Until a decade ago, there were two fifth-generation aircraft in the world, and two US-made F-22s and F-35s. They were the equivalent of unreachable technology for other countries.
In 2020, however, it became clear that at least six more countries have begun or are beginning to develop and manufacture fifth-generation aircraft.
The fifth generation fighter jets manufacturing has become like thermal optical sights manufacture before five years ago – everybody produce them.
Let’s see at this stage how we have rated the five most influential and dangerous ones.
#5 – Chinese Shenyang FC-31 fifth genration fighter jet
N:5 in our ranking is for Chinse Shenyang FC-31. The J-31 first took off on October 31, 2012, and if the first Chinese J-20 stealth fighter was officially adopted by the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) in 2017, then from this period there is no information about J -31 did not appear. Experts suggested that the J-31 was originally a stillborn project, a kind of expensive public relations campaign designed to demonstrate the scientific and technical potential of the aircraft developer Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. This was indicated by the fact that the Chinese government did not finance the project, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation developed it on its own initiative using its own funds.
Initially, the J-31 was demonstrated very widely. Its characteristics were announced in advance, and this, in turn, gave reason to believe that the aircraft will be oriented to foreign customers, while it is of no interest to the PLA air force. Then, very-eyed bloggers spotted a reinforced front landing gear, and therefore it was concluded that the J-31 is being developed as a carrier-based fighter. In general, there were a lot of various rumors and conjectures, but starting in 2017, the J-31, as it should be invisible, disappeared into the information space, and they began to gradually forget about it.
#4 – Chinese Chengdu J-20 fifth generartion fighter jet
N:4 in our ranking is for 5th generation invisible interceptor – Chinese J-20. For the first time, this offspring of the PRC took off on January 11, 2011. It entered the Chinese Air Force in January 2017. The lion’s share of the engineering parameters of the model is classified. However, there are rumors that the prototype for the creation of the aircraft was the domestic MiG 1.44 MFI (the Russian pilot test model of the 5th generation interceptor) and the 5th generation fighter F-22 and F-35 from the United States. The Chinese have created 9 samples and 2 experimental prototypes. In battles, they have not yet shown themselves, because Now tested on landfills.
The Chinese have created 9 samples and 2 experimental prototypes. In battles, they have not yet shown themselves, because Now tested on landfills.
Testing and refinement of the new machine lasted more than four years, however, judging by the demonstration of the machine to the general public, this stage is already at the final stage.
Accurate information about the characteristics of the new Chinese fighter is very small, almost nothing is known about the composition of the onboard equipment or design features. Experts have to evaluate the new car using only a few photos of it. That’s the main rasons to put Chinese J-20 on fourth position.
#3 – Russian Su-57 fifth generation fighter jet
N:3 in our ranking is for Russian SU-57 fighter – a new fifth-generation aircraft. It was created in opposition to the American F-22. Despite the fact that the previous versions of the Su-30 and Su-35 were almost perfect aircraft, they still belonged to the fourth generation. At the beginning of 2018, 10 prototypes were created on which almost all systems along with weapons were tested.
Su-57 at the moment can be equipped with one engine – AL-41F1. Prototypes and the first production versions were equipped with an AL-41F1 engine. These motors are turbojet with afterburner and UVT. The power plant was developed by the Saturn engine plant by order of the Sukhoi Design Bureau.
The basis is the 9-A1-4071K air gun with a 30-mm caliber. The weapon was first tested in 2014. This option is a refinement of the GSH-30-1, which was previously installed on the Mig-29 and Su-27. The Su-57 will also be equipped with the latest URVV and URVP.
The Su-57 will be equipped with an optical-electronic location system for detecting enemies in the air. The hemisphere OLS-50M has the same location as on the Su-27 – in front of the cockpit with an offset to the right due to the design of the filling rod. Another innovation is the ability to rotate in the opposite hemisphere. Due to this, direct sunlight is reduced, and also a property appears with a reduced effective dispersion area.
#2 – Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighter jet
N:2 in our ranking is for U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jet. The design of the F-35 was made in 2001 as a result of a competition under the JSF program (Joint Strike Fighter – a single strike fighter) between Boeing (model X-32) and Lockheed Martin (model X-35).
On February 25, 2011, the first production F-35, AF-6, took off for the first time, and on May 6, the first production aircraft (it turned out to be the next production aircraft – AF-7, AF-6 was transmitted a week later) was transferred to the U.S. Air Force.
The F-35 used many technological solutions developed on the F-22. Designation of serial options: F-35A (with standard take-off and landing), F-35B (with short take-off and vertical landing) and F-35C (take-off from the deck of an aircraft carrier using a catapult, and landing on deck – using an aerofinisher).
Distinctive features of the F-35C, compared to the F-35A (with standard take-off and landing) and F-35B (with short take-off and vertical landing) options, is that the fighter takes off using a catapult, and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier – using an aerofinisher. Due to increased loads, the internal design of the F-35C is hardened. The tail section of the aircraft contains elements made of titanium. Compared with other options, the F-35C has a 30% larger wing area, increased tail area and control surfaces, and is equipped with end ailerons to provide high controllability at low landing speeds on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The F-35A and F-35C are powered by the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, which is a development of the F119 engine mounted on the F-22. The engine for the F-35B was developed with the participation of Rolls-Royce Defense. According to the manufacturer, thanks to this installation and the design of the airframe, a fully armed F-35A with full fuel tanks is capable of maneuvering with a 9G overload.
In addition to the basic requirements, Norway and Australia are financing the work to adapt the promising Naval Strike Missile (NSM) anti-ship missile, called the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), to the F-35.
According to the manufacturer, the F-35 will be able to launch missiles and adjustable bombs from the internal compartments at its maximum supersonic speeds.
By 2017, upon reaching the level of development of software and avionics of block 4, the F-35 is planned to be equipped with the B61 tactical nuclear bomb. The aircraft will be able to carry two ammunition with power from 0.3 to 340 kT in TNT equivalent on the internal suspension. Initially, this requirement was presented only to the F-35A, there is no clear information about other modifications on this issue. The F-35A will replace the F-16 fighter as the primary carrier of NATO tactical nuclear weapons.
Specially for the F-35 fighter-bomber, General Dynamics created the 25-mm GAU-22 / A four-barreled aviation gun. The gun was developed based on en: GAU-12, used on aircraft AV-8 Harrier II. The number of trunks was reduced from five to four, which allowed to reduce weight, volume by 20% by about 20 kg and increase accuracy.
On the F-35A modification, the gun was installed inside the aircraft, above and slightly behind the left air intake, 180 rounds of ammunition.
For modifications of the F-35B and F-35C, a hanging container with an ammunition load of 220 shells was developed, mounted under the fuselage in the rear. When creating the container, low visibility technologies were used.
Fighter F-35A will be armed with shells manufactured by Rheinmetall – 25 × 137 mm Frangible Armor Piercing (FAP), (in the US Air Force are marked PGU-48 / B). Shells are designed to destroy ground and air targets, including armored. Inside the PGU-48 / B is a tungsten core, which, penetrating an obstacle, is crushed into small elements, thereby expanding the lesion area.
#1 – Lockheed Martin/Boeing “Find and kill” F-22 Raptor fifth generation fighter jet
N:1 in our ranking is for “Find and kill” F-22 Raptor – a fifth-generation multi-role fighter developed by Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Dynamics to combat enemy aircraft, to shield troops and rear targets from air strikes, to counter enemy air reconnaissance day and night, in simple and difficult weather conditions . F-22 is the first fifth-generation fighter in service.
In 1981, the U.S. Air Force formulated requirements for a new jet fighter – an advanced front-line fighter (ATF), which was supposed to replace the F-15 Eagle. It was proposed to lay all the latest developments in the new fighter, including advanced avionics, new digitally controlled engines, and it was also to be inconspicuous for radars and multifunctional.
On April 23, 1991, the US Air Force announced the Lockheed / Boeing / General Dynamics group of companies as the winner of the fifth generation fighter competition.
The first pre-production car took off on September 7, 1997. Compared to the prototype, the F-22 was equipped with more powerful engines (15,876 kgf vs. 13,900 on the prototype) with a thrust vector controlled in the vertical plane, the airframe was partially changed: the shape of the wing, elevators, nose fairing, and pilot light has been moved forward.
The design of the aircraft is based on the principle of ensuring increased survival by implementing the principle of “First look – first kill” (the first one was discovered, the first one was struck). To do this, widely used technology to reduce visibility (“Stealth”). An important constructive solution characteristic of 5th generation fighters, which reduces the visibility of the aircraft, is the placement of standard weapons in the internal compartments. The F-22 also has external suspensions, but the installation of an ammunition on them worsens stealth. The purpose of this design decision was to increase the versatility of the aircraft.
In the design of an airplane glider, the proportion of polymer composite materials (PCM) is at least 40% (according to other sources 60%), of which at least 30% are thermoplastic [source not specified 2910 days] carbon fiber reinforced plastics, radar absorbing materials (RPM) are widely used. In particular, RPM constructively shapes the edges of the wing of an airplane. Most of the design is made of PCM based on bismaleimides – a class of heat-resistant polymers that are operable at temperatures up to 230 degrees Celsius. The second most important polymer composites are represented by thermoplastic carbon fiber reinforced plastics, in particular, Avimid K-III material from DuPont, whose advantages, in addition to strength, maintainability and heat resistance, include the best characteristics of permissible damage.
The F-22 is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 twin turbofan engines with afterburners (TRDDF) with a thrust of 15,876 kgf, and equipped with a thrust vector controlled vertically. These engines have a thrust of about 10,000 kgf and allow the aircraft to fly at supersonic speed without using afterburner, which is an important tactical advantage.
The F-22 is equipped with an AN / APG-77 radar with an active phased array antenna. An antenna of this type consists of ~ 2000 receiving-emitting elements. The main advantage of such an antenna is the electronic control of the main lobe of the radiation pattern (analogue to beam scanning) – there is no need for mechanical scanning, which simplifies the design and increases the reliability of operation. Target detection range with EPR = 1 m² – 225 km (normal mode) and 193 km (LPI mode), cruise missile (0.1 m²) – 125-110 km. The instrumental range of the radar is 525 km.
F-22 is compatible with guided high-precision bombs GBU-39 and SDB-53 / B, test discharges were carried out, however, for 2015, plans to integrate them with F-22 were not announced.
A fighter is capable of launching missiles and dropping bombs from internal compartments at supersonic speeds.
According to experts from the military-analytical magazine Armada international, the F-22 fighter carries a very limited fuel supply (only 8.2 tons) inside the fuselage, which makes it critically dependent on the possibility of refueling in the air.
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