Air Force Wants Its XQ-58A Valkyrie Drone To Help F-22s And F-35s Talk To Each Other


An XQ-58 working as a stealthy data fusion and relay node would give America’s two stealth fighters the ability to fight together like never before.

A collage of Air Force F-22s, F-35s, and its new XQ-58A.USAF

The U.S. Air Force hopes to begin tests involving a Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie stealthy unmanned aircraft acting as a data-fusion and relay gateway between its F-22 Raptors and F-35A Joint Strike Fighters early next year. This will follow a separate experiment to first demonstrate that the new data link, known presently as GatewayOne, can enable the two jets to share information without degrading their stealthy signatures, scheduled to occur next month.

Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, outlined the plan, which is as part of what he called a “connect-a-thon” rapid experimentation concept, at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12, 2019. Preston Dunlap, who holds the recently created position of “Chief Architect” within Roper’s office, had announced the first phase of the gateway experiment last week at a separate event that Defense One hosted.

F-22s have a unique Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL), an LPI/LPD system that can only share information with other Raptors, and can only receive information via the non-stealthy and much more common Link 16 waveform. F-35s have the stealthy Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which also can’t share data with any aircraft that doesn’t have this system, though they can share and receive information across Link 16. As it stands now, only the F-35 has MADL, though the Air Force does plan to integrate it into its existing B-2 Spirit stealth bombers and make it a feature on its future B-21 Raiders. Both MADL and IFDL are also line-of-sight systems.

USAF

US Air Force F-22 Raptors.

Lockheed Martin did demonstrate the ability of F-22s and F-35s to exchange information via Link 16 in 2013, as part of an experiment known as Project Missouri. However, so far, this has not become a standard capability for either aircraft.

GatewayOne’s job will be to act as a transfer node for information passing between IFDLs on F-22s and MADLs on F-35s, as well as any other stealth aircraft carrying the latter data link in the future. The Air Force wants the December tests to be a proof of concept showing that it can do this job. For this phase of experiments, the service plans to install the system on a test stand on the ground and have Raptors and Joint Strike Fighters flying above try to send information through it successfully.

USAF

A US Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.

If GatewayOne works in that limited environment, the Air Force wants to then install it on an XQ-58A and test the system in the air sometime in April 2020. The service is working with Kratos to develop Valkyrie as a low-cost, stealthy platform that can work together tethered together with manned platforms in the “loyal wingman” role, as well as by itself or in networked swarms. These drones are supposed to be what the Air Force describes as “attritable,” meaning that they are cheap enough that commanders do not have to worry as much about whether or not they survive a mission.

What might come after that is unclear, but it is possible that this system could find its way onto various other platforms, manned and unmanned, to provide this capability. This would be similar in many respects to what has happened to the existing Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) communications hub, which can handle a wide variety of waveforms, including Link 16 and the Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL), the latter being another popular U.S. military data transfer system. The Air Force operates manned Bombardier E-11A and unmanned EQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft equipped with BACN.

TYLER ROGOWAY

A diagram showing how an F-15C/D carrying a Talon HATE pod will serve as a nexus between stealthy F-22s, other Eagles, and other assets, including ships and allied aircraft.

The service, in cooperation with Lockheed Martin, has also tested the U-2S Dragon Lady spy plane as a communications hub on an experimental basis. Just this year, as part of a test known as Project Riot, a U-2S acted a transfer node between an F-35 and a ground control station. The scenario involved the Joint Strike Fighter detecting a ballistic missile launch and feeding information to a missile defense command center to help with targeting that threat.

There is already a separate concept operation for F-35 data sharing that involves “daisy-chaining” information from one Joint Strike Fighter to another via MADL until it reaches an aircraft a safe distance away from the center of the action. That aircraft can then broadcast it onward to other platforms using Link 16 or up to a satellite above.

LOCKHEED MARTIN

A U-2S with an experimental communications node, identified by the gold-colored antenna protruding from the white section of the underside of the forward fuselage.

It’s hard to overstate how important it is for F-22s and F-35s to be able to rapidly exchange data with each other, as well as other platforms, while still maintaining their stealthy characteristics. Both aircraft have very powerful and multi-faceted sensor suites that can gather an immense amount of information to give their pilots a very good sense of what is going on in the battlespace around them. These aircraft often already act as “quarterbacks” for large aerial operations, including coalition efforts that also involve allied forces. In many cases, they are relegated to using voice directions to give crews in lesser aircraft directions, and even that may not be possible during a high-end fight.

If these two fleets can more readily share that information between each other and with other aircraft, as well as other assets, including ships and ground forces, they can help build an even more complete operational picture. It can also allow these different assets to exchange targeting quality information to actually engage threats. This means that a stealth platform can use information from third-party sensors while using its own emitters as sparingly as possible to reduce its own vulnerability.

Stealthy aircraft can also use their LPI/LPD sensors once they have penetrated into densely protected areas to find targets and then feed that information to non-stealthy platforms, which can then employ stand-off weapons from a safe distance against those targets. The U.S. Navy is also exploring similar concepts of operation as part of its Cooperative Engagement Capability and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) programs, which you can read about in more detail in this past War Zone piece.

Installing this capability on the XQ-58A makes good sense, too. Acting as a low-cost communications and data relay in high-risk environments, as well as helping push information from MADL and IFDL over the horizon, sounds like a perfect job for such a platform. Being able to process signals from either data link could also enable F-22 and F-35 pilots to exchange control of one or more Valkyries operating as a loyal wingman on the fly, as well.

If GatewayOne works on the relatively small XQ-58A, the Air Force could likely migrate GatewayOne onto other platforms, as well, making the capability more widely available. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Roper also made clear that he is looking at this particular connect-a-thon as a concept for driving rapid innovation and procurement, something he has become an outspoken advocate of, in general. If this works, he is hoping that it could help in the development and acquisition of new communications solutions, as well as other new capabilities, including low-cost satellite networks, which could broadly help the service expand its ability to share information and reduce the vulnerability of these critical data-sharing networks to both physical and non-kinetic attacks.

“We’re making it up as we go, right? There’s never been anything like this,” Roper said at the Defense Writers Group breakfast, according to Defense News. “We need a way for people to propose connections and get into the pipeline.”

“The good news about that is [that Congress and the Pentagon] don’t really have to believe us for very long,” he continued. “Just let us get through a few connect-a-thon cycles and if we’re failing miserably, then that should tell you something about the future of the program.”

If the GatewayOne effort proves successful it could be an extremely important step forward for how F-22s and F-35s, along with the XQ-58A, work with each other, as well as other U.S. military assets. This, in turn, could have a significant impact on how American forces share information across the battlefield, in general.

Source: The War Zone “Air Force Wants Its XQ-58A Valkyrie Drone To Help F-22s And F-35s Talk To Each Other”

Note: This is The War Zone’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The F-22 imperative


By: David A. Deptula and Douglas Birkey, Mitchell Institute   May 28

126

Says Dave Deptula and Douglas Birkey of Mitchell Institute call the F-22 “the crown jewels in the nation’s military arsenal.” (Air Force)

The loss of an F-22 Raptor during a training flight on May 15 serves as a wake-up call regarding the size of the Raptor inventory.

Tunnel vision over a decade ago related to counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq saw the nation buy too few F-22s, with just 187 purchased versus the 381 official military requirement. Now, with those wars largely in the rear-view mirror and a new National Defense Strategy, the capability attributes afforded by the F-22 are more important than ever.

These 5th generation stealth aircraft are the crown jewels in the nation’s military arsenal. The recent crash reinforces the need to double down on the F-22 force by fully funding necessary upgrades. No other capability — U.S. or foreign — will come close to the F-22 for years into the future. It is important that budget and inventory management decisions mirror that reality.

The F-22’s primary mission is to secure air superiority — a condition vital for any successful military operation. While the aircraft can also strike targets on the ground with great precision, and conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance inside contested airspace, at its heart the Raptor will remain an air-to-air champion. Because of its vast array of capabilities — not all known — the F-22 is our nation’s greatest conventional deterrent. While the current force size is small relative to other fighter forces, the F-22 has — at a minimum — an order of magnitude greater effect than any other fighter in the world.

The F-22 is a fundamentally unique airplane due to the unparalleled integration of stealth, sensor technology, processing power, and unrivaled flight performance. While many fighters have some elements of this mix, none possess the total package afforded by the F-22. Stealth makes it exceedingly difficult for an enemy to close the kill chain. Sensors and processing power allow it to understand the battlespace with tremendous acumen — allowing F-22s to be at the right place and time to achieve desired effects while minimizing vulnerabilities. Its flight characteristics of speed and maneuverability are simply unequaled by any other aircraft. Anyone questioning the value of the F-22 should consider why friends and foes alike are all pursuing options to develop like-capabilities — they are game-changing.

The fact that the nation needs more F-22s is not rocket science. However, since the F-22 production line closed years ago, this is not a feasible option. Ensuring the F-35 — a plane designed to complement the F-22 with a greater focus on ground attack — does not repeat this same mistake is certainly an important lesson. That aircraft is also an essential investment in our aerial arsenal. In fact, a greater F-35 annual buy-rate becomes more important given the small F-22 force. Future next generation air dominance concepts must also proceed. However, COVID-19-related budget pressures are likely going to delay meaningful advancement in this regard. Plans that exist at the PowerPoint level and theoretical operational concepts must not be confused with concrete capabilities that are able to meet current and future challenges. Further investments in aging designs like the F-16 and F-15, originally designed a half a century ago, simply fail to meet modern requirements. While these aircraft will remain an important part of the inventory out of necessity, their operational utility will diminish given they do not address the challenges that will increasingly dominate the security environment.

This leaves the F-22 as the nation’s keystone air superiority capability. Adversaries respect the aircraft and that is precisely why they are regularly deployed as a signal of resolve. If conflict erupts, F-22s will be at the forefront of operations. This places an extreme imperative upon funding Raptor upgrades to ensure they remain viable for years into the future. The most cost-effective way to increase the capacity of the F-22 force is to upgrade the 33 older block 20 F-22s used for training and test to full combat capability. This effects-based option would result in an additional squadron of F-22s for a minuscule fraction of the cost of attaining 5th generation fighter capacity any other way. For those who focus on cost, are they prepared to pay the price of not having the entire F-22 force at its peak potential? That bill would be measured in strategic objectives surrendered, significant force attrition, and lives lost.

Canceling the F-22’s production with half the military requirement unmet was a tragedy whose impact will be felt for years. However, that is runway behind us. What matters now is how we make the most of the F-22s we do have. Upgrading the older block 20 force of F-22s to full combat capability will deliver a very clear message to potential adversaries. It all comes down to real capability and capacity with the F-22s we possess. Let’s optimize that number. The security challenges of today and tomorrow demand nothing less.

David Deptula is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general with more than 3,000 flying hours. He planned the Desert Storm air campaign, orchestrated air operations over Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Power Studies. Douglas Birkey is the executive director of the Mitchell Institute, where he researches issues relating to the future of aerospace and national security.

Source: Defense One “The F-22 imperative”

Note: This is Defense One’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China’s Latest Aircraft Capable Of Tracking F-22 Raptors, F-35 Jets & US Experts Do Not Disagree


Published 10 hours ago on September 7, 2020

By Nitin J Ticku

China’s first carrier-based fixed-wing early warning aircraft (AEW) has successfully made its maiden flight and become only the second country after the United States to have successfully developed such a platform.

The new Xian KJ-600 AEW is going to boost the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) combat capability with its far-reaching eyes. “China’s aircraft carriers currently rely on early warning helicopters to do the job, but they can only carry smaller radars, have limited speed, and only cover a radius of about 200 kilometers, while a fixed-wing early warning aircraft can cover about 400 to 500 kilometers,” Wang Ya’nan, chief editor of Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times (GT).

The PLAN currently has two aircraft carriers. CNS Liaoning, which was originally a Soviet-era vessel which is 67,500 tons, 999 feet long and 246 feet across.

CNS Shandong which is China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier was commissioned last year by President Xi Jinping. It can carry at least 36 J-15 fighter jets on its flight deck, unlike Liaoning which could carry only 24.

It has conventional propulsion systems and uses a ramp to launch J-15 fighter jets, the spearhead of China’s carriers, like CNS Liaoning. The ship also deploys several types of helicopters. “It features the advanced Type 346 S-band AESA radar system,” said a CSIS note on the vessel.

According to reports, the KJ-600 was spotted in satellite imagery of the Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation’s airfield at Xian-Yanliang in central China.

The Xian KJ-600 is a twin-engine, high-wing cargo aircraft and airborne early warning and control aircraft. “There is no evidence yet if the KJ-600 can operate on China’s current two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong, which use ski-jump flight decks without catapults,” Wang told GT.

China’s third aircraft carrier is expected to use a flat flight deck with electromagnetic catapults, which will be compatible with the KJ-600, the analyst added. The KJ-600 is expected to be deployed on Type 003, China’s third aircraft carrier that hasn’t been launched yet.

The prototype Xian KJ-600 AEW plane. IMAGERY FROM PLANET LABS INC

Experts have pointed out striking similarities to the US’ Grumman E-2 Hawkeye. As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, images surfaced on the media showed a new Chinese carrier-based Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft named KJ-600, strikingly resembling the US Navy’s E-2C Hawkeye- twin turboprop with high mounted long straight wings that fold for carrier storage. The radar is carried in a large rotodome atop the fuselage. Lastly, the tail is split into several smaller vertical stabilizers, like bombers of World War II.

Two decades ago, the US pressured Israel to scrap the AWACS deal because the spy plane would give China a strategic advantage over America’s AWACS aircraft in any conflict over Taiwan. This acted as a major dent in Israel-China ties.

Israel has recently signed a $2 billion deal with India which includes plans to sell its Phalcon AWACS. Under the deal, India and Israel plan to jointly manufacture arms supplies and defense equipment.

Beijing-based military expert Li Jie told Global Security in January 2018 that the aircraft can detect Lockheed Martin’s stealthy, fifth-generation F-35, and F-22 aircraft. Unconfirmed reports have said that Chinese radars are capable of tracking the F-22, although the PLA dismissed such reports claiming that it sent warships and helicopters to an area in the East China Sea after detecting the Raptor.

While the Chinese report might be easily dismissed as propaganda—it is not beyond the realm of possibility. In fact—it’s very possible that China can track the Raptor. Stealth is not a cloak of invisibility, after all. Stealth technology simply delays detection and tracking,” wrote Dave Majumdar for US magazine – the National Interest.

Source: EraAsian Times “China’s Latest Aircraft Capable Of Tracking F-22 Raptors, F-35 Jets & US Experts Do Not Disagree”

Note: This is EurAsian Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China Claims The F-22 Is As Flawed As The Old F-4 Phantom


Michael Peck, Contributor

Aug 13, 2020,10:35am EDT

America’s vaunted F-22 Raptor stealth fighter has a major weakness, according to China’s top aircraft designer: It was designed to fight Russia in Europe, not China in the Pacific.

In fact, Yang Wei, chief designer of the J-20 Mighty Dragon – China’s first stealth fighter – says that if the F-22 were to fly against China, it would suffer the same problems that the F-4 Phantom suffered when flying over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War a half-century ago.

Writing in the Chinese aeronautics journal Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica, Yang suggested that the F-22 “could face the same challenges in the region as the F-4 fighter-bombers the Pentagon sent to the Vietnam war between 1965 and 1973,” according to the South China Morning Post.

The complex environment and political constraints in Vietnam caused the F-4 to almost fail to show its high-speed performance and over-the-horizon combat capabilities,” Yang wrote.

Other Chinese military analysts echoed those sentiments. “The J-20’s biggest advantage was that it was developed later, meaning its designers could learn from the F-22 – including how to fix shortcomings, and what type of new technologies could be used to optimize the aircraft,” defense expert Song Zhongping told the Post.

The F-22 was originally designed for combat with the former Soviet Union, or today’s Russia, in Europe, but now the Raptor’s main opponent is the [People’s Liberation Army] in the Asia-Pacific. China’s J-20 was inspired by the F-22’s deployment. The Chinese aircraft designers used the Raptor as a rival and the F-35 [stealth multi-role fighter] as a tactical opponent to help them to come up with a more practical and capable fighter jet.”

Chinese experts rightly note that the J-20, which first flew in 2011, has the advantage of coming later than the F-22, which first flew in 1997. It’s also true that some F-22 features seem more suitable for Europe than the Pacific. In particular, the F-22 only has a combat range of about 500 miles, which might be fine for the narrow confines of Eastern Europe, but less so for the vast expanses of the Pacific. The J-20’s 700-mile combat range gives the Mighty Dragon a longer reach over hotspots such as the South China Sea.

But comparing the F-22 Raptor to the F-4 Phantom is like comparing a Ferrari to a minivan. The F-4 was originally designed as a Navy interceptor in the late 1950s, to destroy Soviet bombers. The Phantom was a heavy beast that could move fast, but with agility that was described as proving that even a brick could fly if you strap two big engines on it.

In the arrogant belief that dogfighting was obsolete and aerial warfare would be waged by air-to-air guided missiles, the F-4 initially wasn’t even armed with a cannon. But the Phantom and its overconfident U.S. Air Force and Navy pilots soon received a rude awakening over North Vietnam, when they found themselves engaging in low-speed dogfights against nimble MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21 fighters.

Long-range missile shots against targets on radar were precluded by U.S. rules of engagement, which mandated visual identification in skies where most aircraft were American. U.S. pilots were not well-trained in dogfighting until the early 1970s, when the Navy began its TOPGUN program. And those early air-to-air missiles – especially the medium-range, radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow – proved unreliable in combat.

While there are conflicting estimates of kill ratios, U.S. fighters battling a Third World air force may have achieved a kill ratio of as little as 2-to-1 against the MiGs. Considering the restrictions that U.S. pilots labored under, even that was an achievement.

But the air war over the South China Sea would be nothing like the skies over Hanoi. Unlike the F-4, the F-22 is super-maneuverable, including swiveling engine nozzles for thrust-vectoring. The Raptor’s stealth and sensors are designed to allow the fighter to pick off enemy aircraft at long range, using AIM-120 missiles that can hit targets 100 miles away. Airborne early warning aircraft and data networking will enable the F-22, and its cousin, the F-35, to detect and destroy targets without coming into visual range. The notion of the F-22 engaging in close-range knife fights against Chinese fighters is almost insane.

On the other hand, the J-20 is no lithe Cold War MiG. In fact, the J-20 and the F-22 weigh about 21 tons. Rather than an agile dogfighter, Western observers have questioned whether the J-20 is really a heavy interceptor, especially given the limitations of its current Russian-made engines. While the latest J-20s will have thrust vectoring, in some ways the J-20 seems closer to the F-4 Phantom and the F-22.

Finally, comparing the F-22 to the F-4 is as much praise as insult. For all its design flaws and ungainly appearance, the Phantom has proved its versatility and toughness as a fighter, bomber and recon plane in numerous conflicts across the Middle East and Asia for nearly a half-century. The F-22 and the J-20 should be so lucky.

Source: Forbes “China Claims The F-22 Is As Flawed As The Old F-4 Phantom”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


America’s F-22 stealth fighter may be limited in Asia-Pacific conditions, China’s J-20 designer says


  • Aircraft has been sent to the region but was designed for combat in Europe, which could affect its capabilities, according to Yang Wei
  • China’s answer to the Raptor has yet to be put to the test in a real combat situation, military expert notes
F-22 Raptors fly above Syria in 2018. A top Chinese aircraft designer says the US stealth fighters were designed for combat in Europe and could face challenges in the Asia-Pacific. Photo: EPA-EFE / US Air Force

America’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter was designed for combat in Europe but is now being used in the Asia-Pacific, according to a top Chinese aircraft designer, who says the different conditions will limit its capabilities there.

Yang Wei, general designer of China’s first stealth fighter the J-20, said the twin-engine F-22s could face the same challenges in the region as the F-4 fighter-bombers the Pentagon sent to the Vietnam war between 1965 and 1973.

“The complex environment and political constraints in Vietnam caused the F-4 to almost fail to show its high-speed performance and over-the-horizon combat capabilities,” Yang wrote in a paper published in Chinese aeronautics journal Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica last month.

He said the F-22, a tactical fighter inspired by the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, was designed for battle in Europe and could face similar problems now that it had been deployed in the Asia-Pacific.

The J-20, China’s first stealth fighter, went into service in 2017. Photo: Xinhua
The J-20, China’s first stealth fighter, went into service in 2017. Photo: Xinhua
Yang did not draw any

comparisons between America’s F-22 and China’s J-20

– both fifth-generation, twin-engine heavy fighter jets and of a similar size.

But military experts said his remarks indicated that the J-20 Weilong, or Powerful Dragon, was clearly seen as China’s answer to the F-22.
“The F-22 was originally designed for combat with the former Soviet Union, or today’s Russia, in Europe, but now the Raptor’s main opponent is the [People’s Liberation Army] in the Asia-Pacific,” Song said.
Powerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22sPowerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22s

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Powerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22s

The F-22 has a comparatively shorter range – with a combat radius of 800km (497 miles), while the J-20’s large internal fuel tank can sustain a longer combat radius of 1,100km (684 miles).

But Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming noted that the J-20, which entered service in 2017, had yet to be put to the test in a real combat situation.

Andrei Chang, founder of influential military magazine Kanwa Asian Defence, said that in contrast, the F-22’s combat capabilities had been seen, most recently last year when the stealth fighters were sent to Qatar as tensions rose with Iran.
Washington’s hardened position on Beijing’s claims in South China Sea heightens US-China tensionsWashington’s hardened position on Beijing’s claims in South China Sea heightens US-China tensions

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Washington’s hardened position on Beijing’s claims in South China Sea heightens US-China tensions

“At the moment China has about 60 J-20s – just one-third of the total number of F-22s,” said the source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“Now the US has deployed hundreds of F-35s to the region, so it’s an even bigger threat to China,” he added.

With F-22s being deployed to the Asia-Pacific region – and as relations worsen with Washington, including over the

disputed South China Sea

– Beijing has stepped up development of its new stealth fighter. Mass production of the J-20B

began earlier this month

.

Source: SCMP “America’s F-22 stealth fighter may be limited in Asia-Pacific conditions, China’s J-20 designer says”

Note: This is SCMP’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views


China’s stealth fighter goes into mass production after thrust upgrade


  • The J-20B has overcome agility problems to finally be considered a fully fledged fifth-generation fighter, military source says
  • Aircraft still will be fitted with Russian engine but ‘Chinese version could be ready in a year or two’
China’s first J-20 stealth fighter jets entered service in 2017. Photo: AP

A modified version of

China’s first stealth fighter jet, the J-20, 

has formally entered mass production, with upgrades earning it a place as a fifth-generation fighter jet, according to a military source close to the project.

The moment was marked at a ceremonial unveiling of the modified J-20B stealth fighter jet on Wednesday attended by many senior military leaders including Central Military Commission (CMC) vice-chairman General Zhang Youxia, the source said.

Zhang is the second-ranked vice-chairman of the CMC and is in charge of weapons development for the People’s Liberation Army.

“Mass production of the J-20B started on Wednesday. It has finally become a complete stealth fighter jet, with its agility meeting the original criteria,” the source said.

Thrust vector control (TVC) allows pilots to better control the aircraft by redirecting engine thrust.

In 2018, China debuted its J-10C multirole fighter –

fitted with a WS-10 Taihang engine  – at the China air show in Zhuhai, putting the aircraft through its paces in a performance that indicated that China had succeeded in thrust technology.

Chinese engineers

have been developing high-thrust turbofan WS-15 engines

for the J-20, but that work has fallen behind schedule.

“The Chinese engine designed for the J-20s still failed to meet requirements, but its development is going quite smoothly, and it may be ready in the next one or two years,” the source said.

“The ultimate goal is to equip the J-20B fighter jets with domestic engines.”

Powerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22sPowerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22s

Powerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22s

China’s first batch of J-20s entered service in 2017 when the US decided to deploy more than 100 F-35s to Japan and South Korea that year.

The J-20 was meant to be a fifth-generation fighter jet on a par with Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning multirole strike fighters.

Fifth-generation fighters are defined by their stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, super manoeuvrability, and highly integrated avionics.

But the earlier version of the J-20 was described by Western media as a “dedicated interceptor aircraft” because of its lack of agility.

“The launch of the J-20B means this aircraft now is a formal fifth-generation fighter jet,” the military source said, adding that Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), which manufactures the J-20s, had received “heavy orders” from the PLA.

CAC set up its fourth production line in 2019, each one with a capacity to make about one J-20 a month.

China’s J-20 stealth fighters ready for combatChina’s J-20 stealth fighters ready for combat

China’s J-20 stealth fighters ready for combat


Sukhoi Su-57, Russia’s 5th Generation stealth fighter with 6th Generation technology?


Sukhoi Su-57, the 5th Generation Russian combat aircraft, also uses technologies being developed for the 6th Generation fighters making it a “breakthrough” platform. The Su-57, which is already in service with the Russian Aerospace Force, is the first 5th Generation fighter developed and operationalised by Russia.

Written By:

Zee Media Bureau

Updated: Jun 08, 2020, 13:16 PM IST

Sukhoi Su-57, the 5th Generation Russian combat aircraft, also uses technologies being developed for the 6th Generation fighters making it a “breakthrough” platform. The Su-57, which is already in service with the Russian Aerospace Force, is the first 5th Generation fighter developed and operationalised by Russia.

While the Russian authorities have not revealed many of the technical specifications of the Su-57, according to Chinese news portal Sohu, the Sukhoi fighter has the capability of an unmanned piloting mode and artificial-intelligence combat. The two features make the Su-57 a fighter which also incorporates 6th Generation technology.

The Sohu article mentions that Russia has made a “breakthrough” by using 6th Generation technologies in the Sukhoi-built jet. The unmanned pilot mode can allow the Su-57 to undergo extreme g force not possible in the current fighters in service with the air forces around the world. Most modern fighters can take up to 9g force but the pilot’s reaction becomes extremely slow in such a situation whereas an unmanned version of a fighter plane can take much more stress.

Russian defence officials have claimed that the unmanned version of Su-57 can withstand up to 15g stress. According to Russia’s Sputniknews.com, the development of the unpiloted mode of Su-57 fighter is already under progress.

“The T-50 (Sukhoi’s internal name for the Su-57) flying laboratory is testing an unpiloted mode. A pilot is in the cockpit during a flight but is just controlling the operation of all systems,” Sputniknews had quoted a defence source as saying on May 16, 2020.

China has its own 5th Generation fighter Chengdu J-20 which is in service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, the developer of J-20, is also working on an unmanned version of the fighter. The first stealth fighter to enter service was the F-22 Raptor of the United States of America which also has operationalised the F-35 Lightning II, its second 5th Generation combat jet.

Along with stealth capabilities, the Su-57 claims to have supercruise, supermaneuverability and advanced avionics. A total of 76 Su-57 jets have been ordered for the Russian Aerospace Force and a few of them have already been delivered.

Source: zeenews.india.com “Sukhoi Su-57, Russia’s 5th Generation stealth fighter with 6th Generation technology?”

Note: This is zeemews.india.com’s ..article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


The F-22 imperative


By: David A. Deptula and Douglas Birkey, Mitchell Institute

The loss of an F-22 Raptor during a training flight on May 15 serves as a wake-up call regarding the size of the Raptor inventory.

Tunnel vision over a decade ago related to counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq saw the nation buy too few F-22s, with just 187 purchased versus the 381 official military requirement. Now, with those wars largely in the rear-view mirror and a new National Defense Strategy, the capability attributes afforded by the F-22 are more important than ever.

These 5th generation stealth aircraft are the crown jewels in the nation’s military arsenal. The recent crash reinforces the need to double down on the F-22 force by fully funding necessary upgrades. No other capability — U.S. or foreign — will come close to the F-22 for years into the future. It is important that budget and inventory management decisions mirror that reality.

The F-22’s primary mission is to secure air superiority — a condition vital for any successful military operation. While the aircraft can also strike targets on the ground with great precision, and conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance inside contested airspace, at its heart the Raptor will remain an air-to-air champion. Because of its vast array of capabilities — not all known — the F-22 is our nation’s greatest conventional deterrent. While the current force size is small relative to other fighter forces, the F-22 has — at a minimum — an order of magnitude greater effect than any other fighter in the world.

The F-22 is a fundamentally unique airplane due to the unparalleled integration of stealth, sensor technology, processing power, and unrivaled flight performance. While many fighters have some elements of this mix, none possess the total package afforded by the F-22. Stealth makes it exceedingly difficult for an enemy to close the kill chain. Sensors and processing power allow it to understand the battlespace with tremendous acumen — allowing F-22s to be at the right place and time to achieve desired effects while minimizing vulnerabilities. Its flight characteristics of speed and maneuverability are simply unequaled by any other aircraft. Anyone questioning the value of the F-22 should consider why friends and foes alike are all pursuing options to develop like-capabilities — they are game-changing.

The fact that the nation needs more F-22s is not rocket science. However, since the F-22 production line closed years ago, this is not a feasible option. Ensuring the F-35 — a plane designed to complement the F-22 with a greater focus on ground attack — does not repeat this same mistake is certainly an important lesson. That aircraft is also an essential investment in our aerial arsenal. In fact, a greater F-35 annual buy-rate becomes more important given the small F-22 force. Future next generation air dominance concepts must also proceed. However, COVID-19-related budget pressures are likely going to delay meaningful advancement in this regard. Plans that exist at the PowerPoint level and theoretical operational concepts must not be confused with concrete capabilities that are able to meet current and future challenges. Further investments in aging designs like the F-16 and F-15, originally designed a half a century ago, simply fail to meet modern requirements. While these aircraft will remain an important part of the inventory out of necessity, their operational utility will diminish given they do not address the challenges that will increasingly dominate the security environment.

This leaves the F-22 as the nation’s keystone air superiority capability. Adversaries respect the aircraft and that is precisely why they are regularly deployed as a signal of resolve. If conflict erupts, F-22s will be at the forefront of operations. This places an extreme imperative upon funding Raptor upgrades to ensure they remain viable for years into the future. The most cost-effective way to increase the capacity of the F-22 force is to upgrade the 33 older block 20 F-22s used for training and test to full combat capability. This effects-based option would result in an additional squadron of F-22s for a minuscule fraction of the cost of attaining 5th generation fighter capacity any other way. For those who focus on cost, are they prepared to pay the price of not having the entire F-22 force at its peak potential? That bill would be measured in strategic objectives surrendered, significant force attrition, and lives lost.

Canceling the F-22’s production with half the military requirement unmet was a tragedy whose impact will be felt for years. However, that is runway behind us. What matters now is how we make the most of the F-22s we do have. Upgrading the older block 20 force of F-22s to full combat capability will deliver a very clear message to potential adversaries. It all comes down to real capability and capacity with the F-22s we possess. Let’s optimize that number. The security challenges of today and tomorrow demand nothing less.

Source: Defense News “The F-22 imperative”

Note: This is Defense News’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Chinese Radar Can Detect, Track, Guide Hitting F-22, B-21, etc.


In National Interest’s article “Not Good: China Claims It Can Find and Track the F-22” by Michael Peck on October 8, 2019, the author says that the physics Chinese experts claim about Chinese radar’s capabilities to detect, track and guide long-range missiles to shoot down F-22 and other stealth warplanes “seem plausible”. That means he cannot deny the claim. He, however, has to ask: “How easily can the Chinese meter-wave radar be spoofed or jammed? How vulnerable are these radar complexes – comprising multiple antennae – to being destroyed by missiles?”

That is practical. Since China has such powerful radar, what the US can do is but to spoof, jam or destroy the radar by missiles. He does not know whether and how the US can do that as he has no answers to his questions!

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/not-good-china-claims-it-can-find-and-track-f-22-86751.

Note: This is an old post dated October 10, 2019 and reposted due to readers’ interest.


Venezuelan Air Defence’s Chinese-made Radar Detects US F-22 Stealth Jet


Our Bureau 09:16 AM, May 13, 2020 10442

A Chinese-made type JY-27 radar deployed by Venezuelan Air Defense detected a United States F22 stealth aircraft as it approached the country’s airspace and sent a warning to the American fighter jet on Tuesday.

According to Avia Pro website, following the incident the Venezuelan army issued a warning to the US Air Force on May 12 that it was ready to fire without warning at any American aircraft if it tried to violate the country’s airspace.

The F-22 had attempted to violate the country’s borders in a “provocative manner,” information released by the site said quoting unnamed military sources.

The website said that the radar that detected the top-of-the-line American fighter is a Chinese-made radar type JY-27.

The incident follows the May 6 failed invasion attempt when mercenaries hired by a US security contractor were intercepted before they could carry out a mission to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro. Two US citizens, part of the invading party, have been arrested.

The Chinese made type JY-27 ‘Wide Mat’ long-range early warning radar is claimed to detect stealth aircraft up to 500 km radius. In February 2016, the radar tracked an F-22 which was on its way to South Korea from Japan, Chinese media has claimed. However other reports say the tracking may have been facilitated by external fuel tanks on the F-22 needed to undertake the long trip.

China had revealed the radar at the 2016 Zhuhai air show. Called the JY-27A 3-D, it is a Very High Frequency (VHF) active phased array radar. VHF radars, with their longer wavelengths are capable of detecting stealth aircraft.

The radar is said to have been sold to several countries including Venezuela and Pakistan. If the Venezuelan detection of the F-22 is proven, then it is bad news for the US military which has developed the F-22 and F-35 on the assumption that enemy radars will not be able to detect these aircraft until it is too late to avoid an attack.

The radar is mounted on a mobile platform which enables it to move away after detecting the enemy aircraft, thus avoiding counter-measures.

Editorial comment: Venezuela had ordered up to 9 JYL-1 long range 3D air surveillance radars from China starting 2006. However, there is no information of it having acquired the more modern JY-27 3D radar. Nevertheless, China is known to deploy its cutting edge defence equipment for tests with friendly countries.

The theory of the placement of the JY-27 radar with friendly countries for testing gains currency following the detection of one such radar in a Pakistani air base in August 2019. Pakistan has not announced the purchase; nor did China reveal the sale without identifying the customer, as it normally does.

China had cliamed a major breakthrough in radar technology with the development of JY-27 very high frequency (VHF) radar specifically marking out the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets as within its gaze. It may want to test the radar extensively in regions where there is considerable movement of US aircraft.

Source: Defense World “Venezuelan Air Defence’s Chinese-made Radar Detects US F-22 Stealth Jet”

Note: This is Defense World’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.