Saturday, October 29, 2011

J-XX 5th Generation, China

According to the reports of the Jane's Defence Weekly, China has already launched its next generation stealthy fighter aircraft programme, and Shenyang Aircraft Industry Co. (SAC) has been selected to head research and development of a new fighter for the PLA Air Force (PLAAF).

According to the report from Jane's, development of the subsystems including the engine and weapon suite for the next generation fighter, which was codenamed by the Western intelligence as J-XX, has been underway for some time. Images of the concepts show a twin-engine aircraft sharing some design traits with Lockheed Martin's stealthy F/A-22 "Raptor" multirole fighter such as the internal carriage of its weapons.

Not too much public information about the programme is available at the moment. The aircraft, which could be designated as J-13 or J-14, is still going through initial concept work, the same stage as the USAF Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) programme in the early 1980s, which later led to the F/A-22 Raptor. Sources within China's confirmed that the SAC is looking at a twin-engine, single-seat, single vertical tale fin design, but other design proposals has yet been ruled out.

As China has developed close ties with Russia's aerospace industry and has license produced many planes of formal Soviet designs, it can be predicted that the J-XX would include some, if not many Russian technologies and designs. China has been offered a 'joint development and production' of a new fifth-generation fighter by Russia -LFI. Russia has been trying to sell this concept both to China and India for some time, but neither of them has committed fully yet. According to Russian resources, the LFI will be able to counter U.S. second fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Stealth and thrust vectoring are two must-have features in all aircraft being designed in the 21st century. If is not clear that how much progress Chinese designers have made in these areas, and Chinese aircraft industry may have to take Western/Israeli/Russian helps to make the J-XX truly fouth-generation (or fifth-generation using the Russian standards). Once introduced, the J-12's immediate rival will be U.S. F/A-22, JSF and India's MCA (Medium Combat Aircraft).


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