Thursday, December 03, 2015

PLA Daily commentaries on the two recent PLAAF developments

Canopy, a highlight of China's new J-20 fighter jet
Source: China Military Online
Editor: Zhang Tao
2015-12-03 16:310

The China-made fourth-generation J-20 stealth fighter with fuselage number 2017 completes its first flight recently.

BEIJING, Dec. 3 (ChinaMil) -- The latest China-made fourth-generation J-20 stealth fighter with fuselage number 2017 has successfully completed its first flight on November 24, 2015, only over two months after the first flight of the J-20 stealth fighter with fuselage number 2016.

This is the eighth China-made J-20 fighter and also the sixth prototype J-20 fighter used for test flight.

Fu Qianshao, deputy editor of the Aviation Magazine under the PLA Air force, said in an interview that canopy with metal-film coating is used for J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2017, which can further improve the fighter’s stealth performance.

Fu held that launching two prototype J-20 fighters in such a short time not only proves that the results of test flight assessment for the J-20 fighters are satisfactory, namely the relevant tests on J-20 fighter’s aerodynamic performance, stealth performance and airborne equipment have achieved or been close to the index requirements, but also indicates that the J-20 fighter has entered its key test-flight completion stage.

Fu introduced that the current eight prototype J-20 fighters can be classified into three categories, namely the black color J-20 fighters with fuselage numbers 2001 and 2002 are technical verification models, which are similar to the U.S. YF-22 prototype models; the J-20 fighters with fuselage numbers 2011 and 2012, which have different coatings and appearances from the previous ones, are apparently the engineering prototype models equipped with Pitot tubes; and the J-20 fighters with fuselage numbers 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 are prototype models, which are close to the stereotyped models.

“It is possible that the China-made J-20 fighters will soon be deployed to PLA troops,” Fu estimated.

According to the released photos, the canopy of the J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2017 has been slightly adjusted as compared with the previous models, namely its canopy has a shrunken edge curve, Fu continued.

Fu expressed that the canopy modification is in consideration of strength enhancement, air resistance reduction and stealth improvement. The J-20 fighter’s canopy has been modified for two times, and such modifications are mainly for stealth performance improvement and at the same time, for air resistance reduction, Fu explained.

In addition to the canopy appearance change, the canopy of the prototype J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2017 has another highlight, namely use of metal-film coating, Fu mentioned.

The aircraft cockpit is a strong reflector, which can affect aircraft’s overall stealth performance, Fu analyzed. But after the use of canopy with metal-film coating, radar waves cannot penetrate into the cockpit, and even some of the radar waves enter the cockpit, only small fraction of radar waves can be reflected, which will further improve aircraft’s stealth performance, Fu added.

Russian jet fighters 'to enhance the PLA'
Source: China Daily
Editor: Zhang Tao
2015-12-03 16:140

The introduction of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets will bring a number of benefits to the People's Liberation Army Air Force and the Chinese aviation industry, according to military observers.

The aircraft's Russian producer, the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association, says the first four Su-35s will be delivered to the PLA next year and the remainder are expected by the end of 2018.

Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Russia's state technology corporation Rostec, said last month that Russia and China have signed a contract, estimated to be worth $2 billion, for 24 Su-35s. The deal was confirmed last week by Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry.

Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge, said on Tuesday that it will be some time before the PLA commissions the domestically developed fifth-generation fighter jet, the J-20.

"After the J-20 joins the PLA, it will also take time for our pilots to familiarize themselves with the aircraft. So the Su-35 will help the PLA fill in the gap before it has enough J-20s."

"The Su-35 is very close to a fifth-generation combat aircraft in terms of flight maneuverability," Wang said, adding that technological advances represented by the Su-35 are another major attraction for the Chinese military.

The operational range of the Su-35 is much greater than the Su-27's, which means it will give China an edge over the South China Sea, he said.

"The PLA has a limited number of aerial refueling aircraft, and these tankers are not as good as those from the United States. That leads to a constrained operational range and flight duration for our existing fighter jets," Wang said.

"Combat jets capable of flying farther, like the Su-35, which boasts a larger fuel capacity than the Su-27, can substantially improve the PLA's presence over those waters."

Fu Qianshao, an aviation equipment expert with the PLA Air Force, said the Su-35 is sufficiently powerful to surpass the US Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II thanks to its supreme maneuverability.

"Despite the Su-35 having no stealth capability, it can still rival fifth-generation fighter jets in other aspects. Its service will complement our existing fourth-generation fleet of J-10s and J-11s," he said.

Song Xiaojun, a military commentator for China Central Television, said the first 24 Su-27s that were introduced to the PLA Air Force have started to be withdrawn from service, so the Su-35s are expected to fill the gap.

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