China to load its fighters in the future at Formula 1 box-stop speed

BEIJING ($1=7.27 Chinese Yuans) — China is looking to get ahead of its future enemy, whoever it may be. It is about the preparation of Chinese fighter jets on the ground, a moment before they take to the air.

Thrust vectoring engine: J-20 performs strong maneuvers at low speed
Photo credit: eng.chinamil.com.cn

A video posted on YouTube reveals the whole idea. Wang Heng, laboratory director of the PLA Air Force Research Institute explains the possibilities. According to him, the actions of the mechanics in Formula 1 can solve an important problem – the time to prepare the plane.

Refueling, loading bombs and missiles, checking wheels, and more, all without stopping the engine. One minute less than the established time or one minute faster than the opponent on the ground can give Chinese aviation an advantage in the air, says the young technocrat. Heng believes that achieving similar performance by ground crews will dramatically shorten the time between the first and second takeoff of the aircraft. I.e. after the first squadron, the next ones will take off much faster than previously planned.

Skepticism

Is a twist in the dogfight possible already on the runway? Indian pilot Vijainder K. Thakur, who is a former squadron commander, is skeptical. According to him, such an action by the plane’s mechanics on the runway would only allow the plane to be refueled without the engine being turned off.

This action is known as “hot refueling”. However, it is not new in the military case. American fighter jet mechanics are capable of doing so. Even India’s LCA Tejas fighter has hot refueling, says Thakur.

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that nearly four years ago, the Indian Air Force carried out hot refueling of LCA Tejas. This happened in February 2018, and the aircraft was a Tejas LSP8.

However, China has not done hot refueling until now. There is no word on whether Chinese fighter jets can do so.

India's Tejas MK2 fighter will fire with SCALP EG and SPICE
Photo credit: Kuntal Biswas

Heng’s idea of ​​servicing an aircraft with a running engine is still being developed. However, some countries practice such actions during exercises. Guaranteed, USA and India are two of those countries. This is a logistical and technical problem on the ground that must be limited in time.

There is no doubt, however, that China is trying to decide not only how quickly the plane will be refueled, but how the time it takes for the mechanics to do so can also be used to load the fighter with weapons.

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