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Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter
Apparently Liang forgets the new stealth fighter China is showing off

The tensions in Asia over the growing might of the Chinese military are easy to see and understand. China is using its booming economy to fund the development of new weapons programs. China wants the world to believe that it is merely being sure it can defend the sovereignty of its nation while others fear that China will use the military might to take resources and possibly attack other nations in the area.

With tension growing, Chinese Defense Minister General Liang Guanglie said at the 10th Shangri-La Dialog in Singapore that the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) is 20-years behind the U.S. Military. Guanglie said, "I would call the gap big. [The PLA] main battle equipment of our services ... is mainly second-generation weapons." He continued saying, "For example, the army is still being motorized, not mechanized."

Liang acknowledged that the modernization of the Chinese military has drawn attention and concern from around the world. Liang says that China has a right to protect is "core interests" such as protecting its sovereignty. Liang also explained at the conference that relations between the Chinese and U.S. military were improving. This year's Shangri-La dialog was in face the strongest turn out for the Chinese after years of ignoring the conference.

In addition to Liang there were a number of other Chinese officials at the conference including Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, deputy chief, Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defense; Senior Col. Ou Yangwei, director, Center for Defense Mobilization Studies, National Defense University; Major Gen. Song Dan, deputy director general, General Office, Central Military Commission; Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe, deputy chief of general staff, PLA; and Xiao Jianguo, director, Department of Ocean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

As much as Liang wants the world to believe China has a massive gap between its military and the U.S. military (and other armed forces of the world), the country is investing heavily in next-generation weapons. A the most high profile new weapons program is the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter. The J-20 completed its second flight in April and has been captured on video as it has been tested. Some speculate that China obtained the stealth technology that is used in the J-20 from a U.S. F-117 stealth fighter that was downed in 1999 in Serbia. China is known to have had agents crisscross the area where the fighter crashed buying up the wreckage from local farmers.

The Chinese military is also believed by many around the world to be carrying out very sophisticated and successful hacks against military and corporate networks. Many digital attacks have been traced back to parts of China where the government is known to have a strong military presence. The Gmail hack that was revealed earlier this month is believed to have been perpetrated by China, though Chinese officials have denied any involvement. China is also allegedly the source of the hacking attacks that compromised networks at Lockheed Martin using stolen RSA SecurID dongles. Those hacks are believed to have targeted Lockheed Martin military projects. 



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RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 1:46:46 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Now, we don't know how much of the J-20 is based on the Nighthawk and it's likely more stealthy than the F-117 was


Not even close. The doctrine laid down by stealth pioneer Denys Overholser still stands: the four most important aspects of stealth are shape, shape, shape and materials. And the J-20's current shape is nothing like the flat and faceted shapes of past, and future, stealth aircraft.

The F-117 was a TRUE stealth aircraft. Not simply radar resistant, not just minimized cross section, but true stealth. Even the exhaust was cooled to defeat infra-red detection. You can clearly see the J-20 has a standard engine configuration. White hot exhaust, not good.

I would say it probably has a radar cross section similar to the F-35, which is to say, not stealthy at ALL.


RE: 20 year gap.
By EJ257 on 6/8/2011 2:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
The Chinese probably learned a great deal about the materials (structure, skin, the famous stealth coatings) used on the F-117 from the wreck. The avionics were hopefully all destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire.

I think the J-20 is going to be used as a standoff platform. It'll use the front aspect stealth to get close to a USN CVBG, launch some anti-ship missiles, turn tail and run before the defense can react. That combined with a missile barrage from the coast is probably what the PLAN are hopping will take out the US carriers. Maybe time it so the two arrive at the same time and try to overwhelm the missile defense systems. Good thing we got that laser system coming online.


RE: 20 year gap.
By geddarkstorm on 6/9/2011 5:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's a good analysis.

We better get those lasers on line soon, as China is definitely in a war ramp up mentality. Launching their own aircraft carriers as well lately, and have dedicated a lot of their military research into exploiting our weaknesses. Hopefully it's all just posturing to project power and have a better bargaining position against the US and other developed nations (most likely case). A real war is never something anyone should wish for.


RE: 20 year gap.
By nafhan on 6/8/2011 2:28:23 PM , Rating: 2
Can't curved shapes be more stealthy than flat faceted shapes (i.e. B2, F22)? Anything I've seen of future stealth aircraft makes it look like "flat and faceted" may be a thing of the past...


RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 3:00:28 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not an expert, but I would say curves are worst because some part of the curves arc will be pointed back to the radar source. With angles and sharp edges we can deliberately deflect radar energy away from the receiver and scatter it.

Newer designs might also be relying more on radar absorbing materials so they don't have to compromise so much on the shape.


RE: 20 year gap.
By seamonkey79 on 6/8/2011 4:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
Some of the material used in these curved shape platforms is radar neutral, doesn't really reflect much of anything back... the shape of the reflective structure underneath is the same angular shape that the F-117 was externally, so the radar waves are still directed, albeit not always as well as the F-117.


RE: 20 year gap.
By wiz220 on 6/8/2011 6:14:06 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, this is correct. The faceted shapes were due to limited computing power in the 70's when the F-117 was developed. Now, with modern computers being able to precisely model how shapes will react to radar energy we can create curved surfaces that are actually much more stealthy and have much better aerodynamic properties.


RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: 20 year gap.
By erple2 on 6/9/2011 6:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think that it's the response of the "true stealth aircraft" comment - while the F117 was, in fact, the first "true stealth aircraft" (though some German WW2 flying wings turned out to be stealthy nearly by accident), it's stealthiness could have been substantially better, as evidenced by the B2 - a much larger aircraft with a much smaller Radar Cross Section.

That's all.


RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/9/2011 8:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
The B-2 didn't have to be designed to dogfight as well as attack ground targets. It's not a fair comparison to be honest. It didn't even require vertical stabilizers because it only had to be designed for level flight and mild maneuvers at best. But what is this? My dads stealth is less than yours? Both are amazing machines and deserve their place in history.

Reduced radar cross section is only one of five factors the designers addressed to create a truly stealthy design. The F-117 was designed to disguise its infrared emissions to make it harder to detect by infrared homing ("heat seeking") surface-to-air or air-to-air missiles. Designers also addressed making the aircraft less visible to the naked eye, controlling radio transmissions and other passive/active systems, and noise abatement. THAT'S why I said it's a "true stealth aircraft". Anyone saying otherwise is just wrong.

Comparing the F-117 to it's replacement, the F-22, would have been more accurate.


RE: 20 year gap.
By Bad-Karma on 6/10/2011 1:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Comparing the F-117 to it's replacement, the F-22, would have been more accurate.


The F-17 was never intended nor used as a fighter. It is strictly a light attack bomber. It has 0 air-to air capability. Also , its faceted shape makes its maneuverability quite poor. You could compare it's air combat maneuvering (ACM) to something closer in line to the much older B-47.

The F-117 is inherently unstable and takes quite a bit of computational power just to keep it pointed straight and level. If fact the avionic computers will actually override the pilot's commands if he pushes to close to the flight envelope.

Disregarding test and development aircraft the F-22 is the actual first stealth fighter.

Or you could go quite a ways back and point to the YF-12A Oxcart variant that was equipped with a a fire control radar and air-to-air-missiles as the first "stealthy" fighter. Of course how far they got into testing and or production can only be speculated. While the Y-12s and its follow on were quite stealthy they didn't have the advent of Bill Schroeder's mathematical RCS modeling inherent in the F-117.

The more powerful computers of the 1980s allowed the mathematical model to be incorporated into the continuous curvature we see in the B-2. Jack Northrope's original B-49 design, on which the B-2 was patterned, was actually quite stealthy, and he intentionally used as little vertical stabilization as possible to keep down the RCS. Large vertical stabilizers are more about in-flight stability than maneuverability. In fact those attributes are considered a counter to each other in regards to flight characteristics.

Due to desired performance characteristics demanded by fighter aircraft, both the faceted and curved techniques are readily apparent in the F-22 & F-35 even though the F-35's design is far more dedicated to the ground strike role than air superiority.


RE: 20 year gap.
By Calin on 6/10/2011 5:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
The F-117 wasn't designed to dogfight at all - it doesn't even have a gun (or a way to mount one, as was the case with some 'missile fighters' of the old). The F in the name stands for stealth bomber (light bomber, or what you would call ground attack craft), not for fighter. Also, it's black because it only flies at night.


RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/11/2011 1:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
A gun on a nearly undetectable stealth aircraft would be absurd. At the time it was in service, NO air based radar system or infra-red detection known to man could defeat the F-117's stealth. So WWII gun style "dogfighting" is stupidly obsolete. Standoff weapons fired from a completely stealth platform are extremely devastating. The USAF maintained that the F-117A could carry air-to-air missiles, and while much of the information about it was/is classified, that's good enough for me.

But I did absentmindedly use the term "dogfight", so that's my bad. I didn't mean traditional "dogfighting". My point was just to illustrate that the F-117 was designed in part with air to air combat in mind. Whereas the B-2 has ZERO.


RE: 20 year gap.
By MrTeal on 6/8/2011 2:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not even close. The doctrine laid down by stealth pioneer Denys Overholser still stands: the four most important aspects of stealth are shape, shape, shape and materials. And the J-20's current shape is nothing like the flat and faceted shapes of past, and future, stealth aircraft.


The flat and faceted shape of the F-117 was due to the fact that they could not model more complex shape with the computers at the time. The B2, F-22 and F-35 all have a lower RCS than the F117, and each of them have more curved surfaces than the F117.

http://www.f-22raptor.com/news_view.php?nid=203&yr...


RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2011 3:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and F-35 all have a lower RCS than the F117


What? The F-35 isn't even a stealth aircraft!

http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-01.html

Very long, but the conclusion on the F-35's stealth capability is this:

" The Joint Strike Fighter is demonstrably not a true stealth aircraft in the sense of designs like the F-117A, B-2A and F-22A, as its stealth performance varies much more strongly with aspect and threat radar operating frequency band. "


RE: 20 year gap.
By 91TTZ on 6/8/2011 2:37:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not even close. The doctrine laid down by stealth pioneer Denys Overholser still stands: the four most important aspects of stealth are shape, shape, shape and materials. And the J-20's current shape is nothing like the flat and faceted shapes of past, and future, stealth aircraft.


This isn't true. The F-117 was shaped with a small number of angles because of the computations involved with designing a stealth aircraft. Back in the 70's when it was designed they didn't have the computing power to make an elaborate smooth surface stealth aircraft. But by the mid 80's they did, which explains why the B-2 and most newer stealth designs are rounded.


RE: 20 year gap.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: 20 year gap.
By Fracture on 6/8/2011 3:41:30 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
1) ...the J-20 is based on the Nighthawk and it's likely more stealthy than the F-117 was...
quote:
2) Not even close...I would say it ... is ... not stealthy at ALL.
quote:
3) This isn't true. ... most newer stealth designs are rounded.
quote:
4) What's not true? He said this J-20 is more stealthy than the F-117. I can tell you with utter certainly it is NOT.


Follow the conversation. Post 2 in the chain said the J-20 is LESS stealthy than the F-117. I would not doubt that modern design could create a more effective rounded design to optimize radar profile against aerodynamics and use better materials (like CNT-based paint).


RE: 20 year gap.
By ddownes on 6/9/2011 6:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think YOU should follow it. Post 2 and 4 are by the same person. "He" in post 4 is referring to the poster of 1. Post 4 is defending post 2, but with a weak argument.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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