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Chinese J-20 stealth fighter
U.S. officials weigh in on the J-20

We reported last week that China is doing taxi trials of its new J-20 stealth fighter. The J-20 is being seen as a competitor for both the Lockheed F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter (which is going out of production after 187 units have been produced), and the more "workhorse" Lockheed F-35 Lightning II.

Despite the leaked pictures that clearly show that China has something quite advanced in its back pocket, U.S. officials are downplaying the significance of the J-20 in its current state according to Reuters. While the plane appears to be in finished form, it hasn't actually taken to the air like Russia's Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter

"It's still not clear to me when it's going to become operational," said U.S. Vice Admiral David Dorsett who is director of naval intelligence. "Developing a stealth capability with a prototype and then integrating that into a combat environment is going to take some time." 

Dorsett believes that China is still a few years away from actually deploying its stealth fighter.

Another Pentagon official, Colonel Dave Lapan, was even more dismissive of the J-20, stating; "Our assessment of when China might have an operational fifth generation fighter puts it at some point in the future, close to the end of this decade."

Regardless of how long it will take China to field the J-20, it would likely be unwise to underestimate the capabilities of the Chinese military which is using its robust economy to bolster its military might.

The United States has a highly capable platform with the F-22, but its numbers are quite limited due to cost overruns. Likewise, the F-35 is a much more versatile platform (it will be replacing the F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, and A-10), but it's development has been marred by setbacks and it too has been plagued with cost overruns.

It would be interesting to see how new T-50 and J-20 stack up to the latest and greatest from America, but hopefully we'll never have to find out in the real world.



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RE: Interceptor
By v9s on 1/7/2011 9:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The exhaust nozzles don't look like they'd be vectored either, unless they're a newfangled 3-axis type, which I'd be very surprised if the Chinese had managed to develop so quickly.


J-20 is powered by two Russian NPO Saturn 117S afterburning turbofan engines with 3d vectoring nozzles. These are engines that are also used in the Sukhoi T-50 & Su-35S fighters.

The NPO Saturn 117S will power the Chengdu J-20 until China can fully develop the WS-15 afterburning turbofan engine - which will also feature 3d vectoring nozzles.


RE: Interceptor
By v9s on 1/7/2011 9:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
That's the first prototype. The second one uses the AL31


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