More photos available in Chinese language version page: J-20 Fighter
China’s new stealth fighter J20 looks like a bigger F-22. A government-run newspaper published photos of the J-20 along with a story in its Jan. 5 editions, lending credence to speculation by defense experts worldwide that China is making faster-than-expected progress on a rival to the Raptor.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested a Chinese stealth fighter would not be a threat to the U.S. until 2020.
China's air force development made headlines earlier this year after news about the prototype J-20 stealth plane emerged. However, aircraft engine design and manufacture have been lagging behind, the newspaper said.
Air Force officials refused to comment on the J-20, although they weighed in a year ago when Russia’s stealth fighter, dubbed the T-50, made its maiden flight. Secretary Michael Donley and the commanders of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Pacific Air Forces — Gen. Roger Brady and Gen. Gary North, respectively —discussed the airplane at an Air Force Association conference.
China, the rival Asian superpower to India, has meanwhile been busy upgrading its military, developing the J-20 stealth fighter that reportedly will be equipped with the radar-evading capability of fifth-generation fighters such as the F-22 and F-35. China began testing the plane in January 2011. However, some analysts argue the threat posed by the J-20 is greatly exaggerated and that it incorporates obsolete technology.
As a guide, Richard Aboulafia, Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group, told Aerospace Technology that he gauges the capabilities of the modern, combat aircraft according to the following criteria:
• Access to off-board space, ground and air-based sensors, particularly a capable AEW/AWACS system with a well-trained crew and robust data links.
• Effective sensor fusion to allow the pilot to utilise this information, as well as data from onboard sensors.
• An integrated EW system.
• An AESA radar with a high level of reliability.
• High-quality theoretical and practical training to ensure effective use of resultant data and equipment.
• Pilot training to include plenty of flight hours.
• Powerful engines, ideally capable of supercruise, with a high mean time between overhaul and failures.
• An airframe with low-observable characteristics.
• A robust air-to-air refuelling capability encompassing equipment, readiness and training.
• Sophisticated and reliable, precision-guided weaponry.
• A robust hardware and software upgrade programme, to maintain the plane's effectiveness over the next five, 10 and 30 years.
• Maintenance procedures to keep the plane operating with a high, mission-capable rate.
• Equipment designed to facilitate maintenance and allow easy access to electronic diagnostic tools, and ideally a sophisticated health-usage monitoring system (HUMS).
According to Aboulafia, the J-20 incorporates just one item from this list (number seven). He is "not convinced that the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) features any other items from the list, although China seems to be making some progress in terms of item no 9".
It is reported 65th test flight of China's stealth fighter J-20 was completed January 2012.
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China looked at the Committee members, assembled in the August 1st Building, at the dawn of 6 December 2020.
The air was charged with tension and expectation.
“Tomorrow, if you each tell me your plans and Forces are ready, we will immediately end the US hegemony of the Western Pacific. The US, despite our repeated warnings, has continued to arm the rebel Government in Taiwan, the latest shipments being 200 F-35s they had surplus after JSF sales to Europe collapsed. These aircraft are now in action against us, and in the past week, three J-10A ‘Vigorous Dragon’ fighters have been destroyed while on peaceful patrols of the Straights. This behaviour cannot, and will not be tolerated. Now, let me ask about your preparedness – and true and accurate reports only – if there are weaknesses, now is the time to correct them, not in the heat of battle. Commander-in-Chief (CIC), tell us the strategic plan.”
The CIC rises and opens a PowerPoint briefing on a large screen.
“Our military forces will eliminate the larger US bases across the Western Pacific. Each of the Armed Services will have a substantial role on this Joint and highly coordinated operation. The Second Artillery using DF-21 terminally guided IRBMs; the PLA-AF using the new J-20 ‘Black Eagle’ stealth fighters; and, the PLA-N will employ submarine launched cruise missiles, mainly our excellent DH-10 missiles. Our Intelligence Agencies have been collecting targeting information on critical infrastructure for several years. The initial targets will be digital communications and military installations and equipment. If US naval forces come within 1,000 nautical miles of our coast, they will be attacked with terminally guided DF-21D missiles. Each of our designated Fire Bases will be protected by mobile Surface to Air Missile batteries. Any incoming counter-attack will be detected at long range by HF Sky-Wave and Surface-Wave Over-The-Horizon-radars. Preparations will take place in our “super-hardened” underground airbase hangars to avoid observation by US spy satellites. We have other assets prepared. Mr Chairman, here is the Military Tasking Order of Operation Long March’ …”
Continue to next page: J20 stealth fighter Part 2
More Chinese Military Airplanes:
|J-20||J-21 / J-31||Su-27 / J-11||J-10B|