China's J-20 Enters Service

Beijing has announced that the Chengdu J-20 has entered service with the PLAAF. There are not many details of the type available which, is a direct competitor to the USAF F-22. Although it's likely to be inferior to both the F-22 and F-35, we can expect to see it serving in greater numbers than the former.



Size wise, the J-20 is a big aeroplane which looks like it has significant internal fuel and is claimed to have a supercruise capability.



The J-20 is inevitably immature and there will be much work required to refined its engines and avionics in particular. However, this appears a very credible design which exhibits significant 5th Gen influence as does the smaller J-31 which will augment the J-20 and is broadly comparable to the F-35.

It's also worth bearing in mind that China is developing a new Low Observable strategic bomber, possibly designated the Xian H-20, which may be in a similar class to the USAF B-21. The H-20 may provide a penetration capability to augment the precision, stand off capabilities of China's H-6Ks which are heavily upgraded variants of the venerable Tu-16.

Combined with their efforts in developing carrier aviation, artificial reef bases in the South China Sea as well as supporting AAR, ISR and maritime capabilities, China is playing the long game as ever.

But this all reflects Chinese ambitions to extend their influence beyond the '1st Island Chain' well into the South China and Philippine Seas. Operating these new types from the mainland and their new artificial reefs would allow their carrier capability to deploy with greater confidence to ultimately project Chinese influence to the 2nd Island Chain, potentially as far as Guam and Hawaii.

Interesting and worrying times.

Regards,
MM
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
Our only real hope is to get the Chinese population to buy into the kind of social care and state support that we have in Europe. Otherwise the upgrade variants of these aircraft and their other military platforms will match current western technology and be fielded in far greater numbers than we can afford.
 
The H-20 may provide a penetration capability to augment the precision, stand off capabilities of China's H-6Ks which are heavily upgraded variants of the venerable Tu-16.
That's the badger!

I do have to wonder, though - we're seeing the march up the scale of airframe design and technology; is there sufficient motive for China to push past "having a bunch of these things for the occasional fly-past, fly-by, and propaganda film" into "actually, we're going to invest the necessary (and significant) people, time, and cash into making them a credible war-fighting adversary"?
 
China's J-20 fighter jet put into service: spokesman - Xinhua | English.news.cn
In development for a while with around seven prototypes seen over the last six years with various changes to nose shape, canopy, air intakes, and wheel doors, then with the 176 Brigade, China Flight Test Establishment, for approximately a year.

Radar-absorbent paint was added reducing the radar signature. Other additions infrared search and track sensors, with infrared cameras to detect, identify, track and shoot at enemy aircraft with infrared guided missiles and (DAS) cameras similar to the F-35 mounted on the airplane which allows the pilot to "see" in all directions using a 4K cockpit display.

Probably intended as a long-range fighter, it stores weapons internally to preserve its low radar profile. One large bay for up to six PL-12 beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, similar to the US AIM-120 missile, then two smaller bays with one short range air-to-air missile each.
China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet is in service

Together with the known Chinese technology theft by hacking in the US aimed at F-22/F-35,
Chinese national Su Bin jailed for hacking US defense firms and passing data to Beijing | Daily Mail Online
...fears had earlier also been expressed over China’s purchase of the SU 27
China Stole This Fighter From Russia—and It's Coming to the South China Sea

...and later the SU-35 for reverse engineering specifically for it own J-20 project.
Russia-China Su-35 Deal Raises Reverse Engineering Issue

They do enjoy short cuts. Can’t make it yourself, then steal or copy it. Makes sense to them.
 
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How do their pilots compare?
Variable is probably the most appropriate adjective based on the standard of their interceptions of US and Japanese aircraft. However, they're improving and open reporting indicates they're increasingly using unscripted training scenarios including foreign participation in their own version of FLAG in the remote Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. According to these links, they even have an Aggressor sqn who use English to communicate.

...I do have to wonder, though - we're seeing the march up the scale of airframe design and technology; is there sufficient motive for China to push past "having a bunch of these things for the occasional fly-past, fly-by, and propaganda film" into "actually, we're going to invest the necessary (and significant) people, time, and cash into making them a credible war-fighting adversary"?
I would argue that they're already credible and there is most certainly the motivation for them to develop that a lot further. Beijing's strategic ambition is both long term and clear in my view.

Regards,
MM
 
It's got to be an interceptor with front end stealth only, any other angle the canards will light up and there doesn't appear to be any attempt to hide the heat.

They are catching up but I recon the F-22 and the F-35 would hand that thing it's arse, based on nothing more than hopeful thinking!
 
Our only real hope is to get the Chinese population to buy into the kind of social care and state support that we have in Europe. Otherwise the upgrade variants of these aircraft and their other military platforms will match current western technology and be fielded in far greater numbers than we can afford.

You say, Chinese tourists are all over Riga this summer - even the last weekend - their disposable incomes are very high and with the Chinese using their State-sponsored companies to offer loans, investments and construction they are really distorting the Central European markets and returning the profits home; China is going to become a peer adversary to the US, the only question is how long it will take.
 
Variable is probably the most appropriate adjective based on the standard of their interceptions of US and Japanese aircraft. However, they're improving and open reporting indicates they're increasingly using unscripted training scenarios including foreign participation in their own version of FLAG in the remote Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. According to these links, they even have an Aggressor sqn who use English to communicate.



I would argue that they're already credible and there is most certainly the motivation for them to develop that a lot further. Beijing's strategic ambition is both long term and clear in my view.

Regards,
MM
English language? Hmm @smartascarrots your handiwork?
 
...They are catching up but I recon the F-22 and the F-35 would hand that thing it's arse, based on nothing more than hopeful thinking!
I agree although, as is often said, numbers have a strength of their own.

The trouble is, even if an F-22 pilot splashes 5 or 6 J-20s, within an hour he'll want some more. :)

Regards,
MM
 

Mr._Average

Old-Salt
@Magic_Mushroom

Hope you don't mind me asking but I'm sure I read somewhere recently that the J-20 was supposed to be a long range fighter designed to go after US tankers and AWACS? The idea being to deny F35 / F22 the support they needed for their missions and thus fend off the USAF without engaging directly with their fighters.

Does that sound a likely approach the Chinese might follow and does it sound like it could be a workable strategy?
 
Sounds like a strategy. And as MM says, produced in huge numbers their relative lack of sophistication evens out.

They and other Eastern cultures do have a slightly different outlook on the value of their troops lives, as the human wave attacks during the Korean and Vietnam wars have shown.

Throughout the history of warfare there has been the battle between superior equipment, tactics, training, and discipline against sheer overwhelming numbers, and sometimes numbers take the day. Isandlwana 1879 springs to mind.
 
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Sounds like a strategy. And as MM says, produced in huge numbers their relative lack of sophistication evens out.

They and other Eastern cultures do have a slightly different outlook on the value of their troops lives, as the human wave attacks during the Korean and Vietnam wars have shown.

Throughout the history of warfare there has been the battle between superior equipment, tactics, training, and discipline against sheer overwhelming numbers, and sometimes numbers take the day. Isandlwana 1879 springs to mind.
Based on Russian experiences of trying to produce ultra-high-end kit (Su 57 and T-14) will they really be able to buy them in such high numbers?
It seems at such rarefied levels these things cost the same whether you are paying dollars, roubles or yuan!
 
Just off the cuff, one might suppose that the development costs of the Chinese production models will have had substantially lower research and development costs, using their methods of copy, reverse engineer, and steal, that Western manufacturers would quite reasonably build in to the cost of their particular systems.
 
Don't know what it flies like butit looks the dog's doo-doos

Plans stolen from Craig Thomas?
Resemblance anyone?
 
Don't know what it flies like butit looks the dog's doo-doos
Indeed it does, but then again as they say form does tend to follow function.

Though having said the 117 'wobbly goblin' was a plane with looks that only it’s designers could love
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
China seems to have got clean away with turning S China Sea reefs into military bases so that bit has worked a treat. My take is that that area will be controlled by land-based a/c and the carriers are for the Pacific.
 

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