Monday, February 19, 2018

The Chengdu J-20 and Area Impact

The Chinese have developed a new stealth fighter called the Chengdu J-20. It's raised several eyebrows with its capabilities and features.The J-20 has a ventral and two lateral weapons bay. It has electro-optical infrared sensors (EO IRST) and Xband Active Electronically Scanned Aray Radars (AESA); 360 degree spherical coverage via 6 electro-optics centers; an advanced communications suite and is build with the WS-15 engine (Chinese made). The new engine will allow for supersonic travel, increased fuel efficiency, and will allow the aircraft to fly faster for longer.

For the non-mechanical and weapons enthusiasts, this will be the first stealth fighter produced by China that is supposed to be multirole. It can out shoot the F-35 by approximately 113 miles. It is designed for overall stealth and maneuverability. Excited, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Senior Colonel Shen Jinke said that this aircraft will enhance the capability of the Chinese Air Force exponentially.

With this new release, the Economist claims that China will now have air power that will challenge if not surpass the West's. They argue that the J-20, along with several air to air missiles (AAM) that China is employing, will rival American power. It is true that the J-20 is the most advanced aircraft to be used by any East Asian power. As of right now, the USA has the only 5th generation fighter while Russia, Japan, and India's are in development.

However, the PLAAF has several problems and US aircraft still are not counted out. The F-35, while may be out shot, has better avionics, sensors, engines, and a better man-machine interface. Additionally, the round nozzle of the J-20 may end up compromising stealth.  China may be exerting air dominance in the West, but it still far behind the West.

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