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
- 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.
I made a more detailed translation/summary, which may be of interest:
Old info/info that can be surmised:
- J-20 entering production with WS-10 engines since last year (per many photos that were hinted at mid 2019 and higher res by late 2019).
- Generally that J-20 is stealthy and has demonstrated very good results, described as incredible etc. Stuff that you'd expect for a new 5th gen aircraft for an air force operating it for the first time.
- Generic information regarding J-20 being very capable etc in the PLAAF fleet.
- Generic information about seeking to greatly rollout logistics, tactics and J-20 airframes, given urgency to match proliferation of F-35s in the region.
- He generally says that the reliability and readiness of J-20 for a new aircraft type is impressive, and it has been compared almost to a "veteran".
- He states that this year, the next unit to receive J-20 will likely be a Northern Theatre Command unit.
- Reminder: the first combat unit to receive J-20s was 9th brigade in Eastern Theatre Command. The first two units in the country to receive J-20s overall were two units whose responsibilities are tactics development unit and advanced training/strategic reserve, respectfully.
- He states that a new BVRAAM will enter service with J-20 (or has entered service?? We've gotten some mixed messages recently on the status of it) and have a range close to PL-15 but with smaller diameter to allow carriage of 6 in the main weapons bay -- he also emphasizes that this new BVRAAM is designed to have greater ability to detect and track stealth aircraft (fighters). Connected to that last part, he says the kinematic properties of this new missile is designed to emphasize greater ability to target and maeneuver against stealth aircraft at medium to short ranges which seems to be where he thinks stealth on stealth engagements are most likely to be decisive.
- My note: we've known that a new BVRAAM that J-20 could carry 6 internally was in the works (vs 4 PL-15s at present), but there's been some recent confusion regarding what the designation of this new BVRAAM is (some say PL-20, some say otherwise), and if it is designed for J-20 to carry 6 internally.
- However Yankee seems very convinced it is a missile with dimensions for J-20 to carry 6 in its ventral bay, and this piece was published barely a month ago so I'll defer to him.
- He states that PL-15 has a capability where one aircraft launching PL-15 can have the missile guided by a different aircraft (basically a type of CeC, sounds like), and states PL-15 has two way datalink and has a dual pulse motor (the last parts we've known about for a while).
- He states PL-10 has LOAL.
- In regards to A2G capabilities for J-20:
- He states that an A2G missile for J-20 is in development (which we've known about for a while). He mentions a few other A2G missiles like JSM and Kh-59MK2, strongly implying the missile in development for J-20 are of a similar class (which is again consistent with what we've heard about this missile in the past).
- He also mentions a few small size PGM (think SDB-like) weapons we've seen in the past at airshows/arms expos (FT-5, CM-506KG), and says such a weapon is in testing and implies it could enter service on J-20 in 2020. He doesn't mention specifically what model it is (if it is one of the models we have seen revealed in the past or if it's a new one entirely).
- He states the luneberg lens on J-20 can be jettisoned from the aircraft in flight.
- He states J-20 has conducted training/cooperation with 4rd gen fighters, as well as drones.
- My note: we've known about the former for years now, but this is the first time hearing about the latter in an explicit manner. Unfortunately there aren't any additional details regarding what kind of training or cooperation J-20 has engaged with drones in.
- He strongly implies that a twin seater J-20 may make its appearance in 2020(?!), and it would be a fully combat capable trainer with enhanced command capabilities.
- My note: this is definitely the biggest eyebrow raiser for me. We've heard some superficial rumours that a twin seater J-20 might be in the works for a few years now, but this is definitely the most recent persistent mention of it from someone considered to be very credible. I'm sure we can all consider what the roles of a twin seater 5th generation aircraft may have.
Additional comments regarding a twin seater from myself:
He describes the twin seater as a fully combat capable trainer with enhanced command capability.
IMO, that does not suggest to me a "JH-20" (i.e.: not an "FB-22" equivalent), but rather more of a J-10AS to J-10A. IMO the amount of work needed to develop a true "JH-20" to make such an aircraft worthwhile would be very significant and substantial structural changes.
I think that a twin seat combat capable/command variant could make sense if it can fulfill 2 (or 3) roles that a standard single seat J-20 cannot:
1. Combat capable trainer role -- the PLA likely recognizes that there is a need to enhance training capacity and training speed of J-20 pilots and having only simulators may be deemed not sufficient. The scale at which F-35s are proliferating in the region means not only is there a need to accelerate delivery of J-20 airframes themselves but also to accelerate associated development of the human resources side of things (pilots in this case; but also the crew to maintain aircraft as part of the logistics chain)
2. Combat command role -- a twin seat aircraft will allow a "systems officer" to better command and allocate tasks in a complex battlespace to friendly aircraft while the aircraft itself operates in the battlespace, in a manner that a single pilot cannot manage. The electromagnetic battle space (with stealth, EW/ECM, ESM, active and passive sensors) is only likely to become more complex in coming years, and even with sensor fusion and automation, having a number of aircraft that can have enhanced "forward battle management" capabilities may be very useful.
(3. Combat drone command role -- similar to 2. above, this is basically the same thing but having your "systems officer" also have the role of "drone command" role, to better be capable of commanding UAVs and UCAVs in the battle space while doing the same mission as aforementioned as 2.)
IMO, if the PLA was only interested in having 1 of the 3 above capabilities, it may not have made sense to develop a dedicated two seat version. I think they might have just bitten the bullet and accepted that they'll have to make do with a single seater J-20 to do the role. But if they were interested in all 3 roles, then I think together those 3 roles would be impetus enough to develop a dedicated twin seater variant.
Of course other additional secondary roles include potential for a J-20 twin seater acting as a jammer, or forward "battle space ESM/intelligence" aircraft etc, in a way that is superior to what a single seat J-20 could do.
My guess is that a "J-20AS" will likely basically have the same dimensions as a normal J-20A, but with a second seat and possibly a slightly elevated spine/dorsal bulge for avionics. The aircraft will obviously have significantly greater weight than a single seat J-20A and be less maneuvrable (though will seek to retain similar range). However it will otherwise retain the same weapons bay dimensions, same overall dimensions and control surface arrangements.
However I consider the prospect of a J-20 twin seater to be very eyebrow raising as well, but the only reason I'm taking it with some level of seriousness is because it's from yankee.