J-20 Threat: stealth battle, infrared and speed might win?

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Unread post24 Mar 2020, 12:28

zhangmdev wrote:OK, I should avoid convoluted sentences.

First, when FC-31 surfaced, people said that is what F-35 should have been if not compromised by the STOVL requirement. I don't think so. I suggest that FC-31 is closer to a downsized F-22 with weaker engines, not a better version of F-35. Second, F-35 is intended to replace F-16 in the thousands. Something like FC-31 cannot fulfill that purpose.

I can understand if just looking at it.. it looks more like an F-22. But more important is empty/loaded weight, and in that respect the FC-31 is much closer to an F-35. They are clearly going for an F-35 class aircraft, just can't get there given how limited their engine tech is.

IMO, it's going to be a mistake to continue to develop it in its current guise. Eventually, they'll get a powerful enough engine. The problem lies in going from 2 to 1 engine at a later date, then having to likely re-design major elements of the plane to accommodate such. Going to be a real pain in the a$$. And forget a carrier qualified version... Even when they do get to using a single engine, it's going to be dicey flying off a carrier that way. F-135 like thrust may be in the cards - but not reliability.

It'll be the J-15 all over again...


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Unread post24 Mar 2020, 17:06

Yes, it wants to be in the class of F-35. Max takeoff weight is close. Internal payload is close. The problem is how. It chose the straightforward and proven design to put weapon bays straight in front of the engines, with an internal load-bearing structure in-between. The length of the weapon bay is limited by the longest payload it carries. The length of engine is fixed. There are air intakes bending in front of the weapon bays. And those engine nozzles are to be hidden between tails. All those affects the overall length of the aircraft.

Those who says FC-31 is what F-35 should have been doesn't appreciate how hard it is to achieve required performance in such a small package. Those two weapon bays are split apart so the engine can be placed a bit forward. (The shapes of weapon bay doors are very complex. The opened doors are not aligned to the air stream. AA weapon station is on the door, not in the bay.) You cannot do that if there are two engines. The whole thing would be a lot bigger and heavier.

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