag, was bought by Hong Kong-based businessman Xu Zengping, a PLA Navy proxy, from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998.

China has been trying to develop a new generation carrier-based fighter, the FC-31, with a maximum take-off weight of 28 tonnes, to replace the J-15, and put J-15 chief designer Sun Cong in charge of the project.

Pictures posted on mainland military websites show that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the manufacturer of the J-15, has produced two FC-31 prototypes, with one debuting at the Zhuhai air show in 2014.

However, the two military sources said, the development of the FC-31 had not proceeded smoothly and it had failed to meet the PLA Navy’s requirements, with the key obstacle being what one described as “heart disease”.

“China is still incapable of developing an engine for the FC-31 fighter,” the first source said. “The FC-31 has needed to be equipped with Russian RD-93 engines for test flights.”

The second source said the FC-31’s failure to meet the PLA Navy’s basic requirements for a new generation fighter meant “that in the next two decades, the J-15 will still be the key carrier-based fighter on China’s aircraft carriers”.
EDIT : It appears that SCMP has also completely forgotten about the navalized J-20 vs FC-31 competition. The "next two decades" quote at the end also sounds very amateurish ... nonetheless, there's still some interesting content.
 
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delft

Brigadier
Not sure how reliable Minne Chan is but SCMP's most recent EM article ... the bit of how a steam catapult could not launch J-15s seems highly dubious o_O


EDIT : It appears that SCMP has also completely forgotten about the navalized J-20 vs FC-31 competition. The "next two decades" quote at the end also sounds very amateurish ... nonetheless, there's still some interesting content.
Minnie is quite unreliable.
 

Iron Man

Major
Registered Member
Not sure how reliable Minne Chan is but SCMP's most recent EM article ... the bit of how a steam catapult could not launch J-15s seems highly dubious o_O


EDIT : It appears that SCMP has also completely forgotten about the navalized J-20 vs FC-31 competition. The "next two decades" quote at the end also sounds very amateurish ... nonetheless, there's still some interesting content.
Minnie Chan is essentially a tabloid journalist, and SCMP is like the National Enquirer of Chinese military news.
 

N00813

Junior Member
Registered Member
---“The maximum take-off weight of the J-15 fighter is 33 tonnes and experiments found that even the US Navy’s new generation C13-2 steam catapult launch engines, installed on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, would struggle to launch the aircraft efficiently,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.

The US Navy also relied on a heavy carrier-based fighter in the past, the 33.7 tonne F-14 Tomcat. But they were replaced by the lighter F-18 Super Hornet in 2006 after 32 years of service. The maximum take-off weight of an F-18 Super Hornet is 29.9 tonnes according to the website of manufacturer Boeing. ---
So if the new C13-2 steam catapult would "struggle" with a 33-ton J-15, how come the US Navy did OK with the 34-ton F-14 with an older (and presumably lower-power) steam catapult? And the F-14 was in service for 3 decades!

The article seems to contradict itself, lol.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Typical bullshit articles we see from SCMP. Zero evidence for claims and zero chance of these people knowing the facts.
 

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