Yearly Archives: 2016

Russia freezes Iran missile sale following Israeli pressure

According to Arutz Sheva

Following protests by Israel, Russia freezes controversial sale of heavy anti-air missiles to Iran

By David Rosenberg First Publish: 3/6/2016, 7:46 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has frozen missiles bound for Iran amid Israeli protest of the sale, the Kuwaiti paper Al-Jarida reports.

According to the report, an order of S-300 heavy surface-to-air missiles purchased by Iran has been put on hold by the Russian leader following talks with Israeli officials.

Israel criticized the sale, claiming that at least some of the S-300 missiles would likely fall into the hands of the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. The presence of long-range anti-aircraft missiles along Israel’s border would threaten both military and civilian flights inside Israel.

According to Al-Jarida, Russia halted the shipment of the missiles after Israel provided evidence that other surface-to-air missiles sold by Russia to Iran had ended up in Hezbollah’s hands.

Russian pilots operating in the area confirmed Israel’s claims, positively identifying SA-22 missile batteries in Hezbollah-controlled territory in Lebanon.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, military ties between Russia, Syria, and Iran have tightened, with increased sales of advanced weapons and even direct intervention by Russian forces in the area.

With the release of billions of dollars in frozen assets and the end of economic sanctions, Iran has placed large orders for Russian-made heavy weaponry, including missiles, warplanes, submarines, and tanks.

However, Israel’s own ties with Moscow have similarly strengthened, with Russia granting the Israel Air Force freedom to operate over Syria against threats to the Jewish state, while Israel has, among other things, granted Russian aircraft permission to use Israeli air space in their battle against Islamist rebels.

Read original article: HERE


S-300 SAM

Related post:-

S-300 anti-air missile system game changer for Iran

Russia to send S-300 air defense system to Iran

Iran to buy Sukhoi-30 fighter jets from Russia, minister says

Iran mulls $8 bln arms deal with Russia

H145M Battlefield Support Helicopter, France

H145M (earlier known as EC145 T2) is a multi-role twin-engine battlefield support helicopter produced by Airbus Helicopters. It is primarily intended for use by military and law enforcement agencies.

The helicopter can be deployed in transportation, special operations, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), search and rescue, fire support, and medical evacuation missions.

The maiden flight of H145M was completed in November 2014 and European EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification was received in May 2015.

The German Army H145Ms  (Photo: Airbus Helicopters) –

H145M orders and deliveries

A contract worth €194m was placed by the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) with Airbus Helicopters for the delivery of 15 H145M helicopters to the German Air Force

Airbus received a contract from Bundeswehr in June 2015 to deliver comprehensive service support for the H145M fleet, which will enter service with the German Air Force to perform operations with Special Forces Command (Kommando Spezialkräfte).

Royal Thai Army VIP Airbus H145 (EC145 T2) 

Deep Blue Sea

Deep Blue Sea

Pictures: Royal Thai Navy deploys H145M helicopters in actual HADR mission for the first time: Here

LPD HTMS Angthong 791: Details

Design of the battlefield support helicopter

The H145M is an economical and versatile military helicopter based on the proven EC145 helicopter family.

On the military market, the H145 may appear like the new kid on the block while in fact it is anything but. Disguised as the UH-72A Lakota and as a replacement for the UH-1 Huey, the type has been serving the US Army for years already in training, transport and liaison roles. A staggering 423 Lakotas were ordered by the US.

In its special ops role, the H145M – advertized as a ‘light battlefield support helicopter’ – offers  room for up to 10 soldiers in the ballistically protected cabin. The sliding side doors and fast rope systems offer quick exit in hover situations, while the double clamshell doors at the rear can also be used when on the ground.The Fenestron shrouded tail rotor offers protection and safety on the ground. Until now, special forces in Germany relied on the – again – UH-1 Huey. Source

UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter: Details

It features an advanced main and tail rotor gearboxes as well as Fenestron shrouded tail rotor for better anti-torque control. The tail rotor is fitted with composite asymmetrical blades that reduce the noise levels.

The H145M can seat up to 11 personnel including crew and troops. The large cabin space accommodates up to 10 troops in a high-density air assault layout, or a fully-equipped force for special operations.

Troops can rapidly ingress / egress through large sliding side doors and the rear clamshell door. The rotorcraft can be fitted with mission equipment kits including a fast rope system, cargo hooks and hoists for transport and utility missions.

The helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 3.7t and can carry a useful load of 1,769kg, whereas its sling load capacity is 1,500kg. It measures 13.6m in length when rotors are in operation and has a width of 2.7m when blades are folded. The height and main rotor diameter of the helicopter are 4m and 11m, respectively.

Cockpit and avionics

The H145M is equipped with a modern digital glass cockpit that integrates Helionix® avionics suite. This cockpit is compatible with night vision goggles (NVG). It houses a head-up display (HUD) and a helmet-mounted sight display (HMSD) with day and night piloting and firing capability.

Two Garmin GTN 750 GPS/NAV/COMM multifunction displays on center console

What sets newer H145s, including the German special ops ones, apart from earlier models is the modulair and impressive Helionix cockpit suite which according to Airbus Helicopters offers pilots the world’s most advanced cockpit – apart from the Airbus A350. In the case of the H145, the suite consists of three large MFDs that can all be adjusted for diplaying either basic flight control instruments, engine parameters, digital maps or a range of other options. Two Garmin GTN 750 GPS/NAV/COMM multifunction displays complete the typical Helionix setup in the H145. The system offers a 4 axis autopilot including Auto-Hover function. Helionix will be integrated in all new or updated products of Airbus such as the new H135 and H160. Source

Packed full of powerful avionics, the GTN 750 is a fully integrated GPS/NAV/COMM solution. The 6-in.-tall system’s intuitive touchscreen controls and large display give you unprecedented access to high-resolution terrain mapping, graphical flight planning, geo-referenced charting, traffic display, satellite weather and much more. Source

Helionix® avionics suite middle of the instrument panel (above) –

Helionix® is a fully integrated system that cuts the amount of required equipment in half, meaning easier maintenance and a significant weight reduction.

With the situational awareness system in the middle of the instrument panel, the pilot can quickly see a digital display of the helicopter’s terrestrial (obstacles, terrain) and aerial (presence of other aircraft) environments. To prevent dangerous situations, the HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness System) warns the crew well in advance of any land-based obstacles in the vicinity of the current flight path.

The new avionics system includes a centralized maintenance function that monitors the status of all the helicopter’s sub-systems. Troubleshooting can quickly be performed via a ground-based diagnostics tool, and maintenance activities are fully optimized.

The cutting-edge Human-Machine Interface (HMI) displays all flight parameters and flight management data on a single screen. The Part Time Display is a new concept. A summarized version of the flight parameters can be displayed to help the pilot quickly analyze and assess the situation in order to remain fully concentrated on the mission. Source

Royal Thai Navy H145M cockpit

Royal Thai Navy H145M cockpit- Image: Thai PBS

Royal Thai Navy H145M cockpit- Image: Thai PBS

Royal Thai Navy H145M cockpit- Image: Thai PBS

Featured on the military helicopter is a mission computer, an infrared / TV electro-optical system, an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) and a laser range-finder / designator / pointer. The four-axis digital autopilot aboard the cockpit reduces crew fatigue.

The MX-10D and MX-15D are part of a package of modernized systems for Airbus’ H225M and H145M helicopters to support anti-submarine warfare, tactical troop transport, search-andrescue, medical evacuation and special operations.

L-3 WESCAM’s targeting systems have been proven in combat and are configured with high-sensitivity multi-spectral sensors for day, low-light and night time missions.

To date, L-3 WESCAM has delivered over 530 of the MX targeting systems for 40 different airborne platforms since the company entered the targeting market in 2005. Source

H145M weapon systems


The helicopter can be fitted with an incremental modular weapon system to engage conventional and asymmetric threats in the battlefield.

It is compatible with seven- and 12-tube rocket launchers, a 20mm cannon pod, a 12.7mm machine gun pod, and air-to-surface missiles. It can also be configured to carry laser-guided rockets.



Calibre 7.62x51mm NATO
Operating principle Gas operated, open breech
Overall length 1260mm (49.6″)
Weapon width 118.7mm (4.67″)
Weapon width with bipod extended 408mm (16.1″)
Weapon width with bipod folded 160mm (6.3″)
Weapon height 263mm (10.35″)
Weapon height with bipod extended 318mm (12.5″)
Weapon height with bipod folded 225mm (8.86″)
Weapon weight 11,8 kg (26.01 lb)
Barrel type Long
Barrel weight 3.05 kg (6.75 lb)
Barrel length 630mm (24.80″)
Buttstock type Fixed
Cyclic rate of fire 650 to 1,000 RPM
Feed Belt
Firing mode Full auto
Handguard type N/A
Role General Purpose Machine Gun


Royal Thai Navy H-145M with FN 58 MAG


Images from ฝูงบิน202 กองการบินทหารเรือ

Browning M3M


  • CALIBER: 50 BMG (12.7x99mm) NATO
  • OPERATION: Short-recoil
  • CAPACITY: 100 – 600 Rd.
  • WEIGHT: 81.6 lb.
  • RATE OF FIRE: 950 – 1,100 RPM


0.50 cal gun pod

FN has developed a broad spectrum of machine gun pods designed for rotary-wing and subsonic fixed-wing combat aircraft capable of carrying the FN® M3P .50-caliber machine gun and multiple 2.75″ air-to-ground rockets with the FN® RMP variant. FN Pod Systems provide war fighters with a significant firepower advantage in every operational engagement and are in use by a number of NATO nations on both subsonic fixed and rotary-wing combat aircraft.


  • CALIBER: .50
  • MAG CAPACITY: Customer Specified
  • WEIGHT (EMPTY): 197 lb.
  • WEIGHT (LOADED): 305 lb.
  • HEIGHT: 17.1″
  • LENGTH: 76.4″
  • RATE OF FIRE: 950 – 1,100 RPM


FZ laser-guided rockets

FZ laser-guided rockets

The FZ275 LGR guided rocket closes the gap between the long-range high-value missiles and the shorter range guns/cannon and unguided rockets, thus affording a full range of precision effects from a platform to defeat soft and light armoured targets.

This rocket complies with the armies’ requirement for precise and reliable ammunitions capable of reducing exposure to danger and avoiding collateral damage which nowadays causes injuries to civilians.


  • Calibre : 2.75” (70mm)
  • Nominal length : ~1800mm
  • All up round weight : 12.5 kg (before burn)/9.1 kg (after burn)
  • Guidance : SAL (Semi-Active Laser)
  • Steering type : 4 folding canards
  • Laser : compatible with STANAG 3733 or used defined code


  • Range : 1500m up to 6000m
  • CEP<1m (at 6km range)

SAL technology

The SAL-Laser Guided Rocket FZ275 LGR requires designation of the target by a laser designator.

The rocket has an in-built laser seeker that can read a specially coded laser being reflected off a target. This target can be marked either before launching the rocket (LOBL), after launch (LOAL) or even by a remote source, such as a soldier on the ground or another second flying platform. This versatility provides the helicopter with a far greater survivability and the ability to attack without moving into a target’s vision.


FZ has developed 2 different configurations for its laser guided rocket :

  • stand alone : easy and quick implementation of laser guided rocket FZ275LGR on platforms with FZ rocket system requiring any major modification
  • integrated : full integration with full functionality increasing the capability envelope of FZ275LGR guided rocket :
    • inventory information exchange through the platform it possesses prior to launch
    • in-flight laser code implementation
    • LOBL (Lock-On-Before-Launch)
    • Two (bidirectional) way communication between rocketrocket launcher and the platform (cockpit)


FZ275 LGR offers different warheads such as High Explosive warheads.


FZ231 laser-guided rocket launcher



Mechanical characteristics

The FZ231 rocket launcher system includes a twelve (12) tube rocket composite central section equipped with a Launcher Interface Unit (LIU).

  • Height : 361 mm
  • Width : 324 mm
  • Overall length : 1658 mm
  • Total mass (empty) : 31 kg


  • Firing mode : ripple / single
  • Intervallometry : 80 ms (minimum)
  • Dual purpose : designed for firing both types of FZ 2.75″ FZ FFAR and WA rocket motors
  • Rocket warheads : designed for firing all types of 2.75″ FZ rocket warheads conventional and equipped with remote set fuze


NC 621 cannon pod

The NC 621 cannon pod extends the range of missions (attack, close fire support, protection, self-defence) of the helicopters and lightest aircrafts. It provides airplanes with 20mm firepower previously restricted to 0.50 weapons. The NC 621 has been developed around the 20 M 621 cannon which is well known for its high accuracy, for simplicity (operation and maintenance) and which fires the 20mm x 102 NATO standard ammunition. The effectiveness and reliability of the NC 621 has been widely proven on various platforms.

– Gaz operated,
– Average firing rate: 750 rounds per minute,
– Ammunition stowage capacity: 180 or 250 ammunition
– Effective range: up to 2,000m

Serbia to be launch customer for HForce weapon system on H145M: Here

Airbus Helicopters


Serbia has been revealed as the launch customer for the Airbus Helicopters HForce modular weapons system, with which it will equip four of its incoming fleet of H145Ms.

In late 2016 Belgrade ordered a total of nine of the German-built medium-twins, for use by its air force and police, with deliveries running from 2018-2019.

However, there had been no previous indication that it was also seeking the weapon system.

Airbus Helicopters completes first firing campaign with HForce-equipped H145M: Here


Donauwörth  – Airbus Helicopters has recently completed a ballistic development test of an HForce weapon system on a H145M on Pápa Airbase in Hungary. The tested system included guns (FN Herstal HMP400), unguided rockets (Thales FZ231) and cannons (Nexter NC621) as well as an electro-optical targeting system by Wescam (MX15) and a helmet mounted sight display by Thales (Scorpion). All planned and required tests were performed in a tight and demanding time schedule.

Thales Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (HMCS)

Thales to supply Scorpion® helmet display

Key points

  • This is the first helmet mounted display that features colour symbology and video imaging for both daytime and nighttime missions.
  • Thales will be responsible for the viability study, testing phase, integration with test aircraft, qualification support and integration in the fleet.

Thales will also be responsible for the development and production of the specific configuration for the Spanish Air Force EF-18. The system is already operational in multiple platforms in the United States



Scorpion® is a ‘force multiplier’ system offering full colour symbology (navigation, intelligence, combat, etc.) for both nighttime and daytime missions, in addition to target cueing in potentially degraded visual environments, therefore easily allowing target designation and allocation of points of interest with the aircraft’s sensors. Scorpion® is fully interchangeable between helmets/pilots as it is installed directly over standard helmets, allowing the total amount of equipment necessary for the fleet to be reduced, thus favouring maintenance and reducing life-cycle costs.


Thales will be responsible for the viability study, testing phase, integration with test aircraft, qualification support and integration in the fleet. Thales will also be responsible for the development and production of the specific Scorpion® configuration for the Spanish EF-18 including ejection safety analysis. The qualification phase includes inter-operability with the IRIS-T missile and the daytime/ nighttime-imaging pod for cueing lightening targets.

Note to editors

The HMCS uses the patented and innovative HObIT (Hybrid Optical based Inertial Tracking) technology, the hybrid reference system that warrants high precision with minimum cabin intrusion. For nighttime missions, Scorpion can be operated with standard unmodified night vision goggles (NVG), therefore offering the same quality colour/video imaging symbol combination.

The system is already operational on multiple platforms in the United States such as the F16 Block 30/32 and the A10 ‘Thunderbolt II’ and has been flight tested on the F-22, the NH-90 and many other platforms. At present, the system is being actively evaluated by other clients globally. Source

Turkish defense firm Roketsan signs deal with Airbus Helicopters: Link


Survivability of the battlefield support helicopter

The helicopter integrates self-sealing fuel tanks, ballistic protection, infrared (IR) suppressor, and crashworthy seats. The low-profile, crashworthy fuselage and redundant flight systems improve the survivability of the helicopter.

Thai PBS

Electronic warfare systems including radar warning receiver, laser warning receiver, missile approach warning system and chaff / flare launchers further improve the endurance in high-threat scenarios.


The H145M is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines equipped with dual-channel full authority digital engine controls (FADEC). Each engine develops a maximum continuous power of 771shp (575kW).

2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines


2 x Arriel 2E de Turbomeca

One of the youngest Arriel family members, the 2E was certified in December 2012 and entered service in August 2014 with the delivery of the first Airbus Helicopters H145. The Arriel 2E offers 20% more power than the 1E2 installed on the EC145. It is capable of a take-off power of 894 shp, a cruising power of 828 shp and a maximum power, via the One Engine Inoperative (OEI) rating, of 1072 shp. Similarly to other Arriel 2+ variants, the 2E features a combination of new and proven technologies. Notably, it features a new axial compressor, a new HP compressor diffuser, new HP turbine blade material and a new-generation, dual-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) linked to a modernized fuel system. Source

The helicopter has a fast cruise speed of 244km/h, maximum speed of 250km/h and maximum range of 662km. Its outstanding hover performance allows for operations at altitudes of 2,700m (8,858ft).

Featured image: Royal Thai Army VIP H145M – Image: Deep Blue Sea

Main material source:

Updated Aug 17, 2018

Yuzhao Class landing platform dock (LPD) Type 071

Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD) is a new class of amphibious warfare vessels built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

The Type 071 LPD is primarily deployed in amphibious landing missions and can also conduct humanitarian aid and civilian evacuation missions.


WarshipPorn @reddit

The first LPD in the series, Kunlun Shan (998), was launched in December 2006 and commissioned in November 2007. Jinggang Shan (999), the second vessel in the series, was floated out in November 2010 and was inducted into service in October 2011.


The third ship in class, Changbai Shan (989), was launched in September 2011 and entered service with the PLAN in September 2012. Yimeng Shan (988) was launched in January 2015 and commissioned in February 2016.


A modified variant of the Type 071 LPD was offered by the China State Shipbuilding & Trading Corp (CSTC) consortium for the Royal Malaysian Navy.

Type 071C?


Fan art –

Type 071 LPD design and features


Type 071 LPD ships feature a unique hull platform offering a large dock space. The ship also offers a dedicated space for medical care and is equipped with a fresh water supply system. The stabilisers fitted to the vessel reduce roll and improve the stability in high sea states.


Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news


Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news


Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news


Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news


Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news

The high volumes of internal space support the installation of additional communications systems, which make the ship a fleet command and control centre during amphibious operations.


Jinggang Shan 999 – USN Fleet vids


Jinggang Shan 999 – USN Fleet vids


Jinggang Shan 999 – USN Fleet vids

The Type 071 LPD has a length of 210m, beam of 28m and a draft of 7m. The full load displacement of the vessel is 25,000t.


Cargo housing capacities

The amphibious warfare ship features a vehicle deck, well-deck, landing deck and a hanger. It can carry a combination of marines, vehicles, landing craft and helicopters.

Thai and Chinese Marines – หนังสือพิมพ์ สยามโฟกัสไทม์

The vehicle deck can house amphibious assault vehicles including ZBD05 amphibious IFV, and ZTD-05 amphibious assault tracked armoured vehicle. The stern ramp, two side doors and ramps allow rapid loading of the vehicles and equipment.


Jinggang Shan 999 – USN Fleet vids


Jinggang Shan 999 – USN Fleet vids

Royal Thai Marines – หนังสือพิมพ์ สยามโฟกัสไทม์

หนังสือพิมพ์ สยามโฟกัสไทม์

หนังสือพิมพ์ สยามโฟกัสไทม์


An amphibious armored vehicle attached to the Chinese PLA Navy prepares to enter the well-deck of the amphibious dock landing ship Wuzhishan (Hull 987) during a beach-landing exercise of the Chinese-Thai joint naval drill, code-named Blue Commando-2019, in waters of the Red Bay of south China’s Guangdong Province on May 8, 2019. ( by Sun Hongtao)

The well deck houses up to four landing craft air-cushioned (LCAC), which can transfer vehicles or marines to the shore at high speed. The LCAC are launched by flooding of the docking area. The vessel can also carry landing craft on port / starboard davits.

Type 726 Yuyi class landing craft, air cushion (LCAC)


Landing Craft Air Cushion (Hull 3333) steams in waters off the Xisha Islands during the maritime coordinative training from March 6 to 11, 2019. It is China’s independently developed high speed medium amphibious landing craft air cushion. ( by Liu Jian)

In conjunction with the building of Red China’s first LPD, the Type 071, Yuzhao Class LPD, the PLAN also embarked on designing and building their own landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) to go with it.

In 2008, a new, indigenous Chinese LCAC was observed. It is remarkably similar to the US LCAC, except the control house is on the port side of the vessel instead of the starboard side. In addition, the Chinese LCAC appears a little smaller than the American LCAC.

These vessels appear to have four gas turbines to power them. It is not known whether those turbines are indigenous Chinese designs or based on Russian or Ukrainian technology

By 2010 as many as four had been observed, but it is anticipated that more are building since the PLAN launched a second Yuzhao class LPD in 2010 and will likely launch a third in 2011. Since each LPD is supposedly capable of carrying 3-4 LCACs it is anticipated that 10-12 will be built as a minimum. More if more LPDs are built, and even more if the anticipated PLAN LHD Class Amphibious Assault ship is constructed.


A Type 726 Yuyi class landing craft air cushion (LCAC) attached to the Chinese PLA Navy storms the beach head to offload personnel and equipment during a beach-landing exercise of the Chinese-Thai joint naval drill, code-named Blue Commando-2019, in waters of the Red Bay of south China’s Guangdong Province on May 8, 2019. ( by Sun Hongtao)

The specifications include:

Qty: 4 (more building)
Length: unknown
Beam: unknown
Displace (Full): unknown
– 4 gas turbines, 2 fans
Speed: 40 knots (est)
Crew: 4-5 est.
– 2 x 12.7mm machine guns
– Potential man portaable AAMs



A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), attached to a landing ship flotilla with the South China Sea Fleet under the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, steers into the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship in waters off the Xisha Islands during the maritime coordinative training from March 6 to 11, 2019. The widths of the hovercraft and the mother ship dock difference less than 1 meter. With its two high-power air propellers on the rear, the direction and speed are extremely difficult to control. A tiny mistake may cause deadly collision accidents. ( by Liu Jian)

The stern helicopter deck offers two landing spots for supporting the operations of two Z-8 (SA 321 Super Frelon) transport helicopters. The twin-door cantilever hangar can house up to four Z-8 helicopters.


The LPD also has the capacity to carry a marine battalion, including up to 800 marines and associated equipment and supplies.


“Blue assault-2019” Sino-Thai Navy joint training

Armament and countermeasures

The bow deck is installed with an AK-176 76mm naval gun system. The vessel is also armed with four 30mm AK-630 close-in weapon systems (CIWS). Countermeasures are provided by four 18-tube Type 726-4 decoy or chaff launchers.

PJ26 76 mm dual purpose gun


PJ26 single tube 76MM gun stealth based AK176 single tube 76.2 mm gun stealth modifications on the Russian ship. In early 2000 determined by the Zhengzhou Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (713) as chief engineer units, and thus responsible for the development, general contracting, Chen Ting Feng served as the chief architect and was completed in 2003.

Performance parameters (Russia AK176 type):
total weight: 11500kg (including the lower deck loader)
Range: 11.5 ~ 15.5km
Rate of fire: 60 to 120 rounds / min
reserve ammunition: 152 Hair
barrel tilt range: -15 to +85 degree
level cyclotron range: about 175 degrees


4 x 30mm AK-630 close-in weapon systems (CIWS)


LPD 989 Changbai Shan – Wonkabar007

Type: Gun Weight: 0 kg
Length: 0.0 m Span: 0.0 m
Diameter: 0.0 Generation: None
Properties: Capable vs Seaskimmer
Targets: Aircraft, Helicopter, Missile, Surface Vessel
AK-630M 30mm/65 Gatling Burst [400 rnds] – Gun
Air Max: 1.9 km. Surface Max: 2.8 km.

4 x 18-tube Type 726-4 decoy or chaff launchers


The amphibious dock landing ships Changbaishan (Hull 989) attached to a landing ship flotilla with the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command releases jamming shells during a three-dimensional amphibious landing operation in waters of the South China Sea from May 29 to June 3, 2019. ( by Qiao Chenxi) Cropped

Generic Flare Rocket

Type: Decoy (Expendable) Weight: 0.0 kg
Length: 0.0 m Span: 0.0 m
Diameter: 0.0 Generation: Single Spectral IR Decoy
Targets: Surface Vessel
Generic Flare Rocket [Single Spectral] – (Ship-only) Decoy (Expendable)
Surface Max: 1.9 km.



Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news

Generic Chaff Rocket 

Type: Decoy (Expendable) Weight: 0.0 kg
Length: 0.0 m Span: 0.0 m
Diameter: 0.0 Generation: Not Applicable (N/A)
Targets: Surface Vessel
Generic Chaff Rocket – (Ship-only) Decoy (Expendable)
Surface Max: 1.9 km.



The amphibious dock landing ship Wuzhishan (Hull 987) attached to a landing ship flotilla with the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command deploys smoke shells for concealment during a three-dimensional amphibious landing operation in waters of the South China Sea from May 29 to June 3, 2019. ( by Qiao Chenxi) Cropped

China Type 923-1 Jug Pair?

Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 222.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 1950s
China Type 923-1 Jug Pair – (RW-23-1, Watch Dog) ESM
Role: RWR, Radar Warning Receiver
Max Range: 222.2 km


Type 071 LPD radars


Training BLUE STRIKE 2016, People’s Republic of China Chang Bai San 中国 海军 张 白 三 Changbaishan (LPD-989) ฝึก BLUE STRIKE 2016 เรือระบายพลสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีนฉางไป๋ซาน 中国海军 张白三 Changbaishan (LPD – 989) – banchang news

The LPD is equipped with a Type 360 (Seagull-S) air / surface search radar operating on E / F-band frequencies, a Type 364 G-band air search radar, a Type 344 I-band fire control radar and a navigation radar.

Type 360 (Seagull-S) air / surface search radar


The Type 360 is an air/surface search radar manufactured by Yangzhou Marine Electronic Instruments Research Institute (扬州船用电子仪器研究所)/ No. 723 Institute and is reportedly based on Selenia RAN-10S / SPS – 774.


  • E/F-band

(Specs based on RAN-10S)

  • Beam: 1.5° × 17° (coverage to 60° elevation)
  • Peak Power: 140 kW
  • Gain: 28 dB
  • Burst width: 20.8 (compressed to 0.4) microseconds
  • PRF: 900 pps
  • Scan Rate: 15 or 30 rpm
  • Max altitude: 10,000 m
  • Mast weight: 900 kg
  • Antenna dimensions: 4.3 m × 0.7 m
  • Other features:
    • Phased coded burst pulse, each burst consist of 4 pulses and frequency agile transmitter
    • Separate IFF antenna (4 × yagi) installed on top of antenna.
  • Other reported names:
    • SR60
    • H/LJQ360
    • Seagull-S
    • S-3


Type: Radar Altitude Max: 10058 m
Range Max: 166.7 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Early 1980s
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)
China Type 360 – (Sea Tiger, SR-60, S-3, Seagull-S) Radar
Role: Radar, Target Indicator, 2D Surface-to-Air & Surface-to-Surface
Max Range: 166.7 km


Type 364 G-band air search radar


The Type 364 radar was developed by the Yangzhou Marine Electronic Instruments Research Institute (扬州船用电子仪器研究所) / No. 723 Research Institute. It is typically enclosed in a dome on new PLA-N‘s frigates and destroyers.

An improved version of the earlier Type 360, it replaces the Yagi IFF antenna with a planar IFF configuration and moves to higher frequencies in order to achieve better target discrimination. The dome is also expected to improve azimuth resolution.

It is expected to be used primarily for CIWS (Type 730Type 630) targeting with secondary air search and SSM targeting abilities.

It is offered for sale through the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).


  • System: Coherent pulse compression (CPC), adaptive moving target detector (AMTD)
    • Band: S band
    • Range: 75km against 2m2 RCS aircraft; 12km against 0.1m2 RCS target
    • Beam width: 2°(H), 25° (V)
    • Scan coverage: 360°×25°
  • Processing capacity
    • Multiple tracking: ≥20pcs
  • Antenna
    • Mast weight: 520 kg
    • Type: Incision parabolic antenna
    • Gain: 38dB
    • Rotation speed: 30RPM
  • Transmitter / Receiver
    • Frequency: S-band
    • Consumption: 100w (avg.) 60kW (peak)
    • NF: <3dB
  • Friend/Foe Transponder
    • Gain: 20dB
    • Beam width: 1°×30°
  • Ambient temperature
    • Antenna: -25℃~+70℃
  • Power supply
    • AC: 220VAC (150~250 VAC)
    • Power consumption: 10kW


Type: Radar Altitude Max: 7468 m
Range Max: 129.6 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Early 1990s
Properties: Track While Scan (TWS), Pulse-only Radar
China Type 364 – (SR-64, Seagull-C) Radar
Role: Radar, Target Indicator, 2D Surface-to-Air
Max Range: 129.6 km


Type 344 I-band fire control radar


Chinese Designation: Type 344
Export Name: MR34
NATO Reporting Name: N/A
Role: Fire-control for the 100mm gun and anti-ship missile targeting
Contractor: Xi’an Research institute of Navigation Technology
Band: I/J
Range: N/A
Description: The Type 344 radar is normally installed on top of the brigade right in front of the main mast. The radar is used as the standard fire-control radar on all post-1990 PRC-built destroyers and frigates for 100mm main gun and anti-ship missile targeting.

中国命名: 344型
外销命名: MR34型
北约代号: N/A
角色: 火控用于100毫米舰炮和反舰导弹瞄准
承包商: 西安导航技术研究所
波段: I/J
范围: N/A
描述: 344型雷达通常安装在主桅杆之前舰桥顶部右侧。雷达在1990年之后所有中国建造的驱逐舰和护卫舰当作一个标准火控雷达用于100毫米主炮和反舰导弹瞄准。

Last update: 13 May 2008
最后更新: 2008年5月13日


Type: Radar Altitude Max: 9144 m
Range Max: 27.8 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Late 1950s
Properties: Pulse-only Radar
China Type 344 – (GFCR, 100mm, MR-34) Radar
Role: Radar, FCR, Weapon Director
Max Range: 27.8 km


CODAD propulsion

Type 071 YUZHAO Jinggang Shan__ 999 Kunlun Shan___ 998 Amphibious Transport Dock LPD amphibious warfare ships of the People's Republic of China's People's Li

The Type 071 LPDs are powered by integrated combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion, controlled by an automated propulsion control system.

The propulsion system integrates four Shaanxi 16 PC2.6 V400 diesel engines driving two controllable pitch propellers through twin shafts. Each engine produces a maximum power of 35,197kW.

4 × SEMT Pielstick 16 PC2.6 V400 diesel engines


The S.E.M.T. Pielstick PC2 engine with 400 mm bore has a long history of extreme reliability in nuclear plants around the world. The PC2.6 B N is the latest development in the series.

The PC2.6 B N medium-speed diesel engine has a rated nominal output per cylinder of 720 to 750 kW. It is available in V configuration versions with 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 cylinders. Source


The power-plant provides a maximum speed of 25kt and a range of 10,000nmi at 18kt. The maximum endurance of the vessel is 60 days.


General characteristics

Displacement: 20,000 long tons (20,000 t)
Length: 210 m (689 ft 0 in)
Beam: 28 m (91 ft 10 in)
Draft: 7 m (23 ft 0 in)
Propulsion: CODAD
4 × SEMT Pielstick 16 PC2.6 V400 diesel engines, 472,000 hp (351,970 kW)
2 × shafts
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)+
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Boats and landing craft carried:
• 4 × air-cushioned landing craft
• 2 × landing craft on port/starboard davits
Capacity: 15-20 armoured vehicles Troops: 500-800 troops
Complement: 120
Sensors and processing systems:
• 1 × Type 360 Radar Seagull S, E/F-band surface search radar
• 1 × Type 364 Radar, Seagull C, G-band air search radar aft
• 1 × Type 344 Radar, I band fire control radar
• 1 × navigational radar
• 1 × AK-176 76 mm (3.0 in) gun
• 4 × AK-630 30 mm (1.2 in) CIWS
• 4 × 18-tube Type 726-4 decoy/chaff launcher
• Possible installation of 2-4 heavy machine guns (Fitted for but not with)
Aircraft carried: 2-4 Z-8 Super Frelon

Specification Viktor

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Revised Sept. 14, 2019

Updated Nov 03, 2019

US Military Set to Unveil Concepts Based on Skylon Space Plane Tech

According to

Within the next year, the U.S. Air Force plans to unveil novel spacecraft concepts that would be powered by a potentially revolutionary reusable engine designed for a private space plane. Since January 2014, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has been developing hypersonic vehicle concepts that use the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which was invented by England-based Reaction Engines Ltd. and would propel the company’s Skylon space plane. In April 2015, Reaction Engines announced that an AFRL study had concluded that SABRE is feasible. And AFRL is bullish on the technology; the lab will reveal two-stage-to-orbit SABRE-based concepts either this September, at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (AIAA) SPACE 2016 conference in Long Beach, California, or in March 2017, at the 21st AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference in China, said AFRL Aerospace Systems Directorate Aerospace Engineer Barry Hellman.

Read rest of article: HERE


Proposed Skylon spaceplane

SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) is a concept under development by Reaction Engines Limited for a hypersonic precooled hybrid air breathing rocket engine. The engine is being designed to achieve single-stage-to-orbit capability, propelling the proposed Skylon spaceplane to low Earth orbit. SABRE is an evolution of Alan Bond’s series of liquid air cycle engine (LACE) and LACE-like designs that started in the early/mid-1980s for the HOTOL project.

Skylon - my ticket to space!HOTOL

SABRE is at heart a rocket engine designed to power aircraft directly into space (single-stage to orbit) to allow reliable, responsive and cost effective space access, and in a different configuration to allow aircraft to cruise at high speeds (five times the speed of sound) within the atmosphere.

In the past, attempts to design single stage to orbit propulsion systems have been unsuccessful largely due to the weight of an on-board oxidiser such as liquid oxygen, needed by conventional rocket engines. One possible solution to reduce the quantity of on-board oxidizer required is by using oxygen already present in the atmosphere in the combustion process just like an ordinary jet engine. This weight saving would enable the transition from single-use multi-stage launch vehicles to multi-use single stage launch vehicles.

SABRE is the first engine to achieve this goal by operating in two rocket modes: initially in air-breathing mode and subsequently in conventional rocket mode:

  • Air breathing mode – the rocket engine sucks in atmospheric air as a source of oxygen (as in a typical jet engine) to burn with its liquid hydrogen fuel in the rocket combustion chamber
  • Conventional rocket mode – the engine is above the atmosphere and transitions to using conventional on-board liquid oxygen.

In both modes the thrust is generated using the rocket combustion chamber and nozzles. This is made possible through a synthesis of elements from rocket and gas turbine technology.

This approach enables SABRE-powered vehicles to save carrying over 250 tons of on-board oxidant on their way to orbit, and removes the necessity for massive throw-away first stages that are jettisoned once the oxidant they contain has been used up, allowing the development of the first fully re-usable space access vehicles such as SKYLON.

While this sounds simple, the problem is that in air-breathing mode, the air must be compressed to around 140 atmospheres before injection into the combustion chambers which raises its temperature so high that it would melt any known material. SABRE avoids this by first cooling the air using a Pre-cooler heat exchanger until it is almost a liquid. Then a relatively conventional turbo compressor using jet engine technology can be used to compress the air to the required pressure.

This means when SABRE is in the Earth’s atmosphere the engine can use air to burn with the hydrogen fuel rather than the liquid oxygen used when in rocket mode, which gives an 8 fold improvement in propellant consumption. The air-breathing mode can be used until the engine has reached over 5 times the speed of sound and an altitude of 25 kilometres which is 20% of the speed and 20% of the altitude needed to reach orbit. The remaining 80% can be achieved using the SABRE engines in rocket mode.

For space access, the thrust during air-breathing ascent is variable but around 200 tonnes per engine. During rocket ascent this rises to 300 tonnes but is then throttled down towards the end of the ascent to limit the longitudinal acceleration to 3.0g.

The design comprises a single combined cycle rocket engine with two modes of operation. The air breathing mode combines a turbo-compressor with a lightweight air precooler positioned just behind the inlet cone. At high speeds this precooler cools the hot, ram-compressed air leading to a very high pressure ratio within the engine. The compressed air is subsequently fed into the rocket combustion chamber where it is ignited along with stored liquid hydrogen. The high pressure ratio allows the engine to provide high thrust at very high speeds and altitudes. The low temperature of the air permits light alloy construction to be employed and allow a very lightweight engine—essential for reaching orbit. In addition, unlike the LACE concept, SABRE’s precooler does not liquefy the air, letting it run more efficiently.

Skylon - my ticket to space!SABRE’s precooler

After shutting the inlet cone off at Mach 5.14, 28.5 km altitude, the system continues as a closed cycle high-performance rocket engine burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen from on-board fuel tanks, potentially allowing a hybrid spaceplane concept like Skylon to reach orbital velocity after leaving the atmosphere on a steep climb.

LAPCAT A2 hypersonic passenger jet

An engine derived from the SABRE concept called Scimitar has been designed for the company’s A2 hypersonic passenger jet proposal for the European Union-funded LAPCAT study.

Comparing size of A2 hypersonic passenger jet to A380


Simplified flow diagram of SABRE engine
Like the RB545, the SABRE design is neither a conventional rocket engine nor jet engine, but a hybrid that uses air from the environment at low speeds/altitudes, and stored liquid oxygen (LOX) at higher altitude. The SABRE engine “relies on a heat exchanger capable of cooling incoming air to −150 °C (−238 °F), to provide oxygen for mixing with hydrogen and provide jet thrust during atmospheric flight before switching to tanked liquid oxygen when in space.”
Artist’s rendering of Skylon spacecraft Credit:
At the front of the engine, a simple translating axisymmetric shock cone inlet slows the air to subsonic speeds using two shock reflections. Part of the air then passes through a precooler into the central core, with the remainder passing directly through a ring of bypass ramjets. The central core of SABRE behind the precooler uses a turbo-compressor run off the same gaseous helium loop Brayton cycle which compresses the air and feeds it into four high pressure combined cycle rocket engine combustion chambers. The oxygen is also fed to the combustion unit, using a turbopump.
Air-breathing SABRE rocket engine

This advanced combined cycle air-breathing SABRE rocket engine enables aircraft to operate easily at speeds of up to five times the speed of sound or fly directly into Earth orbit.

With the Pre-cooler heat exchanger and other SABRE engine advanced technology development programmes nearing completion, the next stage of the SABRE programme is the construction of a full engine demonstrator..

In 2011, hardware testing of the heat exchanger technology “crucial to [the] hybrid air- and liquid oxygen-breathing [SABRE] rocket motor” was completed, demonstrating that the technology is viable. The tests validated that the heat exchanger could perform as needed for the engine to obtain adequate oxygen from the atmosphere to support the low-altitude, high-performance operation.


In November 2012, Reaction Engines announced it had successfully concluded a series of tests that prove the cooling technology of the engine, one of the main obstacles towards the completion of the project. The European Space Agency (ESA) evaluated the SABRE engine’s pre-cooler heat exchanger, and accepted claims that the technologies required to proceed with the engine’s development had been fully demonstrated.

In June 2013 the United Kingdom government announced further support for the development of a full-scale prototype of the SABRE engine, providing £60M of funding between 2014-2016 with the ESA providing an additional £7M. The total cost of developing a test rig is estimated at £200M.

Skylon2The ground test rig for the engine pre-cooler

“The SABRE engine offers an attractive development path because it is suitable for ground based test bed development. This is because the flow downstream of the SABRE engine intake is always subsonic irrespective of the speed at which the engine is flying. As a consequence it is possible to simulate the air-breathing flight conditions of the core engine up to Mach 5 on the ground prior to flight testing by appropriately heating the incoming airstream to represent high Mach flight conditions. This provides a cost advantage because it avoids costly flight tests and enables substantial development time on the engine’s core components on the test rig. The pre-cooler testing is an example of the benefits of ground based demonstrations with over 200 tests undertaken to date.”

Robert Bond, Corporate Programmes Director (Partial quote)

TS-Reaction_ReactionEngines.jpgGround test concept

By June 2015, SABRE’s development continued with The Advanced Nozzle Project in Westcott, UK. The test engine, operated by Airborne Engineering Ltd., is being used to analyze the aerodynamics and performance of the advanced nozzles that the SABRE engine will use, in addition to new manufacturing technologies such as the 3D-printed propellant injection system.

In April 2015, the SABRE engine concept passed a theoretical feasibility review conducted by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. In August 2015 the European Commission competition authority approved UK government funding of £50 million for further development of the SABRE project. This was approved on the grounds that money raised from private equity had been insufficient to bring the project to completion. Then in October 2015, British company BAE Systems agreed to buy a 20% stake in the company for £20.6 million as part of an agreement to help develop the SABRE hypersonic engine


As the air enters the engine at supersonic/hypersonic speeds, it becomes very hot due to compression effects. The high temperatures are traditionally dealt with in jet engines by using heavy copper or nickel based materials, by reducing the engine’s pressure ratio, and by throttling back the engine at the higher airspeeds to avoid melting. However, for a single stage to orbit (SSTO) spaceplane, such heavy materials are unusable, and maximum thrust is necessary for orbital insertion at the earliest time to minimise gravity losses. Instead, using a gaseous helium coolant loop, SABRE dramatically cools the air from 1000 °C down to −150 °C in a heat exchanger while avoiding liquefaction of the air or blockage from freezing water vapour.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has evaluated the SABRE engine’s pre-cooler heat exchanger on behalf of the UK Space Agency, and has given official validation to the test results:

“The pre-cooler test objectives have all been successfully met and ESA are satisfied that the tests demonstrate the technology required for the SABRE engine development.”

Previous versions of precoolers such as HOTOL put the hydrogen fuel directly through the precooler. SABRE inserts a helium cooling loop between the air and the cold fuel to avoid problems with hydrogen embrittlement in the precooler.

Precooler heat exchanger module

The dramatic cooling of the air created a potential problem: it is necessary to prevent blocking the precooler from frozen water vapour and other air fractions. On October 2012, the cooling solution was demonstrated for 6 minutes using freezing air. The cooler consists of a fine pipework heat exchanger and cools the hot in-rushing atmospheric air down to the required −150 °C in 0.01s. The ice prevention system had been a closely guarded secret, but REL disclosed a methanol-injecting 3D-printed de-icer in 2015 through patents, as they needed partner companies and could not keep the secret while working closely with outsiders.


Below 5 times the speed of sound and 25 kilometres of altitude, which is 20% of the speed and 20% of the altitude needed to reach orbit, the cooled air from the precooler passes into a modified turbo-compressor, similar in design to those used on conventional jet engines but running at an unusually high pressure ratio made possible by the low temperature of the inlet air. The compressor feeds the compressed air at 140 atmospheres into the combustion chambers of the main engines.

Artist’s rendering of Skylon spacecraft powering into orbit at this stage still running conventional jet engines but running at an unusually high pressure ratio made possible by the low temperature of the precooler inlet air  Credit:

The turbo-compressor is powered by a gas turbine running on a helium loop, rather than by combustion gases as in a conventional jet engine. The turbo-compressor is powered by waste heat collected by the helium loop.

Helium loop

The ‘hot’ helium from the air precooler is recycled by cooling it in a heat exchanger with the liquid hydrogen fuel. The loop forms a self-starting Brayton cycle engine, cooling critical parts of the engine and powering turbines. The heat passes from the air into the helium. This heat energy is used to power various parts of the engine and to vaporise hydrogen, which is then burnt in ramjets.

Diagram showing ‘hot’ helium from the air precooler is recycled by cooling it in a heat exchanger with the liquid hydrogen fuel


Due to the static thrust capability of the hybrid rocket engine, the vehicle can takeoff under air breathing mode, much like a conventional turbojet. As the craft ascends and the outside air pressure drops, more and more air is passed into the compressor as the effectiveness of the ram compression drops. In this fashion the jets are able to operate to a much higher altitude than would normally be possible.

Artist’s rendering of Skylon spacecraft in orbit

At Mach 5.5 the air-breathing system becomes inefficient and is powered down, replaced by the onboard stored oxygen which allows the engine to accelerate to orbital velocities (around Mach 25).

The combustion chambers in the SABRE engine are cooled by the oxidant (air/liquid oxygen) rather than by liquid hydrogen to further reduce the systems use of liquid hydrogen compared to stoichiometric systems.

The most efficient atmospheric pressure at which a conventional propelling nozzle works is set by the geometry of the nozzle bell. While the geometry of the conventional bell remains static the atmospheric pressure changes with altitude and therefore nozzles designed for high performance in the lower atmosphere lose efficiency as they reach higher altitudes. In traditional rockets this is overcome by using multiple stages designed for the atmospheric pressures they encounter. An SSTO engine must use a single set of nozzles. Successful tests were carried out in 2010 on an expansion deflection nozzle called STERN that varies the nozzle output to overcome the problem of non-dynamic exhaust expansion.

A hypersonic cruise missile engine used in the first-ever ground test of a full-scale, fully integrated hypersonic cruise missile using conventional liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

The maturation of hypersonics technology is inspiring countries and organisations to explore its application to hypersonic aircraft. A good example of this is a joint European–Japanese research effort in key high-speed technologies for future air transport, dubbed Hikari1, which comprises 16 partners, 12 of them in Europe and four in Japan. This research combines Japan’s long-standing efforts to develop the technology for supersonic and hypersonic airliners with Europe’s high-speed technology research programmes, including Lapcat (propulsion and aircraft concepts), Atllas (materials and structures), and Zehst (zero emissions highspeed technologies and aircraft concepts).

Its engine is called SCIMITAR, a precooler and turbocompressor fed (sort of) bypass ramjet. This is the engine the USAF probably testing Mach 5+.

Another example is the development of an advanced Mach 5 air-breathing rocket engine that cools incoming air with hydrogen fuel run through a heat exchanger. The engine, called Sabre, is being developed by UK-based Reactions Engines. The US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), under a co-operative research and development agreement with Reaction Engines, is exploring technical details of the engine and whether it offers unique performance and vehicle integration advantages compared to other highspeed engines applied to hypersonic aircraft or two-stage reusable launch vehicles.

Bypass burners

Avoiding liquefaction improves the efficiency of the engine since less entropy is generated and therefore less liquid hydrogen is boiled off. However, simply cooling the air needs more liquid hydrogen than can be burnt in the engine core. The excess is expelled through a series of burners called “spill duct ramjet burners”, that are arranged in a ring around the central core. These are fed air that bypasses the precooler.

Diagram shows “spill duct ramjet burners” or Bypass duct at lower part of engine

This bypass ramjet system is designed to reduce the negative effects of drag resulting from air that passes into the intakes but is not fed into the main rocket engine, rather than generating thrust. At low speeds the ratio of the volume of air entering the intake to the volume that the compressor can feed to the combustion chamber is at its highest, requiring the bypassed air to be accelerated to maintain efficiency at these low speeds. This distinguishes the system from a turboramjet where a turbine-cycle’s exhaust is used to increase air-flow for the ramjet to become efficient enough to take over the role of primary propulsion.


The designed thrust-to-weight ratio of SABRE is 14 compared to about 5 for conventional jet engines, and 2 for scramjets. This high performance is a combination of the denser, cooled air, requiring less compression, and, more importantly, the low air temperatures permitting lighter alloys to be used in much of the engine. Overall performance is much better than the RB545 engine or scramjets.

Fuel efficiency (known as specific impulse in rocket engines) peaks at about 3500 seconds within the atmosphere. Typical all-rocket systems peak around 450 seconds and even “typical” nuclear thermal rockets at about 900 seconds.

The combination of high fuel efficiency and low mass engines permits a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) approach, with air-breathing to Mach 5.14+ at 28.5 km (17.7 mi) altitude, and with the vehicle reaching orbit with more payload mass per take-off mass than just about any non-nuclear launch vehicle ever proposed.

The precooler adds mass and complexity to the system, and is the most aggressive and difficult part of the design, but the mass of this heat exchanger is an order of magnitude lower than has been achieved previously. The experimental device achieved heat exchange of almost 1 GW/m3. The losses from carrying the added weight of systems shut down during the closed cycle mode (namely the precooler and turbo-compressor) as well as the added weight of Skylon’s wings are offset by the gains in overall efficiency and the proposed flight plan. Conventional launch vehicles such as the Space Shuttle spend about one minute climbing almost vertically at relatively low speeds; this is inefficient, but optimal for pure-rocket vehicles. In contrast, the SABRE engine permits a much slower, shallower climb, breathing air and using its wings to support the vehicle therefore increasing payload fraction.

SR-72 hypersonic aircraft with scramjet engines

A hybrid jet engine like SABRE needs only reach low hypersonic speeds inside the lower atmosphere before engaging its closed cycle mode, whilst climbing, to build speed.


The SR-72 isn’t the first attempt to crack hypersonic flight, too. Boeing has been working on the X-51 scramjet tech demo for the last decade, and in 2013 it finally completed a successful hypersonic (Mach 5.1, 3,400 mph, 5,400 kph) test flight. The scramjet within the X-51 may eventually find its way into the US military’s High Speed Strike Weapon, an air-launched missile that travels fast enough to evade early warning systems and countermeasures. Hybrid engines, such as the SR-72’s, may eventually find their way into long-range missiles that can travel great distances to strike almost anywhere on Earth.

Unlike ramjet or scramjet engines, the design is able to provide high thrust from zero speed up to Mach 5.5, with excellent thrust over the entire flight, from the ground to very high altitude, with high efficiency throughout. In addition, this static thrust capability means the engine can be realistically tested on the ground, which drastically cuts testing costs.

In 2012, REL expected test flights by 2020, and operational flights by 2030.

Main article source:

Norinco AF902 FCS/35 an air defense system

The AF902 FCS/35 is designed primarily to intercept and destroy aircraft, low flying cruise missiles and precision-guided missiles. It can also defeat lightly armored vehicles, surface targets and concealed ground forces. Source The Diplomat

AF902A FCS/Twin 35mm AA Gun/PTFP Ammunition Air Defense System; AF902 FCS/T35mm AA Gun/PL9C Missile Integrated Air Defence System 

Twin 35 mm AA Gun and PL-9C Missile

The Type 90 twin-35mm anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) is a Chinese copy of the Swiss Oerlikon GDF, one of the world’s most capable low-altitude air defence weapon systems. The weapon was designed to engage high-speed, low-flying aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and cruise missiles. A tracked self-propelled variant of this weapon has also been produced and tested but it did not enter the PLA service. The Type 90 replaced the obsolete Type 65 and type 74 twin-37mm AAA to provide field air defence for the ground forces at the division and group army level.

China imported a small number of the Oerlikon GDF twin-35mm AAA and the associated Skyguard air defence radar system from Switzerland in the 1980s. Later the weapon was produced in China locally under license as the Type 90. The Oerlikon GDF AAA system is available in three major variants: GDF-1, GDF-2 and GDF-3. It is not known exactly which model the Type 90 was based on, but it is thought to be comparable in performance to the GDF-2 developed in 1980. The Type 90 was first revealed to the public during the 1999 National Day parade held in Beijing.

AF902 Radar/Twin 35 mm AA Gun @norinco.comChinese Army PG99 35mm anti-aircraft twin-gun

The 35mm cannon mounted on a 4-wheel cartridge has a cyclic rate of fire of 550 rounds/min. The muzzle velocity is 1,175m/s. The cannon fires high explosive incendiary rounds. It is not clear whether China has also obtained the Advanced Hit Efficiency and Destruction (AHEAD) round technology from Switzerland along with the Oerlikon 35mm gun. The AAA system carries 280 rounds for each barrel. The reloading time is 7.5 seconds. The iconic large muzzle break is missing on the later variant of the Type 90.

AF 902 Fire control search tracking radar

The Type 90 includes a computer controlled electro-optical director for 3-dimensional target tracking in conjunction with the laser range finder. The Type 902 (Chinese copy of the Skyguard) millimetre-wave target searching radar has a detection range of 8,000m. The AAA system can work either in conjunction with the Type 902 fire control radar or autonomously. A typical battery using the Skyguard radar consists of two twin 35 mm gun platforms with a single fire control radar. In addition, the 35mm guns are also highly lethal against ground targets.

The fire-control unit used by the Type 90 was based on the improved Skyguard-II, which differs from the basic variant Skyguard in that it has two tracking systems—a Type 902 target searching radar and an electro-optical passive tracking director. The electro-optical tracking system uses high-resolution optical/infrared TV for passive tracking in clear weather. The advantage of continuing tracking without emitting radar signals increases its survivability when facing enemy anti-radiation missiles (ARMs).

Crew 5
Main weapon caliber (mm) 35
Rate of fire (rds/min) 1100
Muzzle velocity (m/s) 1175
Barrel length (calibres) 90
Traverse arc (degree) 360
Weight (kg) 8000
Max. road speed (km/h) 80

Luoyang PL-9

PL-9 IR-guided missile was first developed in the late 80s based on PL-8/Python-3 technology and is for export only. It has an all-aspect InSb seeker and a radio fuse. Its range is 500m minimum and 16km maximum. Speed is Mach 3.5 and load is 40g. Its forward control fins look similar to those of AIM-9L (double delta). The latest variant of PL-9 is called PL-9C with improved multi-band IR seeker and a new programmable digital processor giving it a greater IRCCM capability and higher killing probability. Its range is also increased to 20km.

Soryu Class Submarines (16SS)

The Soryu Class diesel-electric submarines are being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Soryu Class is an improved version of the Oyashio Class submarine.

The keel for the first submarine in the class, Soryu (SS-501), was laid down in March 2005. It was launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009. Unryu (SS-502) was laid down in March 2006, launched in October 2008 and commissioned in March 2010.

Hakuryu was laid down in February 2007 and launched in October 2009 for commissioning in March 2011. The fourth and fifth submarines under construction are scheduled to be commissioned in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Soryu Class diesel-electric submarine – Image:

The class is also referred to as the SS 2,900t and the 16SS project. Soryu and Unryu have been named after the World War II aircraft carriers. Soryu was one of the carriers that participated in the Pearl Harbour attack. Both submarines are home-ported at Kure and operated by Subron 5, S-flotilla-1 of the JMSDF.

Soryu Class design and features

Soryu_cutaway (1)

The Soryu Class carries a hydrodynamic design based on the Oyashio class submarine. It has a larger displacement than any other submarine class in JMSDF’s service.

Soryu Class submarine – Image: seaforces.orgOyashio class submarine – Image:

The hull form is made of high tensile steel and is covered with anechoic coating to reduce the reflection of acoustic waves. Interiors of the submarine boast acoustic isolation of loud components.

JS_Souryu_Class_SS_X-shape_of_the_tail_planes Kawasaki HI Kobe 2013Close-up view of the X rudder. Photo : Wikipedia

The submarine features computer-aided X control planes. The design incorporates highly automated systems.

D1 Mar 10 2016.pngImage:

Control room

BlackDragon06_zpsbaf40ceeSoryu Class submarine control room – Image: forum.lowyat.netBlackDragon07_zps6eadaa01Soryu Class submarine control room – Image: forum.lowyat.netBlackDragon08_zpsc940f3cdSoryu Class submarine control room – Image: forum.lowyat.netBlackDragon10_zps6070275fSoryu Class submarine control room – Image:

The submarine is equipped with Stirling engines for increased propulsion performance and underwater endurance. The engine supports superior submerged operations. The high-performance sonar onboard improves surveillance capabilities. The submarine also features stealth capabilities and enhanced safety measures such as snorkel equipment.

The submarine has an overall length of 84m, beam of 9.1m and depth of 10.3m. The normal draft of the sub is 8.4m. It has a surfaced displacement of 2,950t and submerged displacement of 4,200t. The Soryu Class can complement a crew of 65 including nine officers and 56 enlisted members.

Crew cabin & rest area

BlackDragon11_zps4c81962cSoryu Class submarine crew cabin – Image: Class submarine – Image: forum.lowyat.netBlackDragon13_zpscdcc4046Soryu Class submarine – Image:

Range : Unpublished but estimated at 6100 nautical miles at 6.5knots with AIP

Operational Depth : Unpublished but estimated at 500m.

Complement : 65 ( 9 officers 56 enlisted ) 


The submarine can sail at a surfaced speed of 13kt and submerged speed of 20kt. It has a maximum range of 6,100nm at 6.5kt speed.

Weapon systems

The Soryu Class is fitted with six HU-606 533mm torpedo tubes for Type 89 torpedoes and UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Harpoon has a range of over 124km and speed of 864km/h.

BlackDragon16_zps913b4c96Soryu Class submarine torpedo room – Image:

Type 89 is a wire-guided torpedo with active and passive homing modes. It has a maximum speed of 130km/h and can engage targets within the range of 50km. The torpedo can carry a warhead of 267kg.

Type 89 wire-guided torpedo

Type 89 torpedo being loaded onto Soryu Class submarine – Image:
Ship Class Used On Submarines
Date Of Design 1989
Date In Service 1992
Weight N/A
Overall Length N/A
Explosive Charge 589 lbs. (267 kg)
Range / Speed about 54,000 yards (49,380 m) @ 40 knots
about 42,000 yards (38,400 m) @ 55 knots
Reported maximum speed is 70 knots
Power N/A

The standard heavy submarine torpedo, roughly equivalent to the USA’s Mark 48. Formerly the GRX-2.




In 1985 the Block 1C version of Harpoon was introduced, being designated AGM-84D, RGM-84D and UGM-84D. The Block 1C has increased range (AGM-84D maximum range is quoted to be 220 km (120 nm)) by using JP-10 instead of JP-6 jet fuel. The terminal attack mode of the xGM-84D is selectable (pop-up or sea-skimming), and the missile also has improved ECCM equipment. Ships equipped with the improved AN/SWG-1A Fire Control System can program several way-points into the flight path of the missile before launch. Using this feature, the RGM-84D will fly an indirect path to the target area, thereby concealing the position of the launching ship. As with the earlier versions, there are also ATM-84D, RTM-84D and UTM-84D training missiles. The CATM-84D is a captive-carry training missile. The CATM-84D-1s are converted older ATM-84As, and CATM-84D-2s are improved new-built missiles. Source

Sensors / radars

The submarine is equipped with a ZPS-6F navigation or surface search radar. The sonar suite integrates four low frequency flank arrays, a bow-array and a towed array sonar.

Sensors : Hughs/Oki ZQQ-7B Sonar Suite with
1x Bow Array
4x Low Frequency Flank Array
1x Towed Array

Communications :

X-band High Speed Satellite Communications Device for SS-507 and later


1 x J/ZQQ-7 Bow

General data:
Type: Hull Sonar, Active/Passive Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 74.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 2000s
Sensors / EW:
J/ZQQ-7 Bow – Hull Sonar, Active/Passive
Role: Hull Sonar, Active/Passive Search & Track
Max Range: 74.1 km


4 x J/ZQQ-7 Flank Array

General data:
Type: Hull Sonar, Passive-Only Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 74.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 2000s
Sensors / EW:
J/ZQQ-7 Flank Array – Hull Sonar, Passive-Only
Role: Hull Sonar, Passive-Only Ranging Flank Array Search & Track
Max Range: 74.1 km


ZPS-6F surface/low-level air search radar

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 111.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Early 1980s
Properties: Pulse-only Radar
Sensors / EW:
J/ZPS-6F – Radar
Role: Radar, Surface Search & Navigation
Max Range: 111.1 km


J/ZQQ-7 TASS Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System

General data:
Type: TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 129.6 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 2000s
Sensors / EW:
J/ZQQ-7 TASS – TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System
Role: TASS, Passive-Only Thin Line Towed Array Sonar System
Max Range: 129.6 km





Soryu features ZLR-3-6 electronic support measures (ESM) systems. There are two 3in underwater countermeasure launcher tubes installed for launching acoustic device countermeasures (ADCs).

ZLR-3-6 electronic support measures (ESM) system

2 x 3 inch Underwater Countermeasure Launcher Tubes for acoustic device countermeasures (ADCs).
Torpedo Countermeasure System (TCM) for SS-508 and later Source

ADC (Acoustic Device Countermeasure) MK 2


The ADC (Acoustic Device Countermeasure) MK 2 is a 3-inch diameter, expendable countermeasure device designed for launch from surface ships and submarines to counter torpedo threats. The ADC MK2 hovers vertically at a pre-selected depth, emitting an acoustic signal. The vertical depth is set prior to launch and maintained by a pressure-controlled motor driving a small, shrouded propeller in the tail of the decoy. Power for the motor and electronics is provided by a thermal battery. In the electronics section mounted below the acoustic projector section the signals are generated and amplified, while the uppermost acoustic projector section consists of ceramic transducers and impedance-matching networks. Variants include the MOD1, MOD3 and MOD4. Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems is proud to be the only manufacturer of these ADC MK2 variants for the USN and Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Source (example)

Propulsion Gaku YouTube

Soryu is powered by a diesel-electric propulsion system. Two Kawasaki 12V 25/25 SB-type diesel engines and four Kawasaki Kockums V4-275R Stirling engines provide a total power output of 2,900kW surfaced and 6,000kW submerged.

2 x Kawasaki 12V 25/25 SB-type diesel engines

BlackDragon14_zps05929517Soryu class submarine engine room – Image:

4 x Kockums V4-275R Stirling engines

Kockums V4-275R Stirling engines – Image:
“Soryu features ZLR-3-6 electronic support measures systems.”

Soryu is the first submarine of the JMSDF to be equipped with Stirling engines manufactured by Sweden-based Kockums.

The AIPS develops 3,900 hp surfaced and 8,000 hp submerged. Power is delivered through one shaft. Source

Stirling is a silent and vibration-free external combustion engine. The Kockums Stirling air independent propulsion system onboard reduces the need for frequent battery charging surfaced and thus increases the submerged endurance of the submarine.


The electric propulsion motor drives a propeller through a single shaft. The submarine is also fitted with an X rudder to provide high manoeuvrability to the submarine when operating very close to the seabed. This X rudder configuration was initially developed by Kockums for the Swedish Gotland class. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 20kt.

Japan to equip future Soryu-class submarines with lithium-ion batteries:

Japan will likely become the first country in the world to equip diesel-electric submarines with lithium-ion batteries. GS Yuasa, a Kyoto-based developer and manufacturer of battery systems, said in a 21 February press statement that such batteries will be mounted on two Soryu-class boats currently in build for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

According to Jane’s Fighting Ships , eight Soryu-class boats are currently in service with the JMSDF.

Four others are currently under construction, two of which, SS 511 and SS 512, are expected to be commissioned in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and will be fitted with lithium-ion batteries in place of lead-acid batteries and a Stirling air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. Source

Project no. Building no. Pennant no. Name/namesake Laid down Launched Commissioned Home port
S131 8116 SS-501 Sōryū (そうりゅう)
Blue Dragon
31 March 2005 5 December 2007 30 March 2009 Kure
S131[13] 8117 SS-502 Unryū (うんりゅう)
Cloud Dragon
31 March 2006 15 October 2008 25 March 2010[14] Kure
8118 SS-503 Hakuryū (はくりゅう)
White Dragon
6 February 2007 16 October 2009 14 March 2011 Kure
8119 SS-504 Kenryū (けんりゅう)
Sword Dragon, Stegosauria
31 March 2008 15 November 2010 16 March 2012 Kure
8120 SS-505 Zuiryū (ずいりゅう)
Auspicious Dragon
16 March 2009 20 October 2011 6 March 2013 Yokosuka
8121 SS-506 Kokuryū (こくりゅう)
Black Dragon
21 January 2011 31 October 2013 9 March 2015 Yokosuka
S131[13][15] 8122 SS-507 Jinryū (じんりゅう)
Benevolent Dragon
14 February 2012 8 October 2014 7 March 2016 Kure
S131[13][15][16] 8123 SS-508 Sekiryū (せきりゅう)
Red Dragon
15 March 2013 2 November 2015 13 March 2017[17] Kure
S131[18] 8124 SS-509 Seiryū (せいりゅう)
Green Dragon
22 October 2013 12 October 2016 12 March 2018 Yokosuka
S131[19] 8125 SS-510 Shōryū (しょうりゅう)
Soaring Dragon
28 January 2015 6 November 2017 (March 2019)  ?
S131[20] 8126 SS-511  ? 16 November 2015 (2018) (March 2020)  ?
S131[21] 8127 SS-512  ? 27 January 2017 (2019) (March 2021)  ?
S131[22] 8128 SS-513  ? 30 December 2017 (2020) (March 2022)  ?
S131[23] 8129 SS-514  ? (2018) (2021) (March 2023)  ?

Source of main material:






Source Chalkley J. Hambleton


Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image – JS Oryu (SS 511) by かこてつ

Updated Mar 20, 2018

China plans aircraft carrier battlegroups to protect offshore interests

Zhen Liu  PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 March, 2016

Battlegroups to also be deployed in East and South China seas, admiral tells state media

The Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, returns to port after its first navy sea trial in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning province in 2012. Photo: APThe Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, returns to port after its first navy sea trial in Dalian in northeastern China’s Liaoning province in 2012. Photo: AP

China is building aircraft carrier battlegroups and plans to deploy them not only in the disputed East and South China seas, but also to protect the country’s overseas ­interests.

Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, who served as a national political adviser and sits on the navy’s advisory board on cybersecurity, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that building aircraft carriers served to “defend China’s sovereignty of the islands and reefs, maritime rights and overseas ­interests”.

The defence ministry confirmed this year that China was building its second aircraft carrier, its first wholly home-made one.

Xinhua mentioned China’s growing interests overseas, including the increasing numbers of nationals travelling abroad and its direct investments. It also noted a need to protect overseas ethnic Chinese.

“Protecting the economic,Xinhua said since the opening up programme began in 1980s, overseas Chinese accounted for 60 per cent of total foreign direct investment in China. political status and occupational safety of overseas Chinese is paramount to safeguarding

China’s domestic economic development and its reform and opening-up,” Yin said, adding that such protection required strong naval power like aircraft carrier battlegroups.

Xinhua said since the opening up programme began in 1980s, overseas Chinese accounted for 60 per cent of total foreign direct investment in China.

The Liaoning, China’s first and so far only aircraft carrier, has conducted drills in the South China Sea on a few occasions since it was commissioned in 2012.

But so far the carrier has been used mainly for training purposes rather than playing any practical combat role.

Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military analyst, said Chinese aircraft carriers were unlikely to visit the South China Sea in the near ­future.

“Sending aircraft carriers would be a strong diplomatic statement. It is a demonstration of a country’s power and strong will to use force,” said Ni.

Original post


See related post:

China sends surface-to-air missiles to contested island in provocative move

Conflicting parties in the SC Sea and Naval power comparison – Non US

Chinese Navy Vs USN in West Pacific

Naval Power: China Building Second Aircraft Carrier

J-15 carrier-based fighters conduct training on the Liaoning

Chinese Submarine Fires 2 Nuclear JL-2 Missiles off American Coastline near Oregon

Chinese Aircraft Carrier CV 16 “Liaoning”J-15 prepare for take off from the “Liaoning”

Kuwait Eurofighter deal back on track

According to Key.Aero News

Parliament signs off purchase

Jamie Hunter – 2-Mar-2016

After a couple of false starts, reports from Kuwait indicate that the eagerly-anticipated deal for 28 Eurofighter Typhoons has been approved by the Kuwaiti Government. Reuters reported on March 1 that the government had agreed the deal. The deal was brokered by Eurofighter partner Finmeccanica, with the aircraft set be assembled at the company’s Caselle production line in Italy. The deal is for 22 single-seat Tranche 3 Eurofighters and six two-seaters, which will replace the Kuwaiti Air Force (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya) F/A-18C/D Hornets. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets may also be procured to operate alongside the Typhoons.

The Typhoons are expected to be delivered configured for the new Captor-E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, plus they are expected to be equipped with the MBDA Storm Shadow stand-off cruise missile and the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), both of which are currently being integrated under the so-called P2E initiative.

The news that Kuwait has become a customer helps to cement Eurofighter ambitions to be a major player in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) fighter market. Kuwait joins Saudi Arabia and Oman as Typhoon customers.


See details of Eurofighter Typhoon: HERE

Astute Class SSN Submarine

The Royal Navy’s Astute Class submarine is a nuclear-powered attack submarine, which will replace the five Swiftsure Class submarines, launched between 1973 and 1977 and approaching the end of their operational life.

The Royal Navy’s Astute Class submarine is a nuclear-powered attack submarine, which will replace the five Swiftsure Class submarines, launched between 1973 and 1977 and approaching the end of their operational life.

The initial order quantity was three, but the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) ordered an additional four, meaning seven submarines will be built as part of the Astute Class. The performance specification of the Astute is an extension of the performance of the Trafalgar Class batch 1 fleet of the Royal Navy’s Second Submarine Squadron based at Devonport.

The Trafalgar batch 1 submarines are to be decommissioned by 2022, beginning with HMS Trafalgar, which was decommissioned in December 2009. The Astute Class submarines will be based at Faslane in Scotland.

Trafalgar class


Essentially an improved Swiftsure class design, the Trafalgar class constitutes the third generation of British SSNs built at the Vickers shipyard in Barrow-in-Fumess. The lead boat, HMS Trafalgar, was launched in 1981 and commissioned into the Royal Navy in March 1983, serving with the Swiftsure class boats at the Devonport naval base. The class total of seven boats also includes HMS Talent, HMS Tireless, HMS Torbay, HMS Trenchant, HMS Triumph and HMS Turbulent.

The major improvements over the Swiftsure class include several features to reduce the underwater radiated noise. These comprise a new reactor system, a pumpjet propulsion system rather than a conventional propeller, and the covering of the pressure hull and outer surfaces with anechoic tiles to give the same type of protection as afforded by the Soviet Clusterguard coating in reducing noise.

The Trafalgar was the first boat to be fitted with the Type 2020 sonar, and was used as the development test platform for the system. According to other reports there has also been a rearrangement of the internal compartments to allow a rationalization and centralization of the operations, sound and ESM/radar rooms. The remaining systems, the armament and the sonars are the same as fitted to the Swiftsure class boats, although a thermal imaging periscope is now carried as part of the search and attack periscope fit, and Type 197 sonar is no longer carried. The fin, like those of the earlier British SSNs, houses an SHF DF antenna, communications antennae, and snort induction, radar and ESM masts. Underwater communications are believed to be conducted via a towed buoy and/of a floating antenna.

HMS TALENT (S92) – Crown copyright

The primary mission of the Trafalgar class submarines all of which remain in service with the Royal Navy, is anti-submarine warfare, with anti-surface ship warfare as a secondary role. The boats can launch the Tomahawk Block IIIC cruise missile. Source

Royal Navy’s attack submarine development history

BAE Systems Astute Class is the prime contractor for the project and the submarines are being built at the BAE Systems Marine Barrow shipyard. The first three Astute ships were named HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121).

The fourth submarine was named HMS Audacious (S122). The fifth Astute Class submarine was named Anson (S123) in September 2011. The sixth and seventh are named Agamemnon (S124) and Agincourt (S125) respectively.

The keel for the first submarine, HMS Astute, was laid in January 2001. It was launched on 8 June 2007. In October 2007, HMS Astute made the first dive for an underwater systems test at the ‘dive hole’ in Devonshire Dock, Barrow. In October, the vessel also successfully carried out first firing trials from its torpedo tubes. HMS Astute was commissioned in August 2010.

HMS Ambush – Crown copyright

The keel of HMS Ambush was laid in October 2003. It was launched in December 2010. Ambush made its first voyage in January 2011. The initial dive test of the Ambush was completed in September 2011 and it was commissioned in March 2013. The HMS Astute and HMS Ambush submarines were handed over to the Royal Navy in July 2013.

HMS Artful –

The keel of HMS Artful was laid in March 2005. The submarine was launched in May 2014 and performed its maiden dive in October 2014. It was inducted into the Royal Navy in March 2016.

In May 2007, the UK MoD awarded BAE Systems a contract to build a fourth Astute Class submarine, HMS Audacious (S122). The keel of Audacious was laid in March 2009.

HMS Audacious – Vigen’s Weapons Blog

In December 2012, BAE Systems received a £1.2bn ($1.9bn) contract from the UK MoD for the design, construction, test and commissioning programme of Audacious. The submarine was launched in April 2017 and made its first dive in January 2018. It sailed from BAE’s Barrow-in-Furness site for a home base in April 2020.

HMS Anson (S123) –

The fifth and sixth Astute Class submarines, Anson (S123) and Agamemnon (S124), were ordered in March 2010. The keel for Anson was laid in October 2011, while that of Agamemnon was laid in July 2013.

Junior ratings’ mess –

The wardroom –


BAE Systems received a £1.4bn ($1.7bn) contract for the construction of HMS Agamemnon in April 2017 followed by a £1.5bn ($2.03bn) contract for Agincourt in May 2018. The final three Astute-class submarines are at various stages of construction as of April 2020.

Royal Navy submarine special forces delivery systems

HMS ASTUTE (S119) – Crown copyright

The Astute class submarines were designed from the outset to be fitted with a Dry Deck Shelter (DDS) which significantly enhances their ability to covertly deliver special forces. Using unclassified public domain sources, here we examine the history, design and operation of the DDS in RN service.

The DDS fitted to the Astute class boats is a cylindrical chamber approximately 13m long by 3m diameter. In UK service it is formally named the Special Forces Payload Bay (SFPB) and was procured under ‘project CHALFONT’, although submariners nickname it “the caravan of death”. The DDS is not a permanent fixture and is designed to be attached or removed from a submarine within a matter of days. The aft section of the sail on the Astute class boats have removable panels. Securing points on the casing, hull penetrations, piping for high-pressure air and electrical supplies are in place ready to receive the DDS. Given the small number of SSNs possessed by the RN, only one boat is likely to be fitted at a time. HMS Astute first deployed with the DDS on an 8-month patrol in 2014 and HMS Artful currently carries the DDS which she first received in late 2016.

The Astute class reputedly have a lock-in/lock-out transfer trunk permanently installed inside the sail that allows diver access to and from the submarine while submerged. When the DDS has fitted, this chamber is mated to the ‘hangar’ which can accommodate either a Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) or up to 20 divers and their equipment. (The US Navy version also has a hyperbaric decompression chamber forward of the transfer trunk but the UK version does not appear to have this facility.) Source

Command and control systems on Astute Class submarines


An astute combat management system (ACMS) is being supplied by BAE Systems Insyte (formerly Alenia Marconi Systems) and is a development of the submarine command system (SMCS) currently in service in all classes of UK submarines.

ACMS receives data from the sonars and other sensors and, through advanced algorithms and data handling, displays real-time images on the command consoles. Factory acceptance of the operational software was received from the Astute Prime Contract Office in July 2002.

EADS Defence and Security Systems and EADS Hagenuk Marinekommunikation were awarded the contract to provide the external communications systems for the Astute in August 2005. Strachan and Henshaw will provide the weapon-handling and launch system (WHLS).

Greg White

Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine was selected in March 2008 to provide the platform management system for the fourth of class, HMS Audacious.

iXSea MARINS inertial navigation systems

After an exhaustive assessment, BAE Systems (Submarine Solutions) has chosen iXSea MARINS inertial navigation systems for HMS Audacious, the fourth boat in the UK Royal Navy’s Astute-class, nuclear-powered attack submarine construction programme. HMS Audacious will be equipped with two MARINS units. iXBlue will also supply a third unit for preliminary test work at BAE Systems’ Astute Shore Integration Facility and provide engineering and project management support for the installation of the units on board the submarine. BAE Systems has options on further MARINS units for Astute-class boats five, six and seven.

MARINS was designed by iXSea to meet the growing need of the world’s navies for more accurate and reliable inertial navigation systems and represents the state of the art in strap-down, fibre-optic gyroscope technology. The military-specification unit outputs position, heading, roll, pitch, depth and velocities, and is perfectly silent. Drift is less than 1Nm in 24 hours operating in pure inertial mode, i.e. without GPS input. It is compatible with a wide range of aiding sensors and can be up and running within minutes. Source

Royal Navy’s newest sub test fires torpedo using £50 million UK-made advanced Combat System

The Royal Navy’s latest and most advanced hunter killer submarine, Artful, has test fired her first torpedo using a new UK designed and built command and control system.

The firing tested the BAE Systems designed Common Combat System (CCS) on board, which functions as the digital ‘brain’ of the boat controlling its ‘eyes’, ‘ears’ and ‘nervous system’. Using the torpedo test, the cutting-edge system was able to interpret sonar readings, and then attack a moving target with a practice weapon.

The CCS, completed ahead of time so it was ready for the third rather than fourth Astute submarine, uses the latest technology to collect and process huge amounts of data from sensors such as sonar, providing key information to help inform important Command decisions. The system is so advanced it can even process information fed back from the world-leading Sonar 2076, which allows the Royal Navy to detect and track the quietest of adversaries.

Developed through the Astute Build Programme, the Common Combat System is a collaborative industry effort. Managed through a £50 million contract with BAE Systems, the CCS hosts sonar processing capability developed by Thales UK, and was also worked on by global hardware provider Dell; Poole-based systems designers Aish Technologies; and cloud computing company VMWare, which employs UK workers in Staines-upon-Thames and Milton Keynes.

Installation work is being undertaken by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness and Babcock Marine at HMNB Devonport and HMNB Faslane. In total, CCS is sustaining around 146 jobs across the UK.

The next generation command and control system will be integrated onto every Astute and Vanguard-class submarine currently in service, and fitted to every new Astute class submarine coming into service in the future, ensuring consistency right across the fleet. The system will also be used on board the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear submarines. Source

Astute Class Tomahawk missiles and torpedoes

Astute is equipped with the Tomahawk Block IV (tactical tomahawk) cruise missile from Raytheon fired from the 533mm torpedo tubes.

Babcock Int’l Group

Tomahawk is equipped with the TERCOM terrain contour mapping-assisted inertial navigation system. The terrain contour mapping for use over land combines on-board radar altimeter measurements with terrain mapping data installed in the missile. Block II added digital scene matching area correlation (DSMAC) guidance.

HMS ASTUTE (S119) – Crown Copyright

Block III improvements include an improved propulsion system and Navstar global positioning system (GPS) guidance capability. The GPS provides location and velocity data of the missile for precision targeting.

Tomahawk has a range of up to 1,000mi and a maximum velocity of 550mph. Block IV includes a two-way satellite link that allows reprogramming of the missile in flight and transmission of battle damage indication (BDI) imagery. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) Block IV entered service with the British Royal Navy in April 2008 on board Trafalgar batch I submarine HMS Torbay.

Astute has six 533mm torpedo tubes and is equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and mines. There is a capacity for a total of 36 torpedoes and missiles.

Greg White

The Spearfish torpedo from BAE Systems is wire-guided with an active / passive homing head. The range is 65km at 60k. Spearfish is fitted with a directed-energy warhead.

Spearfish torpedo

The Spearfish advanced heavy weight torpedo from BAE Systems is effective against submarine and surface threats in oceanic and coastal waters. The 1.85t torpedo is in service with the submarine fleet of the UK Royal Navy.

The Spearfish carries Aluminised PBX explosive warhead of 300kg and is directed towards the target by high-capacity guide wire system and passive and active sonar.

Its power plant is composed of a gas turbine engine using Otto Fuel as a liquid monopropellant, and Hydroxyl Ammonium Perchlorate (HAP) as oxidant. The propulsion system allows the Spearfish to engage targets within 48km at low speed. Source

Type: Torpedo Weight: 1850.0 kg
Length: 5.95 m Span: 0.533 m
Diameter: 0.533 Generation: None
Properties: Search Pattern, Bearing-Only Launch (BOL), Re-Attack Capability
Targets: Surface Vessel, Submarine
Torpedo Seeker – (Spearfish Mod 0) Hull Sonar, Active/Passive
Torpedo Seeker, Active/Passive Shallow Water
Max Range: 3.7 km
Spearfish Mod 0 – (1994) Torpedo
Surface Max: 11.1 km. Subsurface Max: 11.1 km.


Countermeasure technology and sensors

HMS ANSON (S124) –

The countermeasures suite includes decoys and electronic support measures (ESM). The ESM system is the Thales Sensors Outfit UAP(4). Outfit UAP(4) has two multifunction antenna arrays, which are mounted on the two non-hull penetrating optronics masts from Thales (formerly Pilkington) Optronics and McTaggart Scott.

Thales Sensors Outfit UAP(4)

Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 926 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 1990s
UAP-4 – (Astute) ESM
Role: ELINT w/ OTH Targeting
Max Range: 926 km


Astute Class submarines are fitted with the Royal Navy’s new Eddystone Communications band Electronic Support Measures (CESM) system, also fitted to the Trafalgar Class submarines. The Eddystone system was developed by DML of Devonport UK with Argon ST of the US.

It provides advanced communications, signal intercept, recognition, direction-finding and monitoring capabilities. Sea trials of the system were completed in December 2007.

The submarines are fitted with I-band navigation radars. The sonar is the Thales Underwater Systems (formerly Thomson Marconi Sonar) 2076 integrated passive / active search and attack sonar suite with a bow, intercept, flank and towed arrays. Sonar 2076 has so far been fitted to Trafalgar Class submarines Torbay, Trenchant and Talent, which entered service in February 2003. Astute is fitted with the latest version of the Thales S2076 integrated sonar suite.

Type 2079 [Type 2076 Suite] (Astute)

Type: Hull Sonar, Active/Passive Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 74.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 2000s
Type 2079 [Type 2076 Suite] – (Astute) Hull Sonar, Active/Passive
Role: Hull Sonar, Active/Passive Search
Max Range: 74.1 km


Atlas Hydrographic provided the DESO 25 high-precision echosounder, which is fitted on the Astute. DESO 25 is capable of precise depth measurements down to 10,000m.

Astute has two non-hull-penetrating CM010 optronic masts developed by Thales Optronics. McTaggart Scott supplied the masts. The CM010 mast includes thermal imaging, low-light TV and colour CCD TV sensors.

CM010 TV/EO optronic masts


Optronic masts are electronic imaging systems and do not penetrate a submarine’s hull, but are contained in the conning tower or ‘fin’. The smaller size of the periscope well allows for more freedom in determining the location of the ship’s control room. With conventional periscopes, the control room had to be placed in the cramped upper deck. A photonics periscope allows the control room to be located on the roomier second deck. Images from the photonics masts are sent via fibre-optics to two workstations and a commander’s control console.

In 1998, the first CM10 optronic mast was sea-trialled on HMS Trenchant and brought about a significant change in the Royal Navy’s above water visual system capabilities. Today, each Astute Class submarine has two Thales CM10 optronic masts, each fitted with a fully integrated ESM/EW sensor package and with TV, thermal imaging or images being remotely controlled and displayed on consoles within the control room.

Today state-of-the-art optronic masts can complete a full 360° sweep of the horizon, looking for potential threats, in only a few seconds, providing high definition images of the battle space to commanders before they are detected by an adversary.

Thales are currently bidding competitively to have their optronic masts procured for the BAE Systems Maritime build of four new Dreadnought nuclear deterrent submarines which will come into service in the 2030s. The company will conduct sea trials of their latest mast in 2018. Source

CM010 TV/EO Component

Type: Visual Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 41.7 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Visual, 3rd Generation TV Camera (2000s/2010s, CCD)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
CM010 TV/EO Component – (1.5x/24x Zoom) Visual
Role: Visual, Surveillance & Navigation TV Camera
Max Range: 41.7 km

CM010 LLTV Component

Type: Visual Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 41.7 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: LLTV, 3rd Generation (2000s/2010s)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual], LLTV / NVG / CCD (Night-Capable) / Searchlight [Visual Night-Capable]
CM010 LLTV Component – (2000s/2010s, 1.5x/24x Zoom) Visual
Role: LLTV, Surveillance & Navigation Camera
Max Range: 41.7 km

CM010 IR Component

Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 41.7 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
CM010 IR Component – (2000s/2010s, 1.5x/12x Zoom) Infrared
Role: Infrared, Surveillance & Navigation Camera
Max Range: 41.7 km

CM010 QLR IR Component 

Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 27.8 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition]
CM010 QLR IR Component – (1x/2x Zoom) Infrared
Role: Infrared, Day/Night Spherical Situational Awareness & Fire Control
Max Range: 27.8 km


HMS Ambush

Raytheon Systems was contracted to provide the Successor IFF (identification friend or foe) naval transponder system for the Astute Class.

Propulsion and performance of the UK’s nuclear submarines

3d_molier International

The nuclear power is provided by the Rolls-Royce PWR 2 pressurised water reactor. The long-life core fitted on the PWR 2 means refuelling will not be necessary for the service life of the submarine.

The other main items of machinery are two Alstom turbines and a single shaft with a Rolls-Royce pump-jet propulsor, consisting of moving rotor blades within a fixed duct.

There are two diesel alternators, one emergency drive motor and one auxiliary retractable propeller. CAE Electronics provided the digital, integrated controls and instrumentation system for steering, diving, depth control and platform management.

The PWR 2 second-generation nuclear reactor was developed for the Vanguard Class Trident submarines. Current generations of PWR would enable submarines to circumnavigate the world approximately 20 times, while the latest development of PWR would enable circumnavigation 40 times without refuelling.

The major equipment components in the development of PWR 2 were the reactor pressure vessels from Babcock Energy, main coolant pumps from GEC and from Weir. It also included protection and control instrumentation from Siemens Plessey and Thorn Automation.

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image: HMS AMBUSH (S120) –

Revised Dec 31, 2020

IAF takes possession of David’s Sling air defense system

According to The Jerusalem Post

The Defense Ministry and US Missile Defense Agency began handing over control of the David’s Sling air defense system to the Israel Air Force on Tuesday.

The development comes after a series of successful trials were completed in December, said the Ministry’s Home Administration, which is in charge of developing missile defenses.

The IAF’s Air Defense Branch has now begun receiving the main components of David’s Sling.

Last week, an Israeli security source said David’s Sling “will become operational this year,” and is “an inseparable part” of Israeli air defenses.

On December 21, the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency completed the last phase of trials.

The trials took place in southern Israel and were led by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which is developing David’s Sling, together with the US defense company Raytheon.

David’s Sling can intercept short-range to medium-range rockets and ballistic missiles, including guided projectiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, and drones. Its range of coverage means it can destroy incoming threats over enemy territory, away from Israeli skies.

The handover will take a number of weeks to complete, the Defense Ministry said. “In the first stage, project managers from Homa, together with military industries, headed by prime contractor, Rafael, will begin handing over the interception, command and control, and radar systems,” it said in a statement.

David’s Sling will join the IAF’s multi-layered rocket and missile defense systems. It will allow Israel to cope with a wide-range of existing and future threats “more effectively,” the ministry said. It is primarily deigned to deal with precision-guided incoming projectiles, and will provide a back-up to the Arrow air defense systems.

David’s Sling Multi Mission Radar was developed by IAI’s subsidiary, Elta.

Elbit Systems designed its command and control system, called Golden Almond.

See original article: HERE

****-END-**** EL/M-2284 Multi-Mode Radar produced by IAI Elta for the David’s SlingDavid’s Sling system. Illustration photo:
Stunner (David’s Sling) is an advanced multi-mission, multi-platform interceptor designed for insertion into integrated air and missile defense systems.  Stunner’s lethal hit-to-kill effects ensure a wide margin of tactical overmatch against a broad spectrum of air and missile defense threats.
Stunner (David’s Sling) offers affordable solution to the asymmetric threat of short-range ballistic missiles, large caliber rockets and cruise missiles.
The Stunner (David’s Sling) is a joint project in cooperation with Raytheon Missile Systems.
  • Affordable – unprecedented low cost per kill
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  • Lethal – high single-shot probability of kill with hit to kill effects in all weather conditions