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Project Azm News & Discussion

Pakhtoon yum

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Thanks for the tag sir...

First regarding this picture...I'm sure u and others here already know that this is just a CGI...
...some comments I would like to make on this...is that it's probably very far off from what Azm NGF turns out to be.
- If PAF is serious about it being 5th gen(as in stealth is one of the key requirements)...then it's bound to have internal weapons' bays(or at the very least some recessed stations like in PAKFA). So the hanging weapons like shown here...are wrong.
- Next up the single vertical tail...stealth jets are shaped to avoid 90 degree angles...this is why every single stealth aircraft built so far...has canted twin tails.
- Lastly the single engine...if Azm NGF is going to carry the weapons internally...it needs to be large enough...to roughly the size of F35. China(which is most likely where the engine of Azm will come from IMO) doesn't have any engine in the class of the engine used in F35. So it's more likely that Azm NGF will be twin engined.

Now coming to Azm NGF...from what I've read so far. It seems that Azm NGF is a clean sheet design. I'm not sure if in the future Pak may decide to scrap it and go with the Chinese J35(which will have its own pros and cons)...but for now I will assume that Azm NGF is a clean sheet design.
--> According to Chak Bamu...he has seen one of the first iterations. Though I don't know if what he is saying is true...but he is a level headed, no non sense guy who hasn't been known to make tall claims that turn out to be false.
--> There was also tail art on one of PAF's C130...though it looked similar in layout to a J20...but was distinctly a different jet.
--> I vaguely remember messiach madam to have also said that it's a clean sheet design(someone plz verify or correct me)

So all signs point so far to 2 things...
1) Azm NGF is a clean sheet design
2) Pak will mostly likely work with China to develop Azm NGF

Rest is kind of up in the air(more so than those above 2 things).
Thanks for the explanation, makes sense now
 

Pakhtoon yum

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Hi,

A single tail stick out like a sore thumb---. You cannot change the design---it will be straight up---.

Now with the twin tails---you can play with the angles and slant and other geometry of the tails---.
Thanks, it makes sense why u said that now.
 
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Hey bro @Armchair,

Initially I had jotted down some thoughts quickly(in one of my previous posts on this thread)...as far as what I knew about Azm NGF(more like guesses based on interactions with more knowledgeable members on defense forums).

I intended to expand more on it once I had some time...and post it on Aug 14th...as a sort of independence day thing...
...but for now it looks like I will be busy around that time...so I'll just settle for whatever time I've got right now.

Below are all my opinions...and nothing official...I have no insider knowledge whatsoever.
This is part 1.
Hi,

Although there is a fifth generation thread, I thought Project Azm deserves its own thread. I hope @Khafee would agree and allow this thread. I just didn't feel the title of the thread was the right fit for Project Azm, given how pivotal this development project is.

There are many theories about Project Azm. Let me summarize them here:

Project Azm as J-31 / J-35 Version.
The major supporters of this theory are Bilal Khan of Quwa and Mastan Khan. The belief is that Pakistan will choose a variant of the Chinese 5th generation aircraft, the J-31 for its own Project Azm. The proponents note that Pakistan has severe resource and technical constraints to develop a truly indigenous development.
These proponents are unable to convincingly answer why PAF officials have defined project Azm as a first locally developed design. Their counter that PAF has asked for collaboration doesn't fully make sense - as there can be collaboration on subsystems, wihthout the project losing its characteristic as a clean sheet Pakistani design.

Project Azm as an Clean Sheet Pakistani Design
Myself and others have put forward the view that Project Azm is an indigenous design, noting that if Azm was a J-35 derivative, it would be a step back for Pakistan, and would directly contradict what PAF has said about the project. It would also not make sense to make primary investments, like Aviation city and the various research and development organizations, that just are not needed if Project Azm were a J-35 customized for PAF.
For the debate between whether or not it will be a clean sheet design vs a Chinese stealth jet(J20/J31/J35)...my guess is that Azm NGF will be a clean sheet design...while Pak may also acquire a Chinese stealth jet at some point.

A case for a clean sheet design of Azm NGF...
1) Announcement and Efforts...PAF has announced Azm NGF to be an indigenous effort and setup AVRID, AVDI, etc. They were under no pressure to carry out any propaganda for public consumption...the Pakistani public would've been completely okay with buying a Chinese 5th gen. This shows a genuine push towards as much indigenization as possible...instead of just an off the shelf fighter jet. However close cooperation is guaranteed...bcuz Pakistan lacks behind in a lot of key areas...this is where China will come in. Even Turkey may be partnered with for some avionics.

2) A logical step up...as pointed out before by various members that just an off the shelf purchase of a 5th gen from China would be a step back after having made progress at the local level during the JF17 program. After experiencing stiff control exercised by foreign countries when PAF purchased their defense equipment...complete control over a jet like JF17 must have felt liberating. On one hand we see the chaos in IAF of having Russian(Su30, Mig21, Mig29), French(Mirage 2000, Rafale), and British(Jaguar) jets...some with Russian avionics...some with European...some with Israeli...etc. It's a hot mess...
...on the other hand we see PAF's assets working together in a net centric environment. In short the more PAF relies on foreign countries...the harder it is to streamline everything and have all the assets interconnected painting a complete picture in realtime of the battlefield. So now that PAF has already gotten a taste of having control to customize its own assets...the more unlikely it is that they will go back and chain themselves up limiting their options.

3) Various hints of a clean sheet design...Madam Messiach and Chak Bamu have both said that it is a clean sheet design. There was also tail art on PAF C130...and I remember seeing a picture(on PDF) of a 5th gen looking model sitting on a table in between two ppl. I tried finding that picture to post here...but couldn't find it. If some member could kindly post it here...it would be very helpful.

With above we can see that all signs point to a serious commitment and will to building a clean sheet Azm NGF(with Chinese cooperation) rather than an off the shelf purchase of some Chinese 5th gen. Assuming that Azm NGF rolls along smoothly and doesn't get shelved due to some unforeseen rises in cost or other hurdles...there is still a case to be made of an off the shelf purchase of a Chinese 5th gen(modified a bit for PAF specific needs).

A case for a Chinese stealth jet in addition to Azm NGF...
1) High/Low concept has existed for a while and adopted by many airforces...among some of the more famous examples from the previous generation is F15/F16. PAF is also no stranger to this...they recognize the need to make up numbers to face off against a much larger foe...and they also recognize the importance of quality and not just quantity. PAF has made up numbers with JF17...while has used F16 as the higher end tip of the spear for a while now. At this point it's too early to know whether Azm NGF ends up being the lower cost one to make up numbers...or if it becomes the F22/J20 analogue for PAF(air superiority with quality favored over quantity).

2) Platforms to be replaced...we must also keep in mind what platforms currently are used in what role. Currently F16s and J15s for air superiority generally speaking(although they are multirole)...Mirages and JH7s for strike(mainly for ground missions)...and so on. As PAF enters the next gen era(2050 and onwards)...these roles would have to be taken over for the most part by 5th gen fighter jets(I'm assuming 4++ gen fighters may still be around a while like we see newer F15s being manufactured even with F22/F35). For one type of 5th gen(Azm NGF) to take on all these different roles...seems unlikely(though not impossible)...at least if we are to look at nations who already have operational 5th gen aircrafts. They clearly go for an air superiority higher end jet(F22/J20) and a lower cost multirole 5th gen(F35/J35?).

So if there will be an off the shelf purchase of a Chinese 5th gen platform(let's say J35 for example)...it doesn't necessarily mean that Azm NGF has been shelved. Or if Azm NGF starts taking shape...it doesn't mean that Chinese 5th gen options have been ruled out.

In part 2(which I will post later)...I intend to speculate roughly about what shape Azm NGF might take.

@Armchair @Mingle @AliYusuf @Pakhtoon yum @Crystal-Clear @Lone Ranger @Wolf-PK @Mastankhan @Khafee @Zulu @Counter-Errorist @capricorn5192 @Thorough Pro @Materialistic @TomCat @Caprxl @Gripen9
Tag any others I may have missed.
 
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What will Project Azm Look Like?
Assuming Project Azm is a clean sheet design, there are various possibilities for the basic layout and capability level for Project Azm:
1. A J-20 type with twin WS-10 / WS-15 engines and a canard delta
2. A Single WS-10 / WS-15 engine with a delta canard layout
3. A Twin heavy WS-10 / 15 with a conventional layout
4. A single WS-10 / WS-15 engine with conventional layout
5. A twin WS-13 / RD-93 delta canard
6. A single WS-13 / RD-93 delta canard
7. A twin WS-13 / RD-93 conventional layout
8. A single WS-13/ RD-93 conventional layout
9. Something completely different, perhaps like a YF-23, similar to the art found on the PAF C-130 (a YF-23 with canards)

The twin heavy engines are not realistic, as PAF does not have a long range / heavy payload requirement. The single WS-13 / RD-93 are also not realistic, as they would not provide enough thrust for a 5th generation aircraft. This leaves either a single WS-10 / WS-15 engine, or a twin RD-93 / WS-13 engine option, realistically.

Another key problem is the development of an FCS. Some individuals, such as JamD, have suggested that Pakistan does not have the capability or wherewithal to develop an independent FCS. My point of view is that the PAF has the JF-17 FCS. Even if China developed it, the Chinese would not withhold this FCS. Pak would definitely be able to to outsource this FCS from China, giving them adequate compensation.

If Pakistan uses the FCS developed for the JF-17 Block 3, they are limited to a conventional layout option. Meaning, something like a JF-17 / F-16 / F-15. This would also be true if they utilize a Turkish FCS.

This brings our options down to (4) and (7) to most likely option for PAF. Meaning a conventional layout with either a twin RD-93 or a single WS-10 / WS-15.

Now finally, Chak Bamu, another poster on the internet, with a solid track record and some access to the Pakistani R&D community, says he "saw" the Azm. Obviously, there may not actually be a flying prototype right now, so he most likely saw a wind tunnel model. He was clearly able to say that it is in fact a clean sheet design, and not a derivative of the J-35.

Had it been a twin engine conventional layout with RD-93s, the design would have been close / similar to J-35 and would not have allowed Chak Bamu to clearly state that the design was a clean sheet design. The conclusion, therefore, is that the design is in fact, in all probability, a conventional layout with a single WS-10 / WS-15.

The benefit of this layout, if in fact my estimate is correct, is that the engine would be common to the J-10 and J-15s being inducted by PAF currently. Allowing Pakistan the capacity to easily simplify the WS-10 / WS-15 to its overall warfighting strategy.
This is part 2...where I will explore a clean sheet design of Azm NGF and what shape it may take.

Initial thoughts
When Azm NGF was just announced...and I read it in the news(2017)...some of the very first thoughts that came to mind...
- Pakistan should make it single engine, multirole stealth fighter that would be relatively cheap(as compared to J20 and other high end fighter jets)...so that it can be produced in hundreds(like JF17) to eventually replace all the 4th gen fighters including the F16 and JF17.

This above thought immediately came to my mind on the basis that J20 already existed...PL15(news circulated around 2015) already existed. The new engines and TVC that China was developing for J20...these will finish development by the Azm NGF is being inducted. So it(J20) will be extremely agile(new more powerful engines with TVC) if a dog fight ensued by any chance...lethal at very long ranges(PL15) and anything in between...essentially an excellent air superiority fighter jet. So PAF could acquire a few squadrons of a more mature J20 as the higher end air superiority fighter(F22 equivalent) while our own Azm NGF could be the F35 equivalent.

Adjustments of initial thoughts and the reasons for them
For Azm NGF to have stealth(without compromise) it should have internal weapons bays. The recessed approach as seen on PAKFA is probably not the best. Although any data regarding radar signatures is scarce(for obvious reasons)...but according to most articles I've read on PAKFA it is not as stealthy. In comparison some of the designs that rank at the top for their stealth(namely F22 and F35) have internal weapons bays instead of recessed weapons stations.
So if Azm NGF is to not compromise on stealth it must have internal weapons bays...

This brings us to the next point. If it is to carry weapons internally...it must be roughly the size of F35. Otherwise it would seriously struggle to carry enough payload for missions where stealth is a requirement. See below the type and quantity of the payload an F35 can carry(for both air to air and air to ground missions) in stealth mode(on the left)...


In absence of any future tech like loyal wingman and other such drones carrying payload for u as the mule while F35 acts as the brains...for now the jet itself must carry all the payload necessary to carry out a mission. Here I'll be sticking with as things are done right now...rather than bringing in any future tech like that into the equation.

Now that I have estimated the size requirement of Azm NGF to be at least roughly close to an F35(if not bigger)...this brings us to the issue of engine. The single engine on the F35A produces 128 KN of dry thrust and like 190 KN of wet thrust. Pakistan quite obviously has no jet engine industry...and China is the most likely choice for an engine that will be powering up Azm NGF. I'm not aware of any Chinese engine that currently exists that can produce dry thrust in the range of 128 KN. WS15(being developed for J20) is slated to have 125 KN. Other important factors to consider here would be the thrust to weight ratio of the Chinese engines(information I'll be looking up and adding here later...skipping it for now). So unless China has made enough progress on WS15 and is willing to allow Pak to use it on Azm NGF...it is more likely that Azm NGF may just use two smaller engines instead(as seen on J31).

Based on these thoughts put forward(above)...I would cross out 6 and 8(from the list u have proposed). A single WS13 or RD93 engine for an F35(or J31) sized fighter jet will be found lacking in TWR. I would lean more towards twin engines for now even though I personally want it to be single engine to have a lower cost. However if WS15 can be readied in time...before Azm NGF design is locked in...a single engine(WS15 powered) Azm NGF can still be a real contender(which would be even better as it will have engine commonality with J20).

@Armchair @Mingle @AliYusuf @Pakhtoon yum @Crystal-Clear @Lone Ranger @Wolf-PK @Mastankhan @Khafee @Zulu @Counter-Errorist @capricorn5192 @Thorough Pro @Materialistic @TomCat @Caprxl @Gripen9
Tag any others I may have missed.
 
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Thrust is only one side of an equation. The other side of the equation is drag. Unfortunately for the F-35, the design is a very high drag design. This is due to:

1. Requirements for a lot of electronics so it can do all kinds of roles from CAS to air superiority
2. Design requirements for three variants of the F-35, particularly the VTOL model, that requires a large centerline area for a lift fan. This causes the width of the fuselage to bulge out, creating a very large amount of drag.
3. Overengineering a design causing it to bulk up "go fat".

One does not need to see this as a model. Take for instance a low drag fighter like a Mirage-2000. It has a horrible engine but is fast, has massive payload capability and range, thanks to its excellent low drag design.

Azm surely can surely do reasonably well with a single WS-10, which is the main engine used by China, and now with the induction of three new fighters in the PAF, all of whom are using the same engine, it makes the most sense.

RD-93 is half a generation behind the WS-10. It is like going back in time by 20 years to get an engine.

The J-20 is now using the WS-10, and will in the future update to the WS-15. Surely, Azm can do the same. It is no argument that China will not give Pakistan the WS-15, history shows us that China will do a lot more than sell Pakistan quality tech.
 
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Thrust is only one side of an equation. The other side of the equation is drag. Unfortunately for the F-35, the design is a very high drag design. This is due to:

1. Requirements for a lot of electronics so it can do all kinds of roles from CAS to air superiority
2. Design requirements for three variants of the F-35, particularly the VTOL model, that requires a large centerline area for a lift fan. This causes the width of the fuselage to bulge out, creating a very large amount of drag.
3. Overengineering a design causing it to bulk up "go fat".

One does not need to see this as a model. Take for instance a low drag fighter like a Mirage-2000. It has a horrible engine but is fast, has massive payload capability and range, thanks to its excellent low drag design.

Azm surely can surely do reasonably well with a single WS-10, which is the main engine used by China, and now with the induction of three new fighters in the PAF, all of whom are using the same engine, it makes the most sense.

RD-93 is half a generation behind the WS-10. It is like going back in time by 20 years to get an engine.

The J-20 is now using the WS-10, and will in the future update to the WS-15. Surely, Azm can do the same. It is no argument that China will not give Pakistan the WS-15, history shows us that China will do a lot more than sell Pakistan quality tech.
So u agree that we can probably rule out RD93(and therefore WS13 as well since it's similar in thrust) in single engine configurations?
WS10(for commonality) and WS15(for commonality later with J20 and a higher thrust) are candidates with better prospects whether as single engine or twin.

As for F35...yes it was over engineered. When I used F35 as the yardstick...it's bcuz currently there's no production model of a fifth gen that's smaller in size. I was not using it to show how fat Azm NGF might be...but more so using it in terms of the size of its weapons bay. Another one that's not as far but still similarly sized is the J31(I opted not to use this bcuz it's not a finalized model). If someone can show me a 5th gen model where they were able to achieve all the parameters required of a 5th gen in a jet smaller than those two...I would be eager to learn.

Also I intentionally did not comment on the design possibilities of Azm NGF(whether it will be a delta canard like J20 or conventional design)...that's bcuz I have absolutely no idea what its design may be. Using F35 as a yardstick was only to gauge size...and use that to figure out which engine might power it and whether it can be single engine or twin engine.
 
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So u agree that we can probably rule out RD93(and therefore WS13 as well since it's similar in thrust)?
WS10(for commonality) and WS15(for commonality later with J20 and a higher thrust) are candidates with better prospects.

As for F35...yes it was over engineered. When I used F35 as the yardstick...it's bcuz currently there's no production model of a fifth gen that's smaller in size. I was not using it to show how fat Azm NGF might be...but more so using it in terms of the size of its weapons bay. Another one that's not as far but still similarly sized is the J31(I opted not to use this bcuz it's not a finalized model). If someone can show me a 5th gen model where they were able to achieve all the parameters required of a 5th gen in a jet smaller than those two...I would be eager to learn.
F-35 weapons bays are huge. It is first an attack aircraft then a fighter. More like and A/F-35. It also carries a lot of fuel. Plus the giant bulk in the central fuselage due to VTOL requirements for one of the three designs (meaning all designs have to have this feature, the conventional designs put fuel in there but sadly its a common feature).

So, for me the F-35 is not a good example for a yardstick to the project Azm. The Chinese stole the F-35 design and built the J-31.

Pak needs a different approach, as it doesn't have an F-22 or J-20 to act as top dog. It needs an air superiority medium fighter that is just stealthy enough. That doesn't cost an arm and a leg to operate, and air conditioned hangars (among other such things that skyrocket the costs of operation).
 
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F-35 weapons bays are huge. It is first an attack aircraft then a fighter. More like and A/F-35. It also carries a lot of fuel. Plus the giant bulk in the central fuselage due to VTOL requirements for one of the three designs (meaning all designs have to have this feature, the conventional designs put fuel in there but sadly its a common feature).

So, for me the F-35 is not a good example for a yardstick to the project Azm. The Chinese stole the F-35 design and built the J-31.

Pak needs a different approach, as it doesn't have an F-22 or J-20 to act as top dog. It needs an air superiority medium fighter that is just stealthy enough. That doesn't cost an arm and a leg to operate, and air conditioned hangars (among other such things that skyrocket the costs of operation).
But Pak can probably get J20...if not now...then at least by the time Azm NGF starts rolling off the production line. So it would be smart for Pak to build a fighter jet that's an analogue to F35(without the overcomplications of STOVL and all the other things they added)...bcuz China already has an analogue to F22. Why reinvent the wheel...when it has already been invented? Its the same thing as Pak will be doing for the engine...
...instead of building it, it will be acquired from China. I would say take it a step further and use the same approach in the design philosophy for Azm NGF. Turkey is also going for an F22 analogue with its TFX so there's that option available as well.

I do agree about the lower cost(so it can be built in numbers and doesn't cost exorbitant amounts to operate) but stealth is a must. We r talking 2050s...by that time the radar tech that's starting to trickle in aimed at detecting stealth fighters would get much better.
 

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But Pak can probably get J20...if not now...then at least by the time Azm NGF starts rolling off the production line. So it would be smart for Pak to build a fighter jet that's an analogue to F35(without the overcomplications of STOVL and all the other things they added)...bcuz China already has an analogue to F22. Why reinvent the wheel...when it has already been invented? Its the same thing as Pak will be doing for the engine...
...instead of building it, it will be acquired from China. I would say take it a step further and use the same approach in the design philosophy for Azm NGF. Turkey is also going for an F22 analogue with its TFX so there's that option available as well.
I just feel that the J-20 doesn't meet the requirements of PAF. It is a long range interceptor and strike aircraft. Given the short distances for air combat in the Pak-India scenario, this is the wrong plane in the wrong place. It will also possibly cost the same to operate as an entire squadron of JF-17s. Imagine that.

In my mind the J-20 is exactly not the aircraft for PAF. Perhaps good for the PNAF, but that's a different story.
 
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I just feel that the J-20 doesn't meet the requirements of PAF. It is a long range interceptor and strike aircraft. Given the short distances for air combat in the Pak-India scenario, this is the wrong plane in the wrong place. It will also possibly cost the same to operate as an entire squadron of JF-17s. Imagine that.

In my mind the J-20 is exactly not the aircraft for PAF. Perhaps good for the PNAF, but that's a different story.
I do see ur point...so if Pak instead builds an air superiority fifth gen...what would serve as an F35 analogue? Or should it be F22 analogue(Azm NGF) and F15(stealthy-ish) analogue(some 4++ gen) multirole fighter?
 

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Hi,

A single tail stick out like a sore thumb---. You cannot change the design---it will be straight up---.

Now with the twin tails---you can play with the angles and slant and other geometry of the tails---.
Hello MK, just to put in perspective the basics.... tail design is part of aerodynamics, which are largely defined by the fuselage and wing design.
even 4.5 generation fighters have twin tails, in simplistic approach a/c with wide fuselage have twin tail. Example most of twin engine. except the Rafael. therefore, I'm interested to learn the flight experience of Rafael pilots, who may have as well flown F-18 /mig-35 etc.
May be Rafale have a unique rudder control!
 

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I do see ur point...so if Pak instead builds an air superiority fifth gen...what would serve as an F35 analogue? Or should it be F22 analogue(Azm NGF) and F15(stealthy-ish) analogue(some 4++ gen) multirole fighter?
Always F-16 ish ;)
 
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Always F-16 ish ;)
If let's say we take F16 sized aircraft...and add internal weapons bays...wouldn't that make it larger?

Not as fat obviously(as the F35)...but more expansive at the fuselage. I'm expecting an internal weapons bay like the one at the belly of J31(which can carry 4 A2A missiles)...that's at the minimum...if we ignore the two side bays. I'm having difficulty imagining a 5th gen with internal weapons bay that can be a lot smaller than a J31 in size...
...IMO it will be roughly around the size in terms of the fuselage...idk whatever the rest of the design may be.
 
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