On Cyberwar: China’s great leap forward

This article got me thinking

Both experts and amateurs who have studied the blurred photos of an unfamiliar fighter jet on a runway in China (http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2010/12/chinese-stealth-in-plain-sight-curious.html) have concluded that Beijing has started testing its fifth-generation stealth fighter.

The J-20 prototype is expected to rival the U.S. F-22 and the Russian T-50 fighters. But is China ready to start mass-producing the aircraft? How good is the prototype?

Experts call it a combination of the Russian and U.S. fifth-generation fighters, but that greatly simplifies matters. In the last 20 years, China has been working closely with Russia to develop a modern fighter jet. But the J-20 is not simply a copy of a Russian design. Rather China has tried to build a completely new aircraft based on the technology and knowledge it has gained during its years of cooperation with Russia.

The future of the new Chinese fighter will depend on several factors.


It is not clear what kind of engine the plane will have. Some say it will use the prospective Chinese-made WS-15 engine with a maximum thrust exceeding 18,000 kg, but the engine is still in the pipeline.

China has been unable to reproduce Russia’s highly efficient high-temperature turbofan AL-31F engine, designed in the early 1980s and currently mounted on the Su-27 fighter and its modifications. The engines for Sukhoi planes manufactured in China are made in Russia and then assembled and adjusted in China.

The AL-31F engine is also mounted on China’s J-10 fighter planes. The engine’s Chinese analogue, the WS-10, is less efficient than the Russian prototype.


A fifth-generation stealth fighter must be able to evade radar, and so it must be made from modern composite materials. However, China does not produce such materials in commercial amounts, and experts doubt that it can develop and produce them for its Air Force.


Electronic equipment, primarily radar, in China stands at approximately the same level as its engines. Chinese designs fall short of the capabilities of their Russian, European and American counterparts. Although China has been gradually narrowing the gap, it still has to import modern electronic equipment for its aircraft.

The best aircraft radar systems are currently made for Russia’s Su-30MKK fighters, and China will most likely copy this design. It is not clear how much it will differ in terms of specifications from next-generation Russian or American radar systems.


The guided weapons used in the Chinese Air Force were mostly copied from U.S., Israeli and Russian prototypes made in the 1960s through 1980s. China will have to spend a great deal of time and effort to develop its own weapons, even if it borrows elements of prototypes bought from other countries. But foreign producers are becoming increasingly wary of sharing their next-generation technology with China.


Since the 1970s, China has consistently lagged 15 to 20 years behind the world leaders in aircraft manufacturing. This was true of their third- and fourth-generation aircraft, and this appears to be the case with its fifth-generation fighter plane.

The J-20 fighter was produced nearly 20 year after the U.S. YF-22 (the prototype of the mass-produced F-22A), 17 years after the Russian MiG-1.44 (MiG-MFI, or Multifunctional Frontline Fighter), and 14 after Russia’s S.37 (Su-47).

If the J-20 is accepted as the prototype for a new series, China will be able to produce a fifth-generation fighter plane within 10 years. If not, it will begin batch production no sooner than 15 or 20 years from now.

No one knows for sure what will happen, but it’s certainly not too early to make predictions about the future of the new plane.

Given its traditional policy of aircraft manufacturing, China will most likely create a functional analogue of foreign-made 5G planes that will cost 50% to 80% less than Russian and U.S. models. China will most likely sell the plane in Central Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia, as well as to the richest African countries.

The export models of the J-20 and the planes of that series made for the Chinese Air Force will have foreign, including Russian, equipment and weapons. Moreover, in the next 20 to 30 years China will have to continue to import modern aircraft technology. Despite the strides made by China’s aircraft designers in the last 20 years, China has only slightly narrowed the technological gap dividing it from the global leaders.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

China is often accused of cyber espionage, an generally speaking where there is smoke there is fire. This plane is an example of why. China’s military needs to make great leap forward. China needs to be able to produce military technologies like this one soup to nuts at home. No engines from Russia, or avionics from Europe.  But right now the PLA is largely still an Army of 40 years ago. To make this great leap forward China is using cyber espionage as a tool to make this leap. This makes perfect sense, why build the tech when you can just steal it. Also your cyber team is a dual use technology. Use it to build the economy and fight a war if you have to.

I come for the 2600, I stay for the Lab B

That’s right, tomorrow is the is the first Friday of the month. That means Borders Books & Music in Burlington will be hosting our 2600 meeting from 5 -8pm . After that I’m sure some us will be heading over to Laboratory B in the North End to hack the night away.

If you interested in what happened at Shmoocon last weekend, the state IPV4 address space in the world or other nerdy tech hacker stuff, maybe you should come on down!

Sintered Armorgel is here!

  The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. He's
got  esprit up to here. Right now,  he is preparing to carry  out  his third
mission of the night. His uniform  is black as activated charcoal, filtering
the very light out of the air. A bullet will  bounce  off  its  arachnofiber
weave  like  a  wren hitting  a  patio  door, but excess perspiration  wafts
through it  like a breeze through a freshly napalmed  forest. Where his body
has  bony extremities,  the suit  has sintered armorgel:  feels like  gritty
jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.

What he said “Steve Jobs Understands Team Building”

Richard Bejtlich ‘s TaoSecurity: Steve Jobs Understands Team Building.

I stumbled upon the following excerpt from the 1998 book In the Company of Giants by Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz. They interviewed Steve Jobs, who had the following to say about team building, as printed in BusinessWeek:

Q. What talent do you think you consistently brought to Apple and bring to NeXT and Pixar?

SJ. I think that I’ve consistently figured out who really smart people were to hang around with. No major work that I have been involved with has been work that can be done by a single person or two people, or even three or four people… In order to do things well, that can’t be done by one person, you must find extraordinary people.

The key observation is that, in most things in life, the dynamic range between average quality and the best quality is, at most, two-to-one…

But, in the field that I was interested in — originally, hardware design — I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream.

That’s what we’ve done. You can then build a team that pursues the A+ players. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.

Q. So you think your talent is in recruiting?

SJ. It’s not just recruiting. After recruiting, it’s building an environment that makes people feel they are surrounded by equally talented people and their work is bigger than they are. The feeling that the work will have tremendous influence and is part of a strong, clear vision — all those things.

Recruiting usually requires more than you alone can do, so I’ve found that collaborative recruiting and having a culture that recruits the A players is the best way.

Q. Yet, in a typical startup, a manager may not always have the time to spend recruiting other people.

SJ. I disagree totally. I think it’s the most important job… When you’re in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not.

Steve is right. That is why I Tweeted this last week:

Real IT/security talent will work where they make a difference, not where they reduce costs, “align w/business,” or serve other lame ends.

I was emphasizing the point that motivated people want to make a difference. They want to bring good things to life. (I loved that motto — time to junk the present one, if you catch my drift, and go back!)