J-20 Definitely Superior to F-35, F-22


National Interest’s article “Why China Thinks Its Stealth Fighter is Better Than the F-35” quotes the description by Chinese defense magazine Shipboard Weapons’ article on J-20 being superior to American jets in many categories.

The article says nothing to refute the description but says, “However, the Shipboard Weapons article does gloss over a few problems. Chief among them is the J-20, an as-yet unproven design whose WS-15 engines have been plagued with reliability issues.”

The problems for the National Interest’s article is that it has nothing to prove WS-15 engines have been plagued with reliability issues. On the contrary, my post has proved that at least three batches of WS-15 have been delivered. (see my post “At Least 3 Batches of World Most Powerful WS-15 Engine Delivered” on September 1).

If WS-15 had been plagued with reliability issues, no one would have accepted delivery of at least three batches of it.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/why-china-thinks-its-stealth-fighter-better-f-35-82536.

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No One Fears US B-21 Bomber that Hasn’t Been Made Yet


National Interest’s article “Why Everyone Is Right to Fear America’s Mighty B-21 Bomber” shows US arrogance as it believes that others may be scared by the mere initial ideas about a stealth bomber the US has not been able to make yet.

The US has made its littoral combat ships and believes that they are able to scare others’ navy but find that no one is scared as such ships simply have no reliable air defense.

It has developed very expensive Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers with formidable cannons but find it cannot afford the ammunition of the cannons resulting in the destroyer becoming laughing stock.

It has perfect ideas about the development of its F-35 stealth fighters but takes more than a decade to become able to mass produce the fighter jets. Still the warplanes cannot fly at Mach 1.3 without booster and is barely able to fly at such a speed for a minute.

With such poor track records of weapon development, can others be scared by US ideas about its new stealth bomber that may take a decade to develop? Such ideas may well become obsolete in a decade due to the fast progress of technology.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/why-everyone-right-fear-americas-mighty-b-21-bomber-79161.


China Developing but US Has No Idea about 6th-generation Warplane


Why Is the US Losing to China in Arms Race?

I have had quite a lot of posts on that topic but that is a topic worth elaborating so that whenever I have something to write I will do so to provide information for and entertain readers.

US military is notoriously incompetent in developing new weapons. It had a plan to regard Littoral Combat Ships as the future of its Navy but has now to scrap that plan after production of dozens of such ships. Its Zumwalt-class destroyer is another laughing stock. Its design and development of its fifth-generation fighter jet F-35 have encountered even greater problems.

China, however, has a tradition of developing a second generation for a decade while improving the existing one and planning for the third generation. Now that it has caught up and surpassed the US in developing its 5th-generation fighter jet, it is busy developing its sixth-generation fighter jet though it has no example to follow as the US has no idea about that generation of fighter jet.

China admits the difficulty but believe that it is time now for it to set the example.

According to thedrive.com‘s article “”B-21s With Air-To-Air Capabilities,” Drones, Not 6th Gen Fighters To Dominate Future Air Combat”, US military does not even have the idea how to develop 6th-generation fighter jet. The article says:

The U.S. Air Force is still working to iron out just what it thinks air-to-air combat will look like a decade from now and what types of aircraft it will need to come out on top in any future fight. As part of its ongoing Next Generation Air Dominance program, or NGAD, the service is exploring a wide array of manned, unmanned, and pilot-optional concepts, as well as advanced associated technologies, including increased network connectivity and autonomous capabilities. At the same time, however, it has steadily moved away from plans for a once much-touted sixth-generation fighter jet.

China has top scientists and engineers in its military while the environment of US military is disgusting to scientists and engineers. The US has to rely on military officers not proficient in the most advanced science and technology for development of new weapons. That is why the US lags behind China in innovation and creation for weapon development.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on thedrive.com’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29690/b-21s-with-air-to-air-capabilities-drones-not-6th-gen-fighters-to-dominate-future-air-combat.


At Least 3 Batches of World Most Powerful WS-15 Engine Delivered


news.discuss.com.hk website’s report “[China’s J-20 fighter jet’] functions of WS-15 engine stronger than foreign ‘water-injected’ ones”

Not long ago a piece of news disclosed by official source excites lots of military fans.

A third batch of China’s WS-15 turbofans has been delivered with performance much better than US F-135 engine. The report claims that WS-15 is absolutely the most powerful in the world.

The news that a third batch of WS-15 has been delivered is based on the following award list.

The third item in the list reads “design and research of the structure of the base of the air inlet of batch 03 of XX-15 engine based on MBD”.

Source: news.discuss.com.hk “[China’s J-20 fighter jet] functions of WS-15 engine stronger than foreign ‘water-injected’ ones” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese).


J-20 not FC-31 Chosen as China’s Carrier-Borne Stealth Fighter


SCMP’s article “China’s navy ‘set to pick J-20 stealth jets for its next generation carriers’” on August 27 says that China has chosen J-20 instead of FC-31 as its carrier-borne stealth fighter.

There must be good reason for such a choice as to defend China’s trade lifelines on the ocean, J-20 will have longer-range and be better armed than F-35. J-20 is much heavier than F-35 so that it can carry better radar to detect and track F-35s before being detected by F-35 and be equipped with longer-range air-to-air missiles to hit F-35s before they can hit back. However, as China has not built any carriers with powerful catapult to help J-20 take off, it certainly is not in a position to make the choice; therefore, such a choice is but speculation.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3024584/chinas-navy-set-pick-j-20-stealth-jets-its-next-generation.


China’s J-20 ‘Heavy’ Stealth Fighter: Can It Kill F-22 and F-35 Fighters?


Let us take a look.

by Sebastien Roblin

Image: Chinese Internet

J-20 pilots also are equipped with helmet-mounted sights that allow them to target high-off-boresight PL-10E heat-seeking missiles within a 90-degree angle of the plane’s nose simply by looking at the target. The short-range missiles are stored in small side-bays but can be cunningly rotated outside prior to launch, as depicted here.

In January 2011, the maiden flight of a large, dagger-like grey jet announced that China had developed its first stealth aircraft—the Chengdu J-20 “Mighty Dragon.” Six years later, after several substantial revisions, J-20s entered operational service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.

(This first appeared late last year.)

As radar-guided missiles from fighters and ground-based launchers threaten aircraft from dozens, or even hundreds of miles away, stealth capabilities are increasingly perceived as necessary for keeping fighter pilots alive on the modern battlefield.

But just how good is the J-20? And what is its intended role? After all, America’s first stealth fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk, was not even really a fighter and lacked any air-to-air capability whatsoever.

The PLA has, true to custom, kept its cards close to the chest, and has not shared performance specifications to the public. Thus, there are broad estimates of the J-20’s top speed (around Mach 2), and considerable-seeming range (1,200 to 2,000 miles), but those remain just that—estimates. For years, analysts even over-estimated the aircraft’s length by two meters. It’s broad but relatively shallow weapons bay can accommodate four to six long-range missiles or bombs, though not munitions with especially heavy warheads.

International observers generally concluded the large twin-engine jet possessed high speed and long operational range, but that the Mighty Dragon lacked the maneuverability necessary to prevail in close engagements with enemy fighters. Relatively modest aerobatic displays in the Zhuhai 2016 and 2018 airshows (you can see some of the latter here) reinforced the narrative in certain quarters that the J-20 isn’t optimized for gut-wrenching air combat maneuvers.

Given the above premises, observers mostly speculate the J-20 would either serve as long-range supersonic strike plane, or a hit-and-run interceptor used to slip past fighter screens and take out vulnerable supporting tanker and AWACS planes.

However, Rick Joe of The Diplomat argues these theories of the J-20’s supposedly specialized role might be a case of group-think, ignoring both design features and statements by Chinese sources suggesting the J-20 was intended as a multi-role fighter with “competitive” dogfighting capability.

For example, a brochure distributed at Zhuhai 2018 explicitly stated the J-20 was capable of “seizing & maintain air superiority, medium & long range interception, escort and deep strike.” In other words, a multi-role fighter.

A commonly insinuated premise is that the Chinese aerospace industry was not capable of producing a fifth generation air superiority fighter, and would have to “settle” for a less technically challenging interceptor or striker instead,” Joe argues.

He points out that the lengthy J-20 is still shorter than the Russian Su-35 Flanker-E, one of the most maneuverable jet fighters ever designed. He further cites a 2001 study by Song Wecong, mentor of the J-20 designer Yang Wei, which you can read translated here. Wecong wrote that stealth aircraft “must have the capability to supercruise and perform unconventional maneuvers such as post-stall maneuvers.”

Song concluded the ideal stealth fighter would incorporate canards (a second, small set of wings close to the nose of the plane), leading-edge root extensions (or “strakes,” a thin surface extending where the wing emerges from the fuselages), and S-shaped belly intakes, in order to balance stealth, speed and maneuverability. These are all design characteristics evident in the J-20.

While details on the J-20’s radar remains elusive (presumably a low-probability of intercept AESA radar), it also mounts arrays of electro-optical and infrared sensors with 360-degree coverage, reportedly designed to fuse sensor data to form a common “picture” and even share it with friendly forces via a datalink—technology seemingly modeled on the advanced sensors found on the American F-35. Such sensors could be particularly useful for detecting radar-eluding stealth aircraft.

J-20 pilots also are equipped with helmet-mounted sights that allow them to target high-off-boresight PL-10E heat-seeking missiles within a 90-degree angle of the plane’s nose simply by looking at the target. The short-range missiles are stored in small side-bays but can be cunningly rotated outside prior to launch, as depicted here.

These by no means unprecedented capabilities nonetheless suggest that the J-20 may be designed to hold its own in a close-range encounter, not just sling long-range hypersonic PL-15 missiles from its fuselage bay from dozens of miles away. Particularly when engaging agile fighters, short-range missiles (which might still threaten targets over a dozen miles away) have a much higher probability of a kill—by some estimates, up to 80 percent.

Chinese designers have also expressed interest in incorporating vector-thrust engines in the J-20. These have moving exhaust nozzles to assist in pulling off tight maneuvers. The PLAAF recently acquired Su-35 fighters from Russia with vector-thrust engines, and also reportedly tested domestic vector-thrust turbofans on a J-10B two-seat fighter.

Despite the awesome maneuvers enabled by vector-thrust engines, they are far from being automatically included in modern fighters. This is because they significantly add to weight, cost, and difficulty in minimizing radar cross section (RCS). Moreover, when vector-thrust engines are over-used in combat, they can bleed off energy rapidly, leaving the aircraft sluggish and vulnerable to enemy fighters (as occurred in one exercise in Nevada pitting U.S. F-15s against Indian Air Force Flankers). For this reason, few Western fighters incorporate vector-thrust technology, the F-22 being a notable exception. China’s interest in thrust-vectoring again suggests it sees relevance in agility.

The J-20’s short-range capabilities naturally lead to the question—what exactly happens when two stealth fighters clash? If their stealth qualities are robust, both aircraft may only be able to detect each other within 50 miles or less—at which point air combat maneuvers could prove important. As U.S. stealth aircraft are one of the chief military threats to China, it seems reasonable to assume the J-20 would be designed to have a fighting chance against them.

While the J-20 would likely remain outclassed by the F-22, it could potentially prove a dangerous adversary to the F-35, which is not as optimized for within-visual-range engagements. However, both the F-22 and F-35 are believed to have a significantly lower all-around RCS than the J-20, though the Chinese fighter still appears to be significantly stealthier than the Russian Su-57.

A 2011 analysis by Australian aviation expert Carlo Kopp concluded that J-20 probably had strong stealth from a frontal aspect, but a larger radar cross section (RCS) when scanned from the side or rear—a limitation also found in the Russian Su-57 stealth fighter.

But as the extent and type of the radar-absorbent materials used affect RCS, visual analysis alone cannot determine how stealthy an aircraft is. This has not dissuaded the U.S. Marine Corps from a building a full-scale mock-up of a J-20 in Georgia for study and training purposes. The Indian Air Force has boasted its Su-30 Flankers have tracked J-20s on radar, but as stealth fighters often employ emitters called “Luneburg Lens” to enlarge their RCS on routine flights, and thus conceal their true capabilities, it’s difficult to infer much from this either.

Another issue confusing analysis of the J-20 is that it doesn’t yet have the high-thrust WS-15 turbofans the PLAAF envisioned for them, and are making do with Russian AL-31F engines instead. Even China’s fourth-generation jets have been frustrated by deficient jet engines. The WS-15 generates 23 percent more thrust than the AL-31FN, and would enable the J-20 to super-cruise, or sustain supersonic speeds without resorting to fuel-gulping afterburners. Thus, certain more aggressive projections of J-20 performance, such as a top speed of Mach 2.5, may be premised on engines that have yet to be fully developed.

As long as the PLAAF has only a few dozen J-20s in service, it may make sense to reserve them for hit-and-run tactics and special deep strikes. But as the article in the Diplomat points out, there’s ample evidence the J-20 may be intended to grow into a capable all-rounder that can hold its own in a dogfight.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “China’s J-20 ‘Heavy’ Stealth Fighter: Can It Kill F-22 and F-35 Fighters?”

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


China says it can track F-35s operating in stealth mode with new radar


By News Desk –

2019-08-07

China has developed a meter wave anti-stealth radar it says can be used to spot enemy stealth aircraft and even guide Chinese missiles toward them, China’s Global Times has reported.

Speaking to the newspaper, Wu Jiangqi, a senior defence scientist at China Electronics Technology Group, a state-owned electronics giant which creates of a variety of applications for civilian and military use, including radars, said that meter wave radar “can fulfill the requirement” of detecting enemy stealth systems with high precision “as long as they are designed to serve this purpose.”

The new radar, which can be deployed across a range of platforms, from vehicles to warships, as well as stationary installations, is said to be designed to hone in on stealth aircraft, which are designed to be ‘invisible’ to microwave radar, by using meter wave radar.

Wu’s team is said to have solved the fundamental problem of low resolution and accuracy of meter wave systems by creating a ‘meter wave sparse array synthetic impulse and aperture radar’, which monitors the skies consistently, processing pings from an array of transmitting and receiving antennas reaching dozens of meters into the air.

According to Wu, his team’s anti-stealth radar is unmatched in its capabilities. “As for now, I do not see a meter wave air defence radar from abroad that can match the criteria of the advanced meter wave radar [like the one China has],” he said.

Commenting on the report, National Interest, a prominent US publication specialising in defence issues, said questions remain regarding the effectiveness of the new Chinese anti-stealth radar system, noting that Chinese engineers have not specified how susceptibility to jamming or spoofing, along with its potential vulnerability to enemy missiles is dealt with.

In the end, the problem with evaluating anti-stealth is the same as evaluating stealth: we really won’t know how well any of this will work until it is used in combat,” contributor Michael Peck wrote.

Russian defence analysts have long said that Russia’s Podsolnukh (‘Sunflower’) radar is already capable of detecting and tracking the F-35 and other stealth aircraft, with the system having a reported ability to detect objects at sea and in the air at a distance of about 500 km, in the line of sight or over the horizon.

As of 2016, three Podsolnukh stations were in operation along Russia’s maritime borders: one in the Sea of Okhotsk, one in the Sea of Japan and one in the Caspian Sea, with the defence ministry reportedly planning to build and deploy more. An export version of the Podsolnukh has also been showcased at several international expos dedicated to maritime defence technology.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN “China says it can track F-35s operating in stealth mode with new radar”

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