Here is an interesting news story from cnn about China and it’s J20 5th Generation Jet fighter. I guess the US DOD is down playing its existance and potential threat to the west.
My Two Cents: 5th Generation Jet Fighters are not defensive weapons, but offensive weapons. The US has the F22 Raptor in production and on active duty and the F35 Lighting 2 going through final testing. I had the opportunity to see theF35 take off, and have seen many F22s.
Fifth Generation fighters are also know as the last generation of fighter aircraft with human pilots flying them. Remote aircraft are Sixth Generation fighters without human pilots. The human body cannot handle the g-forces that these advanced aircraft will be using.
Fifth Generation are fighter aircraft which are the newest and most advanced designed to incorporate numerous technological advancements, including all aspect stealth even when armed, Low Probability of Intercept Radar (LPIR), high per formance air frames, advanced avionics features, and highly integrated computer systems capable of networking with other elements within the theater of war in order to achieve an advantage in situational awareness. The U.S. F22 and the newer U.S.F35 are fifth generation.
China’s J20 similarity to the U.S. F-35 makes sense, given Chinese efforts to obtain details (via Internet espionage, and more conventional spying) about the F-35. The recent pictures showed the J-20 undergoing taxiing tests, which usually precedes flight tests by weeks or months.
The F-35A is a 31 ton, single engine fighter that is 15.7 meters (51.4 feet) long and with a 10.7 meter (35 foot) wingspan. The engine generates 12.7 ton (28,000 pounds) of thrust, or 19.5 (43,000) with afterburner. In contrast, the J-20 has two engines and appears to be 24 meters (75 feet) long and with a wingspan of 15 meters (46 feet). The engine for the J-20, the WS-15 is still in development. The prototype had afterburner thrust of 16.5 tons, although this was expected to hit 18.3 tons when development was complete. It is believed that the J-20 prototypes are powered by Russia AL31FU/117S engines, each with 14.5 tons of afterburner thrust. Two of these engines would give the 36-40 ton J-20 more power per ton than the F-35A.
China is also developing other F-35 technologies, like the AESA radar, highly efficient cockpit, stealth and software to tie everything together. Developing, or even copying, this tech is not easy. But the Chinese already know that, having decades of adapting stolen technology to their needs. Thus it appears that China is planning on having the J-20 ready for service by the end of the decade. The key factor is their ability to develop or steal the needed technology by then. The J-20 appears to be less than an F-35 clone, and more of an F-35 type aircraft with pretensions to being an F-22. In any event, the J-20 is an attempt to develop some kind of 5th generation aircraft, complete with stealth. We will see how the flight tests are over this year.