J-20 5th Generation Fighter VII


Jono

Junior Member
Registered Member
China probably won't hit FRP until they are satisfied that they can field a formidable fighter, which makes logical sense given how meticulous they are at planning. They also don't want to rock the boat. If they started mass producing J-20s, it would give the US MIC exactly what they need to push forward anti-China national security initiatives.
true, do not alert your adversary until and unless you are fully ready.
perhaps China is waiting for the WS 15 engines to be ready then hit FRP ?
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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true, do not alert your adversary until and unless you are fully ready.
perhaps China is waiting for the WS 15 engines to be ready then hit FRP ?
TBH I don't really understand this logic.

J-20 equipped with Al-31 or WS-10 will still be the most qualitatively capable fighter that the PLA will have in their inventory, and many times more capable than the next most capable fighter they have in service at present.

If I were the PLA, I would be seeking to quickly build as many new J-20s as I can to get them in service so my pilots and commanders can start employing them in more complex war games and to develop a more comprehensive 5th generation logistics support system earlier rather than later. Sure, these initial J-20s won't have WS-15s, but they're sure as heck far more capable than any of the 4+ generation fighters in inventory.
More importantly, 5th generation fighters are much more than just their engines and kinematic performance. Sensors, datalinking, stealth, weapons, and the way they enhance the combat capability of 5th generation fighters as well as combinations of 5th and 4/+ generation fighters, are all significant enabling factors for 5th generation fighters, and the only way to develop and accelerate the maturity of those technological domains as well as the tactics and strategy to exploit those new capabilities -- requires you to have enough fighters and pilots and logistics framework to develop the capabilities.
Not to mention those 5th generation fighters offer much enhanced real world combat capability than preexisting 4/4+ generation fighters.


The fact that over the past half year we've been seeing new J-20s produced from the factory with WS-10s after we saw at least two J-20s in previous years being tested with WS-10s (s/n 2021 and 2022?), suggests to me that the PLA plans to likely have a relatively significant production run of J-20s powered by WS-10s before producing J-20s with WS-15s somewhere down the line. Needless to say, it means they won't be producing J-20s with Al-31s (with WS-10s filling the role of a domestic interim engine).


By placing large, serious orders for J-20s with interim engines, it also allows the factory to invest more seriously into greater production capacity and achieve greater economy of scales for the J-20's common key subsuppliers who provide subcomponents and subsystems (airframe, stealth materials, avionics etc), such that when they move onto producing J-20s with WS-15s, their production rate is not limited by producing the rest of the aircraft but is only "limited" by the production rate of WS-15s.


All things considered I wouldn't be surprised if they end up building some 150-200+ J-20s powered by WS-10s until production shifts over to J-20s powered by WS-15s some time in the mid 2020s, at which point production of J-20 is likely to continue into the mid 2030s for a total run of some 700-800+ J-20s.



=====

The PLA is not new to acquiring fighters with "interim" capabilities in large numbers either, if said "interim" fighter is still the most capable they are able to acquire. While the rest of the world was fielding 4th generation aircraft in the late cold war, China was still ekeing out J-7 and J-8 variants as their most capable fighter.
However by developing and producing those aircraft, they were able to build up industrial capacity and expertise for J-10 and SAC-Flankers and later on J-20 and various other projects we are seeing today.

For J-20s powered by interim engines, the gap in capability is far, far smaller than what the PLA experienced during the cold war, however the principle still applies in terms of building up industrial capacity and expertise.
 

Richard Santos

Junior Member
Registered Member
The production rate of j-20 is in no way unusually low for a modern high end fighter. It took 7 years to deliver 187 F-22s after initial operational status. Right now j-20 has been in service 3 years. At the same rate around 70 would be expected.

also keep in mind f-22 was the product of a much larger highly sophisticated aircraft production industry that down sized. J-20 is the first product of this level of sophistication ever for its aircraft industry. So if there is equal attention to quality, one would expect the Americans to have been able to produce F-22 at a higher rate.
 

Bltizo

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In this paid piece from yankee (which I will not copy out of respect for him, given it is a paid subscription; this is the site however
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), he writes some information about the J-20:

- He generally says that the reliability and readiness of J-20 for a new aircraft type is quite impressive
- He states that this year, the next unit to receive J-20 will likely be a NTC unit
- From the AAM thread, "Summarizing what he wrote, he states that a new BVRAAM that will enter service with J-20 has a similar range to PL-15 but smaller diameter (allowing carriage of 6 ventrally vs 4 PL-15s), and greater ability to target stealth aircraft, and also that the kinematic properties of this new missile is designed to emphasize greater ability to target and maeneuver to stealth aircraft at medium to short ranges."
- He states that PL-15 has a capability which sounds a lot like CeC (where one aircraft launching PL-15 can be guided by a different aircraft), and again states it is dual pulse
- He states PL-10 has LOAL
- He states that an A2G missile for J-20 is in development (which we've known about for a while), but also that a Sino-SDB has entered testing
- He states the luneberg lens on J-20 can be jettisoned from the aircraft in flight
- He also strongly implies that a twin seater J-20 may make its appearance in 2020(?!)
- He states J-20 has conducted training/cooperation with 3rd gen fighters, as well as drones (no additional details)

Those are some of the newest info tidbits I can garner from the piece. If anyone else has also paid for a subscription and has access to it, I'd be happy to be corrected if there's anything I missed.
 
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Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
TBH I don't really understand this logic.

J-20 equipped with Al-31 or WS-10 will still be the most qualitatively capable fighter that the PLA will have in their inventory, and many times more capable than the next most capable fighter they have in service at present.

If I were the PLA, I would be seeking to quickly build as many new J-20s as I can to get them in service so my pilots and commanders can start employing them in more complex war games and to develop a more comprehensive 5th generation logistics support system earlier rather than later. Sure, these initial J-20s won't have WS-15s, but they're sure as heck far more capable than any of the 4+ generation fighters in inventory.
More importantly, 5th generation fighters are much more than just their engines and kinematic performance. Sensors, datalinking, stealth, weapons, and the way they enhance the combat capability of 5th generation fighters as well as combinations of 5th and 4/+ generation fighters, are all significant enabling factors for 5th generation fighters, and the only way to develop and accelerate the maturity of those technological domains as well as the tactics and strategy to exploit those new capabilities -- requires you to have enough fighters and pilots and logistics framework to develop the capabilities.
Not to mention those 5th generation fighters offer much enhanced real world combat capability than preexisting 4/4+ generation fighters.


The fact that over the past half year we've been seeing new J-20s produced from the factory with WS-10s after we saw at least two J-20s in previous years being tested with WS-10s (s/n 2021 and 2022?), suggests to me that the PLA plans to likely have a relatively significant production run of J-20s powered by WS-10s before producing J-20s with WS-15s somewhere down the line. Needless to say, it means they won't be producing J-20s with Al-31s (with WS-10s filling the role of a domestic interim engine).


By placing large, serious orders for J-20s with interim engines, it also allows the factory to invest more seriously into greater production capacity and achieve greater economy of scales for the J-20's common key subsuppliers who provide subcomponents and subsystems (airframe, stealth materials, avionics etc), such that when they move onto producing J-20s with WS-15s, their production rate is not limited by producing the rest of the aircraft but is only "limited" by the production rate of WS-15s.


All things considered I wouldn't be surprised if they end up building some 150-200+ J-20s powered by WS-10s until production shifts over to J-20s powered by WS-15s some time in the mid 2020s, at which point production of J-20 is likely to continue into the mid 2030s for a total run of some 700-800+ J-20s.



=====

The PLA is not new to acquiring fighters with "interim" capabilities in large numbers either, if said "interim" fighter is still the most capable they are able to acquire. While the rest of the world was fielding 4th generation aircraft in the late cold war, China was still ekeing out J-7 and J-8 variants as their most capable fighter.
However by developing and producing those aircraft, they were able to build up industrial capacity and expertise for J-10 and SAC-Flankers and later on J-20 and various other projects we are seeing today.

For J-20s powered by interim engines, the gap in capability is far, far smaller than what the PLA experienced during the cold war, however the principle still applies in terms of building up industrial capacity and expertise.
and here Mr. Blitzo has penned the SDF "Post of the Day", and yes I realize he penned it yesterday, but very fine logic Mr. Blitzo, and of course I don't think you could possibly be any more "spot on", good work my friend!
 

Inst

Senior Member
The production rate of j-20 is in no way unusually low for a modern high end fighter. It took 7 years to deliver 187 F-22s after initial operational status. Right now j-20 has been in service 3 years. At the same rate around 70 would be expected.

also keep in mind f-22 was the product of a much larger highly sophisticated aircraft production industry that down sized. J-20 is the first product of this level of sophistication ever for its aircraft industry. So if there is equal attention to quality, one would expect the Americans to have been able to produce F-22 at a higher rate.
The issue is that China has a strong operational need for J-20. With enough J-20s, it can overturn the F-35 dominance and break American 5th generation hegemony. And given the design of the J-20, it likely only needs half the number of J-20s for deterrence.

The only reason NOT to mass produce J-20s is the impending NGAD / PCAS / B-21 complex.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
...
- He states that this year, the next unit to receive J-20 will likely be a NTC unit
....
Interesting, since this would fit to this post, where the 55th Air Brigade is mentioned - to be followed by the 54th in the STC - which is a unit flying the oldest J-11A/Su-27SK.

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Jono

Junior Member
Registered Member
and here Mr. Blitzo has penned the SDF "Post of the Day", and yes I realize he penned it yesterday, but very fine logic Mr. Blitzo, and of course I don't think you could possibly be any more "spot on", good work my friend!
as an amateur with non-existent military knowledge, I have always enjoyed Mr. Blitzo's posts. This one no exception, of course.
all the more reason to salute Dr. Song who was able to design such an outstanding plane, given the circumstances of his days, limited resources and relatively not so advanced technological industrial base at his disposal..... Must have been sheer doggedness, dedication and determination to succeed. An epic and monumental success story, likely a fairy tale.
China needs more inspiring talents like him.
 

11226p

New Member
Registered Member
The issue is that China has a strong operational need for J-20. With enough J-20s, it can overturn the F-35 dominance and break American 5th generation hegemony. And given the design of the J-20, it likely only needs half the number of J-20s for deterrence.

The only reason NOT to mass produce J-20s is the impending NGAD / PCAS / B-21 complex.
To be honest I don't think the last part is a good argument. If we look at the forces today, no question the USAF is more advanced and more numerous than the PLAAF. For the PLAAF to catch up to or even surpass the USAF this can only be done over a longer period of time and over multiple iterations of its aircraft types. Keep in mind that currently the PLAAF still has 3rd?/early 4th generation aircraft depending on upgrade level and is producing 5th and 4th generation aircraft to replace their older planes. So you might make the same argument for producing J-16/J-10Cs etc. in face of a global F35 rollout.

Now let's consider the case when the USAF rolls out its new 6th gen aircraft + stealth bombers you have two possibilities
  1. There has been no sizable J-20 production run and the PLAAF air fleet therefore is much older than their US counterpart, slim possibility to build up sizable industry and knowledge and expertise regarding 5th generation aircraft but OTOH maybe more money to invest in a 6th gen but at the cost of much more R&D being needed and a worse shot at building one of their own
  2. There has been a big J-20 production run and the PLA has on very capable air force even if at worst individually the J-20 won't beat F35/F22 types. Even then it has a much better shot to close the gap in the medium term. In the long term the built up industry, expertise and experience with 5th generation aircraft grants them a much better starting position for making better next generation multirole fighters so apart from more money being invested there are very little negatives with a high return in value for the PLAAF.
The issue is when you want to close the gap in performance you need to get your hands dirty sooner or later. You don't just get a higher return from waiting. There will always be aircraft in the PLAAF that need to be replaced and modernising a force consisting of 4.5 and 5th gen aircraft to a 6th/5th gen one is much more doable and realistic and will lead to a better force than having little to base to modernise a 4/4.5 gen force to the same.
 

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