China has begun mass production of an unknown J-20 fighter modification
BEIJING, (BM) – In China, a new modification of the fifth generation fighter J-20 was created. In addition, the car has already begun to be mass-produced, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Rusiiskaya Gazeta.
In their article, journalists also refer to the expert opinion of military analyst Yuri Lyamin. In particular, according to his estimates, at the end of last year, about 30 such aircraft could be in the ranks of the Chinese Air Force.
It is noted that 18 J-20 vehicles were accurately identified by their tail numbers. About the new modification, which was called J-20B, is not yet known.
The main question asked by experts is the power plant of a new modification of the machine. “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” writes that earlier it became known about the development of WS-15 engines in China.
This engine has enough power for the fighter and a controlled thrust vector. It is noted that the first J-20 aircraft had Russian AL-31FN engines as a power plant, however, according to unconfirmed information, the last batch of fighters released in 2019 was already equipped with the Chinese WS-10.
By the way, this engine does not meet some of the requirements that apply to a fifth generation combat aircraft.
Expert Yuri Lyamin emphasizes that if the information on the release of the upgraded version is confirmed by the PRC, then, as usual, the Chinese will certainly show photos of the car.
These pictures will help to understand the external differences and make more accurate assumptions about the power plant used on the aircraft.
A new engine for J-20 fighter
China is interested in acquiring a batch of Product 30 aircraft engines, which are being developed specifically for the Su-57 fighter, reported BulgarianMilitary.com on May 28.
The latest Su-57 is the most advanced Russian fighter, whose strengths include its excellent maneuverability. At the moment, AL-41F1 power units are used on these aircraft, but in the future they will be replaced by completely new engines, known in the media under the code name Product 30. China wants to have this unique motor at its disposal, Moscow will receive an offer to purchase it right after the start of its mass production.
“While maintaining high performance and traction Product 30 boasts low fuel consumption, this parameter is 30% lower than that of its predecessors,” noted Sohu authors.
However, not only its low fuel consumption attracts the new Russian engine of the Chinese military. The nozzle of the power unit can be deflected at a sufficiently large angle, which allows for impressive maneuverability for the aircraft. During air combat, this factor can be crucial.
Beijing intends to install these engines on J-20 fighters, which are currently equipped with other engines from the Russian Federation – AL-31FN. China will make every effort to agree with the Russian Federation on the supply of Product 30, an extremely tempting offer will be made to Moscow.
“China is far behind Russia in engine building, a universally recognized fact. The introduction of foreign engines is the most optimal step for China in this situation,” the experts concluded.
Back in 2018, J-20 conducted the first sea training
The Air Force of China announced on 9th May 2018 that the homemade J-20 stealth fighter has participated in sea training for the first time.
According to the stated by the spokesman of the Air Force, Senior Col. Shen Jinke, the training simulated “actual war conditions” and he commented that as a “further upgrade of the Air Force’s combat capabilities.”
It was announced from China in February that the plane had reached initial operational capability and was being introduced into combat units.
The first flight of the J-20 took place in 2011. The stealth fighter is China’s response to fifth-generation jets like the U.S. F-22 and F-35. Thanks to its speed, manoeuvrability and integrated stealthy capabilities, it is really a great upgrade to the Chinese air power.
Despite that optimistic aspect, there some concerns in relation to the engines of the J-20. It is believed that initially the engineers relied on Russian engines, because of manufacturing issues in China.
Now it is reported that the Russian engines have been replaced with the Chinese WS-10B ones, which in fact would not allow the J-20 fighter to operate at supersonic speeds without afterburners that expose aircrafts to detection.
J-20 vs. Russian Su-57 fighter
According to Chinese news agencies, a fifth-generation Russian fighter is seriously inferior to a Chinese combat aircraft in high-altitude combat.
It is reported that the Russian combat aircraft was never able to “keep up” with the Chinese Chengdu J-20 in a battle at high altitude, having lost almost twice as much in this parameter.
“Russia is a world leader in the field of engine building, and their engines are better than in the United States of America. A distinctive feature of the Russian Su-35 fighter is its ability to climb. However, this was not fully demonstrated on the Su-57. Later, data verified by a specialist showed that the maximum elevation of the Su-57 was 20,000 meters” said the Sohu publication.
China is the latest of the three countries that began to create a fifth generation fighter, but the technologies and equipment used are at the forefront in the world, especially when climbing the J-20, it has shown good results and the maximum lift height has actually reached 35,000 m. Since the J-20 was developed relatively late, it benefited from the ability to use more modern equipment and therefore was ahead of other fighters,” the Sohu also noted.
Specialists, by the way, questioned the arguments of the Sohu journalists, emphasizing that for this type of fighter, a climb to a height of more than 20 kilometers is not at all advisable.
“The Chinese J-20 is not a fighter-interceptor at all, and therefore flying at an altitude of 35 kilometers is not an indicator to brag about. The PRC does not have weapons for fifth-generation fighters that would give them an advantage when fighting at such heights, however, this property can allow China to bypass some air defense equipment, thereby climbing directly into the enemy’s rear,” the specialist notes.
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