Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

China's New Upgrade Makes Its Fighter Jets Crazy-Maneuverable
Popular Mechanics ^ | Nov 7, 2018 | Kyle Mizokami

Posted on 11/07/2018 6:42:01 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki

China's J-10 fighter is now equipped with thrust vectoring controls that allow the jet to perform seemingly impossible aerial maneuvers. This long-rumored upgrade to a well-known jet fighter made its debut at the Zhuhai Air Show.

The Chengdu J-10 “Vigorous Dragon” is a single-engine fighter developed for China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (the Chinese Air Force). The J-10 falls in the same general category as the American F-16, and the two planes even share the same DNA, as the Chinese jet was built with Israeli assistance from Israel’s F-16-based Lavi fighter. However, in some technological respects, the China's plane is about fifteen years behind the F-16 platform, and even further behind modern fighters like the F-35.

Even so, the J-10 now has something the F-16 does not: thrust vectoring control capability that pushes its maneuverability into the stratosphere. The jet is able to steer its exhaust, allowing it to point its nose in one direction but actually propel itself in another.

In traditional airplanes, the direction of the engines dictate the direction of the aircraft. Engines are pointed forward, so airplanes goes forward. Pilots use traditional control systems—rudders, elevators, flaps, ailerons, and brakes—to point the plane where they want to go.

Thrust vectoring control (TVC) turns this idea on its head. Pioneered in the U.S. in the early 1990s, TVCs change the direction of the engine exhaust, making it possible to travel in a direction other than where the engine (and plane) is actually pointed.

The result might be a plane that appears to suddenly jerk in midair, rise like a dragon, slow to a relative crawl, or perform some other impossible-looking aerial maneuver. Thanks to computer-controlled fly by wire technology that instantly turns a pilot’s control input into action, a pilot doesn’t have to perform complex calculations to get his plane to do what he wants to do. He simply does it, and the plane takes care of the rest.

Early on, this trick was accomplished with paddles that pushed into the engine exhaust to change the direction of thrust. Think of when you partially cover a garden hose nozzle with your thumb; the water still comes out, but in the opposite direction of the location of your thumb.

Modern thrust vectoring technology employs a movable thrust nozzle in place of the paddles. Using this tech, the F-22 Raptor can angle its thrust up to 24 degrees up or down. Russia began incorporating TVC into the Sukhoi Su-30 and the newer Su-35. It's also a feature of the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter. In 2017, the Su-35 performed head-exploding aerial maneuvers at an air show on the outskirts of Moscow thanks to TVC. Now China's J-10 joins this elite club of super-maneuverable fighter jets.

For months, there have been reports out of China that Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, the developer of the J-10, was working on a TVC exhaust system for the single-engine fighter. A photograph of a J-10 with TVC emerged in January 2018, but no formal announcement was made. Finally, the TVC-equipped J-10B made its debut yesterday sporting a movable nozzle. Instead of using a thumb to control the direction of water, this garden hose pivots the entire nozzle.

According to FlightGlobal, the J-10B at the Zhuhai Air Show performed “tight vertical loops, a slow high angle of attack roll, a cobra maneuver, and the falling leaf.” Popular Mechanics covered some of these maneuvers in 2017 when a Russian Su-35 Flanker-E fighter performed them at the Zhukovsky Air Show.

The big question is where Chinese TVC goes from here. Although the U.S. tested such technology in the early 90s, it didn’t add the technology to later versions of the F-15, Super Hornet, or F-16, or even the F-35. Although TVC is useful, you can pile on only so many capabilities for a fighter, and U.S. manufacturers haven’t prioritized TVC.

China’s latest jets, the FC-31 and J-20, don’t have TVC and likely won’t ever have it. But even if TVC doesn’t make it onto future planes, Chinese aviation can claim it can keep up with the pace of technological innovation set by Russia and the West.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; china; j10b
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-29 next last

The maneuvers included tight vertical loops, a slow high angle-of-attack roll, a cobra maneuver, and the falling leaf, the ‘cobra’ and flat turns almost instantly point the nose in 270 and 180 degrees. Photo: Chen Xiao

1 posted on 11/07/2018 6:42:01 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Hacking and infiltration does bear fruit.


2 posted on 11/07/2018 6:44:29 AM PST by Right Brother
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

The biggest upgrade for maneuverability would be to remove the pilot.


3 posted on 11/07/2018 6:46:33 AM PST by cuban leaf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Some of these maneuvers slow the plane WAY DOWN and make it a ‘sitting duck’.


4 posted on 11/07/2018 6:47:09 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lost my tagline on Flight MH370. Sorry for the inconvenience.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Who sold that technology to them?


5 posted on 11/07/2018 6:47:33 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

IIRC, something similar was tried here and the pilots could not withstand the excessive g-force.


6 posted on 11/07/2018 6:51:09 AM PST by bk1000 (I stand with Trump)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

“Even so, the J-10 now has something the F-16 does not: thrust vectoring control capability that pushes its maneuverability into the stratosphere. The jet is able to steer its exhaust, allowing it to point its nose in one direction but actually propel itself in another.”

WOULD YOU BELIEVE my Navy pilot son, WHEN 8 years old, came up with this concept? That was 1996 when the YF-22 & YF-23 were in development, which he, of course, knew nothing about.

He had a 1” thick spiral-bound notebook & every day he’d do several pages of planes he designed with crazy-idea features......one of them was thrust-vectoring......


7 posted on 11/07/2018 6:52:06 AM PST by Arlis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki
But is it actually reliable? Note that almost no other air force has gotten this plane.
8 posted on 11/07/2018 6:52:12 AM PST by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's Economic Cure)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mountainlion

That reminds me, did Diane Fienchangstein ever find a new driver? Has she set up any Gofundmes lately?


9 posted on 11/07/2018 6:52:33 AM PST by Phillyred (Kieran Hussie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

“Vigorous Dragon”

Isn’t that a male enhancement product sold under the glass counter at the Asian stores?


10 posted on 11/07/2018 6:54:49 AM PST by Rebelbase
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

What is the penalty when the PRC succeeds in industrial espionage..?

“We need to stay AHEAD, the better to protect our pilots..!”

Yeah, our companies get MORE money extracted from the taxpayers.

Anyone smell a scam..?

Sure, the PRC can pull off some impressive hacking but what of the hiring of completely Chinese engineers..? It’s not like they CHARGED into our companies, sat down, and refused to leave, no:

It’s sometimes like our companies WANT our gear to get stolen.


11 posted on 11/07/2018 6:56:09 AM PST by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki
Well, no one ever said the Chinese were stupid. As Bret Hart put it, “For ways that are dark and foe tricks that are vain, the heathen Chinee is peculiar.”
12 posted on 11/07/2018 6:56:56 AM PST by JoeFromSidney (Colonel (Retired) USAF)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Arlis
WOULD YOU BELIEVE my Navy pilot son, WHEN 8 years old, came up with this concept?


13 posted on 11/07/2018 7:05:11 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Get in the Spirit! The Spirit of '76!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Chine is a huge & growing problem and with this midterm result we have further empowered the “Clown Posse”!

They’re in a “conflict” with us whether we recognize it or not!

Remember war is “diplomacy by other means”, modern war does not necessarily mean armies, planes, ships & fleets blowing each other up. Sun Tzu says the act of actual battle is a form of failure on the part of the commander. This does not mean actual occupation of said countries. In fact they would prefer not to. For them its an acknowledgment that they are the physical, cultural & moral superior to the “barbarian states” like ourselves. Also there is a historical revenge motive for the humiliation of the Opium Wars, Taiping Rebellion & forced Western trading enclaves. All these China blames the West for (including us!) as horrible disasters for China.

China as it has traditionally done, has always wanted hegemony over the other nations of the world. (In the Mao period exporting communism was an historical aberration!). Chinese communism today is just a modern form of enforcing traditional allegiance to China’s “Mandate of Heaven”. The “Imperial Way” as a governing system dressed up in modern clothes rather then it personified as an individual - the Emperor.


14 posted on 11/07/2018 7:13:08 AM PST by Reily
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mountainlion
Who sold that technology to them?
Looks like perfidious Zion had a role: "[T]he Chinese jet was built with Israeli assistance . . . " Anything for a shekel.
15 posted on 11/07/2018 7:14:00 AM PST by Blurb2350
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: UCANSEE2

Concur, to a point. However, maneuvers like the cobra are intended when being pursued (bogie at six). Go vertical, almost stop, and make your pursuer over-shoot, then drop back to horizontal and onto his six. That’s the theory anyway.


16 posted on 11/07/2018 7:18:41 AM PST by Afterguard (Deplorable me!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Thrust vectoring is mostly an airshow trick. It’s a end game, out of energy knife fight advantage, but if you’re fighting like that you’ve already screwed up. Far more important factors are stealth, state of art radar and ir sensors, radar jamming built in, targeting helmets, real time built in networking etc etc.


17 posted on 11/07/2018 7:24:42 AM PST by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Blurb2350
Who sold that technology to them?

Clinton and Barry sorros/sorto look to be involved.

18 posted on 11/07/2018 7:26:50 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

That sounds real intelligent to try to fight an angles fight when energy fighters have ruled the day since the early forties. Also, in the days of all aspect missiles, designing for maneuverability needed for a tail chase is pretty meaningless.

The Hellcat never could out-maneuver a Zero.


19 posted on 11/07/2018 7:31:41 AM PST by DesertRhino (Dog is man's best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up. ....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Afterguard

Well, that was the theory in Top Gun, (the movie, not the school). In reality nobody has to be on your tail to hit you with a missile in this era. He can be far ahead of you, far above you, or even far off to the side, and hit the pickle button. The basket he has to put that missile into today is enormous, and not the very narrow one from the early Sidewinder days
And against Arabs those maneuvers might work. But against an actual trained fighter pilot, doing the cobra maneuver and coming to a stop is pretty much suicide. You’re left hanging in the air with zero energy and he’s got his full energy state. There’s very few good outcomes to that situation for cobra maneuver man.


20 posted on 11/07/2018 7:43:59 AM PST by DesertRhino (Dog is man's best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up. ....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-29 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson