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


Inst

Senior Member
I do think there's a non-insignificant chance that the PLAAF (not PLANAF) may be passing on the FC-31 derived design. Perhaps with a single engine, WS15 equipped plane design in its sights for the future, to start replacing the J-10s from the year 2030 (or so) onward.

The fact that the FC-31 is virtually a F-35 in layout means that the FC-31-derived design will be extremely useful for aggressor training. That said, it's possible the PLAAF simply won't replace the J-10 class, since you'd be looking at range and radar deficiencies compared to a heavyweight fighter.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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I do think there's a non-insignificant chance that the PLAAF (not PLANAF) may be passing on the FC-31 derived design. Perhaps with a single engine, WS15 equipped plane design in its sights for the future, to start replacing the J-10s from the year 2030 (or so) onward.

Why do you think that?
I mean specifically, do you think something has changed in terms of technology or PLA procurement practices or rumours that would suggest the PLAAF has ruled out procuring an FC-31 derivative sometime in the future?


Because while nothing is set in stone, I could see a land based derivative of J-XY/J-35 being developed for the PLAAF -- and would likely not be too difficult as it would be a matter of reducing the additional carrier related strengthening and modifications -- while being able to keep much if not all of the same subsystems in terms of avionics and weapons suite.
The ability to reduce development costs and shared operational costs -- and more importantly being able to reduce the time taken from starting development and entry into service -- would be immense.

And it's not like they're adding in a silly VSTOL variant into the mix either; a navalized carrier variant and a land based variant of the same aircraft are quite complementary to each other.
 

Inst

Senior Member
It isn't.
It looks alike, but that's mainly about how its front section is arranged.

The plane itself is much closer to a scaled down F-22 in its planeform.

The F-35 benefits from very large elevons; the American 5th-generation set-up is oriented around large tails because the Americans use the large tails to generate lift in unstable flight regimes. IIRC, the F-35 gains about 30% wing area when the aircraft in unstable, while the F-22 only gains 20% wing area. So both the F-35 and F-22 are more performant than their raw statistics might indicate.

However, the F-35, as opposed to the FC-31, has very large tailfins that are used to generate yaw control and likely high AOA control as well. The J-31, in contrast, is likely to rely on TVC for that.

But my concern is aggressor training, a FC-31 community within the PLAAF basically allows the PLAAF to have a clear notion of what the F-35 is capable of, and moreover, provides a "Panther" paradigm fighter that emphasizes IR and radar stealth in low-speed.

Re: Totoro: what the PLAAF really needs is a strike complement for the J-20 right now. This is either going to be the JH-XX or a strike derivative of the J-20. Once you have a strike complement fighter, you can expect the strike capability to be inherited on all new PLAAF 5th gen aircraft going forward, and the raw FC-31 isn't going to meet this requirement.

It might end up being an interesting set-up; since the FC-31 design is mediocre at strike, you might end up seeing a navalized J-20 strike aircraft on Chinese carriers instead. And if Shenyang does the JH-XX, it'd be PLAAF with strike Shenyang and air superiority Chengdu, while the PLANAF has strike Chengdu and air superiority / tactical fighter Shenyang.
 

Gloire_bb

Junior Member
Registered Member
And it's not like they're adding in a silly VSTOL variant into the mix either; a navalized carrier variant and a land based variant of the same aircraft are quite complementary to each other.
Irony here, F-35B is much closer to F-35A than F-35C.
And it was actually F-35C which was [by far] the most troublesome out of 3.
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
However, the F-35, as opposed to the FC-31, has very large tailfins
You what. They're similarly proportioned.
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1155cc46-f0ef-11ea-8f3b-07283e3f3bd8_image_hires_202618.JPG


used to generate yaw control and likely high AOA control as well
Vertical stabalizers provides directional control. High AoA performance/control is achieved by high lift devices (leading edge slats/flaps to increase camber, vanes/vortex generators to delay aerodynamic flow separation) and wing/aerofoil design (canards, delta wing, sweepback... etc). TVC gives the ability to instantaneously manipulate a plane's pitch/roll and to a certain extent yaw, they're particularly useful in low speed + high AoA scenarios, however they do not control or manipulate AoA itself.

But my concern is aggressor training, a FC-31 community within the PLAAF basically allows the PLAAF to have a clear notion of what the F-35 is capable of, and moreover, provides a "Panther" paradigm fighter that emphasizes IR and radar stealth in low-speed.
Fifth generation platforms are inherently expensive to operate - the cost per flight hour is double (sometimes even triple) that of a forth generation fighter. As such it doesn't really make much economical sense to create a fifth-generation aggressor unit, all be it would greatly enhance the quality of training for PLA fighter pilots and AEW air controllers. Given finite resources the PLA is inevitability limited to, management of opportunity cost points to the PLA gaining the most utility funding front-line fifth generation units rather than to break up some of those resources to fund an aggressor unit.... Not until economies of scale kick in and we're capable of producing/operating/maintaining fifth-generation fighters at a lower cost. If we looked at what the Americans are doing, their F-22s and F-35s train against aggressor squadrons that fly T-38As that have no stealth capability, radar... Heck these T-38s don't even have a HUD and operate on "steam-gauge" instruments.

Re: Totoro: what the PLAAF really needs is a strike complement for the J-20 right now. This is either going to be the JH-XX or a strike derivative of the J-20. Once you have a strike complement fighter, you can expect the strike capability to be inherited on all new PLAAF 5th gen aircraft going forward, and the raw FC-31 isn't going to meet this requirement.
A dedicated stealth strike fighter would need to have the ability to carry multiple large strike munitions (I'm thinking YJ-12s, CJ-20s, and large precision guided bombs regularly carried by H-6s) in it's internal weapons bay. The FC-31 already features a smaller airframe than the J-20, in fact the J-20 would almost certainly require major airframe modification to create a larger weapons bay to fit these large bombs/missiles. When the current J-20 itself has already been deemed challenging for carrier operations given it's size and weight, a carrier strike variant J-20 would create all sorts of design/performance headaches for CAC to overcome, even with catapult launch to aid takeoff performance.

As far as the credible PLA watching community knows, the JH-XX program has been ditched (or at least placed in the back burner) in favor of the H-20 to serve the PLA's strategic strike/bombing mission. An inherently bigger stealth plane with a large weapons loadout makes much more sense than trying to cram everything into the limited weapons bay of the J-XY or naval J-20. It makes more sense reserving the stealth strike mission (if stealth isn't required, the J-15 has plenty strike capability) to the H-20, a strategic stealth bomber that is designed to have a MUCH larger loadout than any stealth fighter and has a larger combat radius... Whereas on the other hand a naval strike fighter would be limited to the geographical location of the physical carrier itself. If air resistance is expected, H-20s can be escorted by a four-ship formation of stealth J-20s. This a mission set the USAF trains for with their B-2s and F-22s, in fact such air tasking order was deployed in the opening days of Syria, and I believe a similar strategy/doctrine could be adopted into the PLA.

I'm sure if push comes to shove and an immediate strike solution is required out at sea because they can't wait for the H-20 to roll in, the J-XY has the ability to throw stealth out the window and go "beast mode" hanging bombs and missiles on external pylons.
china_fc-_1561014457.jpg

A CG render, but to illustrate my point.

While a single J-XY might just be able to hold a limited amount of missiles/bombs in it's weapons bay in order to maintain stealth, a four-ship formation of J-XYs gives you plenty lethality and striking capability when deployed together. A hypothetical scenario could see a carrier air wing deploy a four-ship formation of J-XYs to provide sweep/escort where they clear up the skies for another four-ship formation of J-XYs to strike ground/sea targets.
 

Bltizo

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Irony here, F-35B is much closer to F-35A than F-35C.
And it was actually F-35C which was [by far] the most troublesome out of 3.

Not untrue but I suspect if they had focused efforts on the A and C variants the program as a whole would have seen a lesser share of troubles than we've seen. Though it doesn't help that the USN never seemed that enthused about the C variant to begin with.

Regardless, conversion of the carrier based J-35/J-XY to a land based derivative will likely far less troublesome than the reverse
 

gelgoog

Captain
Registered Member
I wouldn't say the F-35C was particularly problematic. It is just that the US Navy isn't willing to accept a troublesome aircraft and they would rather wait until the design was more mature. Plus with the Super Hornet being available the Navy wasn't in as much of a rush to change aircraft as the Air Force.
 

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