J-20: Even better than the real thing

The J-20 is real. I tip my hat to Bill Sweetman. New photos on the Chinese Web this morning showing the J-20 preparing for high-speed taxi tests on 22 December are convincing – even to this former skeptic. Moreover, the usually definitive Top 81 site has finally updated its listing on the J-20 with the following information:


The J-20 #2001 prototype was photographed when it was preparing for high-speed taxxing trial at the CAC airfield on December 22, 2010. The prototype features a pair of all-moving tailfins and ventral stabilzing fins, and the laters are expected to be removed on the production models. It also features F-22 style caret intakes but withDSI bumps installed at the upper corners, as well as a one-piece canopy.

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10 Responses to J-20: Even better than the real thing

  1. RAF 28 December, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    It sure looks big, and it is interesting to see how much the Chinese designers believe in the diverterless intakes. (Looking at the six rod stabilised diverter on the J-10A one can perhaps get a clue to why)
    I’m not so sure the ventral stabilizing fins will be removed, I’m willing to bet that they will stay. Any takers?

    Berst regards
    /RAF

  2. NICO 29 December, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    Still waiting to see it flying to really believe this is the real deal. Lots of fun reading the pro- and anti F35 crowd going at it on a competing blog. Makes me feel sorry for Stephen and Bill.

  3. RSF 29 December, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Its unfortunate that much of this conversation has broken down to a fight over the F-35 (again). The Chinese have certainly built a interesting new fighter. There are so some many unanswered questions on the true capabilities of this fighter. How it will impact the future of manned fighters in the West?

  4. zeno 29 December, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    is taiwan worth a 6th gen XF-xx RFI soon?

  5. TDR+ 30 December, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    This thing is a beast. Why so large? Sensor size? Fuel/Munitions load? Available power-plant? I wonder if all the moving surfaces will decrease stealth. As to the removal of the Ventral fins, I would be willing to bet it has to do with their flight control software capabilities. Eventually they will probably go away so yeah, RAF, I’ll take the bet if you spot me a few years.

  6. Martin 31 December, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    What I find odd about all the pictures is that the MLG bay doors are always open – admittedly they are opened for maintenance, but surely when taxiing as it seems in some pictures etc they should be closed?

  7. D00d 2 January, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    “The overall performance of J-20 is thought to be superior to that of Russian T-50 (maneuverability & supercruise) but still inferior to that of American F-22 (electronics & supercruise).”

    Isn’t it fascinating how these jokers on Top 81 can just make stuff up they have absolutely no way of knowing is true (i.e. superior to the Russian T-50). Because that’s real likely – they just made a decent engine that could compete with the AL-31F of the 1970s/80s, and all of a sudden they’re going to be outperforming the Russians in maneuverability and supercruise. Jeez, delusional.

  8. wings ace 5 January, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    wow looks like the real deal, built for speed will out run our f22 but we have more hours in ours, dont trust the japans or china, in the end they will form a pack. they have bought all our technology from traitors her, in high places in our goverment for dollars. in the end judas will sell out america for 30 peices of silver

  9. James Garth 5 January, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    If it uses a Diverterless Supersonic Inlet then the fixed intake geometry will limit it to sub-Mach 2, probably Mach 1.6 to 1.7. Combined with the high fuel load and physical size of the airframe, then you’re looking at a long-range fighter/bomber design optimised for sustained supersonic cruise. So it’s definitely more akin to FB-22 than F-22.

    Based on overall planform alignment and sawtooth edging it looks like a standard multi-lobe design, but we need a better look at the trailing edge for further assessment. The aircraft will have an F-35 style ‘cone of vulnerability’ at the rear due to sub-optimal radar and IR shielding on the nozzles (or TVC nozzles, should be they be fitted in future).

    As with all stealth design, the devil is in the detail, it will be interesting to see whether Chinese know-how with regards to detail edge/seam section geometry, surface treatments & topcoats, etc. has reached F-35 or even F-22 maturity.

    The continued development of all-moving vertical tails (T-50 PAK-FA style) is a noteworthy design trend. Together with the aerodynamically coupled canards, they will give the J-20 a potent mix of options for close-in manoeuvre.

  10. Peter Butt 7 January, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Is this nothing more than another Chinese PR excercise? I doubt that this aircraft in its present form will be anything more than an aerodynamic/electromagnetic test piece. The chinese are past masters at the brown paper bag shuffle, pouring copied western technologies into a bag, shaking it and pouring out a “CHINESE” product.

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