Shenyang FC-31 / J-31 Fighter Demonstrator


J-XX

Banned Idiot
July 7, 2012

China: Doing it all yourself has its drawbacks

By Kathrin Hille


When, in January 2011, China publicised the first test flight of the stealth fighter it is developing, the fact that the J-20 was advanced enough to get off the ground surprised many in the aviation world.

Since then, the Chengdu-made aircraft has had more practice. According to Chinese state media the first prototype completed its 60th test flight late last year and the second of four prototypes started test flights this year.

In addition, military experts in China say the country is developing a second lighter-weight stealth fighter, the J-60.

Without doubt, these projects are powerful symbols of China’s emerging military might.

“It puts China in the company of very few nations that have the wealth and the determination to develop such a programme,” says Tim Huxley, head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Asia.

The only potential rivals for the J-20 are the Lockheed Martin-produced F-22 Raptor and a stealth fighter under joint development by Russia and India.

But, while the January 2011 surprise showed the risk of underestimating China’s military development programmes, experts now say they should not be overestimated either.

The Pentagon has said it expects the J-20 to be operational no sooner than 2018 – in line with an estimate given by the Chinese deputy air force chief in 2009.

Tai Ming Cheung, an expert on the Chinese military’s technological development at the University of California in San Diego, says: “Whether the Pentagon’s estimate that the J-20 will go into service by 2018 is accurate is anyone’s guess, but my sense is that is wildly optimistic.”

Pointing to the gap of more than a decade between the first flight of the US F-22 fighter and its coming into service, he argues the J-20 will have at least a decade of testing and evaluation before it is ready for production.

“Finding the right engines remains a major obstacle. The [domestically made] WS-10 is still plagued by problems, especially of high quality manufacturing, and there appears to be no quick fix in sight,” he says. “The J-20 is a leading priority in the 12th Five Year defence development plan, so will require plenty of funding and high leadership attention.”

Industry sources agree that engine development remains the soft spot in the Chinese military air power.

An executive at a western aerospace company says: “In missile and satellite technology, China has managed greatly to narrow the gap with the US. But aircraft engines are an area where, despite decades of reverse engineering of licensed technology, they are still far behind.”

Avic, the state-owned aerospace conglomerate, plans to invest Rmb10bn ($1.6bn) over the next five years in the development of the high-end turbofan engines needed in an aircraft of the J-20 type. Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force remains dependent on Russian and Ukrainian supplies.

The J-10 and J-11, China’s fourth-generation fighters, are powered by Russian Salyut AL-31 FN engines.

In July 2011, Beijing ordered another 123 of those engines, bringing total orders of this engine model since 2001 to more than 1,000.

Beijing this year requested 48 Sukhoi Su-35 fighters from Russia, a deal still being delayed because of Moscow’s concerns that China could copy its technology.

But the request could reflect China’s desire to insure itself against the risk of relying only on domestic development.

But, despite the challenges, China’s growing air power has already thrown its large shadow ahead.

James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor at IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, says: “China’s military modernisation over the past decade and its more assertive posture, for example in the South China Sea since 2008, has driven south-east Asian countries such as the Philippines to step up fighter procurement.

“US allies in the region, such as, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia are buying – or thinking of buying – F-35s to maintain interoperability with US forces and stay at the cutting edge of combat aircraft technology.”


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This article reminds me of the John Carpenter movie They Live where aliens place subliminal messages everywhere to keep eveyone in line with their agenda.



That's sounds like some of the spin we hear in here. But that usually comes from people from allied countries dependent on independent countries. Not surprised. China's not really going it alone since the article notes how China buys engines from Russia. The journalist is contradicting. So how does a country not go it alone as suggested when said advice comes from people who have military embargoes on China? Oh I get it... China has to become a democracy overseen by them, embrace their values, and let them have free economic reign so said embargoes cease. All so Chinese stealth fighters can be the engine that could. This is just like teasing their version of "soft power" to China where it's about what you have has to be embraced by them meaning they like you which somehow translates to some sort of power. No the power lies with the people who get to decide what you have is worthy of being liked. And on top of that they make it out you're stupid if you don't pursue it but the irony is you would have to be even more stupid to fall for it.

Yes, the article could be just pointing out China can't go it alone as a swipe. But besides the US and Russia and maybe Europe, who else can do it on their own? Do they talk about Japan or South Korea or India? No, they talk about China because China is the only one more likely that can go independent just like them. That's what it's about.
Don't bother quoting articles from this bimbo Katherine hille.
Every article she produces is anti-Chinese whether it is economic,political or military.

The fact the the Chinese government allows anti-Chinese western journalists to report from Chinese territory shows how weak and timid the current group of Chinese leaders are.
The quicker they are gone and replaced with hardliners, the better china will be.

The west hopes china will fail at engine development so the west can continue its monopoly and not have to deal with china.
Im sure the people on this forum have more understanding and knowledge about the PLA than the 'experts' she quoted.
They pick and choose these 'experts' to fit into their anti-Chinese articles to pigeonhole china.

This is why china would be better off banning ALL foreign NGOs and foreign media.

Go do some research on this journalist and you will figure out her hatred of all things china.
Typical china hating western journalist.
 

Quickie

Major
Last news I heard about WS-10 is that it have 3 major problems.
1, it have a very short life time, even shorter than AL-31.
2, the overall thrust is good, but the time it take to increase thrust is slow, which makes acceleration lacking.
3, the production quality is unreliable, the defect rate is very high among new production.

Have they solve all of those issues?
Those are old news/rumors and only point no. 2 was substantiated. I remember years ago a Chinese official commented about the slower spooling of the WS-10 but this is years ago and should've been solved by now. Sometimes the PLAAF leaks information in their own unique way like this video showing the tellingly faster spooling speed of the WS-10A engine (on the J-10B, at 9:30 ) compared to engines of the J-20 and JF-17, indicating the spooling problem have been solved.

[video=youtube;Wxtm2wVwLnA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxtm2wVwLnA[/video]
 
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Player99

Junior Member
The fact the the Chinese government allows anti-Chinese western journalists to report from Chinese territory shows how weak and timid the current group of Chinese leaders are.
The quicker they are gone and replaced with hardliners, the better china will be.

This is why china would be better off banning ALL foreign NGOs and foreign media.
Hmm... By that logic, North Korea would indeed be one of the strongest nation in the world... So was the former Soviet Union...
 

SteelBird

Major
I notice something in the video above: the flame from the afterburner of the J-20 is blue while that of the J-10B and JF-17 are red. What does that imply? J-20's engine is definitely not WS-10A (someone suggest that it is WS-15) and does it mean that the fuel burning of J-20's engine is more efficient than that of the J-10B and JF-17? Further, the taking off distance of J-20 seems even shorter than that of the JF-17. (correct me if I'm wrong)
 

paintgun

Senior Member
^^another observation that leads to the assumption that it is AL-31 family variant powering the current J-20 prototypes
it has been discussed in the J-20 thread as well as flameholder similarities

this is OT to the thread, but i guess we have no other thing to discuss because there will be no pics for some time
not until at least August maybe

---------- Post added at 01:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:14 PM ----------

or how about this, will PLAAF/NAF induct this bird?

where or in what region do you guys see this bird be effectively deployed?

the carrier fighter wing rumor, what's the pro and cons of the bird of this size and design?

what's the consequence of China operating carrier battle group(s) equipped with this class of air wing for China's neighbours and USN strategic planning? i.e will it render the super hornets a disadvantage, requiring F-35 CAP all the time for all mission?
 
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Quickie

Major
I notice something in the video above: the flame from the afterburner of the J-20 is blue while that of the J-10B and JF-17 are red. What does that imply? J-20's engine is definitely not WS-10A (someone suggest that it is WS-15) and does it mean that the fuel burning of J-20's engine is more efficient than that of the J-10B and JF-17? Further, the taking off distance of J-20 seems even shorter than that of the JF-17. (correct me if I'm wrong)
I don't think that the colour of the exhaust has anything to do with engine efficiency. The U.S. F-1xx series of jet engines have afterburners that are orange in colour but with a different hue from those seen in the video.
 

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