Skip to comments.US Drones Trump China Theatrics
Posted on 02/09/2011 9:59:24 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Call it Chinas Christmas surprise. In a series of grainy photos given a pass by government Internet censors starting December 25, the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force unveiled the countrys first stealth fighter prototype, the Chengdu J-20.
For alarmists, the Pacific balance of power seemed to shift in an instant. Armed with hundreds of fast, elusive J-20s in coming years, the PLAAF could dominate the South China Sea, reaffirming Chinas rise as a global power and elbowing aside less audacious, tech-savvy rivals. (The) Asia-Pacifics political landscape will be changed as Chinas military capability can win over countries in this region, warns Arthur Ding, an analyst based in Taiwan.
In truth, the J-20s appearance raises more questions than it answers. For a start, its unclear what the new fighter is for, how well it might perform, and how easily Beijing might transition the prototype to a mass-produced design.
(Excerpt) Read more at the-diplomat.com ...
it is a doggone close dead ringer for the F-22.
Now, that may just reflect physics realities. OR, it is a one-off from stolen data that will perform like any one-off: not bad but not like the original...
It looks like for once the intelligence community is keeping its cards close to the vest. Their blabbermouths haven’t done much to help us in the very hot cold war we are engaged in...
The J-20 looks like a Mac Truck with the fit and finish of a Kia. The F-22 looks like an angel.
I think I know which one will be spotted.
I'll take this opportunity yet again to lament the end of F-22 production. I still think that was an incredibly shortsighted action, especially given that F-22 exports could have provided hundreds of very high-tech jobs, bolstered our Pacific allies, and reduced the trade deficit. The Air Force could also well use another hundred or more F-22s. A Naval variant wouldn't have been too hard to produce either - if the will to do so had existed.
On the drone front, I think a lot of good points were made in the article, except that the Global Hawk and most of our current drone fleet aren't stealthy, and would be easy targets if a relatively high-tech country like China were to go after them. Future drones like the X47-B with stealth characteristics should be extremely problematic for our adversaries.
I found this comment interesting:
In-development drones include Boeings Phantom Eyean even bigger, farther-flying improvement over the Global Hawkplus no fewer than three fast, armed, unmanned planes intended to replace manned fighter-bombers.I'm guessing two of the drones he's referring to are the X-47B (bomber role only...probably), and the unmanned F-35 variant. Anyone have an idea what the third might be?
As for the J-20 ...all we know so far is that it 'looks' stealthy (as far as alignment and the like), that it has internal bays, and that it is either a prototype or a technological demonstrator. Nothing else, and when it comes to stealthiness there is a lot more that goes into it. To use one example, if for instance the radar is not an advanced LPI AESA, then it really doesn't matter what the plane's external shape is. Considering that the Chinese haven't gotten their jet engine technology down pat (particularly when it comes to reliability), I highly doubt their radar technology approaches that of the SuperHornet, let alone the functionalities of the F-22/F-35 AESAs. Thus three things - the J-20 is indeed interesting and bears watching, China is developing at a frenetic pace and bears watching, and thank goodness for all the China 'super weapon' pictures and the like since they will prod the US. With the death of the USSR the US took the whole 'peace dividend' thing too seriously ...fortunately China is making that history.
Go China (as in, more pictures and chest-thumping please). When you see someone like Gates showing some concern it means that the message is getting through.
It looks like they too the wing from Boeing’s F-32 JSF entry and the F-35 forward fuselage from the intakes forward. Then borrowed the russians all movable vertical stabs or should I say earlier American designs. They canards, maybe they were unsure of the stability in pitch.