J-20 5th Generation Fighter VII


Inst

Senior Member
I really don't know why you think China still desperately needs Russian TOT at all, not to mention the ridiculous cost analysis.
Russian technology still has advantages. The Su-57 platform, if TOT is conducted, gives China insight into the LEVCON aerodynamic design. Likewise, there's a mature DIRCM technology on the Su-57 which China is only developing.

This generation or the next generation of aircraft is likely the last time China trails Russia in any technological capacity.

For the cost analysis, the F-35s are going to cost 1 trillion over their lifespan, but the airframe costs are only around 200 million, or in other words, the F-35's lifespan costs will be five times the airframe costs. If the J-20 is in the 100 million range (at current exchange rates), 600 J-20s could cost 60 billion base, but only 300 billion for sustainment.


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As for the Su-57, I still think it's a vital purchasing option if the Russians can sell it cheap, given the decline of the RUR compared to the RMB. I don't see it as a particularly capable system, but it's an excellent skeet aircraft in the same vein as the F-35. However, an Su-57 isn't going to obsolete a JH-XX or J-35 simply because of its stealth penalties; for the PLAAF to have options between a heavyweight and long-ranged Su-57 and a lightweight but stealthier J-35 allows it to diversify its force structure and make it more challenging for opponents to counter it.
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
Russian technology still has advantages. The Su-57 platform, if TOT is conducted, gives China insight into the LEVCON aerodynamic design. Likewise, there's a mature DIRCM technology on the Su-57 which China is only developing.

This generation or the next generation of aircraft is likely the last time China trails Russia in any technological capacity.

For the cost analysis, the F-35s are going to cost 1 trillion over their lifespan, but the airframe costs are only around 200 million, or in other words, the F-35's lifespan costs will be five times the airframe costs. If the J-20 is in the 100 million range (at current exchange rates), 600 J-20s could cost 60 billion base, but only 300 billion for sustainment.
PLA is interested in acquiring a laser attack pod for fighter aircraft as per procurement notice in January. I think a hard-kill laser weapon overlaps with DIRCM in its functionality.
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
So the focus from my end is whether Chengdu will strikify the J-20 (i.e, allowing it to have 2:1 ratio payload vs the F-35) or whether the JH-XX could bridge the gap vs the F-35s.
Probably gonna catch a lot of shit for saying this (actually wanted to say it for a while, but I've been biting my tongue this whole time), but I'll say it anyway - I just don't think there's a need for a stealth strike fighter... We have the J-16 and it's growing capabilities to accomplish the strike mission.

One would assume air superiority is achieved and air defenses suppressed/destroyed before we sent in interdiction/strike fighters and bombers to take out targets. I just can't picture many occasions where strike fighters will need to evade enemy radar and therefore have the need for stealth, especially when you throw in how expensive stealth aircraft are to produce, operate, and maintain.

Even if there were a need to evade detection in order to destroy a strategic target, the J-20 has a limited weapons load to drop PGBs to accomplish the mission, much like how the USAF used their F-22s in Syria to drop JDAMs on Islamic State targets. If the target were bigger or more sheltered, a pair (or four-ship) of J-20s could fly escort to an H-20 as it drops the house (and why I think the H-XX program is more of a priority... More important than a strike variant of the J-20 anyway).

Just a bit of illustration for my point, but of course you'll have to use a bit of imagination to replace the Raptors with J-20s.
 
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Inst

Senior Member
PLA is interested in acquiring a laser attack pod for fighter aircraft as per procurement notice in January. I think a hard-kill laser weapon overlaps with DIRCM in its functionality.
I saw that too, but DIRCM has its advantages as it's potentially lighter and can be mounted more flexibly, such as on AEW&C.

Probably gonna catch a lot of shit for saying this (actually wanted to say it for a while, but I've been biting my tongue this whole time), but I'll say it anyway - I just don't think there's a need for a stealth strike fighter... We have the J-16 and it's growing capabilities to accomplish the strike mission.

One would assume air superiority is achieved and air defenses suppressed/destroyed before we sent in interdiction/strike fighters and bombers to take out targets. I just can't picture many occasions where strike fighters will need to evade enemy radar and therefore have the need for stealth, especially when you throw in how expensive stealth aircraft are to produce, operate, and maintain.

Even if there were a need to evade detection in order to destroy a strategic target, the J-20 has a limited weapons load to drop PGBs to accomplish the mission, much like how the USAF used their F-22s in Syria to drop JDAMs on Islamic State targets. If the target were bigger or more sheltered, a pair (or four-ship) of J-20s could fly escort to an H-20 as it drops the house (and why I think the H-XX program is more of a priority... More important than a strike variant of the J-20 anyway).

Just a bit of illustration for my point, but of course you'll have to use a bit of imagination to replace the Raptors with J-20s.
I'm looking at the limited J-20 weapons load as a weakness. Let's say that in the future the American micromissile paradigm comes to fruition, and you have tons of tiny 1 meter missiles being launched to intercept incoming missiles. Then the J-20 can't fire enough missiles to overwhelm a F-35's missile defense. Likewise, it'll have at best its laser attack pods to stop an F-35's missile barrage.

In this situation, a strike fighter actually does better than an air superiority fighter in that it can launch a ridiculous sum of missiles, overloading an enemy missile defense, as well as carry a ridiculous sum of defensive missiles.

As I've argued before, in this case, a J-20 with an extended weapons load (the strike fighter Chengdu is speculated to be considering as a J-20 development) is now more useful as it extends the J-20's offensive and defensive capabilities.

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In other words, the J-20 is a direct competitor to the F-22; waiting on its WS-15 engines to gain full maneuverability with a combination of 3D TVC and canards for extreme maneuverability. But China needs a strike fighter to counter the F-35 as an air superiority platform; i.e, to put in insurance in the event that the laser paradigm (lasers can shoot down any and all missiles) doesn't mature fast enough, and China is stuck in the micromissile paradigm with a need to offset F-35s.

The two solutions for this offset would then either be a strikified J-20 or a JH-XX with a large payload.
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
I'm looking at the limited J-20 weapons load as a weakness. Let's say that in the future the American micromissile paradigm comes to fruition, and you have tons of tiny 1 meter missiles being launched to intercept incoming missiles. Then the J-20 can't fire enough missiles to overwhelm a F-35's missile defense. Likewise, it'll have at best its laser attack pods to stop an F-35's missile barrage.

In this situation, a strike fighter actually does better than an air superiority fighter in that it can launch a ridiculous sum of missiles, overloading an enemy missile defense, as well as carry a ridiculous sum of defensive missiles.
Well in this scenario you propose, the fighter has already popped up on radar or the enemy already has visual contact.... So there wouldn't be a need for stealth now would there? Might I add that the J-20 is a stealth fighter, and any variant built off the J-20 would be hoping to utilize it's stealth features?

If stealth is thrown out of the way, well then a non-stealthy J-16 which has twelve hardpoints already has the ability to launch "a ridiculous sum" of bombs to strike ground targets. Similarly the J-11 with it's ten hardpoints has plenty of AAM missile capacity, which is way more than the 2x Sidewinders/2x ARAAMs or 4x AMRAAMs that the F-35 carries in it's internal weapons bay without external hardpoints if it wants to keep it's stealth features. In essence the PLAAF already has the very aircraft you've described, and so I really don't see the need to "strikify" the J-20.

Even if the PLA wanted a strike J-20 variant, the existing J-20 would require a much larger internal weapons bay, which in turn calls for a significantly larger aircraft that's practically unrecognizable from the J-20... You might as well start on a blank slate and make a completely new plane, which is pretty much what the PLA have decided to do with the H-20. For your arguments sake, the PLA have seemingly given up on the JH-XX concept anyway, especially as the increased fielding of the J-16 will see it supplant (dare I say supercede, especially with it's ability to self-escort) the JH-7's striking mission capabilities in the PLAAF's air tasking order.

Aided with AWACs and ground radars, the J-20 absolutely has the ability to counter stealthy F-35s with PL-15s. With the WS-15 unlocking the ability to supercruise, the J-20 will become a BVR beast - I'm not a least bit worried about the PLA's ability to fend off F-35s.
 

stannislas

Junior Member
Registered Member
I saw that too, but DIRCM has its advantages as it's potentially lighter and can be mounted more flexibly, such as on AEW&C.



I'm looking at the limited J-20 weapons load as a weakness. Let's say that in the future the American micromissile paradigm comes to fruition, and you have tons of tiny 1 meter missiles being launched to intercept incoming missiles. Then the J-20 can't fire enough missiles to overwhelm a F-35's missile defense. Likewise, it'll have at best its laser attack pods to stop an F-35's missile barrage.

In this situation, a strike fighter actually does better than an air superiority fighter in that it can launch a ridiculous sum of missiles, overloading an enemy missile defense, as well as carry a ridiculous sum of defensive missiles.

As I've argued before, in this case, a J-20 with an extended weapons load (the strike fighter Chengdu is speculated to be considering as a J-20 development) is now more useful as it extends the J-20's offensive and defensive capabilities.

===

In other words, the J-20 is a direct competitor to the F-22; waiting on its WS-15 engines to gain full maneuverability with a combination of 3D TVC and canards for extreme maneuverability. But China needs a strike fighter to counter the F-35 as an air superiority platform; i.e, to put in insurance in the event that the laser paradigm (lasers can shoot down any and all missiles) doesn't mature fast enough, and China is stuck in the micromissile paradigm with a need to offset F-35s.

The two solutions for this offset would then either be a strikified J-20 or a JH-XX with a large payload.
Stop dream about laser technology on jets yet, the fact that any laser weapon, including DIRCM or the laser attack pod @siegecrossbow mentioned before, are all soft kill and all demonstration level and will stay at that level for a long time. Laser hard kill technologies are NOwhere close to practical use in any real-world scenario before the next-gen energy storage technology, for example, new battery technology, comes out. The fact that the previous B747 laser weapon test failed and the project got abandoned is due to this reason, something like fire two rounds laser before another 45 mins battery recharge. Plus battery is a super heavy dead weight, I don't think any jet designer loves it.

For micromissile, if it is designed to perform the missile intercept, then why it's possible for the US to use it on F-22, but not a similar product designed by China then put on J-20...

Honestly speaking I think the most practical technology for aircraft missile intercept to develop, is based on something like the active defense system which is used on tanks, like the one on ZTQ-15. This is a much cheaper, much lighter, and much simpler, and straightforward solution for the current human technology level.
 
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daifo

Junior Member
Registered Member
Seems like the quickest way to achieve air superiority and just win etc is to use stealth strike/bombers to decapitate civilian/military leadership, air fields, utilities, gov institution, air defenses, oil/gas storage ...

Probably gonna catch a lot of shit for saying this (actually wanted to say it for a while, but I've been biting my tongue this whole time), but I'll say it anyway - I just don't think there's a need for a stealth strike fighter... We have the J-16 and it's growing capabilities to accomplish the strike mission.

One would assume air superiority is achieved and air defenses suppressed/destroyed before we sent in interdiction/strike fighters and bombers to take out targets. I just can't picture many occasions where strike fighters will need to evade enemy radar and therefore have the need for stealth, especially when you throw in how expensive stealth aircraft are to produce, operate, and maintain.

Even if there were a need to evade detection in order to destroy a strategic target, the J-20 has a limited weapons load to drop PGBs to accomplish the mission, much like how the USAF used their F-22s in Syria to drop JDAMs on Islamic State targets. If the target were bigger or more sheltered, a pair (or four-ship) of J-20s could fly escort to an H-20 as it drops the house (and why I think the H-XX program is more of a priority... More important than a strike variant of the J-20 anyway).

Just a bit of illustration for my point, but of course you'll have to use a bit of imagination to replace the Raptors with J-20s.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Given the time schedule for the J-20, it seems unlikely that a 6th gen would be in mass production by the early 2030s; IOC is more likely but it's unlikely to be deployed en masse.

As for fleet parity; with the J-20 design, it should theoretically not need parity (i.e, 1:1 ratio) because of its status as a heavyweight fighter. The problem with the J-20 is more that it doesn't seem equipped for overmatch operations; like how a F-15 or Su-27 could be significantly superior to a F-16 via its BVR capabilities.

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So the focus from my end is whether Chengdu will strikify the J-20 (i.e, allowing it to have 2:1 ratio payload vs the F-35) or whether the JH-XX could bridge the gap vs the F-35s.

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As I've said elsewhere, the problem is that with a darkening and anti-China environment a military build-up seems inevitable for China to enable it to obtain other options. Moreover, even if China is able to push back against a hostile diplomatic environment, it still needs a contingency plan in action, so it's likely that Beijing will ramp up military spending beyond the 2% of GDP level. Recall that this year, military budget was the only thing Beijing didn't cut.
Beginning to introduce 6th gen in early 2030s is exactly what I was thinking of and I think that is fine.

J-20 production continuing between now and ending in the early 2030s, and J-XY/FC-31 variant production starting between 2025 to the mid/late 2030s, and 6th generation production from 2030 onwards, in conjunction with other friendly aerial developments and platforms in UAVs, weapons, EW, bomber, and land based long range strike systems should be capable of maintaining a sufficient balance in relevant air power.


They won't ever have the same number of 5th gen fighters as the combined potential opponents in the region, but they can have enough relevant capabilities to make the difference in effective net air power close or even in their favour if they are capable of exploiting geography for the purpose of offensive long range strike systems.
 

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