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Shenyang FC-31 - maybe J-31 revealed!

Blitzo

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

RSF said:
If we take the 15.05 Meters (49.37ft) measurement in the attached photo as roughly accurate this would make this aircraft nose to tail just slightly smaller than the J-10A at 15.49M (50.82ft) and larger than the JF-17 at 14.93M (48ft) in length.

This would indicate a medium size/class fighter just slightly smaller a Dassault Rafale. It's hard to see where this would fit into the current Chinese fighter force considering that the J-10B will be entering production in the near future. As already discussed maybe this is the Chinese answer to the F-35? BTW - notice in the foreground of the photo even more armed security. This amount of force indicates the importance of whatever this "thing" is.

Well if it is J-21, it definitely won't be coming into service until J-20 enters significant numbers (post 2019), and between now and then there is still a need for J-10Bs to fill the ranks of retiring J-7s. But by then, the oldest J-10s, J-11s and maybe even Q-5s (PLAAF seem intent on keeping them forever) will need replacing and they will need something in that class which is survivable for the 2020s, which J-10B may not be able to fill. Also by then the navy may desire a stealthy mid weight striker as well, and there has been speculation this plane is aimed for PLANAF eventually as well.
If this turns out to be a twin engined F-35 class fighter it won't be an answer to F-35 but more PLAAF's own medium weight stealth fighter (akin to all the ATD-X, KAI KF X, AMCA, TFX and what not that are popping up all over the place these days).
 

Pioneer

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

I find it a very believed idea. And not quite uncommon in the world of arms.
North Korea tried to pull the same stunt with some ICBM-looking fake missiles. But China has vast more resources to fake stuff, they can build a plane that looks 5th generation and add the required technology later. As long as no one has seen the insides of all the latest hi-tech planes and ships, it all could still be 4th generation (or lesser).
But now we have to assume it all is pre-production or production of a real 5th generation plane.

Cheers,

Rob
Thank you my friend for your reponse and view!!

Regards
Pioneer
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

siegecrossbow said:
The SAC already lost the competition to J-20. The so called "snow owl", which had a tri-plane configuration,
was eliminated for being too long and too heavy.
Yes, of course I know that. But didn't SAC use all the ties on top of Party and MoD to get ability to build a contender anyway? I had such an impression.
Do you talk about that 'other heavy fighter'? Tnx.
 

totoro

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

It all depends how much hours of life do current chinese planes have. If we assume 2020/2021 as a point in time when this new plane could enter service with plaaf - oldest j10s will then be some 18 years old. Times 230 hours per airframe per year (1.3 pilots per fighter airframe, like USAF?) gives little over 4000 hours. While it is possible j10 was designed to have such short life, it seems more likely j10 was designed, like every other plane of its time, to have longer life, possibly 6 to 8 thousand hours. So, realistically, i dont see this new plane replacing j10s when/if it enters service.


j8f/h are not really older than j10 on average but since they are of old design, it is plausible they would need replacement after 4000 hours. But for them we have j20s which should have little trouble replacing 150 j8s and then go on replacing first j11s.


by 2021 all the pre-E j7 models should be out of service. Even the early E models should be approaching 25-30 years, though they seem to be flying less, perhaps 170 hours per year per airframe (not per pilot, of course). Still, we are talking about 4000-5000 hours for a plane of old design so again, replacement will be in order. I believe that is what j10b will be for as it suits that role perfectly, schedule wise, ability wise, cost wist, etc.


this new plane may still squeeze itself within plaaf but then that means fewer j20 and fewer j10b. Basically low volume production of j20, perhaps 12-16 per year, 24-28 j10b per year. So the new plane can get in there with 16-20 airframes per year.


The new plane seems perfect for carrier fleet, on paper, but coming just 6-7 years after j15 became active, it really means whole j15 show was an expensive training course, not anything resembling a proper carrier fighter project. Frankly, having a small fleet of carriers, which china will have for some decades to come, doesnt really offer economic justification for having two separate small fleets of carrier planes. Its better to kill off j15 then, as soon as this new plane is ready, bite the bullet and forget about the money spent on j15.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

flateric said:
siegecrossbow said:
The SAC already lost the competition to J-20. The so called "snow owl", which had a tri-plane configuration,
was eliminated for being too long and too heavy.
Yes, of course I know that. But didn't SAC use all the ties on top of Party and MoD to get ability to build a contender anyway? I had such an impression.
Do you talk about that 'other heavy fighter'? Tnx.
The SAC heavy fighter was reportedly larger than the J-20. First flight will utilize WS-10 engines. It will employ conventional aerodynamic configuration and feature larger weapons bays than those present on the J-20.

The aircraft was supposed to come out early January but no one in Shenyang saw anything. Don't know whether it would ever show up.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

thanks to investigation made by Guest at Paralay forum
donor pic found for PSed J-XX fake photo (was taken 21.08.2009 at Yokota Air Base, Japan)
 

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LowObservable

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

My bet is that it is an RCS model. But most likely a generic one to be used to test bits and pieces (canopies, antennas, edge treatments) like BAE's Replica.

Shown in hopes that the West will say "look, the Chinese are going all-in on 5th GenerationTM!" and barrel merrily forward with the F-35, which regardless of any merits it may possess was not designed for a WestPac scenario, because nobody but nobody was thinking about Second Island Chains when the KPPs was wrote.

The Chinese are entirely capable of reading the history of the MiG-25 and Tu-22M.
 

GTX

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
Shown in hopes that the West will say "look, the Chinese are going all-in on 5th GenerationTM!" and barrel merrily forward with the F-35, which regardless of any merits it may possess was not designed for a WestPac scenario, because nobody but nobody was thinking about Second Island Chains when the KPPs was wrote.

What a joke of a statement. We all know you don't like the F-35 but must you really start making up fanciful scenarios/statements to justify your hatred?
 

siegecrossbow

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
My bet is that it is an RCS model. But most likely a generic one to be used to test bits and pieces (canopies, antennas, edge treatments) like BAE's Replica.

Shown in hopes that the West will say "look, the Chinese are going all-in on 5th GenerationTM!" and barrel merrily forward with the F-35, which regardless of any merits it may possess was not designed for a WestPac scenario, because nobody but nobody was thinking about Second Island Chains when the KPPs was wrote.

The Chinese are entirely capable of reading the history of the MiG-25 and Tu-22M.
Highly doubt that it is simply an RCS model. Given the fact that the plane was last sighted at Yanliang it is probably used for stress testing.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
My bet is that it is an RCS model. But most likely a generic one to be used to test bits and pieces (canopies, antennas, edge treatments) like BAE's Replica.

Shown in hopes that the West will say "look, the Chinese are going all-in on 5th GenerationTM!" and barrel merrily forward with the F-35, which regardless of any merits it may possess was not designed for a WestPac scenario, because nobody but nobody was thinking about Second Island Chains when the KPPs was wrote.

The Chinese are entirely capable of reading the history of the MiG-25 and Tu-22M.
Note the conspiracy theory by the F-35 hater.

That's what they've been reduced to as that program proceeds and country after country selects it over their ECD favorites.

While LRSB might be a better option for the US in a China scenario the Chinese could actually use an F-35 type in the Taiwan scenario or others.

That's actually what the thread is about, you know, the Chinese J-19.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

GTX said:
LowObservable said:
Shown in hopes that the West will say "look, the Chinese are going all-in on 5th GenerationTM!" and barrel merrily forward with the F-35, which regardless of any merits it may possess was not designed for a WestPac scenario, because nobody but nobody was thinking about Second Island Chains when the KPPs was wrote.

What a joke of a statement. We all know you don't like the F-35 but must you really start making up fanciful scenarios/statements to justify your hatred?
Yes. Yes he must. (Gotta support those 4th gen Eurocanards ya know. They'd do a REAL bang up job in the Pacific.)
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

With that amount of security force protection that's certainly not a mockup or UAV! Nice to see you back Deino, I posted what I could in your absence (with help from Flateric) but there's just not a great deal of info yet other than roadside photos.

The Flight Global article I think is a bit premature in calling this is a STOVL fighter. It's to early to draw conclusions and as with the J-20 it will have it's own Chinese goals and metrics which won't necessarily match those of the existing US stealth fighter aircraft/programs.

Since SAC is developing the J-15 for future carrier development perhaps this will be a naval stealth fighter?
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

This is China, people. That is not "force protection", it is theater.

It was done deliberately, in order to send a signal to somebody.

The audience is therefore either domestic (look how strong the PLA will be in a few years!) or international, or both.

If it's intended for an international audience, the goal is surely not to telegraph where they're going. (So we can adjust our plans accordingly.) It's not the same situation as the J-20 (which was flying and would soon be detected by intel agencies, hence the stage-managed rollout). So the idea is to send a message that is advantageous to China.

Historically, some US actors have often reacted to emerging threats symmetrically or directly (like the F-15's Mach 2.5 capability and the use of the Backfire as justification for the B-1). The Chinese can read and know this.

So what is the message being sent by this deliberate act?

By the way, this isn't a "conspiracy theory". Are the Chinese conspiring with themselves?
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

The idea of this aircraft being nothing more than a mock-up for deceptive reasons is an interesting one. I have to wonder why this type of thing isn't done on a more regular basis world-wide. Fooling your enemies into thinking that you have something that you don't has its merits. Or perhaps building several different designs in mock-up form alongside a genuine aircraft to further the confusion. I'm reminded of the black tiles laid down at Groom Lake in the shape of a non-existent aircraft so that Soviet satellites might be fooled into believing it was real.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

Truely an interesting theory, but I have to admit that there too many things, which actually fit quite nicely into reports of what was expected to happen sooner or later.

As such I'm quite optimistic that this is indeed SAC's new bird, which is going to be tested at Xi'an-Yanliang since all structural test experties are concentrated in Yanliang. Each and every major aircraft program since the early days was tested there.

Quite interesting, most "Big Shrimps" are common that the PLAAF will not indroduce this type - at least not yet (will concentrate on the J-10B instead) - but the PLAN will do to complement and later replace the J-15.


Deino
 

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Deino

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

Since this type is more likely designated J-21, I changed the topic's name accordingly !

Deino
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

Deino said:
Since this type is more likely designated J-21, I changed the topic's name accordingly !

Deino
Thanks Deino. I went one step further and applied the change to all posts in the thread so as to remove misleading references to the J-19.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
By the way, this isn't a "conspiracy theory". Are the Chinese conspiring with themselves?

No, what is the conspiracy theory is your laughable assertion that the Chinese are somehow using mockups to encourage/force the Western allies to wholeheartedly go with the F-35 which you have also asserted is somehow flawed and not capable of operating in a WestPac theatre of operations... ::)
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

Seriously, GTX. That would be disinformation, not conspiracy.

However, I'll cop to being insufficiently specific in my original comment. The JSF KPPs, defined mostly in 1995 and refined by 2000, did reflect WestPac needs as they were then understood.

They did not reflect the WestPac theater as we understand it now, which is rather different. That is fact, not opinion.

This applies to every other current combat aircraft, so I am rather puzzled as to why people want to drag Eurocanards into the discussion.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
This applies to every other current combat aircraft, so I am rather puzzled as to why people want to drag Eurocanards into the discussion.
The implicit suggestion is that your comment was meant to further the interests of Eurocanard-manufacturers, thereby reducing your credibility. Maybe the suggestion is meant to do away with the need to discuss the explanation you offered?

Kryptid said:
The idea of this aircraft being nothing more than a mock-up for deceptive reasons is an interesting one. I have to wonder why this type of thing isn't done on a more regular basis world-wide. Fooling your enemies into thinking that you have something that you don't has its merits. Or perhaps building several different designs in mock-up form alongside a genuine aircraft to further the confusion. I'm reminded of the black tiles laid down at Groom Lake in the shape of a non-existent aircraft so that Soviet satellites might be fooled into believing it was real.
Not laughable then, in Kryptid's opinion. I agree.
 

LowObservable

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

Arjen - Lots of examples exist. Consider all the ATF artwork issued before the roll-outs of the YF-22 and YF-23: Aside from two distorted art concepts issued in late 1989/early 1990, all were deliberately deceptive.

Where does a relatively small, single-engine LO fighter fit into China's medium-term plans, in any event? They don't need expeditionary support for a combined-arms war, and their next step in mainstream TacAir seems to be the J-10B.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

I have to agree, the J-10B is likely the near term future aircraft for the Chinese. I also completely agree with the assertion that parading a new stealth fighter type around the streets with a large security presence is clearly staged, much like the "first flights" of the J-20.

However I'm unsure that this is a mockup. This type of PR buildup is clearly in keeping with what we saw with the J-20 Program. I think we'll see a real aircraft in the future revealed with much fanfare.

The big question as already discussed is who is the is intended audience for this new stealth fighter parade?

BTW - good call in changing this thread to J-21. Hopefully you won't have to change it again to F60!
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

[quote author=LowObservable link=topic=13939.msg155388#msg155388 date=1341227438

They did not reflect the WestPac theater as we understand it now, which is rather different.



Ok then, please enlighten us as to exactly what aspects of this WestPac theatre scenario are so different and needing of consideration when it comes to the F-35 or any other platform then???
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
Seriously, GTX. That would be disinformation, not conspiracy.

However, I'll cop to being insufficiently specific in my original comment. The JSF KPPs, defined mostly in 1995 and refined by 2000, did reflect WestPac needs as they were then understood.

They did not reflect the WestPac theater as we understand it now, which is rather different. That is fact, not opinion.

This applies to every other current combat aircraft, so I am rather puzzled as to why people want to drag Eurocanards into the discussion.
And if we quit and started over, not only would we have flushed tens of billions down the toilet for nothing, the situation would change yet again between this hypothetical new aircraft's RFP and production. The days of being able to turn on a dime left us in the 60's.
 

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GTX - I don't think a lot of attention was being paid in 1995 to China's potential emergence as a high-tech military power.

I don't think that anyone would have predicted in 1995 (for instance) that China would have a mature-looking stealth prototype, multiple AEWs, an active carrier program and ASBM before JSF entered service (which was supposed to be now). Or that China would seem to be actively pushing a strategy of disputing US freedom of action within the second island chain. This was mainly because even the Chinese were not thinking about it then.

The attribute that becomes much more important in that environment is range.
 

thrax

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

Its obvious- Chinese are working for Lockheed ;)
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

.. need exciting video before USG budget sequestration..

Please define Eurocanard. :)
 

siegecrossbow

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

jsport said:
.. need exciting video before USG budget sequestration..

Please define Eurocanard. :)
Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
The attribute that becomes much more important in that environment is range.
And this makes me wonder if there were more to ending F-22 production than generally considered. In this case maybe the F-22 is a stopgap on the road to a longer ranged fighter.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
GTX - I don't think a lot of attention was being paid in 1995 to China's potential emergence as a high-tech military power.

I don't think that anyone would have predicted in 1995 (for instance) that China would have a mature-looking stealth prototype, multiple AEWs, an active carrier program and ASBM before JSF entered service (which was supposed to be now). Or that China would seem to be actively pushing a strategy of disputing US freedom of action within the second island chain. This was mainly because even the Chinese were not thinking about it then.

The attribute that becomes much more important in that environment is range.

Surely all of that is even more justification for the F-35???


How exactly is range such a big issue? For one, the F-35 is quite good on range. More importantly, have you heard of this new invention called aerial refueling???
 

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The way i am reading the range factor is that increased range decreases the need for aerial refuelling re the Pacific Theatre, possibly with this force multiplier being one of the first targets a potential adversary would wish to neutralise in a conflict with the US.
Add to this the small (as opposed to Europe) number and spread out location of US facilities might make range an important consideration..
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

bmedefiant - Good points. One thing that China's developments appear to be intended to do is to push the tanker line away from the coast and thereby render more of their territory immune to tactical air.

GTX - I'm not arguing that the F-35 has short range for a fighter (A and C have respectable if not spectacular range). It's a question of fighter range in general, and whether the next 20 years of airpower investment should be dominated by a fighter with conventional payload and range performance.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

I am strongly tempted to ask of PaulMM that posts about "F-35 vs. just about anything" be removed from the forum — or at the very least split into a separate section (which might be entitled "Senseless arguing and pointless discussions" or something like that...).
Seriously, all this nonsense taking place in several topics is getting overboard now.

Apart from constructive elements that truly shed light on the aircraft's development, I really do not care to read about why some members like or don't like the F-35, why they think it is or isn't a good aircraft, why this or that country ought to purchase or not purchase it. Especially in topics that are NOT about the F-35!!!
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
It's a question of fighter range in general, and whether the next 20 years of airpower investment should be dominated by a fighter with conventional payload and range performance.
'bout ten years late for that arguement. Cancelling the F-35 and starting over would border on insanity as nobody knows what the geopolitical situation would be 20 years from now when the "new" design would be entering service. I notice you don't promote cancelling all Eurocanards and starting over despite the fact that pretty much everybody else has decided stealth is a requirement going forward.
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
I am strongly tempted to ask of PaulMM that posts about "F-35 vs. just about anything" be removed from the forum — or at the very least split into a separate section (which might be entitled "Senseless arguing and pointless discussions" or something like that...).
Seriously, all this nonsense taking place in several topics is getting overboard now.

Apart from constructive elements that truly shed light on the aircraft's development, I really do not care to read about why some members like or don't like the F-35, why they think it is or isn't a good aircraft, why this or that country ought to purchase or not purchase it. Especially in topics that are NOT about the F-35!!!
Take it up with the mods. One of the posters here has a crusade against the F-35 and can't let it go, even on this forum which is supposed to be about enthusiasm for obscure secret projects.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

I'll cheerfully drop the F-35 out of this argument, and return to the original core of my comment.

The "J-21" revelation is clearly deliberate and theatrical, whatever is under the tarp.

This means that someone in a position of authority is trying to send a message.

The message is presumably intended to influence perceptions and/or behavior, because that's what propaganda is.

So what message is it? That's a relevant discussion here, because it comes back to our interest - which is what is under the tarp. Could be a framework of 2 x 4s for all we know.

Oh by the way earlm - this section of the site is not about obscure secret projects, unless you consider Delta 4 Heavy, T-50 or Su-35 to be such.
 

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Re: Shenyang J-21 / J-31 revealed!

LowObservable said:
...
The "J-21" revelation is clearly deliberate and theatrical, whatever is under the tarp.

This means that someone in a position of authority is trying to send a message.

The message is presumably intended to influence perceptions and/or behavior, because that's what propaganda is.

So what message is it? That's a relevant discussion here, because it comes back to our interest - which is what is under the tarp. Could be a framework of 2 x 4s for all we know.

...
Agreed, so let the F-35 out of this tread (at least politically) and go back to the main question above !!

I agree with that there's a message under this tarpaulin, but IMO - at least from my small understanding of the CHinese way of doing such things ! ;) - these are in no way propaganda in the way discussed here.

First of all if the information from the so far reliable posters are o.k. then this "thing" is not a PLAAF project but an AVIC/SAC founded type mainly for export. we might call it the FC-2 or what ever in a few years and IF anything related from the PLA will purchase that type then it is the PLANAF as a supplement and probably successor to the J-15 carrierborne fighter. But that's surely only a few years away.

As such I would tend to say its a clear sign from SAC especially to all critics within the political establishment, the CHinese Aviation Industry complex and most of all its arc-rival CAC.

Let us remember: following the early developments - which were all !!! - quite severly delayed due to several reasons (political, technical, ...) the final indigenous design from SAC was the J-8II. The Flanker-lincence too was not an easy task and led to yet again a severe dependence to the former Soviet / Russian style of handlying systems. CAC in contrast was always more innovative and won the requirement for the J-10 (SAC remodeled J-13 failed again), lost out to the J-20 (SAC's proposal reportedly was heavier, larger, less stealthy and promised not the same performance). They lost nearly everything and as sch not only the public opinion but also the military and political leaders were loosing their faith in the former Chinese fighter developer.

This - and here I agree with You - clearly deliberate and theatrical revelation was a sign in the sense of "hey we are still alive, we also can develop moderne figthers, which may be even more profitable than the J-10 on the export market !!"


Everything else is simply too early to tell....

Deino
 
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