PLAN Catapult Development Thread, News, etc.


by78

Brigadier
Minnie Chan is essentially a tabloid journalist, and SCMP is like the National Enquirer of Chinese military news.
National Enquirer? You think too highly of SCMP's Chinese military coverage.

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.
Which brings up a more salient point: please try not to post anything Chinese military related from SCMP, or National Interest, or Diplomat. They tend to lower the collective IQ of this forum.
 

Intrepid

Captain
Interesting

So China is planning UCAV off its carries

Another indication that PLAN future is bright and not just another carrier nation but also pioneering operations
The UCAVs are not pioneering operations, other countries are planning to operate them.
 

Iron Man

Major
Registered Member
National Enquirer? You think too highly of SCMP's Chinese military coverage.
Okay, fine. National Examiner then.

The UCAVs are not pioneering operations, other countries are planning to operate them.
The second half of this statement is not logically connected to the first half, i.e. it's a complete non sequitur. Also, the fact is that no other country including the US has a UCAV in operational status flying off its carriers. No other country is even testing UCAVs to be flown off their carriers. Perhaps you don't know the difference between a UCAV and a UAV; they aren't the same things. Wind Shadow is a UCAV while the X-47B UCAV was canceled and the planned MQ-25A Stingray (itself a neutered UCLASS) is a UAV. The UCAV follow-on to the Stingray is still a pipe dream. While the X-47B certainly pioneered UCAV launches off a catapult, its canceled status and the fact that its successor the MQ-25A is just a UAV means that the Wind Shadow (or even another navalized PLAN UCAV) is certainly going to be the naval UCAV torchbearer from here on out.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Okay, fine. National Examiner then.


The second half of this statement is not logically connected to the first half, i.e. it's a complete non sequitur. Also, the fact is that no other country including the US has a UCAV in operational status flying off its carriers. No other country is even testing UCAVs to be flown off their carriers. Perhaps you don't know the difference between a UCAV and a UAV; they aren't the same things. Wind Shadow is a UCAV while the X-47B UCAV was canceled and the planned MQ-25A Stingray (itself a neutered UCLASS) is a UAV. The UCAV follow-on to the Stingray is still a pipe dream. While the X-47B certainly pioneered UCAV launches off a catapult, its canceled status and the fact that its successor the MQ-25A is just a UAV means that the Wind Shadow (or even another navalized PLAN UCAV) is certainly going to be the naval UCAV torchbearer from here on out.
I think it is still far too soOn to write of the UCLASS or any other future armed UAV for the NAvy.

While the last administration found common cause with the groups inside the Navy bent on protecting manned aircraft at all costs and reversed a decision that had made it to the decks of the carrier with an aircraft virtually ready to go in terms of an armed surveillance and strike mission, and with very strong stealth to boot...that does not mean that the argument or the battle is ended.

IMHO, the decision to end the X-47B and at first turn it into a tanker with maybe a little surveillance was ludicrous, the follow on decision by Grumman, who had the expertise (and still does) to build that type of aircraft and make it work off of a carrier, told the Navy and the government thAt it was not interested in a paltry use of that aircraft for a tanker mission.

Now...a tanker mission may end up being a UAV mission (or is it is called in the Navy a C-BARS "Carrier Born Aerial Refueling System.

But the armed strike and surveillance mission of the X-47B variety is not dead and has not gone away. it has simply suffered a very political set back for the time being, one which the manufacture was unwilling to convert into the Stringray...and that said a lot right there about the depth of the conflict internal to the service and the politics.


Make no mistake, the US still has and is husbanding and holding close the technology and knowledge that allowed the X-47B to do what it did. And it will come out again sooner or later. My hope is sooner.

It is ludicrous to think that the X-47B heralded the end of manned flight. When it comes to many manned flights, including air dominance and CAS and more, the manned component is still very much required, particularly if there is any thought or chance of a opposition presence in the air over or near the targets.

At any rate...let's give it some more time. I believe the Chinese are years away from having a truly effective UCLASS type capability off of carrier decks while the US in 2013 showed it could be done, what all went into making that happen is something that a nation relatively new to aircraft operations off of carrier decks will have a very steep curve to go through in order to repeat it.

But time will tell...on both counts. How soon the Chinese can make it happen...and how soon the US will get back on track with a technology that is truly got game changing potential.

The US NAvy and Grumman and Lockheed were already in a position to have FA?18-F aircraft of F-35C aircraft control up to the X-47Bs from their cockpits if necessary in terms of having a front force of UCLASS aircraft doing the SEAD mission followed immediately by the larger strike aircraft who were either controlling them themselves, or taking their ques from Advanced Hawkeyes, or control from the ship or any place else the comms could reach...and for the US that comm is not necessarily going to be satellite alone in the future as the US established with Global Hawks, P-8s and Tritons, regional and global communication hubs to replace the satellite comms whenever they are threatened.

The uS is on the cusp of making all of that happen...in fact had made it happened...it is just not deployed world-wide yet.

But recognizing the threat to the satellite comms has made the US spend years and many billions in establishing alternate means to have the comm control necessary to do all the neat networking and control it has grown used to.

The UCLASS was going to be an integral part of that...and I simply refuse to believe that such a ground breaking part will remain set aside for too long.

Time will tell though.
 

Iron Man

Major
Registered Member
But the armed strike and surveillance mission of the X-47B variety is not dead and has not gone away. it has simply suffered a very political set back for the time being, one which the manufacture was unwilling to convert into the Stringray...and that said a lot right there about the depth of the conflict internal to the service and the politics.
It may not be totally dead, but it certainly is not alive. The USN pushed back the timeline for a naval UCAV twice now, once by canceling the X-47B and a second time by neutering the Stingray, with a UCAV follow-on to the Stingray in total limbo. These decisions aren't easily reversed and obviously have reasons behind them. The USN clearly is no longer interested in a naval UCAV for the time being, while the PLAN clearly is interested and is testing one right this minute.

At any rate...let's give it some more time. I believe the Chinese are years away from having a truly effective UCLASS type capability off of carrier decks while the US in 2013 showed it could be done, what all went into making that happen is something that a nation relatively new to aircraft operations off of carrier decks will have a very steep curve to go through in order to repeat it.
Given that we are seeing photos of a navalized UCAV presumably launching off Chinese cats right now, the timeline for a PLAN UCAV is certainly not somehow far off into the distant future. I would say that by the time the CATOBAR carrier is commissioned in the early to mid 2020s a naval UCAV will already be ready for service. That's less than 10 years from now. Perhaps Cloud Shadow, or perhaps a further evolution given in its current (smaller) form Cloud Shadow would only be fit for light attack, SEAD/DEAD, and ISR. Regardless, it being launched off cats now paves the way for future iterations or other classes to become navalized more quickly and/or the cats to be optimized for future UCAV/UAVs.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
It may not be totally dead, but it certainly is not alive. The USN pushed back the timeline for a naval UCAV twice now, once by canceling the X-47B and a second time by neutering the Stingray, with a UCAV follow-on to the Stingray in total limbo. These decisions aren't easily reversed and obviously have reasons behind them. The USN clearly is no longer interested in a naval UCAV for the time being, while the PLAN clearly is interested and is testing one right this minute.


Given that we are seeing photos of a navalized UCAV presumably launching off Chinese cats right now, the timeline for a PLAN UCAV is certainly not somehow far off into the distant future. I would say that by the time the CATOBAR carrier is commissioned in the early to mid 2020s a naval UCAV will already be ready for service. That's less than 10 years from now. Perhaps Cloud Shadow, or perhaps a further evolution given in its current (smaller) form Cloud Shadow would only be fit for light attack, SEAD/DEAD, and ISR. Regardless, it being launched off cats now paves the way for future iterations or other classes to become navalized more quickly and/or the cats to be optimized for future UCAV/UAVs.
We shall see.

There are factions in the US NAvy about this...of late, the anti-UCLASS (armed trike UAV) group have born sway and a lot of that is because of thje administration of the last eight years who aligned themselves with tht group and ensured that the decision makers were in place to make it happen.

But that can change back too. I have seen it happen and hope it will happen in this instance sooner rather than later.

Ten years is a long time for the Chinese. Launching An aircraft like they are from land is a much different thing than launching and landing on a moving carrier, and then having the ability to control the aircraft 200 and more miles away from the carrier.

The US is already capable of doing this.

The US Navy has made us of Predators and particularly Reapers. Those instances are kept very quiet, but they have occurred.

I knwo this, there are powerful people in the UCLASS group and they are not going to sleep or giving up..they are just preparing for a more favorable political environment.

It's a shame...but that is the way it is right now.
 
We shall see.

There are factions in the US NAvy about this...of late, the anti-UCLASS (armed trike UAV) group have born sway and a lot of that is because of thje administration of the last eight years who aligned themselves with tht group and ensured that the decision makers were in place to make it happen.

But that can change back too. I have seen it happen and hope it will happen in this instance sooner rather than later.

Ten years is a long time for the Chinese. Launching An aircraft like they are from land is a much different thing than launching and landing on a moving carrier, and then having the ability to control the aircraft 200 and more miles away from the carrier.

The US is already capable of doing this.

The US Navy has made us of Predators and particularly Reapers. Those instances are kept very quiet, but they have occurred.

I knwo this, there are powerful people in the UCLASS group and they are not going to sleep or giving up..they are just preparing for a more favorable political environment.

It's a shame...but that is the way it is right now.
well, right now Hornets are falling apart etc.:

Only one-third of Super Hornets ready to ‘fight tonight’ as of October, admiral says
November 9
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Navy Cutting Maintenance, Cannibalizing Planes Amid Readiness Crisis
November 9, 2017
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


something which probably needs to be addressed before fantasizing, and before tens of billions are pumped into F-35C
 

Top