Chengdu J-20 news and analysis Part III

overscan (PaulMM)

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Part 3 of the J-20 topic starts here.

Part 2 was here

Interesting close-up pic posted on CDF by Deino...
 

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Blitzo

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sferrin said:
Arjen said:
It is notoriously difficult to prove the non- existence of things, be they security breaches, the F-19 or the Loch Ness monster.

You have conjecture. That's it. There may be something there. And maybe not.

Well the fact that there have been LARGE data breaches isn't "non-existent". I would be astonished if they collected all that information and then didn't bother to read it. That the J-20's initial canopy was damn near a carbon copy of the F-22's canopy, even down to some of the hardware, is not disputable. (Geometrically at least. Chemical composition can't be eye-balled.)

No one's denying there weren't data breaches -- however I don't believe there is evidence to suggest they were involved in J-20s development. The data breaches could very well have been to look for weaknesses in F-22 and F-35 to develop countermeasures for them (if we knew what kind of data China took then that would be greatly useful in clearing that up).

The fact that J-20's canopy seemingly looked identical to F-22's could just as well have resulted from having access to pictures of F-22 as well..


This entire argument basically comes down to the idea that China hacked Lock Mart and gained data on F-35 and F-22, then a few years later they come up with a stealth fighter that has some superficial resemblance to some aspects of F-35 and F-22, therefore said stealth fighter probably resulted from data gained from F-35 and F-22.

But then we remember that all the superficial resemblance and similar design features of J-20 to F-35 and F-22 could have been attained or cued through open, non-espionage means due to the US's ridiculously transparent development cycle for JSF and ATF (also, considering how the stealth fighter designs of other nations like Japan, South Korea, Turkey, India etc are shaping up, it seems like everyone's benefited from Lockheed Martin's pioneering work). And we don't even know what kind of data or documents China took which might help us to inform us about what they could have done with it.


So with all that in mind, I'd say the evidence suggesting J-20 was developed with assistant from pilfered Lockmart data right now is scant at best, and the only conclusion we have right now is that such a possibility was not impossible -- however I think we are very, very far from saying such a possibility was likely.

And as Latenlazy said in the last thread -- nations conduct espionage for all sorts of reasons, and it is rather surprising to me that the emergence of J-20 makes one think that the espionage against F-35/22 thus inevitably must have benefitted J-20. I think that says more about what the individual's perceptions of CAC, 611 and/or the Chinese aerospace industry at large, rather than proper assessment of the evidence, facts and context we have at our disposal.
 

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kaiserbill said:
Thanks Deino...I am being forced to get my info from wider sources recently unfortunately.
Deino, are these in actual squadron usage already, or an Operational Conversion Unit? Is there a most recent indication of how many serial production machines there are?
Either way, as said, it is a mightily impressive pace.

I think they would be currently in the the Chinese equivalent of OT&E.

Unfortunately we don't have any clear grasp of how many production aircraft there are... At least 4-6, maybe more, but none ever all taken in the same picture.
 

kaiserbill

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Blitzo said:
kaiserbill said:
Thanks Deino...I am being forced to get my info from wider sources recently unfortunately.
Deino, are these in actual squadron usage already, or an Operational Conversion Unit? Is there a most recent indication of how many serial production machines there are?
Either way, as said, it is a mightily impressive pace.

I think they would be currently in the the Chinese equivalent of OT&E.

Unfortunately we don't have any clear grasp of how many production aircraft there are... At least 4-6, maybe more, but none ever all taken in the same picture.

Thanks for that feedback Blitzo..The last I saw on another site was 4 production aircraft I think but that was a few weeks back.
As said, the programme seems to be moving rapidly, relatively speaking.
 

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kaiserbill said:
Thanks for that feedback Blitzo..The last I saw on another site was 4 production aircraft I think but that was a few weeks back.
As said, the programme seems to be moving rapidly, relatively speaking.

no problem

To be honest, if only four production aircraft were built for the whole of 2016 (beginning with 2101) then I think that would actually be a bit on the slow side. don't get me wrong, going from prototype s/n 2001 in early 2011 to LRIP s/n 2101 just five years later is no small feat, but for the whole of 2006 2016 I would be surprised if only four new J-20s were built in total.

Unfortunately, it is not only difficult to ascertain how many production J-20s have actually been handed to the Air Force, but also difficult to ascertain how many total J-20s have been produced since s/n 2101!
 

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Yes...I see your point. What we've seen are only what's been captured on images and probably doesn't reflect what has actually been built.
The total production figures in mind for a high end platform like this will be interesting.
 

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kaiserbill said:
Yes...I see your point. What we've seen are only what's been captured on images and probably doesn't reflect what has actually been built.
The total production figures in mind for a high end platform like this will be interesting.

Indeed it will be interesting for the total production figures. And also what aircraft will be replaced with the J-20As? For starters, I don't think that it will be the latest J-8s as they have not long come out of an upgrade program.
 

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FighterJock said:
kaiserbill said:
Yes...I see your point. What we've seen are only what's been captured on images and probably doesn't reflect what has actually been built.
The total production figures in mind for a high end platform like this will be interesting.

Indeed it will be interesting for the total production figures. And also what aircraft will be replaced with the J-20As? For starters, I don't think that it will be the latest J-8s as they have not long come out of an upgrade program.

There are quite reliable reports about more than a dozen LRIP-birds out there. No. 11 was spotted in October and this - from yesterday - is said to be #13.
 

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FighterJock

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Deino said:
FighterJock said:
kaiserbill said:
Yes...I see your point. What we've seen are only what's been captured on images and probably doesn't reflect what has actually been built.
The total production figures in mind for a high end platform like this will be interesting.

Indeed it will be interesting for the total production figures. And also what aircraft will be replaced with the J-20As? For starters, I don't think that it will be the latest J-8s as they have not long come out of an upgrade program.

There are quite reliable reports about more than a dozen LRIP-birds out there. No. 11 was spotted in October and this - from yesterday - is said to be #13.

With Low Rate Initial Production under way with 13 aircraft operational according to reports, how long will it be before Full Rate Production starts?
 

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FighterJock said:
Indeed it will be interesting for the total production figures. And also what aircraft will be replaced with the J-20As? For starters, I don't think that it will be the latest J-8s as they have not long come out of an upgrade program.
There are still j8d, produced in late 80s and early 90s, that are long in the tooth, even if theyve been modernized to H standard a decade ago. Furthermore, a few dozen of su27 have already been retired, so the rest of them will also need replacement soon.

Of course, just like with j10 producton, it may be so j20 come to j11 regiments, which would then provide their airframe to regiments which currently operate old j8 and su27.
 

kaiserbill

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Deino said:
There are quite reliable reports about more than a dozen LRIP-birds out there. No. 11 was spotted in October and this - from yesterday - is said to be #13.

I had no idea that they had moved so rapidly on the programme. Seems like only yesterday when we were still viewing test prototypes... Thanks for the info Deino.
 

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totoro said:
FighterJock said:
Indeed it will be interesting for the total production figures. And also what aircraft will be replaced with the J-20As? For starters, I don't think that it will be the latest J-8s as they have not long come out of an upgrade program.
There are still j8d, produced in late 80s and early 90s, that are long in the tooth, even if theyve been modernized to H standard a decade ago. Furthermore, a few dozen of su27 have already been retired, so the rest of them will also need replacement soon.

Of course, just like with j10 producton, it may be so j20 come to j11 regiments, which would then provide their airframe to regiments which currently operate old j8 and su27.

So how many Su-27 fighter squadrons do the PLAAF actually have?
 

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Serials 78273 and 78274 !
 

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CiTrus90

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Awsome pics, thanks for sharing Deino!
 

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FighterJock said:
So how many Su-27 fighter squadrons do the PLAAF actually have?

According to scramble.nl orbat, there arent any pure su27 regiments. Plaaf seems to be mixing them up with j11a. One could roughly calculate from the given orbat of 6 su27/j11a regiments, and the fact su27 are oldest flankers plaaf has and are probably first in line to be retired, that there are two dozen su27sk left in service. Alongside slightly higher number of su27ubk left.
 

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totoro said:
FighterJock said:
So how many Su-27 fighter squadrons do the PLAAF actually have?

According to scramble.nl orbat, there arent any pure su27 regiments. Plaaf seems to be mixing them up with j11a. One could roughly calculate from the given orbat of 6 su27/j11a regiments, and the fact su27 are oldest flankers plaaf has and are probably first in line to be retired, that there are two dozen su27sk left in service. Alongside slightly higher number of su27ubk left.

You learn something every day, thanks for the information totoro. B)
 

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A rare image posted by @OedoSoldier at Twitter shows both J-XX concepts at the China Aerospace Science & Technology-expo in 2000: The CAC concept - aka later J-20 - in grey and the SAC concept in black.
 

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FighterJock

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Deino said:
A rare image posted by @OedoSoldier at Twitter shows both J-XX concepts at the China Aerospace Science & Technology-expo in 2000: The CAC concept - aka later J-20 - in grey and the SAC concept in black.

Interesting photos Deino, but what I have just noticed is that the missile near the bottom of the second picture has a ramjet that is similar to the often mentioned PL-21. Is that missile an early mock up because from what I have seen the current PL-21 design is often now seen with two ramjets.
 

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;)
 

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Ian33

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:eek: That's absolutely astounding. The legs on that beast must be up to its armpits.

Still say it's one of the most beautiful aircraft in today's skies.
 

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:eek:
 

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FighterJock said:
Bear in mind that China has long borders, the J-20 would have to carry at least four external fuel tanks depending on where the J-20 squadron was based.

True. The ability to self-relocate to the South China Sea airfields might also need external tanking.
 

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Ian33 said:
Deino said:

When you absolutely have to reach out and touch some one and no tanker is available.

Hitting AWACS and other supporting assets far from base. I wonder how much radius the tanks give?
 

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starviking said:
Ian33 said:
Deino said:

When you absolutely have to reach out and touch some one and no tanker is available.

Hitting AWACS and other supporting assets far from base. I wonder how much radius the tanks give?

I wouldn't feel comfortable having a stealth fighter fly beyond one's IADS defended borders with EFTs during war time. I think during a conflict, J-20s would not fly outside of China's borders with EFTs.

I believe the primary use of EFTs would be to support rapid redeployment from bases within China's borders during conflict, where they take off from one base (say in central or western China) loaded with EFTs and internally loaded with AAMs or other ordnance for their mission, and then as they near the theatre of operations (say, the airspace over the East China Sea beyond China's IADS borders) they would eject their EFTs+wet hardpoints and proceed with their mission in a clean configuration. After their mission, they would land at a base near their theatre of operations where support crew and logistics would have been ferried and/or pre-placed to support sustained operations from that airbase.
 

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Blitzo said:
starviking said:
Ian33 said:
Deino said:

When you absolutely have to reach out and touch some one and no tanker is available.

Hitting AWACS and other supporting assets far from base. I wonder how much radius the tanks give?

I wouldn't feel comfortable having a stealth fighter fly beyond one's IADS defended borders with EFTs during war time. I think during a conflict, J-20s would not fly outside of China's borders with EFTs.

I believe the primary use of EFTs would be to support rapid redeployment from bases within China's borders during conflict, where they take off from one base (say in central or western China) loaded with EFTs and internally loaded with AAMs or other ordnance for their mission, and then as they near the theatre of operations (say, the airspace over the East China Sea beyond China's IADS borders) they would eject their EFTs+wet hardpoints and proceed with their mission in a clean configuration. After their mission, they would land at a base near their theatre of operations where support crew and logistics would have been ferried and/or pre-placed to support sustained operations from that airbase.

I too would not feel comfortable with J-20's flying with four external fuel tanks either, plus the fact that China now has a extremely long-range missile as well.
 

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FighterJock said:
I too would not feel comfortable with J-20's flying with four external fuel tanks either, plus the fact that China now has a extremely long-range missile as well.

J-20's weapons bay can't hold the large PL-X VLRAAM I think, and carrying them externally would result in similar compromise of stealthiness that EFTs would result. Though I'm sure they would be happy to use Flankers and J-10s as PL-X platforms.

J-20 is a fairly large, stealthy, air superiority fighter-interceptor. Carrying external stores in a theatre of combat would greatly compromise its ability to perform that role.
 

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Blitzo said:
FighterJock said:
I too would not feel comfortable with J-20's flying with four external fuel tanks either, plus the fact that China now has a extremely long-range missile as well.

J-20's weapons bay can't hold the large PL-X VLRAAM I think, and carrying them externally would result in similar compromise of stealthiness that EFTs would result. Though I'm sure they would be happy to use Flankers and J-10s as PL-X platforms.

J-20 is a fairly large, stealthy, air superiority fighter-interceptor. Carrying external stores in a theatre of combat would greatly compromise its ability to perform that role.

I mean, the whole point of such a long range AAM is that you don't need stealth to penetrate into your adversary's IADS.
 

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latenlazy said:
I mean, the whole point of such a long range AAM is that you don't need stealth to penetrate into your adversary's IADS.

Yes, partially true, although mounting it on a non 5th generation fighter means the fighter carrying the PL-X may come under threat from the opfor's own fighters who would likely air missions "forwards" to meet your non-stealthy fighters which their own AEW&C will still be able to detect.

That said, obviously the PL-X is a very good way of targeting the opponent's airborne force multipliers and potentially even targets down to the size of fighter aircraft at very long range. But it would also probably be much more effective if it could be stored within a stealthy platform. Part of me hopes the bat winged JH-XX is still being pursued, as it would probably have a big enough main weapons bay to store a number of PL-X missiles comfortably.
 

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New bird, new camouflage ... say HELLO to #5
 

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Ian33

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Astoundingly beautiful.

Thank you very much for your continued (sterling I must add!) effort to keep this thread at the bleeding edge of information aboutique this wonderful airframe.

Thank you.
 

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Steven said:
None of the production aircraft appears to have noticeable canopy tint or actual EOTS apertures. Perhaps those items are not finished in their development?

There were quite a few F-35s built before they got actual EOTS as I recall as well. 2017 definitely looks tinted. 2016 as well.
 

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Deino

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No really big news recently - at least no new LRIP-bird, no new images - however a news report posted on May 25 opened up some interesting and quite controversial discussions:

Several of the supporters that China already has the WS-15 operational in these LRIP-aircraft often quote this page:

http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/china/2017-05-26/doc-ifyfqqyh8509588.shtml

The issue raised up again with this latest CCTV-report that got some hype by the usual suspects in certain forums as being prove that the WS-15 is ready, that the WS-15 is available already in 4 versions and the most powerful one delivering 24t of thrust. :eek:

As far as I however understand this report:
- No single word mentions the specific engine type used on the J-20,
- no single word mentions WS-10B or even WS-15 ??
- All this report says quite mysteriously, the "J-20 uses a locally manufactured engine" and it merely mentioned Liming factory.

My question now is - regardless what I think - as long as we don't know its true designation nor any specific data, I don't see this discussion in no way as a finally closed case. But can anyone identify this certain part of an engine under construction as shown below ?

Deino
 

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Deino said:
The issue raised up again with this latest CCTV-report that got some hype by the usual suspects in certain forums as being prove that the WS-15 is ready, that the WS-15 is available already in 4 versions and the most powerful one delivering 24t of thrust.
lol
 

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