Threat Tuesday – Chinese J-20 Fighter

Courtesy Chinese Internet

Behold the latest in technological innovation from the Middle Kingdom! The internet was alive with photos in late December of the new Chinese stealth aircraft.

Much is being written, but for the more technical I direct your attention to two great Airpower Australia monographs titled “What China’s New J-20 Stealth Fighter Means for the F-35 JSF and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet” and “Chengdu J-XX[J-20] Stealth Fighter: A Preliminary Assessment.”

My favorite parts:

By the time the F-35 makes IOC (if it ever does) it will be, to use that well-known technical term, ‘toast’.

And if the F-35 is ‘toast’ that makes the F/A-18E/F ‘cinders’ – this 1985 ‘old wine in a new bottle’ aircraft has some fancy new electronics, but none that will save it from destruction in combat.

So, why have these non-viable US designs been allowed to persist, and the corollary question, why has the production of the USA’s only aerodynamically and kinematically competitive fighter, the F-22A Raptor, been killed?

Any notion that an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be capable of competing against this Chengdu design in air combat, let alone penetrate airspace defended by this fighter, would be simply absurd. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are both aerodynamically and kinematically quite inferior to the as presented J-XX/J-20 design, and even the shape based VLO capability in the J-XX/J-20, as presented, will effectively neutralise any sensor advantage either type might possess against earlier Russian and Chinese fighter designs.

Now things might not be as bad as some think, a lesson that we are being reminded of through a look back at this article written in 1977 from Bill Sweetman on the Soviet TU-22 BACKFIRE bomber.  As one blogger put it:

It’s a masterpiece of military writing. It includes close technical analysis based on available intelligence, an elaboration of the political and strategic consequences of tactical development, and an evaluation of the causes and consequences of misunderstandings about the capabilities of the Tu-22.

I’m looking forward to the same as we learn more of this new Chinese superfighter.

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