Chengdu J-20 news, pictures, analysis Part III

sferrin

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NUSNA_Moebius said:
Really makes you wonder how much is postulation based on photos of American 5th gens versus actual espionage.
Based on photos do you think it's more likely based on espionage or less?
 

LowObservable

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What makes the espionage argument moot - at least at the level of public knowledge, and probably at the level of knowledge possessed by the Western IC - is that while the J-20 clearly looks a lot like an F-22, and uses the same LO design philosophy, all the visible features could have been copied from open sources, a decade or more before the first flight. For example....

http://www.f22fighter.com/AffordableStealth.pdf

Chinese engineers, therefore, would have had several years in which to reverse-engineer visible features, understand their importance and work out how to manufacture them before J-20 development started. For example "how do we make an optically acceptable frameless canopy?" could have been a challenge set in 1997.

The J-20 appeared at the end of 2010. On typical Western timescales, this would have meant that development started in 2004-05 with PDR or equivalent in 2006-07. However, this is somewhat earlier than the point at which anyone started to talk about cyber-espionage as a big deal - we started hearing about the Advanced Persistent Threat in 2008.
 

latenlazy

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
It seems fairly clear the 3D vectoring nozzle on the J-10 is a prototype for eventual fitment to the J-20...

http://www.china-defense.com/smf/index.php?topic=7232.540
One TVC engine may already be installed on a J-20 test unit.
 

latenlazy

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LowObservable said:
What makes the espionage argument moot - at least at the level of public knowledge, and probably at the level of knowledge possessed by the Western IC - is that while the J-20 clearly looks a lot like an F-22, and uses the same LO design philosophy, all the visible features could have been copied from open sources, a decade or more before the first flight. For example....

http://www.f22fighter.com/AffordableStealth.pdf

Chinese engineers, therefore, would have had several years in which to reverse-engineer visible features, understand their importance and work out how to manufacture them before J-20 development started. For example "how do we make an optically acceptable frameless canopy?" could have been a challenge set in 1997.

The J-20 appeared at the end of 2010. On typical Western timescales, this would have meant that development started in 2004-05 with PDR or equivalent in 2006-07. However, this is somewhat earlier than the point at which anyone started to talk about cyber-espionage as a big deal - we started hearing about the Advanced Persistent Threat in 2008.
The J-20’s program start goes as far back as 2000. There’s a very likely chance that espionage contributed to and enhanced the development of the basic component technologies and techniques used on the J-20, but there’s a chasm between stealing information to enhance your own capabilities and straight up copying. If we want to be serious about how IP and technology can be purloined by foreign actors to accelerate their own technological development we need to have a more sophisticated understanding of how this actually works. It’s not as simplistic and straightforward as copying someone else’s answers on a test, and we ought to be careful not to fool ourselves into believing those who steal the technologies of others are intellectually inferior and incapable of innovating and expanding on that stolen knowledge on their own. The appropriate analogy is not a cheat sheet but a bootstrap, especially when it’s clear to anyone with an honest and sober mind that military and industrial development for many countries (not just China) is not an honor contest but a no hold’s bar one.
 

kcran567

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Does a Zebra have stripes?

Where China was behind whether in wing tech or materials or structural tech they clearly used spying and espionage through corporate employees and students, maybe even outright buying the tech or bribing employees with "honeypots" or cash. It happened. And so did the "cyber" espionage before it became well known.
China now can go their own direction and even start to lead in certain areas, but they will still use all means of espionage to get what they need (physical infiltration, cyber hacking, student and employee theft of data) in many cases the tech is being given to them just to get access to Chinese markets.

They are experts of copying tech, see the J-15
https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-rips-chinas-j-15-fighter-jet-which-beijing-stole-from-moscow-2018-9

How else did China leapfrog so fast to reach parity?

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-hacked-f22-f35-jet-secrets/

https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/kz9xgn/man-who-sold-f-35-secrets-to-china-pleads-guilty

https://www.investors.com/news/who-is-behind-the-lockheed-f-35-boeing-p-8-hack/
 

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latenlazy

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kcran567 said:
Does a Zebra have stripes?

Where China was behind whether in wing tech or materials or structural tech they clearly used spying and espionage through corporate employees and students, maybe even outright buying the tech or bribing employees with "honeypots" or cash. It happened. And so did the "cyber" espionage before it became well known.
China now can go their own direction and even start to lead in certain areas, but they will still use all means of espionage to get what they need (physical infiltration, cyber hacking, student and employee theft of data) in many cases the tech is being given to them just to get access to Chinese markets.

They are experts of copying tech, see the J-15
https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-rips-chinas-j-15-fighter-jet-which-beijing-stole-from-moscow-2018-9

How else did China leapfrog so fast to reach parity?

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-hacked-f22-f35-jet-secrets/

https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/kz9xgn/man-who-sold-f-35-secrets-to-china-pleads-guilty

https://www.investors.com/partner-perspective/currents-of-disruption-tech-and-media-going-vertical-going-global/
Oh no, China and it’s dastardly companies are resorting to the devious espionage techniques of buying technology and hiring people from other companies in an open market, stuff decent normal non Chinese countries and companies would never be caught soiling their good reputations with ::). No real legit technology companies do this, no siree. Poaching and mimicking what your competitor is doing? Unheard of!
 

kcran567

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Yeah, but the level they do it at is monumental in scope.
 

latenlazy

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kcran567 said:
Yeah, but the level they do it at is monumental in scope.
Are we complaining about the rules of the game or are we complaining about it’s results? I think there’s a strong case to be made (though far from foolproof) that there are implicit and explicit norms of conduct for economic and technological competition that China is deliberately ignoring. However, it’s unreasonable to expect any country to comply to codes of conduct that are meant for the deliberate result of knee capping their chances to reach parity or be competitive though, and a bit disingenuous to begrudge countries for agitating against such arrangements. Trying to impose such expectations is likely to get more non compliance, not less. One wonders why so much of China’s technology trasfer and espionage efforts focus so much on state of the art materials, semiconductors, and aerospace.
 

Blitzo

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LowObservable said:
What makes the espionage argument moot - at least at the level of public knowledge, and probably at the level of knowledge possessed by the Western IC - is that while the J-20 clearly looks a lot like an F-22, and uses the same LO design philosophy, all the visible features could have been copied from open sources, a decade or more before the first flight. For example....

http://www.f22fighter.com/AffordableStealth.pdf

Chinese engineers, therefore, would have had several years in which to reverse-engineer visible features, understand their importance and work out how to manufacture them before J-20 development started. For example "how do we make an optically acceptable frameless canopy?" could have been a challenge set in 1997.

The J-20 appeared at the end of 2010. On typical Western timescales, this would have meant that development started in 2004-05 with PDR or equivalent in 2006-07. However, this is somewhat earlier than the point at which anyone started to talk about cyber-espionage as a big deal - we started hearing about the Advanced Persistent Threat in 2008.
Considering how many burgeoning stealth fighter programmes these days seem to emulate F-22 and F-35 design features (the KFXs, TFXs, F-3s, AMCAs of the world) one also has to wonder whether the convergence of performance requirements and limitations of technology would also mean certain design features simply work the best, or are the lowest risk.

Personally I think it will be interesting if all of those stealth fighters do end up being developed the way their concepts have been floated. It would mark a nice return almost to WWII propeller biplane days when the majority of fighters (single engine propeller biplane types) all looked very similar to each other with near identical configurations, but where everyone also recognized they were also their own distinct aircraft through the combination of small details.

In time, perhaps F-35, FC-31, KFX, TFX etc will all be acknowledged as being uniquely different aircraft just as Spitfire, Me 109, P-51 and A6M Zero all were even though they may all share the broadly similar configuration.
 

latenlazy

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Blitzo said:
LowObservable said:
What makes the espionage argument moot - at least at the level of public knowledge, and probably at the level of knowledge possessed by the Western IC - is that while the J-20 clearly looks a lot like an F-22, and uses the same LO design philosophy, all the visible features could have been copied from open sources, a decade or more before the first flight. For example....

http://www.f22fighter.com/AffordableStealth.pdf

Chinese engineers, therefore, would have had several years in which to reverse-engineer visible features, understand their importance and work out how to manufacture them before J-20 development started. For example "how do we make an optically acceptable frameless canopy?" could have been a challenge set in 1997.

The J-20 appeared at the end of 2010. On typical Western timescales, this would have meant that development started in 2004-05 with PDR or equivalent in 2006-07. However, this is somewhat earlier than the point at which anyone started to talk about cyber-espionage as a big deal - we started hearing about the Advanced Persistent Threat in 2008.
Considering how many burgeoning stealth fighter programmes these days seem to emulate F-22 and F-35 design features (the KFXs, TFXs, F-3s, AMCAs of the world) one also has to wonder whether the convergence of performance requirements and limitations of technology would also mean certain design features simply work the best, or are the lowest risk.

Personally I think it will be interesting if all of those stealth fighters do end up being developed the way their concepts have been floated. It would mark a nice return almost to WWII propeller biplane days when the majority of fighters (single engine propeller biplane types) all looked very similar to each other with near identical configurations, but where everyone also recognized they were also their own distinct aircraft through the combination of small details.

In time, perhaps F-35, FC-31, KFX, TFX etc will all be acknowledged as being uniquely different aircraft just as Spitfire, Me 109, P-51 and A6M Zero all were even though they may all share the broadly similar configuration.
Perhaps we are seeing design convergence because we are now reaching the limits of what the current propulsion technologies allow for. There was a lot more room to explore novel and different designs when jet engines were new on the block and offering new power margins that allowed for a greater degree of experimentation (and also the range of workable conditions in the more extreme envelopes of flight are much less forgiving).
 

Blitzo

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latenlazy said:
Perhaps we are seeing design convergence because we are now reaching the limits of what the current propulsion technologies allow for. There was a lot more room to explore novel and different designs when jet engines were new on the block and offering new power margins that allowed for a greater degree of experimentation.
I think limitations in terms of technology, funding, and broadly similar performance parameters are part of the reason for the crop of current 5th gen projects. In terms of technology, I think propulsion, aerodynamic/flight control system and rf stealth technology all come together to pose a combined technological limit at the current stage.

I think we are also starting to see some divergence in terms of 5+ gen or near 6th gen designs, some of which may be completely tailless, some of which may have tails, some of which may be somewhere between the two etc, as new technologies and not-yet-concrete performance goals begin to be developed for the next generation.

Flying wing UCAVs/UAVs have also reached a certain level of design convergence, and I expect flying wing UCAV designs to remain broadly static going forwards into the future.
 

Blitzo

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latenlazy said:
Blitzo said:
sferrin said:
You're really going to play dumb here? Okay, well you have fun with that. Personally I'll take "oafish and clumsy" over dangerously naive.
You can totally air complaints and concern if the tides of military development make you concerned over the way that geopolitical competition may go.

But that also means you'll be giving up any moral authority regarding the sanctity of "poaching and mimicking what your competitor is doing".
In other words, you're basically saying that you don't necessarily have an issue with the act of poaching/mimicking/etc itself in terms of military or technological development, but rather that you dislike it when a competitor does it.
Exactly. Maybe we need to be giving some serious thought about whether our much vaunted and extolled standards and virtues were just for show self justifications when things were convenient, or whether we are actually serious about them.
I personally have no issue with people having their own standards and virtues and their own double standards because that's just a part of life, but seeing as this forum is mostly about aerospace technology without a significant geopolitical slant I generally would appreciate some kind of internal consistency as far as standards and virtues are concerned, if simply to facilitate more productive discussion.
 

latenlazy

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Blitzo said:
latenlazy said:
Perhaps we are seeing design convergence because we are now reaching the limits of what the current propulsion technologies allow for. There was a lot more room to explore novel and different designs when jet engines were new on the block and offering new power margins that allowed for a greater degree of experimentation.
I think limitations in terms of technology, funding, and broadly similar performance parameters are part of the reason for the crop of current 5th gen projects. In terms of technology, I think propulsion, aerodynamic/flight control system and rf stealth technology all come together to pose a combined technological limit at the current stage.

I think we are also starting to see some divergence in terms of 5+ gen or near 6th gen designs, some of which may be completely tailless, some of which may have tails, some of which may be somewhere between the two etc, as new technologies and not-yet-concrete performance goals begin to be developed for the next generation.

Flying wing UCAVs/UAVs have also reached a certain level of design convergence, and I expect flying wing UCAV designs to remain broadly static going forwards into the future.
It’s really too early to know what kinematic direction 6th gen fighter’s will take, I think, because we simply don’t know enough about the nature of combat by which these machines will be designed for. We don’t have enough data on how 5th generation fighters operate and perform in real live scenarios. For now I view most of these 6th gen mockups we’re seeing as speculative and exploratory designs. I think it will be a while before anything concrete comes from the concepts various aerospace design firms are throwing against the wall.
 

Ares

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New Chinese stealth fighter

https://i.imgur.com/LrPtexU.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/JjPAOhD.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/uRqr6o0.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/pHGVJ19.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/vsqUSt8.jpg

Uhhhhhhhhhhhh............
 

LowObservable

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kcran567 said:
Does a Zebra have stripes?

Where China was behind whether in wing tech or materials or structural tech they clearly used spying and espionage through corporate employees and students, maybe even outright buying the tech or bribing employees with "honeypots" or cash. It happened. And so did the "cyber" espionage before it became well known.
China now can go their own direction and even start to lead in certain areas, but they will still use all means of espionage to get what they need (physical infiltration, cyber hacking, student and employee theft of data) in many cases the tech is being given to them just to get access to Chinese markets.

They are experts of copying tech, see the J-15
https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-rips-chinas-j-15-fighter-jet-which-beijing-stole-from-moscow-2018-9

How else did China leapfrog so fast to reach parity?

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-hacked-f22-f35-jet-secrets/

https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/kz9xgn/man-who-sold-f-35-secrets-to-china-pleads-guilty

https://www.investors.com/news/who-is-behind-the-lockheed-f-35-boeing-p-8-hack/
The first two examples cited here reinforce my thesis that China started hauling in lots of cyber-intel at a point where the J-20 had to be at the final-conceptual-design stage. Cyber could have helped solve development issues but probably didn't make the airplane any different, because, in 2008, future cyber couldn't be relied upon to address unsolved problems.

The third example is amusing. I recall cautioning a couple of Australian fans of You Know What, at least one of whom worked for a small sub, that they shouldn't go around bragging about their insider knowledge ("look mate, if you aren't cleared into the program you can't understand how good it is") on social media. Guess I was right. Again.

Copying is part of the evolution of engineered products: think Vigilante, TSR.2, MiG-25 or every commercial airplane that looks like the 367-80. Cars like the VW Golf were inspired by the BMC Mini and 1100, but added new features that made them work better (for example, electric fans and forward-facing radiators). We'd have very little progress if people didn't copy stuff.

The bits that can be, and are kept secret, or that are just plain hard to copy, are (1) the parts and materials on the inside of the mold line and (2) how things are made. The former category (in the case of a stealth airplane) includes RAM, seals, how doors work, apertures &c. The latter category includes the art of achieving a very accurate OML.

In the J-20, we just don't know how many of these design challenges were met by engineering, or even reverse-engineering from the OML, and how many solutions were significantly aided by espionage. We do know that Chengdu and the PLA customer had to be pretty confident that solutions were within reach before the big tide of cyber stuff started rolling in, with the help of Australian and other braggarts.
 

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Ares said:
New Chinese stealth fighter

https://i.imgur.com/LrPtexU.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/JjPAOhD.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/uRqr6o0.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/pHGVJ19.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/vsqUSt8.jpg

Uhhhhhhhhhhhh............
Not quite. Seems to be a generic 5th generation fighter model for a company making components.
 
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