The Military and Civilian Dual Application Intelligent Equipment Forum/Expo 2018 opened in Chongqing on March 28. It is sponsored by China Ordinance Science Research Institute with the coordination of Chongqing Commerce Commission, Chongqing High-tech Zone, China Ordinance Society, China Command and Control Society, China Ordinance Investment and Administration Co., Ltd. and lots of other entities. Lots of well-known generals, military experts and academics have been invited to the forum.
On display at the expo are a large number of major equipment and innovation for making the military powerful including enhanced Beidou Navigation System (China’s GDP), powered exoskeleton, lunar rover, etc. What attracts keenest interest is the above model of a wield fighter jet. People wonder if that will be J-20’s next generation of fighter jet.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Is J-20’s next generation of fighter jet like that? It is showcased at Intelligent Equipment Expo 2018” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
J-20 chief Designer Yang Wei told reporters that four achievements have been made in developing China’s new stealth fighter jet J-20:
1. Obtaining a new-generation of fighter jet that satisfies the requirements fo functions, performance and technology;
2. Leading technological development. For example the canard structure with satisfactory invisibility and strong supersonic maneuverability that enlarges J-20 range and load. In addition lots of breakthroughs have been made in various aspects including situational awareness, information confrontation and combat coordination. China has switched from catching up to leading technology development in its aviation industry.
3. Creating a new R&D system. Through the development of J-20, Y-20, J-15, Kunlong-600 amphibious plane, etc., China has developed a paper-free digital R&D system to shorten the development cycle and improve quality. The system also incorporates cooperation between military and civilian industries. For example the carbon fiber and other conforming materials are developed by civilian enterprises.
4. The establishment of excellent research teams. In the course of the development of J-20, China has trained lots of young research and development outstanding patriotic workers.
Yang said that China needs entirely new fighter jets so that they are making great efforts to bring more surprises to Chinese people.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Yang Wei: Four major goals achieved in developing J-20: More surprises in the future” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Jane’s 360 says in its report “China to develop new J-20 variants, begin research on ‘sixth-generation’ fighter, says report” on March 14 that J-20 chief designer Yang Wei said that China will develop a large family of J-20s to give play to its various advantages. It depends on the number of J-20s China has.
According to Yang, in the past China develops what others have, but now China is capable of developing the fighter jets to satisfy its own strategic needs disregarding whether others have or not.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Jane’s 360’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.janes.com/article/78569/china-to-develop-new-j-20-variants-begin-research-on-sixth-generation-fighter-says-report.
J-20 is certainly superior to J-16 in functions and performance but J-16’s loading capacity is much larger. As there is a crew of two on J-16, it is able to conduct attacks in complicated situation.
Now J-20 and J-16 are deployed together in the east. They have been conducting drills for coordinated air combat there. J-20s are to achieve air dominance by hitting enemy refueling tanks, AEW&C aircrafts, ground radar and air defense systems to clear the way for J-16 to hit surface and land targets with its large and longer-range ammunition.
As J-16 has active phased array radar, it can track enemy warplanes for J-20 to hit them without being seen by them. On the other hand, J-20 can lock on enemy warplanes for J-16 to hit with J-16’s heavy long-range air-to-air missile. Of course, J-20 can also carry heavier loads outside, but J-16 does not cost so much to carry similar heavy loads as J-20 does. The flight of a stealth fighter jet is much more expensive than that of J-16 a third-generation fighter jet.
Of course in dealing with enemy stealth fighters, J-20s need to be accompanied by stealth warplanes. China is developing stealth drones and medium-sized stealth fighters for that purpose.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “How aweful is the combat capability of J-20 joined by J-16? Strength of new way of combat worth expecting” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
NPC deputy, fellow of Chinese Academy of Science and chief designer of J-20 stealth fighter Yang Wei told reporters in a special interview that in the past we often needed to understand what others are doing. If others did it that way, we would be confident in doing so. Now, however, we have realized the surmounting of ourselves. Since the scientific theories, technological foundation and equipment manufacture technology are common but our needs are unique, our technical line shall be independent. It in fact begins the situation where others have to study what we will do in our next step of development. That is also our goal. We shall make ourselves worthy to be studied by others. If we are not worthy to be studied by others, how can we be a party to the games?
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “J-20 chief engineer: One of my dreams is that standards for future fighter planes shall be set by China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Russian Sputnik website says in its report that Russian military expert Vasily Kashin believes that China buys 24 Su-35s mainly for in-depth tests to study Su-35’s performance.
Russia wanted China to buy 48 Su-35s but China only wanted 2. Through 5 years prolonged hard negotiations, China and Russia finally concluded a purchase contract for 24 Su-35s at US$2 billion without transfer of any technology. That is quite expensive. However, China has made Russia agree to have some Chinese components installed in the Su-35s it provides China with. As a result, Chinese aircraft producer may take part in some parts of the manufacture processes of and learn something from the fighter jets.
By the end of 2017, Russia had delivered 14 Su-35s to China. As Russian air force needs lots of Su-35 but has only got about 30, Russia proves that it is China’s good ally in giving priority to supply of Su-35s for China.
According to Kashin, China buys 24 Su-35s mainly for in-depth tests to study its performance in order to facilitate accurate decisions on the direction of development of its J-11 heavy fighter, J-15 carrier-based fighter and J-16 fighter/bomber.
For such study, 2 are really enough. Paying $2 billion for 24, in which only 2 are needed, shows the abundance of funds Chinese military has so that China does not grudge the expense in satisfying its urgent needs for military modernization. Perhaps, China did that also to help Russia that is hard up due to Western sanctions.
There are also reports that China is interested in the very powerful F-117S vector thrust engines on Su-35 that may be imported along with Su-35. However, Russia is unwilling to sell as many as F-117S engines as China wants when the sales contract was entered into by the two countries.
In September 2017, there was report that Russia suddenly agree to sell China 400 F-117S engines.
China has developed its J-11D as good as Su-35 except its engines. When F-117S is installed on J-11D, China will be able to produce lots of the best three-and-a-half generation fighter jets in the world.
There are also reports that the engine will be used on China’s most advanced J-20 stealth fighter jet. As China’s progress in developing its WS-15 engine for J-20 is confidential, we don’t know whether such reports are true.
Anyway, China will get good engines to strengthen its air force while Russia will obtain funds for its confrontation with the United States and EU. It proves my prediction that military cooperation between China and Russia will add wings to two tigers.
The 24 Su-35s China imported more than China wants, though not stealth, are quite useful due to their advanced functions and performance. Chinese air force announced on February 7, 2017 that China’s Su-35s were deployed in a combat patrol in the South China Sea along with other Chinese warplanes.
In an interview with Xinhua news agency, Wang Mingzhi, a professor with the PLA Air Force Command Academy said that the deployment is expected to improve the air force’s adaptive capacity in complicated situation in the air and on the sea. It enhances China’s ability to maintain national sovereignty and security and maritime interests in the South China Sea area.
According to Wang, the patrol mission is an annual training of combat readiness to maintain China’s sovereignty and security and maritime interests.
Article by Chan Kai Yee.