Glance at China's Aircraft Industry: SHENYANG

Shenyang Aircraft Corporation is one of the biggest Chinese aircraft manufacturers, was found in 1953 in Shenyang city in Liaoning northern province, most of other manufacturers were found with the help of SAC.
No doubt JJ-2, the two-seat Chinese variant of Mig-15UTI trainer was the first airplane produced by Shenyang.

 After JJ-2, and in late 1950s Shenyang start the mass production of the license-built Mig-17 under the designation J-5, more than 700 airframe saw the light until production ended in 1969.

An image of assembly line of J-5's in Shenyang plant, this plane was exported to few air forces in the world under the designation of F-5.

Although the Soviet Mig-19 was a very short step between Mig-17 and 21, its Chinese variant J-6 was widely admired by PLAAF as production started in 1958 and never ended until 1981.
In late 1970s, Guizhou took part in upgrading J-6 to J-6A (as shown above) enabling it to carry IR homing AAM's.

J-6 was exported as well as F-6 and still operational in North Korea and Iran AF's. 

Since the J-7 was incapable to counter bombers and spy planes such as B-58, F-105 and U-2, PLAAF requested Shenyang to design and build an aircraft which can do so, the result was the twin-engined J-8 which was an all-weather high-altitude interceptor.

J-8 came with a design influenced by Ye-150 in its initial stages and by Su-15 later although it was neither license-built nor a copy of the later ones, almost 300 units were built and serving PLAAF supposed to be replaced by the J-10 and J-11 in the coming years.

An agreement between Russia and China in 1995 licensed the later one to build 200 Su-27SK under the designation of J-11 using Russian supplied kits, only 63 units were built when production suddenly halted after PLAAF complained of the capability of the obsolete avionics and radar, while Russian media said that Russia cenceled the agreement after it discovered that China had reverse-engineered the technology and was developing its own copy.

J-11 received many indigenous upgrades using Chinese radar, avionics and weaponry and playing the main role of air superiority in PLAAF.

An unfinished Su-33 prototype was acquired from Ukraine in 2001, been extensively studied by Chinese and started the program of J-15 the carrier-based multirole fighter.
Photos of early airframes under development were revealed (as above) while it's expected to be introduced in 2016.


Glance at China's Aircraft Industry: HONGDU

Another famous Chinese aircraft manufacturer is Hongdu (formerly the needless-definition Nanchang from 1951 till 1998).
The production plant was founded in 1951 which is located in Nanchang city the capital of Jiangxi eastern province.

Nanchang gained its fame from the Q-5 Fantan, which for years together with the J-7 symbolized the slogan of PLAAF.
The design was derived from the Mig-19 to comply to the PLAAF's requirements to build a ground attack aircraft for air support role.

Production of this model began in 1965 with more than 1000 units built, in 1980s A-5 (export variant) found its way to air forces of many nations as Pakistan and North Korea.

Aside the Q-5, Nanchang focused on producing trainers for PLAAF so in late 1940s it produced the license-built Yak-18 under the designation of CJ-5; Around 380 units built till 1958. 

In 1958 a program was launched to build a more advanced trainer with improved performance to replace the CJ-5, the result was CJ-6 with more than 3000 units built and successful record in export market.

Another joint cooperation effort between China and Pakistan to build jet advanced trainer resulted the JL-8 (K-8 Karakorum export variant) which development began in early 1990s.

Although it was designed and produced mainly for PAF, very small number of this aircraft is in service nowadays.
500+ units were built and few were exported to many countries, Egypt is the second biggest operator of this aircraft with more than 110 units in service.

You need to stare twice to distinguish this advanced trainer L-15 from its western sisters Aermacchi M-346 and Yak-131 !!

L-15 is an optimum Chinese vision for a super-sonic advanced trainer which simulates very close to the more advanced Fourth Generation fighters.
This aircraft first flew in 2006 and still in development till present taking into consideration the interest of few air forces to purchase it.

Y-5 is the Chinese version of An-2 which was built from Soviet blueprints under supervision of Soviet advisers; 700+ units were built before transferring production to Harbin.


Glance at China's Aircraft Industry: CHENGDU

Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group is one of the most famous aircraft manufacturers in China which was founded in 1958; The airframe plant is based in Chengdu city in Sichuan province in the mid of China.
The company and the factory as well was a result of an agreement between China and Soviet Union in 1956 to assist in aircraft production for PLAAF, in 1979 it started exporting to the outside world with wide success till today.

The first production of CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Company) was the JJ-5 (the trainer version of Mig-17), which is a combination between the fuselage and engine of the Shenyang J-5 and the two-seat cockpit of Mig-15UTI.
1000+ units were produced till 1986 with exports to few countries; Pakistan and Zimbabwe still fly this trainer.

The fighter-interceptor J-7 which design was derived from the Soviet Mig-21 was CAC's next step from mid 1960s, development of this project faced many difficulties starting from Sino-Soviet split, to the withdrawal of Soviet advisers from China in 1960, to the Cultural Revolution in late 1960s.
Full scale production started in 1980s continued till 2006 with more than 2400 units built and exports reached 10 countries under the designation of F-7.

PLAAF still fly the J-7, while many countries rely on the F-7 as a lightweight interceptor.
Egypt, Sudan and Yemen are among the middle eastern operators of this variant, few airframes were spotted in overhaul facilities in Ukraine as Lviv and Odessa.

Cooperation between CAC and PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) in 1999 resulted in development of FC-1 (JF-17 in Pakistan), it was built as a low-cost multi-role combat aircraft to meet mainly the requirement of PAF.

First flight was recorded in 2003 and production started from 2007 to present, few countries in middle east & north africa showed interest in this aircraft for its reasonable cost maintenance, advanced avionics, serious BVR capabilities, wide selection of armament and capable of integration with weaponry of any origin.

J-10, the Vigorous Dragon as known in the west is an all-weather medium weight multi-role combat aircraft, being developed and built under high secrecy (first images was published in 2007), first flight was recorded in 1998.

Few sources relate the J-10 to the canceled IAI Lavi, on the other hand officials of CAC stated that it uses Chinese designed multi-mode fire-control radar.
PLAAF nowadays is the only operator of this Dragon awaiting deliveries of 36 units to Pakistan in 2014 to be the first export customer.

Codename J-XX program was launched in late 1990s resulted to the appearance of 5th generation stealth fighter J-20 which recorded its first flight in Jan. 2011 leading China to be the 3rd nation after U.S. and Russia to develop and test-fly a full-size stealth combat aircraft demonstrator.

Predictions of Russian and Chinese adoption of stealth tech. from the F-117 shot down by Serbian military, also rumors that CAC lacks the scale and experience to complete such a project.
Finally in my opinion...China found the formula to innovate a heavy weight multi-role combat aircraft with stealth tech. and already understood the necessity to a large, twin-engined aircraft capable to carry out any mission in any weather either in air combats or for ground attacks in addition to engage and protect itself against enemy's fighters exactly like the comparable ones as F-15 and F-22.


Doha Airport

Few photos I could shot during my long transit time in Doha Airport, above part of the Qatar Airways fleet.

 Piper Seneca PA-34 a light business transportation aircraft on the runway prior to take-off

The elder sister of Seneca is the single-engined Piper Cherokee PA-28 also taxing, these light aircrafts are operated by local company for VIP and business flights.

AgustaWestland AW139 shortly after taking off, this helicopter is operated by Gulf Helicopter Co.

Strange twin-engined light aircraft.

Alphajet of Qatar Amiri Air Force landing, in the background is the parking platz of Gulf Helicopters.

2 Westland Commando's

And finally one of the two huge C-17 Globemaster III which belong to QAAF.


Eye-Catching AFB: CRAIOVA (Romania)

Craiova is a Romanian AFB about 175kms to the west of the capital Bucharest, it contains very attractive aircraft graveyard; In the aerial view above which is dated July 2004 tens of Mig-21's & IAR 93's of different variants lined before all the Migs vanished somewhere..!!

 As this view dated May 2009 shows only IAR's remained in this AFB.

A miserable image of scrapped Mig-21PF, PFM and U's.

Are these the same Romanian Mig's which were upgraded by LanceR kit? Seems they could be restored as fuselages here look in an acceptable condition.

Craiova AFB is the matrix of IAR aircrafts, IAR 93 Vultur (above) which was in service from late 1970s till late 1990s is the Romanian sister of the Yugoslavian Soko J-22 Orao.

Almost 90 units of single and two-seat IAR 93's returned to where they were manufactured to be scrapped in.

Thanks for Chris for his permission to use his great photos.


Air Force Museum - Prague / CZECH REP. (Part II - Piston Era)

Aero Vodochody is one of the main aircraft manufacturers in Czeck rep., was active since 1919 (same manufacturer of the famous L-29, 39, 59 and 159).
In the photo above one of the earliest models of Aero the A.11 which was a light bomber with carriage of 200kgs !!!! of course this payload was considerable for an aircraft of pre WW in 1925.

Another fighter is the Aero A.18 produced in early 1920s.

 The civil utility Aero Ae.45 produced between 1951 till 1963.

Another big aircraft manufacturers in Czechoslovakia was Avia which was also founded in 1919 (not active these days), above is the remarkable fighter B-534 which saw the light in mid of 1930s.

During WWII Avia produced the aircrafts for German Luftwaffe, one of its production was the great BF-109 which Avia continued producing more than 550 units after WWII under the designation of S-199 (shown above), IAF obtained 25 aircrafts in 1948.

 CS-199 is the training variant of the S-199.

Ilyushin Il-10 was also one of Avia's productions after WWII under the designation of B-33, about 600 units were built.

The needless-definition Harvard MKIIb.

The Soviet fighter Lavochkin La-7 belongs to the Cz. AF although it's red-starred.

Red-starred Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, about 35 units served for Cz. AF between 1944 and 1949.

Ilyushin Il-14 operated by Cz. AF, more than 50 units was in service till late 1970s.

In the museum few reconnaissance unmanned aircrafts are shown.

K-65 Cap "Baret" was the Czech built version of the German Fiesler Storch by Benes-Mraz, a general utility airplane of early 1940s.

More photos can be found at panoramio (ia661125)