Chengdu Aerospace Corporation's J 20 is an advanced fifth generation twin engine single seat Air-Superiority aircraft. It has been intended to replace the 3rd generation aircrafts in inventory of People's Liberation Army - Air Force and serve as a deterance to the deployment of advanced US fifth generation aircrafts in South China sea and anywhere around. There are no known post production variants of Chengdu J 20 and its development program has been funded entirely by Chinese Government. It features all attributes of being an advanced Chinese development which sure would challenge superiority of US , Russia and would dominate Europe in the field of fighter aircraft design.
The Chengdu J 20 has been designed keeping in mind the Chinese Anti Access / Area Denial strategy. According to this strategy, the forces must have minimum fire power to deny access to a powerful enemy over the area of interest. Chengdu J 20 may not be able to match the level of stealth of US fighters but would surely be enough to deny access. The Chinese have given equal importance to Stealth and kinematic performance of an aircraft and have made a high thrust engine, high internal fuel and more number of external fuel tanks being able to carry. The J 20 has been designed to match the level of combat effectiveness of Lockheed F 22 raptor as well as to overpower combat effectiveness of Lockheed F 35 lightning ll. The J 20 may not be able to reach the technological advancement level of F 35 but can perform more tasks and provides a kinematically superior airframe.
There is a sensible case to be made that a confrontation between opposing stealth fighters may be decided at within-visual-ranges, where elements of classic dogfighting and close in air combat manoeuvring may apply.
The Chengdu J 20 airframe has been designed with parts that can be easily manufactured at a fast rate , signaliing that J 20 would be a mass produced aircraft. By the end of 2017 PLA-AF would have 20 active J 20s and by 2020, there will be two minimum operational squadrons. The US does not have considerable number of Stealth Air Superiority fighters and wont be having until their 6th gen. fighter arrive. The Japanese 5th generation fighter Mitsubishi F 3 have a projected time of being operational in 2027. The Indian HAL FGFA exists only in minds , not even on paper. The design of HAL FGFA hasn't yet freezed. The Chengdu J 20 a kinematically superior , air superiority fifth generation aircraft is here to dominate everyone around.
The origins of J 20 lies within China itslef. It is not a copied design like many fourth generation air superiority aircrafts which has been copied from Sukhoi Su-27 design. The Chengdu Aerospace corporation tested in wind tunnel a single engine aircraft named J 9 which was rechristened into Chengdu J 10. A twin engine variant of J 9 named the J 9VI was also made. The J 9VI was designed as a multirole strike aircraft. But later cancelled because of design complications and availability of Su 30 MKK. Now it was rechristened into J 20. The design was tweaked at many places to decrease it's radar cross section and increase its effective stealth signature. As per popular sources initially a J-XX program was initiated in the 90s by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation which was designated as Project 718.
( first flight of LRIP model 2011 )
The Shenyang also proposed a design for the same place but its design was larger. The J 20 prototype had taxxing trials in December 2010. It had its first flight next month in January 2011. The second prototype appeared on 10 May 2012. On 16th January 2014 a prototype serial number 2011 was revealed. It had several designic improvements showing a new intake and stealth coating, as well as redesigned vertical stabilizers, and an Electro-Optical Targeting System. The same year three more prototypes serial numbers 2012, 2013, 2015 were flown.
On 13 September 2015, a new prototype, marked '2016', begun testing. It had noticeable improvements, such as apparently changed DSI bumps on the intakes, which save weight, complexity and radar signature. The DSI changes suggested the possibility of more powerful engines being used than on its predecessors, likely to be an advanced 14-ton thrust derivative of the Russian AL-31 or Chinese WS-10 turbofan engines, though, by 2020 theJ-20 is planned to use the 18-19 ton WS-15 engine, enabling the jet to super-cruise without using afterburners. The trapezoidal flight booms around the engines were enlarged, possibly to accommodate rearwards facing radars or electronic jamming equipment. The fuselage extends almost entirely up to the engine’s exhaust nozzles. Compared to its “2014” and “2015” predecessors, the J-20’s fuselage contains more of engine’s surface area inside the stealthy fuselage, providing greater rear-facing stealth against enemy radar.
In November 2015, a new J-20 prototype, numbered '2017', took to the sky. The most significant change in the new prototype is the reshaped cockpit canopy, which provides the pilot with greater visibility. The lack of other design changes suggest that “2017” is very close to the final J-20 production configuration.
At least six J-20s stealth fighters are in active service, with four tail numbers 78271，78272，78273 and 78274 identified. And another six are ready to be delivered by end of Dec 2016
According to the Chinese aviation expert Dafeng Cao who posts under the Twitter handle @xinfengcao, six J-20 stealth fighters were inducted into the Chinese air force at a formal ceremony.
Unlike popular bellief , Chengdu J 20 is a well worked indigeneous design derived from J 9vi and not a copy of Mikoyan MiG 1.44 as judged by many.
The Chengdu J 20 features a canarded delta wing design that resembles a more prominent focus on manoeuvrability. The details of design once largely had been shrouded in secrecy but we do have some clues. In 2001 Chinese Aircraft Designer ,Dr. Song Wencong who designed Chengdu J 10 aircraft and mentored Mr. Yang Wei , the designer of CAC FC 1 Xiaolong ( JF 17 Thunder ) and J 20, published a research paper regarding design of an aircraft. It was described as a design intended to achieve significant radar cross section reduction (radar stealth), as well as supercruise, high manoeuvrability and unconventional manoeuvres such as post-stall manoeuvres. The paper settled on an aerodynamic configuration with delta wings, canards, leading edge root extensions, and lifting body and all moving vertical stabilizers (Siegecrossbow, 2012). This of course, is almost a word for word description of J-20’s exact aerodynamic configuration.
( CGI of Chengdu J 9 )
( wind tunnel model of J9VI )
( 3 views of J 9vi )
( CGI of J 9vi )
There does exist one more small – but arguably credible – base of literature which may suggest that J-20’s design is intended to be aerodynamically competitive in air combat manoeuvring.
One source is from a Chinese Air Force officer, Colonel Daixu, who was quoted by a Global Times state media article in 2009 as saying the “Chinese 4th generation aircraft” will feature “4 S characteristics” (Deng, 2009), one of the “S” being super-manoeuvrability. Super-manoeuvrability is a term that has been applied to various highly manoeuvrable aircraft ranging from the Su-27 family to the F-22. (Note, in Chinese parlance, “4th generation” is equivalent to the rest of the world’s “5th generation” and Chinese “3rd generation” is equivalent to the rest of the worlds “4th generation”. E.g.: an F-22 would be described as “4th generation” in Chinese articles and an F-16 would be described as “3rd generation”)
The Chengdu J 20 have all moving vertical, outward canted tails. They are very large in size to provide roll moment and yaw moment to the aircraft. Since J 20 does not have thrust vectoring capability neither 2D nor 3D it has to rely on its surface controls to achieve super manoeuvrability. Many analysts noted that J 20's nose section , particularly it's cockpit , which features a frameless bubble canopy has been copied from F 22 and F 35. This is just a mummble amongst those people who may have difficulty in digesting a Chinese design. If you look at the design configuration of Dassault Rafael, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab JAS 39 Gripen. All of them have large number of similarities but they are never noted as a copy of each other. The usage of frameless bubble canopy , and DSI inlets is definitely an inspiration taken from western stealth designs , but it is just provocative to call it a copy.
All-moving canard surfaces with pronounced dihedral are placed behind the intakes, followed by leading edge extensions merging into delta wing with forward-swept trailing edges. The aft section features twin, outward canted all-moving fins, short but deep ventral strakes, and conventional round engine exhausts. One important design criterion for the J-20 describes high instability. This requires sustained pitch authority at a high angle-of-attack, in which a conventional tailplane would lose effectiveness due to stalling. On the other hand, a canard can deflect opposite to the angle-of attack, avoiding stall and thereby maintaining control. A canard design is also known to provide good supersonic performance, excellent supersonic and transonic turn performance, and improved short-field landing performance compared to the conventional delta wing design.
Leading edge extensions and body lift are incorporated to enhance performance in a canard layout. This combination is said by the designer to generate 1.2 times the lift of an ordinary canard delta, and 1.8 times more lift than an equivalent sized pure delta configuration. The designer claims such a combination allows the use of a smaller wing, reducing supersonic drag without compromising transonic lift-to-drag characteristics that are crucial to the aircraft’s turn performance. The Chengdu J 20 is only available option for China to match the capabilities of American F 22 raptor but an underpowered engine makes it inferior. Still it was quoted by Jamestown Foundation that J 20 could have been superior to F 22 if it would have had been powered by appropriate engines.
The usage of Canards also drew a meaningless criticism, That canards would negate all the efforts made for reducing RCS. Later a counter point was presented that usage of canards were also seen in designs like X 36 of NASA which features canards and is still considered extremely stealthy. So Canards aren't a minus point as far as stealth is concerned.
( from left to right - internal weapon bays of F 22 , F 35 and J 20 )
The Initial prototypes were seen fitted with WS-10G , the Chinese copy of Al-31 F which was used in Chinese Su 27 derivatives. It was clear from the nozzles. But in the mid term they are using an engine believed to be upgraded version of WS 10 G afterburing turbofan. The afterburners have been made bigger and nozzles are redesigned and jagged to decrease its radar reflections. The peculiar thing to be noted is that later versions will be powered by WS 15 , a chinese derivative of Saturn Lyuka 117s engines. The Chinese despite having inducted J 20 in operational service ordered Russia's Sukhoi Su 35. Largely suspected to be only for its engines alone.
The WS 15 would be far superior in thrust than PAK-FA's Izdeliye 30 and F 22's F 119 engines. It would provide nearly 180 kN of thrust with afterburner. But the actual requirement is of an engine with 190 kN maximum thrust to achive the J 20 airmframe's full designed capability and supercruise. The J 20 can carry more than 11,000 kgs of fuel which is superior to PAK-FA and F 22 and it can also carry four external fuel tanks. This is an indication that J 20's range is far superior than both F 22 and PAK-FA.
( nozzles have been jagged and painted with radar absorbants to reduce RCS )
the only photo of WS-15 known, here depicted is the turbofan’s core
Disclaimer : All the information given about sensors have been noted by prominent analysts mostly based on photos only, the writing should not be considered an extensive research work on avionics. All the things available there are only clues which may turn out to be false.
1 Type 1475 X band AESA radar.
The Chinese had many AESA radars earlier and this one may be one of the finest. There is only the photo given below available which may be Type 1475 available for comparison.
The comparison between radars of fighter aircraft is not done only on the basis of number of Transmit Receive modules or T/R modules but also on the basis of probability of interception, differing modes available, peak power, electronic counter counter measure (ECCM) capabilities, quality of manufacturing of T/R modules, material used ( ex GaN or GaAs ). Now we don't have this much of data but the clues suggest that peak power of this radar would be somewhere around 18 to 20 kW. Observers noted from the available photos and the large bulky radome of J 20 suggets that it's radar would be having more T/R modules than that on radars of F 22 & Sukhoi PAK-FA.
The only partial photo of what may depict the J-20’s AESA radar
Another widely circulated computer image which may depict the J-20’s radar. It appears to correspond with certain features of the partial photo above
The closests guesses are somewhere between 1800 to 2000 T/R modules. The experience gained while development of Chengdu J 10's radar is pricelessly helping them for making a larger AESA radar. It has been strongly noted that the diameter of radar antenna would be 1m and would be housing around 1800 T/R modules. The Wikipedia article states that Type 1475 or KLJ-5 AESA radar has 1875 T/R modules. It is unknown wheather the radar consists GaN or GaAs based modules. In terms of range , number of targets being detected , there is no idea what it could be.
2 Beijing A Star's EOTS 86
A private Chinese company's poster appeared on various blogs showing advertisements of some EOTS products. Their EOTS 86 is largely suspected to have made it's way in both J 20 amd J 31. The company displayed it's products, with specifications and performance details, as well as illustrations depicting their products equipped aboard both J-20s and FC-31s, however at present there is no evidence to suggest that the the company is a contractor for any Air Force project, let alone the secretive and high priority J-20. Indeed, it would be a major change in Chinese military operational security if such a major subcontractor for a vital system on J-20 were allowed to openly display the specifications of its sensor on the open market.
( the diamomd shaped thingy just below the nose is EOTS )
Early prototypes fielded a mock up and later ones fielded the actual one. We have close image of J 20 for observation purpose. The F 35's EOTS also looks similar, it has faceted windows optimised for radar waves reflection and it is made up of lucco sapphire the next strongest material after diamond. The J 20's EOTS - 86 also have faceted surface looking similar but having different dimensions. The Americans have earlier side that sensitive data related to F 35 program was leaked and was hacked by computers in China. This theory has strong believers and it may even be true. It is not still clear wheather with which material EOTS -86 is made.
The EOTS - 86 may not have the capabilities of EOTS of F 35 beacuse both aircrafts are made for different roles.
( F 35's EOTS )
( a poster of A Star company )
The Avionics of Chengdu J 20 shows a considerable focus on situational awareness of the next generation aircrafts. The quality of who being world class. The J 20's sensors if assumed the best case, make it tye most powerful aircraft in South China sea
3 Electro-Optic thermal detection system.
Some rhoumbus shaped windows were seen around later prototypes of J 20 supposed to be some kind of electro optical system used for detection purpose. Fifth Generation aircraft like F 22 raptor and Sukhoi PAK-FA have Ultra Violet missile approach warning system. These UV-MAWS of both look quite similar to that of J 20's system. Since missile approach warning systems recieve thermal imagery of threats or objects around in ultraviolet spectrum hence the name Electro-Optical thermal detection system. Well the term detection system is used here because that system could most probably be used to detect threats and not just provide warning. It would show in pilot's HMD the detected threat. The F 22's AN/AAR 56 UV- MAWS or MLD are slated to be upgraded to perform IRST functions too. So if such a thingy happens it can be a function if J 20's system too.
( locations of J 20's thermal detection system similar to F 35's DAS )
( location of F 22 Raptor's UV-MAWS / MLD )
The rhoumbus shaped windows have been placed around the J 20 airframe in a such a manner that it gives 360° spherical coverage. This placement is just similar to Distributed Aperture System of F 35. The DAS of F 35 is a one of a kind device. This observation gave rise to a theory that these windows would be featuring Electro - Optical Precision Detection System for J 20. But if properly observed the shape and color of DAS' cameras and compared with MAWS windows , they both look different. So these systems may not be DAS. DAS is very unique and the epitome of F 35's high situational awareness. See the pic below of why we feel this system isn't DAS.
( location of F 35's DAS )
F-35’s DAS is capable of providing traditional missile approach and warning functions, but is also capable of providing specific launch point detection, automatically tracking contacts and cueing sensors or weapons, and also assist day and night navigation, all within the spherical field of view around the aircraft. Most impressively, when integrated with the F-35’s helmet mounted display system, the DAS allows the pilot to essentially “see” through the DAS apertures seamlessly, such that they can even “look through” the floor of the aircraft to what is occurring immediately below the aircraft.
4 Side looking, Back looking radar and Wing Slat mounted radar.
To the fancy of some observers who are comparing observed stripes with each and every sensor available, it was observed that they grey strip seen on portside of J 20's nose could be a cheek mounted side looking radar. The trapezoidal backward facing stings were judged to be backward looking radars, two tail stings are present, and have been steadily modified in geometry throughout the prototype stage. Again, the distinctive grey dielectric cover of the tail stings suggest the presence of an antenna within each tail sting, and the location of an antenna in such a location would be sensible for any sort of transmitting or receiving array or an array capable of both.
( side looking cheek mounted radar )
( backward facing radars )
Wing mounted radar, such as in the leading edge slats of an aircraft like in the PAK FA/T-50, provide additional forward sector situational awareness. The physical characteristics of the leading edge slat allows radars of greater size and different frequency bands to be mounted to provide complementary surveillance capabilities to the main X band radar of an aircraft. In the case of the PAK FA, L band AESAs are mounted, which provide superior anti stealth characteristics compared to the X band. The leading edge slats of J-20’s main wings appear to also be wholly grey, suggesting a dielectric covering consistent with an antenna, therefore one possible explanation for the grey covering over the leading edge slats could be the presence of a wing mounted radar. However, as with the case for the side looking radar, the grey dielectric paint could be indicative of any sort of antenna.
But there is problem.
The grey strip observed on portside of J 20's nose has been too small too house any considerable size of array. With small numbers of T/R modules nothing less than a low range scanning can be done. Just see and compare it with the size of PAK-FA's radar. So it is difficult to belive that it is an array
The theory of radars being housed inside backward facing trapezoidal stings have the basis that Sukhoi Su 47 , a Russian experimental aircraft also features two stings and thier is radar in one of them and drag chute in another one. The two stings of J 20 are of same shape. Why would anybody make two radars look at a same direction??
The theory suggesting wingslat mounted radar can be assumed true at this point of time but not the side looking cheek mounted radars and the backward facing radars.
Those stings may house ESM or ECM antennas.
High bandwidth datalinks to provide communication and coordination and transference of information between friendly aircraft, ships and other combat forces are also a vital fixture for fifth generation fighter aircraft, as well as past generations of fighter aircraft as well.
The J-20 will likely be equipped with a datalink that could at least receive the Chinese military’s Joint Service Integrated Datalink System (JSILDS), a system which is said to be similar to the Link 16. It is possible that J-20 may also feature advanced iterations of other datalinks, such as an equivalent to the Multifunction Advanced Datalink of the F-35, or the F-22’s Intra Flight Datalink, to provide effective stealthy and secure communications between aircraft which JSILDS may be incapable of.
Many grey and slightly protruding fairs are present on J-20, suggesting they could be antennae of any sort, such as datalinks, ESM, ECM or even secondary radars
Many grey and slightly protruding fairs are present on J-20, suggesting they could be antennae of any sort, such as datalinks, ESM, ECM or even secondary radars.
6 Integrated Computer Processor for J 20.
In one of the early released images of J 20 one can see an access panel just aft the radome is open. At the exactly similar place F 22 raptor's CIP is placed. The CIP of F 22 provides processing functions for all the onboard systems. It is also similar to F 35's ICP. According to a Chinese source, The F 22's CIP have some limitaions as it uses a fourth generation level ( 3rd generation as per Chinese ) 1553B data bus. It has some limitations at the core level to achieve the data synthesis, in some minor systems also retains the third generation fighter system, using the 1553B data bus to exchange data, so the whole system structure is more complex, while the function is also limited, with the progress of information technology was also less when F 22 was developed.
The F 22's CIP have some limitaions as it uses a fourth generation level ( 3rd generation as per Chinese ) 1553B data bus. It has some limitations at the core level to achieve the data synthesis, in some minor systems also retains the third generation fighter system, using the 1553B data bus to exchange data, so the whole system structure is more complex, while the function is also limited, with the progress of information technology was also less when F 22 was developed.
J 20's computer processor is claimed to have reached the level of F 35. As per the processor displayed during Zhuhai Air Show it has about 24 slots, now has 6 modules, in general, should be data, signal, video / image, storage, input and output control, power, etc., these modules constitute the system's signal, data processing system, respectively, the relevant subsystems to complete the signal and data processing System, and through high-speed data bus connected to achieve real-time data processing and exchange, from a variety of open situation, China's public display of ICP and F-35 ICP roughly the same, according to the relevant information, F-35 Of the two ICP ICP has 24 and 7 slots, a total of 31 modules, has been used 22, reserved for 9 for the upgrade, which uses a common data processing module POWERPC G4 processor, data processing speed of 40. 8O per second operation (OPS), the signal processing speed is 75.6G per second floating point operation (FLOPS), the image processing is a special signal processing method, the speed of 225.6G per second / plus the number of operations ( MACS).
7 ESM suite:
An advanced Electronic Support Measures suite is an essential part of a modern fighter aircraft’s mission avionics. An ESM suite helps to detect, identify, locate, record, analyze and even geolocate sources of electromagnetic energy, which for a fighter aircraft typically means an opposing force’s radar system. Modern ESM suites have grown in capability and complexity from mere warning systems to alert a pilot when their pilot was possibly being targeted by radar, to being capable of simultaneously geolocating multiple sources of radar emissions in real time and automatically activating counter measures, targeting solutions and cueing weapons.
Such suites are immensely difficult to identify, and may only sometimes be visible as small, low profile conformal antennae around an aircraft. Multiple sites that could hold small conformal antennae have been identified on J-20 through picture analysis, and there are likely multiple other sites with antennae which are not outwardly visible. Either way, it is certain that J-20 will be equipped with an ESM suite of some kind, and if trends for other fifth generation ESM suites are anything to go by, it is likely the Chinese Air Force would have similarly high requirements for J-20’s ESM suite.
The Cockpit of Chengdu J 20 is quite similar to F 35 using one single large wide screen, touch input capable display. It is called as Luoyang photoelectric display ( rough translation ).
China's Luoyang Optoelectronic System also exhibited with the F-35 considerable overall cockpit system, we know that although the fourth generation of combat aircraft also achieved a glass cockpit hands from the lever, but in weapons and other aspects of operation The F-16C / D pilot launches an AIM-9X missile, which first launches the weapon system from the monitor and then presses the relevant switch to select the AIM-9X missile, and then press the switch again. Start the missile, open the cooling system, etc.
But the fifth generation fighter cockpit will be more advanced, the first of its screen larger, more information displayed, the pilot can get a wider range of tactical situation map, and the screen can be divided into several Sub-window, if a window of information is more important, you can also zoom in, while the display is more simple, some of the system test information into the back-end to deal with, the pilot saw the situation after the deal, so that you can Reduce the burden of system management, focus on tactical thinking and decision-making. From the air show open screen, the domestic integrated cockpit display system shows the right side of the superposition of tactical information on the digital map, the left is divided into multiple display areas, including plug-in management, flight information, while Luoyang photoelectric experts to accept The interview also said that the cockpit to achieve the "most pilots need to provide information to the pilot" concept, so that pilots do not need to directly deal with massive amounts of data, you can get the most needed information.
The cockpit and nose of J 20 have been optimised for low RCS largely taking inspirations from F 35 lightning ll. The usage of divertless supersonic inlets to hide the engine fan blades and provide efficient airflow to engines is one of them. Analysts have noted that the J-20 DSI reduces the need for application of radar absorbent materials. Additionally, the “bump” surface reduces the engine’s exposure to radar, significantly reducing a strong source of radar reflection.
( the production version featured a gold tinted cockpit )
Not seen on earlier prototypes but the production versions of J 20's various doors such as access panels, doors of weapon bays , doors of landing gear have their edges sawtooth shaped. This is a necessary design to reduce radar reflection of the edges of these lines. The surface at the joints of canards , and joints at wing slats and vertical tails and various surface controls have been shaped to defelect radar waves. The outward canted vertical stabilisers also deflect radar waves. All in all Chengdu J 20 despite being bigger in size than F 22 Raptor and Sukhoi PAK-FA shows considerable attention being provided for stealth. Guessing the number for radar cross section is a tough challenge for the analysts. It is important to note what kind of material is being used and how much radar waves it absorbs and how much reflects back. A considerable research is required in the field of radar absorbing paints, structural composites, nanotechnology, radar absorbant materials etc. Many sites and blogs are giving numbers like J 20's RCS may be 0.01 m² and have -20 to -30 db reflection losses. We have little trust on that figure. Without the knowledge of materials used in making its outer surface any number cannot be assumed.
The F-22A is clearly well shaped for low observability above about 500 MHz, and from all important aspects. The J-20 has observed the ‘Shaping, Shaping, Shaping’ imperative, except for the axisymmetric nozzles, and some curvature of the sides that smears a strong, but very narrow specular return into something of a more observable fan. The X-35 mostly observed the ‘Shaping, Shaping, Shaping’ rule, but since then, to quote a colleague, ‘hideous lumps, bumps, humps and warts’ have appeared on the JSF to disrupt the shaping imperative, forcing excessive reliance on materials, which are at the rear-end of the path to ‘Low Observability’.
To read a comprehensive assesment on J 20 click below.
Disclaimer - Their is no official commitment from PLA-AF about what weapons be carried by J 20. Their are a large number of weapons in China that can be carried by aircrafts, but only selected weapons that the writer thinks can be accommodated inside the constricted size of J 20's weapon bays and were seen in photos. Their may be a posiibility that J 20 may not be armed with some of these.
Air to air
1. PL 10
Each of J-20’s two side weapons bays are small, and designed to accommodate a single short range air to air missile, similar to that of the F-22. Photos of J-20 prototypes have openly displayed carriage of the new generation PL-10 SRAAM in J-20’s side bays, and given the relatively narrow width of these side bays, it is likely that PL-10 will be J-20’s only primary SRAAM when it enters initial service and would be unable to carry older generation SRAAMs with larger wingspans such as the PL-8 family.
PL-10 is widely considered to be a SRAAM in the same generation as AIM-9X, R-73M, ASRAAM, IRIS-T, and AAM-5, among others, and likely includes high off boresight capabilities, a decoy resistant imaging infrared seeker, and possibly lock on after launch capabilities.
2. PL 12
In mid 2012, J-20 prototype 2002 was seen carrying a pair of crop wing PL-12 missiles, sometimes called PL-15 or PL-12C. From those pictures it appeared like J-20 was capable of carrying four beyond visual range weapons within its main weapons bay, however there has been speculation as to whether the weapons bay may have experienced minor widening in the 201X series of prototypes, to accommodate six BVR weapons similar to the F-22.
The PL-12C/PL-15 is thought to be an advanced derivative of the PL-12 BVR air to air missile, and has been considered to be the Chinese Air Force’s equivalent to the AIM-120D. Speculation has persisted as to whether the PL-12C/PL-15 may be equipped with a more advanced active/passive seeker, advanced propulsion such as dual pulse motor, and advanced datalinking capabilities.
PL-12C/PL-15 have yet to be seen onboard other aircraft apart from a J-11B (for testing purposes), but it is expected that the missile will become the new standard BVR AAM for Chinese military aviation, and rumours in late 2015 suggested the missile had been successfully fired from a J-16 strike fighter.
Needless to say, no reliable range figures or other specifications for the missile exists, though it has been suggested the PL-12C/PL-15 may have an effective range of nearly 200km.
3 PL 15 / PL 21
PL 15 is a ramjet powered BVR AAM, sometimes called PL-21 but sometimes also called PL-15, which creates substantial confusion given the crop wing PL-12 is sometimes also called PL-15.
No clear pictures of PL-21 exist as of yet, and it is unclear as to whether the programme is still under development, however in the late 2000s there were persistent rumours surrounding the designation for a new ramjet powered BVR AAM.
The configuration of PL-21 from various semi official illustrations depict a missile with relatively large fins (suggesting J-20 may only be able to carry four such missiles even with a minor weapons bay enlargement), and two ramjet intakes. The overall configuration is not dissimilar to that of the European Meteor missile, and would likely offer similarly advanced kinematic capabilities.
Air to Surface Missiles.
TL-7 ( Export version KD-88 ) Air Launched Cruise missile.
The KongDi 88 (KD-88 or C-802KD) is an air launched land attack cruise missile (LACM) derived from the YJ-83/C-802 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM). The deployment of this missile by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) was confirmed in November 2006. The KD-88 is able to deliver a 165 kilogram High Explosive (HE) warhead at ranges of up to 200 kilometers cruising at a highly subsonic speed of Mach 0.9. The guidance system combines an inertial measurement unit (IMU) with a radar homing head for terminal guidance and a data-link to update the target location in-flight at midcourse.
( the JH 7 fighter bomber carrying TL 7 missile )
Their are specific reasons why we feel that KD-88 could be featured on J 20. It is because it has a diameter of just 0.7m and that too with wings extended. A folding wing variant can be developed or may have been developed. Their is a smaller version of this missile which has been featured in Wing Loong UCAVs. Their are both land attack and AntiShip versions of this missile.
The JH-7 fighter bomber has been armed with TL-7 missiles and they usually are seen carrying two such missiles. So it is very likely that J 20 may also carry two such missiles along with two Pl-12s in main weapon bays and two PL-10s in side weapon bays.
To know more about Chinese cruise missiles click on the button below.
1. Luoyang/CASC FT-3/FT-4/ FT-5/ FT-6 Satellite Aided Inertially Guided Bomb family.
The FT-3/FT-4 are satellite/inertial guidance kits for a 250 kg / 500 lb class general purpose bomb body. The FT-3 employs a unique cruciform strake arrangement on the tailkit. The variant displayed at Zhuhai 2008 is different in many respects from demonstrators previously displayed, which appeared to use a modification of the LS-6 tailkit. The FT-4 employs a planar wing kit similar to the Kerkanya/JDAM-ER.
The FT-5 is the smallest guidance kit in the Luoyang/CASC FT series, intended for a 100 kg bomb body. The strake kit design and tail kit are modelled on the FT-1 configuration. The bomb casing geometry displayed in 2009 is relatively conventional and evidently not intended for deep penetration of concrete in the manner of the GBU-39/B SDB warhead.
The FT-6 displayed in 2010 at Zhuhai employed a slimline low drag bomb casing, with a set of planar glide wings similar to those employed with the FT-2, FT-4 and LS-6. This weapon would appear to the planar wing derivative of FT-3 variant with a low drag 250 kg / 500 lb bomb body.
2. Luoyang/CASC LS-6 Satellite Aided Inertially Guided Bomb Family.
The 500 kg / 250 kg LS-6 glidebomb design is modelled in many respects on the concept of the Australian developed planar wing Kerkanya glidebomb kit, more recently adapted to form the JDAM-ER. Unlike the Kerkanya which uses a low wing monoplane configuration with a blended adaptor fairing, the LS-6 glide wing kit is much simpler in design and the weapon flight configuration is that of a high wing monoplane. Cited range for an 11 km release altitude at 900 km/h is 60 km, considerably less than the Kerkanya/JDAM-ER design.
In 2010 Luoyang displayed 100 kg and 50 kg derivative designs, which are clearly intended to be analogues to the US GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) which has been developed to fit the weapon bays of the F-22A Raptor.
These weapons are clearly designed for compact internal carriage, and it is reasonable to conclude that the intended launch platform is the J-20 stealth fighter.
Both the 100 kg and 50 kg derivatives are fitted with nose mounted electro-optical seekers, with high quality planar windows. JDW's Hewson reports this to be a semi-active homing laser seeker, however, such a seeker is not compatible with a weapon intended to be released in multiple round salvos.
The regime of operation is however compatible with a scene matching area correlator seeker, such as that employed in the Russian GNPP KAB-500/1500Kr series, or trialled in the US Navy DAMASK/HART effort. A seeker modelled on the DAMASK or KAB-500/1500Kr would provide high accuracy, and a redundant guidance regime should the satellite navigation channel be successful jammed.
The type of satellite navigation receiver and inertial unit employed in the LS-6 series have not been disclosed to date. While the Luoyang website states the use of GPS, other sources claim the use of Glonass. It is likely the receiver is like a number of Russian designs, a dual mode device which can use C/A GPS or secure Glonass concurrently.
a) Kill Area：
For normal target：5,000 - 10,000 m2
For armored targe：100 - 500 m2
b) Operational Altitude and Speed：
Launch altitude：4,000 - 11,000 m
Launch speed：600 - 1,000 km/h
c) Maximum Launch Range：No less than 60 kilometers with a launch altitude of 11,000 meters and an initial speed of 900 km/h.
d) Guidance Mode：Combined GPS/INS guidance.
e) Guidance Accuracy： ≤15 meters CEP
3. Luoyang/CASC LT-3 Laser / Satellite Aided Inertially Guided Bomb.
The “Lerting” (Thunderbolt) LT-3 is 3.58m long, has a diameter of 0.38 m and the unfolded wings have a [cited] span of 0.95m. It weighs 564 kg and has a range of up to 24km. It can penetrate up to 1.5 m of steel reinforced concrete.
The LT-3 is the most sophisticated guided bomb developed to date by Chinese industry. This weapon combines a satellite/inertial guidance package in a tailkit derived from the LS-6 250 kg glidebomb, and a gimballed proportional navigation semi-active laser homing seeker.
The weapon employs a strap-on strake kit similar to that used with the GBU-31/32 JDAM series. The gimballed detector platform is closest in concept to the TI Paveway III LLLGB design - the LT-3 occupies the same capability niche as the US enhanced EGBU-24 or GBU-54/55/56(V)/B Laser JDAM (LJDAM) weapons.