For the first time in the world, a fifth-generation two-seat fighter was created
BEIJING, (BM) – China is the second country in the world to mass-produce fifth generation fighters. And, it seems, as it turned out recently, the first to create a two-seat modification, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the Popular Mechanic.
Several pieces of evidence appeared on the Web that the Chinese military aviation industry was able to bring a version of the J-20 fighter with two seats in the cockpit to flight tests.
There is only one image of the novelty in the air and its origin, as well as the circumstances of the shooting, are unknown. A number of profile respected Telegram channels and media [including the BMPD blog and Rossiyskaya Gazeta] link to the website of the Chinese CCTV broadcasting network. However, it is not yet possible to find the original video from which the frame was “ripped out” – a search on the China Central Television portal did not give any results.
Interestingly, other sources circulate a slightly different version. The South China Morning Post claims that the two-seater J-20 will have a pilot’s landing similar to the Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber, that is, not one behind the other, but shoulder to shoulder. In support of their words, SCMP cites a report on the development of the aircraft, published on the Chinese military technology media portal War Industry Black Technology.
In any case, even if this information turns out to be “stuffing”, “duck” or simply misinterpreted, China announced a year ago that it was developing this version of the J-20 and sooner or later we would see it. Presumably, it will act as a tactical aviation radio detection and guidance complex, helping other fighters around to identify and identify targets. Its American “colleague” F-35 operates in this mode “normally” and does not require a second person in the cockpit.
As far as is known, two-seat variants of fifth-generation fighters, except for China, are not being developed anywhere else. The American F-22 Raptor could have received such a modification to expand its capabilities when working on ground targets, but the idea was rejected for financial reasons. Russia and India planned to jointly develop the FGFA project based on the Su-57, within the framework of which a two-seat version of the aircraft was provided, but the cooperation reached a dead end and was frozen.
The Chengdu J-20 [Chengdu, Black Eagle] fifth-generation multirole fighter took off for the first time in 2011, and the PLA Air Force entered service in 2017. As of December 2019, a total of 50 units have been produced. In addition to it, a lighter promising combat aircraft, the Shenyang J-31, is also being developed in China, which took off a year later than its “older brother.” The current status of this project is currently unclear, it is only known that it has not been abandoned for sure and continue to be refined.
China is making its own cheap version of the American F-35 fighter jet
According to the Chinese publication Global Times, citing a report from the PRC aviation industry, the first flight of a new combat aircraft should take place in 2021.
Its development is led by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) – a state-owned company engaged in the production of civil and military aircraft.
There is almost no data on the new aircraft: according to analysts, we can talk about a deck for Chinese aircraft carriers. The car can be developed on the basis of Shenyang FC-31 – the prototype of the fifth-generation Chinese fighter, which made its first flight back in 2012. According to data from open sources, only two such aircraft have been built today.
They have been talking about the possible transformation of the FC-31 into a deck for a long time: earlier, however, it was nothing more than rumors. Recall that now the Chinese fleet operates Shenyang J-15 – a carrier-based fighter built on the basis of the Soviet Su-33 (sometimes the Chinese aircraft is called the “copy” of the Sukhoi).
We also note that China already has one fifth-generation fighter in service – Chengdu J-20. It was presented to the general public back in 2016.
More about FC-31 [J-31]
For countries wishing to buy an advanced invisible fighter, the FC-31 is presented as an inexpensive analogue of the American F-35. It is emphasized that when selling China does not impose political conditions, unlike the United States.
The manufacturer of the FC-31 (J-31), the second Chinese stealth fighter following the J-20, recently posted photos of a large-scale model of the aircraft adorned with the emblem of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which military observers suggested that military aircraft can be attached to the PLA, despite the fact that it was created for export.
China State Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute recently released photographs of the large-scale FC-31 model bearing the PLA logo, according to Weihutang, a military-related program for China.
The model resembled the original design of the FC-31, and not the last, modernized. She had rockets under the wings, an open weapons compartment and a PLA emblem on the tail.
This again sparked debate about the possible entry of a military aircraft into the PLA. In media reports, it slipped that the FC-31, produced for export, would eventually go to the PLA.
The future of the aircraft may become clear in the near future, as it is expected that the third, under development, Chinese aircraft carrier will use a new fighter.
For comparison, the US Air Force has a relatively small edition F-22, which complements the massive F-35. Just like the F-22, the Chinese J-20 fighter will not be exported, which cannot be said about the FC -31.
Its price will fluctuate around $ 70 million, and this makes the FC -31 not just good, but almost an uncontested offer on the stealth fighter market.
No other country is able to offer stealth fighters at such a price that gives the Chinese aviation industry a great chance to gain a foothold in the global military aviation market.
What will the potential buyer receive if FC -31 is offered for export? Firstly, unlike the F-35, the FC-31 (J-31) has not only a more attractive price, but also two engines.
It is not worth saying once again that a plane with two engines is much more reliable than a single-engine fighter. Moreover, the flight characteristics of the J-31 look much better. For example, the maximum speed of the J-31 is 2200 km / h, compared to 1930 km / h for the F-35.
Both aircraft are approximately the same in size and weight: the length of the J-31 is 16.9 m, the wingspan is 11.5 m, the maximum take-off weight is 25 tons, the load weight is 8 tons, the practical ceiling is 18,200 meters, the radius of action is 1200 kilometers.
The Chinese claim that the aircraft has good stealth, information awareness, ease of operation and the ability to strike at air, ground and sea targets, and the life of the fighter will be 30 years.
In theory, all this should be of interest to foreign customers. Another important point is noted – the Russian RD-93 engines are replaced with their own counterparts WS-13E.
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