J-XY - maybe J-35 - next generation carrier-borne fighter


Scchwerter_

Junior Member
Registered Member
Great CGIs but I can't see the side weapons bay. Actually does the real-thing even have them.
It would be a huge mistake for J-35 (or any other 5th gen) not to have them for a couple IR-AAM because of the belief WVR engagement will be rare or none at all.
PLAN shouldn't follow F-35 route.
neither version of the FC-31 had side weapon bays and IMO the J-XY, with its roots coming from fc-31, doesn't have those either. Furthermore, when talking about weapon bays we need to remember that they come at the cost of airframe rigidity, ease of maintaince, structural weight and a smaller usable internal volume, and it comes down to a question of whether these benefits overweigh the advantages of having additional short-range missiles or would it be the other way around. I'm not even close to having the qualifications to analyze this topic, but personally I feel that the PLANAF and 601th institution would have had serious research conducted before choosing the final product, so I put my trust in their choices, whichever that is.
 

Atomicfrog

Junior Member
Registered Member
neither version of the FC-31 had side weapon bays and IMO the J-XY, with its roots coming from fc-31, doesn't have those either. Furthermore, when talking about weapon bays we need to remember that they come at the cost of airframe rigidity, ease of maintaince, structural weight and a smaller usable internal volume, and it comes down to a question of whether these benefits overweigh the advantages of having additional short-range missiles or would it be the other way around. I'm not even close to having the qualifications to analyze this topic, but personally I feel that the PLANAF and 601th institution would have had serious research conducted before choosing the final product, so I put my trust in their choices, whichever that is.
In any case, with limited space, better to have a bigger single one than 3 smaller ones...
 

Maikeru

Senior Member
Registered Member
In any case, with limited space, better to have a bigger single one than 3 smaller ones...
Could IR AAMs be launched from the main bay (at the expense of fewer radar guided AAMs)? ISTR on the F22 the AIM9X swings out on a trapeze so the seeker can get a track before launch.
 

Atomicfrog

Junior Member
Registered Member
Could IR AAMs be launched from the main bay (at the expense of fewer radar guided AAMs)? ISTR on the F22 the AIM9X swings out on a trapeze so the seeker can get a track before launch.
It's just that space and volume can be limited and structure for multiple weapons bay become a bigger loss in smaller planes. You can design some swing arm like j-20 side bay on the main bay or trapeze if its indeed needed. But going in visual combat with a stealth aircraft mean that you failed already...
 

plawolf

Brigadier
Could IR AAMs be launched from the main bay (at the expense of fewer radar guided AAMs)? ISTR on the F22 the AIM9X swings out on a trapeze so the seeker can get a track before launch.

They could, and with LOAL capability pretty much standard on all the newest IRAAMs, not having the seeker outside before launch isn’t a massive issue. Indeed, that’s how the F35 is potentially going to launch its own IRAAMs.

The real issue with using the main bay for IRAAMs is going to be the operating limits of the main bay doors, because those would have been designed for use at high altitudes with relatively straight and level flight in mind.

I would not be surprised if the main weapons bay doors of all current 5th gens will simply rip right off the airframe if they were opened at low altitude, while the jet was pulling 9G+ since they would not have been designed for that.

Maybe the F35 might be able to manage it due to the unique design of its main bays, but I would be amazed if the bays on the F22, J20 or J35 could survive that due to their design (assuming the J35 bay has not been radically changed from the FC31).

Even if you re-design and/or beef up the main weapons bay to be able to open safely during a dogfight, it will still be sub-optional as exemplified by the agonising ‘lag’ on the F22 between when the pilot presses the trigger and when the side bays finishes opening and the missile actually leaves the rail.

This is another reason why I love the J20 side bay designs so much, since it neatly sidesteps that issue and gives the J20 the best of both worlds and stealthy internal carriage and zero delay to launching the missiles.
 

iantsai

Junior Member
Registered Member
I hope @winword is not against a re-post of his magnificent CGs here too. Simply amazing!

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The FC-31 has been reappearing in military media and fan forums since October.

But this time there has been very few real photos disclosured, most of which are in very low resolution and blurry.

There are full of CG art like these. But I have a question: Is this new 'naval variant' for real?

It's almost three months since its last showing up in late October, nothing new was seen again. No new test flight, no new photos in the runway, nothing with more detail.

When J-20 debuted eleven years ago in 2011, although the max resolution of the camera of most phones at that time were no more than 2-4 meg pixels (iphone 4 was released as a high-end mobilephone six months ago with a 5 meg camera), fans still took lots of high quality photos of J-20, detailed and clear.

How could it happen that in 2021 when most phones were equipped 12-15 meg pixel camera with built-in image stabilization,digital zoom and software digital processor, there were only a few very low quality photos taken for the new FC-31 variant, and only one test flight witnessed in three months, if it's really the choice of PLAN-AF as the next carrier-borne fighter aircraft?
 

Gloire_bb

Senior Member
Registered Member
They could, and with LOAL capability pretty much standard on all the newest IRAAMs, not having the seeker outside before launch isn’t a massive issue. Indeed, that’s how the F35 is potentially going to launch its own IRAAMs.
You have to choose one.
Either it's "standard" and "there isn't a massive issue", or
"F-35 is potentially going to launch its own IRAAMs" (but now does not) - i.e. there is a hell of an issue.

"we just don't want to, being stealth is unfair" isn't a good explanation.

p.s. there is indeed an issue here. LOAL+IR is fine - at least, in some situations(it depends). But LOAL+IR+catapulting is still very much not fine, - at least, as of early 2020s. There is a very serious reason why all such missiles are rail-launched.
 

Scchwerter_

Junior Member
Registered Member
The FC-31 has been reappearing in military media and fan forums since October.

But this time there has been very few real photos disclosured, most of which are in very low resolution and blurry.

There are full of CG art like these. But I have a question: Is this new 'naval variant' for real?

It's almost three months since its last showing up in late October, nothing new was seen again. No new test flight, no new photos in the runway, nothing with more detail.

When J-20 debuted eleven years ago in 2011, although the max resolution of the camera of most phones at that time were no more than 2-4 meg pixels (iphone 4 was released as a high-end mobilephone six months ago with a 5 meg camera), fans still took lots of high quality photos of J-20, detailed and clear.

How could it happen that in 2021 when most phones were equipped 12-15 meg pixel camera with built-in image stabilization,digital zoom and software digital processor, there were only a few very low quality photos taken for the new FC-31 variant, and only one test flight witnessed in three months, if it's really the choice of PLAN-AF as the next carrier-borne fighter aircraft?
Having zero information for 2 months or so is hardly news, we've seen things like this (first flight pics and then everything goes quiet for months) multiple times with (but not excluded to) fc-31 (both versions), J-11D (something new comes out every few months or so, but almost always a substantial gap in between), J-20S which debuted a few days before J-XY and has since also gone nearly completely silent, as well as JF-17 block 3 which had no new pictures for months following its maiden flight in Chengdu.

imo it comes down to how frequent the test flights are conducted, when and where they are conducted, and what the regulations are for posting pictures like these. Frequently we've seen Chinese sources post allegedly "new" photos that later turned out to be a few months or even years old, and are only released at that point because it was deemed "safe" or "acceptable" to do so. J-XY not having news in a few months most likely means that those who have information are being silent, and not that absolutely nothing new has happened. I wouldn't worry too much on the legitimacy of the new model.

p.s. if I'm not very, very much mistaken the SAC plant is much harder to get eyes on than the CAC plant, so civilian are far less likely to take pictures of jets parked on the runway in Shenyang. This plus the possibility (by no means sure, but could be a possibility) that weather conditions are more often than not clowdy in the winter in Shenyang with a low cloud base may result in observers having no idea when the J-XY would likely fly and having a hard time tracking the plane as it's taking off or landing.
 

Richard Santos

Senior Member
Registered Member
The FC-31 has been reappearing in military media and fan forums since October.

But this time there has been very few real photos disclosured, most of which are in very low resolution and blurry.

There are full of CG art like these. But I have a question: Is this new 'naval variant' for real?

It's almost three months since its last showing up in late October, nothing new was seen again. No new test flight, no new photos in the runway, nothing with more detail.

When J-20 debuted eleven years ago in 2011, although the max resolution of the camera of most phones at that time were no more than 2-4 meg pixels (iphone 4 was released as a high-end mobilephone six months ago with a 5 meg camera), fans still took lots of high quality photos of J-20, detailed and clear.

How could it happen that in 2021 when most phones were equipped 12-15 meg pixel camera with built-in image stabilization,digital zoom and software digital processor, there were only a few very low quality photos taken for the new FC-31 variant, and only one test flight witnessed in three months, if it's really the choice of PLAN-AF as the next carrier-borne fighter aircraft?
one could be blunt and point out china has become much less open since 2011.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
You have to choose one.
Either it's "standard" and "there isn't a massive issue", or
"F-35 is potentially going to launch its own IRAAMs" (but now does not) - i.e. there is a hell of an issue.

"we just don't want to, being stealth is unfair" isn't a good explanation.

p.s. there is indeed an issue here. LOAL+IR is fine - at least, in some situations(it depends). But LOAL+IR+catapulting is still very much not fine, - at least, as of early 2020s. There is a very serious reason why all such missiles are rail-launched.

LOAL is standard and not an issue in terms of launching IRAAMs from internal bays. You don’t need to have the IR seekers poking to to achieve lock before launch.

The potentially show-stopping issue is whether the main weapons bays doors can be opened during intense dogfights to allow you to launch your IRAAM.

These are two different issues involving different aspects of the launch process so I don’t see why one can’t be fine while the other could very much be a show stopping issue.

Also, just because you are launching an IRAAM from inside of the main weapons bay doesn’t mean you cannot rail launch it. It would not be all that hard of an engineering exercise (in context of what is needed to design and build a 5th gen stealth fighter to have this specific issue) to design a launch rail that pivots the missile when needed and angles it downwards such that you can rail launch it out the open bay doors.

As I said, if there is going to be a problem, it’s going to be with the weapons bay doors.

Solvable also, but whether it’s worth the added weight and cost is the bigger question.
 

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