Pakistani Military Launches Defense AI Program

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC), according to media reports. Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield. 

AI/ML in Military

Modern electronic warfare requires the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze vast amounts of data coming from a large number of sensors mounted on various military platforms deployed on the ground, in the air and on the seas. EW systems can collect a considerable amount of data about an enemy’s frequency use, radar deployment, and many other factors. Here is how British defense contractor BAE Systems defines it:

"Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) is the use of cognitive systems – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning – to enhance development and operation of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. Cognitive systems can sense, learn, reason, and interact naturally with people and environments, accelerating development and implementation of next generation EW threat detection, suppression, and neutralization technologies". 

Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says Pakistan Air Force may have already begun using CEW  systems. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Sawhney believes PAF used CEW in Pakistan's successful Operation Swift Report launched in response to India's bombing of Balakot in 2019. 

Sawhney speculates that, after the success of PAF's Operation Swift Retort, Pakistani military has recognized the importance of using its air force as the lead branch for the deployment of AI/ML and CEW. The establishment of Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC) at PAF's Air University is a manifestation of Pakistani military's commitment to this strategy. 

Sawhney says that PAF's commitment to AI/ML and CEW is also a step toward achieving greater interoperability with the PLAAF, the Chinese air force. Pakistan and Chinese air forces have been conducting joint air exercises since 2011. 

PLAAF's General Hong is currently in Pakistan for Shaheen IX joint air exercises with PAF.  He has been quoted in Pakistani media as saying: “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, PAF Air Vice Marshal Sulehri has said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”. Shaheen IX started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan.

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations, including Pakistan.

Watch Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney describe Pakistan's defense AI program:

https://youtu.be/xaAKlKoNoVU

http://www.youtube.com/embed/xaAKlKoNoVU"; width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" /> 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 12, 2020 at 10:04am

2020 Gave #India a Sharp Lesson on the #Chinese Military. With its #AI #tech, #China is not just a #military threat. If it goes to war, #Pakistan too will join the war, & #Kashmiris will not be left behind. With India becoming a #US ally, all this is real. https://thewire.in/security/pla-china-military-india-lessons

Worse, even now, the Indian military is refusing to accept that its 2009 two-front war fighting strategy, predicated on Pakistan being the primary threat, has been rendered irrelevant. Hence, General Rawat’s structural reforms pivoted on the two-front thinking too stand superseded. China is more than a military threat now. If it decides to go to war, Pakistan too will join the war, and the people of Kashmir will not be left behind. Given China’s assessment of India becoming a US ally, all this is real.
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Being non-contact and invisible, intelligentised war places a premium on Artificial Intelligence and has four distinctive technology features: Dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum; autonomy; drones and unmanned systems; and human-machine collaboration and combat teaming. Such a conflict will not be a border war limited to salami slicing, as the Indian military believes. It will be war of occupation where there would be minimal loss of PLA soldiers’ blood. Given the unbridgeable mismatch between the conventional capabilities of the two sides, India’s nuclear deterrence would be rendered useless.

The Indian military – even seven months into the crisis – remains oblivious about what lies ahead. Under the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, the Indian military is three decades behind the PLA in its war concepts (for campaign); and tactics, techniques and procedures (for battles). While it is preparing for war with ‘human soldiers in the lead’, the war that the PLA will fight would have ‘machines with autonomy in the lead’.

For General Rawat, a war with China would be fought in the physical domains of land, air and sea with the army leading the campaign. For the PLA, the war-winning domains against the Indian military would be the virtual ones – of cyber, electronic and electromagnetic spectrum. General Rawat believes that time, effort, and finances should be spent on creating the organisation for supporting physical domains of war. He is pushing for raising of a joint integrated air defence command, integrated theatre commands and a maritime theatre command by 2023.

This is when the PLA would be ready with its de-centralised war where the sensors-to-shooters cycle, now called data-to-decision cycle, would have the human role largely limited to fast decision-making to remain ahead of the enemy’s kill chain. General Rawat believes that speedy infrastructure building on India’s side would help the operational and tactical movement of forces. The PLA, on the other hand, is focused on unmanned systems.

Comment by Ameer Alam on December 12, 2020 at 3:30pm

Pakistan Air Force now has the central role in defense of Pakistan. Mission Planning, Machine Learning, Sensor Fusion, Data Links and Cognitive Learning in Full Spectrum all converge to provide an effective Electronic Warfare. Pakistan needs a large number of very talented PhDs and System Experts to provide rapid solutions.  

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 12, 2020 at 4:31pm

Ameer,

PAF has a very ambitious agenda with its Project Azm to build a 5th generation fighter jet in Pakistan. 

Development of a new advanced fighter is a wide-ranging effort that will encompass building human capital in a variety of fields including material science, physics, electronics, computer science, computer software, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, avionics, weapons design, etc etc.


Pakistan Air Force's Air University, established in 2002 in Islamabad, will add a new campus in Kamra Aviation City. The university already offers bachelor's master's and doctoral degrees in several subjects. Ex Pakistan Air Force Chief Sohail Aman told Quwa Defense News that the campus will “provide the desired impetus for cutting-edge indigenization programs, strengthen the local industry and harness the demands of foreign aviation industry by reducing … imports and promoting joint research and production ventures.”

https://www.riazhaq.com/2017/08/project-azm-pakistan-to-develop-5th...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 14, 2020 at 8:01am

China and Pakistan are currently doing joint air combat exercises codenamed Shaheen IX at PAF Bholari AFB to increase interoperability of the nation's militaries in the event of war with India. These exercises are the 9th in a series started back in 2011.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/756852-pak-china-air-exercise-shah...

KARACHI: Pakistan-China Joint Air Exercise ‘Shaheen-IX’ is underway at a PAF’s operational base since December 8th, officials said.

The contingents of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) comprising various aerial platforms, combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crews are participating in the exercise.

The opening ceremony of the exercise was jointly witnessed by Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations) Air Vice Marshal Waqas Ahmed Sulehri and Assistant Chief of Staff, PLAAF Major General Sun Hong, it said.

Maj-Gen Hong said, “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, Air Vice Marshal Sulehri said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”.

The joint exercise started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the country.

The ‘Shaheen-IX,’ would last until the end of December. The joint training, part of the 2020 China-Pakistan military cooperation plan, will play a positive role in promoting military relations, deepening practical cooperation between the air forces of the two countries, and improving the actual level of combat training of the two forces.

It will involve variety of air combat missions, rigorous training missions, near realistic combat scenarios, consolidating interoperability.Shaheen-IX is the ninth in the series of joint air exercises which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis. The first training was held in March 2011, in Pakistan, and the last one was held in Northwest China in August, 2019, and had lasted for half a month. The training in 2019 involved some 50 aircrafts and complete combat units.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 14, 2020 at 11:17am

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its use in battle space allows military commanders to develop concepts for Mosaic Warfare. Human innovation, combined with AI will create its own tactics and strategy.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2268682/mosaic-warfare-a-peep-into-mul...

After discussing the contours of Mosaic Warfare, we need to highlight the contemporary concepts and weapons systems; Chinese and Russian development of weapon systems and new concepts of war fighting and strategy against US concept of net-centric warfare are important to analyse.

Pravin Sawhney, in a recent article published in The Wire, states that with the arrival of new disruptive technologies, new war domains surfaced, and to remain relevant for real-time warfare, the kill-chain became complex and vulnerable. Complex because more war domains got added and vulnerable because there was more to be secured. By early 2000s, the People Liberation Army of China, fixated on the US military, identified six war domains, namely, land, air, sea, cyber, space, and electromagnetic spectrum management. The PLA’s ‘Informationised’ warfare was about building capabilities in these domains, especially new ones which were uncontested and uncongested. The pivot of this warfare was cyber capabilities which it has been honing since the turn of the century.

Once disruptive technologies like AI came into warfare by 2012, China’s 2015 military reforms took place. The singularly important issue which would transform the character of war, and went unnoticed in the Indian military was this:

Focus had shifted from domains and geography to time-sensitive mission-sets. Called the ‘Intelligentsised’ warfare, the PLA intends to fight this in the Western Theatre Command (WTC) against the Indian military. It would be ready for this by 2025. The US military, keeping pace with the PLA, calls this fusion or Mosaic Warfare.

Surely, if war happens, the PLA will pull back its border forces which are engaged with the Indian army. It would unleash its informationised warfare predicated on cyber, space and its projectile-centric strategy based around long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. Since the projectile-centric strategy depend upon kill-chains for command and control, the Indian military, unlike the US military, lacks capability to disrupt or destroy them.

PLA at present may not go to war, but it will prepare for intelligentsised war. For that, it needs information on enemy’s habitat, ecosystem, operational logistics, enhanced winter stocking, operational and tactical infrastructure vulnerabilities, deployment patterns, command and control, recalibration of weapons, training and everything on how the enemy proposes to fight under Airland Battle Doctrine.

The PLA will be in no hurry to disengage and will certainly not de-escalate or de-induct forces since it wants to observe the Indian military’s growing war preparedness through the winter months. Make no mistake, the PLA threat is permanent.

Coming back to Mosaic Warfare, the major challenge is the flow of battle space data. At present no military in the world has the capability to deliver all available data to all entities operating in the battle space e.g. the data on an F35 superjet may not be available to a ground-based rocket launcher commander or a submarine-based platform in the sea and vice versa. This restriction is based on the good old principle of ‘need to know basis’, where a groundforce commander may not have much utility of looking through the data available with a pilot in a fighter jet, and since it takes time to sift through useful intelligence and utilise it, there was no need felt to develop multi-domain battle space systems. However, this is going to change.

Mosaic warfare will result into development of weapons and platforms suited for multi-dimensional missions, duly supported by AI tools, and will need an innovated and agile soldier and officer cadre that delivers the goods in the entire spectrum of battle space.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 14, 2020 at 12:33pm

MOSAIC WARFARE: SMALL AND SCALABLE ARE BEAUTIFUL
BENJAMIN JENSEN AND JOHN PASCHKEWITZ

https://warontherocks.com/2019/12/mosaic-warfare-small-and-scalable...


It is 20XX. A limited war breaks out involving a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. A U.S. Marine Corps assault team moves out of the back of an MV-22 pulling boxes containing a mix of computer chips, printable explosives, and communications gear, and prepares to strike a high-value target. They look more like the cast of MythBusters than Marines. They link up with prepositioned quadcon containers delivered by an unmanned logistics system. The team opens the container and starts assembling a mission payload. After analyzing the different options generated by the Athena computer-assistant, the team leader opts for a mix of hunters and killers: three surveillance drones to find and fix the target, two electronic attack systems to isolate the objective, and three explosive drones trained to target the critical vulnerabilities. One grunt 3D prints explosive charges while another loads new attack profiles for the mission in a tablet using blockly code. They cross check the cloud-based intelligence database and download updates to help the machine-learning algorithm recognize the target and ignore new enemy decoys and civilians. After launching the mission package, the team boards the MV-22 and plans its next attack as it proceeds to a new firing site.


The rapid and creative combination of small, cheap, flexible systems described above represents a new theory of victory: mosaic warfare. The idea emerged in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), parallel to service concepts like Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment, Multi-Domain Operations, and Multi-Domain Battle. Like these concepts, mosaic warfare describes how to conduct multi-domain maneuver against adversaries possessing precision strike capabilities. Unlike these concepts, mosaic warfare places a premium on seeing battle as an emergent, complex system, and using low-cost unmanned swarming formations alongside other electronic and cyber effects to overwhelm adversaries. The central idea is to be cheap, fast, lethal, flexible, and scalable. Rather than building one expensive, exquisite munition optimized for a particular target, connect small unmanned systems with existing capabilities in creative and continually evolving combinations that take advantage of changing battlefield conditions and emergent vulnerabilities. Put simply, it’s Voltron on the cheap: a human-machine team combining flexible unmanned systems with coup d’oeil (strategic intuition) at a tempo that an adversary cannot match. As forces attack simultaneously from multiple directions they produce a series of dilemmas that cause the enemy system to collapse.

Over the past two years, a unique collaboration between DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, Marine Corps University, and the U.S. Army Reserve 75th Innovation Command resulted in a series of war games to test this concept. This article explores the results. Based on the initial findings, the mosaic concept is a viable way ahead for developing 21st century multi-domain formations and capabilities. The U.S. military should accelerate and support the development of the concept through unified experimentation encompassing people, process, and technology. We need more marines and soldiers, along with coalition partners and scientists, fighting war games and conducting field experiments to transition the mosaic concept into new equipment and tactics that define how America fights.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 20, 2020 at 10:32pm

How Pakistan planned to hit India back for Balakot -- the mission, the fighters, the tactics

https://theprint.in/defence/how-pakistan-planned-to-hit-india-back-...

The PAF F-16s are known to be utilised as the long range aggressor component for these BVR engagements, clandestinely operating with the PLAAF during the exercise in Pakistan. The worthy ELINT capability of Saab 2000 ERIEYE AEW&C system, the Falcon DA-20 EW platform, as well as the ALQ-211 (V)4 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) on the Block-52s — would been very useful towards building a credible threat library and jamming techniques towards the Russian radars carried by the PLAAF.
The PAF thus would perceive itself to have a good measure of the IAF’s Su-30MKI fleet, which is seen as the primary & most numerous threat for the PAF’s wartime missions — focussing its energy on developing a range of anti- Sukhoi tactics. Hence in any IAF vs PAF contemporary aerial engagement — PAF effort would aim to deny the SU-30MKIs any tactical operational latitude.

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Incidentally, a major focus area for the PAF during the Sino-Pak ‘Shaheen’ air exercises —  has been to extensively evaluate the operational capability of the PLAAF’s Su-27/ Su-30MKK/ J-11 aircraft. Practice close combat and BVR air melees with these aircraft has revealed significant intelligence on the performance and electromagnetic signatures of the Russian origin Su-27/30/ J-11 platforms and BVR missiles like the R-27 and RVV-AE (R-77 export version) to the participating PAF aircraft. Significant would be the digital mapping and knowledge of the Minimum Abort Ranges (MAR) of these missiles — which could give an edge to the PAF in planning effective BVR tactics against the IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKIs.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 21, 2020 at 9:30am

Though the PAF lauded the role of EW/ECM in Swift Retort, it did not reveal much about what it deployed against India, except for its modified Dassault Falcon 20 EW/ECM aircraft. The PAF disclosed that it used the Falcon 20 EW/ECM aircraft to jam the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) communications.

https://quwa.org/2020/04/12/pakistan-must-diversify-its-electronic-...'s%20(IAF)%20communications.

However, by the PAF’s own admission, its success in jamming the IAF’s communications had more to do with gaps within the IAF – notably the lack of networking/data-linking between IAF aircraft at the time.[1][2]

The IAF is now working to solve the gap by acquiring the BNET software defined radio (SDR) from Rafael. SDRs are the basis of secure and high-speed voice and data communication between combat aircraft and other assets (i.e., tactical data links). This is an important step for the IAF, but it speaks to a bigger issue – the IAF is systematically working the gaps it knows the PAF had exploited in 2019.

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This is the third article in Quwa’s series on the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) modernization goals by 2030. ‘Swift Retort’ was the first – and only – large-scale air operation in South Asia in recent years, and Quwa contends that its outcome will shape much of the PAF’s asset acquisition activities in the 2020s.

From the PAF’s viewpoint, Swift Retort validated a number of strengths, such as its ability to accurately hit targets using long-range weapons from 60-120 km away, or deploy a large number of aircraft with several support assets in one mission, among others.

However, while Swift Retort may have shown that the PAF is capable of operating as a contemporary or modern air force, it also magnified the need to maintain the supposed edge in those areas.

So, for example, if large scale operations can work against India, then it would make sense for the PAF to build the capacity to mount such campaigns more frequently (if not simultaneously). However, it would need a large force of modern multi-role fighters, which is why Quwa highlighted that the PAF should focus on acquiring more JF-17 Block-IIIs and JF-17Bs in part-two of this series.

In the third article of this series, Quwa will continue this discussion, but this time with a focus on the PAF’s little known – but important – electronic warfare (EW) and electronic countermeasures (ECM) assets.

The PAF may have only revealed a small part of its actual EW/ECM capability, but by that same logic, the IAF could be working to reactively close its gaps and proactively deprecate the PAF’s EW/ECM capabilities…

[1] Sanjeev Verma. “IAF lacked ODL during Balakot strike, fighters jet went incommunicado.” Times of India. 15 December 2019. URL: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/iaf-lacked-odl-...

[2]  Alan Warnes. “Operation Swift Retort: One Year On.” Air Forces Monthly. April 2020. Page 33

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 23, 2020 at 9:01pm

Why China’s Latest Jets Are Surpassing Russia’s Top Fighters

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastienroblin/2020/11/10/why-chinas-...

After the Soviet collapse in 1991, Russia sold China fourth-generation Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker jets, a powerful twin-engine fighter known for its supermaneuverable flight characteristics. The Shenyang Aviation Corporation went on to develop three separate clones of the Flanker: the J-11, carrier-based J-15 Flying Shark and strike-oriented J-16.

However, according to a study published by the Royal United Service Institute, the world’s oldest military think tank, the apprentice may have surpassed the master.

The study’s author, analyst Justin Bronk, writes:

“…from a position of dependency on Russian aircraft and weapons, China has developed an advanced indigenous combat aircraft, sensor and weapons industry that is outstripping Russia’s... China has started to build a clear technical lead over Russia in most aspects of combat aircraft development. Moreover, Russian industry is unlikely to be able to regain areas of competitive advantage once lost, due to deep structural industrial and budgetary disadvantages compared to the Chinese sector.”

To be sure, China still imports turbofan engines from Russia as it struggles to perfect domestic alternatives such as the WS-10B and eventually the powerful WS-15. However, the latest Chinese fighters increasingly incorporate weapons and avionics that are more capable than those of their Russian counterparts.

Factors behind the shifting fortunes of China and Russia’s military aviation sector include:

Beijing’s annual military spending exceeds Moscow’s two or three times over (Russian spent $70 billion on defense in 2020, China $190 billion)
Cross-applicability of China’s well-developed civilian electronics industry to manufacturing advanced avionics, resulting in Western-style computers, sensors, and datalinks.
Willingness of Chinese firms to copy technologies from across the globe through reverse-engineering or industrial espionage (particularly hacking)
Western sanctions on Russia have reduced Moscow’s access to components necessary for high-performance sensors
That isn’t to say that the Chinese military holds all the advantages. Most notably, Russian military aviation has far more combat experience, with most of its fighter and bomber crews rotated into combat tours in the Syrian Civil War. The Chinese military has only begun in the last decade to implement more realistic joint combat training with other branches of the military.

The VKS (Russian Aerospace Forces) also still operates some specialized aircraft types without real Chinese equivalents, such as the MiG-31 interceptor, Tu-160 and Tu-22M supersonic bombers, and the Su-25 ground attack jet.

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One of the key weight-saving tricks in modern aircraft design is to substitute metal components with lightweight composite materials. Those weight reduction translate into major improvements in agility and range.

Extensive use of composites can be pricy and technologically demanding. Bronk writes that China, nonetheless, has taken a lead in incorporating composites in J-11B, J-11D and J-16 fighters, all derived from Russian Flanker jets. The end result is jets that incorporate additional systems compared to the Russian original, yet still achieve a superior thrust-weight ratio.

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https://rusi.org/publication/whitehall-reports/russian-and-chinese-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 23, 2020 at 9:05pm
  • RUSI Paper on Chinese military aircraft development: 
  • China has developed J-11 and J-16 series Flanker derivatives featuring AESA radars, new datalinks, improved EW systems and increased use of composites, which give them a superior level of overall combat capability to the latest Russian Flanker, the Su-35S. 
  • This advantage is increased by Chinese advances in both within-visual-range (WVR) and beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles. Unlike the latest Russian R-73M, the PL-10 features an imaging infrared seeker, improving resistance to countermeasures. More significantly, the PL-15 features a miniature AESA seeker head and outranges the US-made AIM-120C/D AMRAAM series. China is also testing a very-long-range air-to-air missile, known as PL-X or PL-17, which has a 400-km class range, multimode seeker and appears to have been designed to attack US big-wing ISTAR and tanker aircraft. 
  • China has developed and introduced into service the first credible non-US-made LO, or fifth-generation, fighter in the form of the J-20A ‘Mighty Dragon’. Subsequent developments are likely to increase its LO characteristics and sensor capabilities, as well as engine performance, with construction of the first production prototypes of the J-20B having begun in 2020. 
  • Overall, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy are rapidly improving their combat air capabilities, including a focus on the sensors, platforms, network connectivity and weapons needed to compete with the US in cutting-edge, predominantly passive-sensor air combat tactics. 
  • The Russian Su-57 Felon is assessed as not yet having matured into a credible frontline weapons system, and as lacking the basic design features required for true LO signature. However, it does offer the potential to correct many of the Flanker family weaknesses with greatly reduced signature and an AESA radar, while improving the already superb agility and performance of the Flanker series. 
  • The Russian Air Force (VKS) does not currently field targeting pods for its ground-attack and multirole fleets. This limits the ground-attack aircraft to internal equivalents with inferior field of view and tactical flexibility, and the multirole fighters to reliance on either pre-briefed GPS/GLONASS target coordinates, radar-guided weapons or target acquisition using fixed seekers on the weapons themselves. This limits VKS fixed-wing capabilities against dynamic battlefield targets compared to Western or Chinese equivalents. 
  • China is actively pursuing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designs with multiple programmes at various stages of development. Detailed assessment is hindered by tight control of information leaks by the Chinese Communist Party. Of those known to be in development, the GJ-11 subsonic attack UCAV appears the most advanced. 
  • Russia is also pursuing UCAV-style technologies and has produced the Su-70 ‘Okhotnik-B’ technology demonstrator. However, it is not yet clear what degree of practical operational capability the Russian aircraft industry will be able to develop through the Su-70, especially given the demands for significant levels of in-flight autonomy inherent in UCAVs designed for state-on-state warfare in heavy EW conditions. 
  • China’s advanced and efficient Flanker derivatives, as well as lightweight multirole fighters in the shape of the J-10B/C series and potentially a developmental FC-31 LO fighter programme, are likely to provide the leading source of non-Western combat aircraft from the mid-2020s onwards. Likewise, their air-launched munitions will increasingly outcompete Russian equivalents on the export market. As such, the development of Chinese capabilities should be closely monitored even by air forces which do not include the PLAAF in their direct threat assessments. 

https://rusi.org/publication/whitehall-reports/russian-and-chinese-...

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