Tuesday, January 25, 2011

IPad: Its not a Timex...or Maybe It Is.

The touch screen even works too...after a PT Cruiser has run it down.


Just need some gloves for the glass.

IPad: Its not a Timex

It's works. I borrowed it to try to code a monitoring app to help out our operators. I just got it yesterday and *crunch*. geez. Just when I thought the Dr Pepper incident was finally forgotten.

Hopefully, its only a pound of flesh that they want.

Update. We got it to boot. And the damned thing works. Whoa.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The J-20/J-XX: The Sino Surprise

For all intents and purposes, the People Liberation Army Air Force gave the J-20/J-XX as a Christmas present to the whole of the aviation enthusiast community. In fact, the whole year has been rather exciting for the stealth aircraft fanbase. Not only did we get the last second Chinese stealth fighter, we also had the Russian T-50 as well. The Japanese began work on their own three years ago. Interesting in its absence is that of a European equivalent.

I am writing the article today, because when the first rumors of the J-20/J-XX came out, with some CGI pix, I called the pix and existence of the J-20 a fan wank. The pix themselves turned out to be completely fanwank and had only a little more to do with the J-20 as did the Testor F-19 model did with the F-117A Nighthawk back in the day. However, the second half of my statement, that the J-20 didn't exist was completely wrong. Completely and utterly wrong! It is much to my delight (fanboy here, I used to run a website back in the 90s for stealth aircraft. One of the VERY few back when) and horror (American nationalist here, too!) that the Chinese have taken a big step forward in air combat tech.

The whole unveiling is also to my amusement since I was against the F-22 getting cut short on production. I was not convinced of Gates' statement that there would be no possible stealth aircraft in production elsewhere by 2020, when we'd be looking at replacing the F-22. Um. oops? *snork*

Now, honestly, we do not know if this is a tech demo prototype that the Chinese are testing or if this is an aircraft that is a prototype for a soon to be production run. We also do not know what what he development cycle for the Chinese is at this point. The number of purely internally developed fighters by the Chinese in the recent past is not very high, so it is hard to extrapolate how long it will take for them to introduce this fighter to the inventory. It ought to be noted that the time it took the Chinese to go from first flight of the J-10 to IOC was seven years though. If that holds true here, we are looking at J-20s around 2017/2018.

There are a lot of links out there and some very good analyses. I am late to the game and I am pressed for time to write this. In fact, I ought not to be with all that I need to get done, but I felt that I owed the blogosphere a post based on the fact that I was, well, wrong. I am going to very simply put the known stats of the F-22, F-35, PAK-FA, and J-20 in a table for comparison. I'm also going to be putting up some photos of each. Then I will make a basic commentary and a wrap up.

Stats Table:

Stats: F-22 F-35 PAK-FA J-20
Length: 62 ft 1 in 51 ft 5 in 65 ft 9 in 69 ft 3 in (75+ ft: Sweetman)
Wing Span: 44 ft 6 in 35 ft 46 ft 7 in ???????? (45+ ft: Sweetman)
Height: 16 ft 8 in 4 ft 3 in 19 ft 10 in ????????
Weight (e): 43,430 lbs 29,300 lbs 40,785 lbs ????????
Weight (l): 64,460 lbs 49,950 lbs 57,320 lbs ~80,000 lbs (Sweetman)
T:W Ratio: 1.08 .86 1.19 .8 (?)

A lot, as you can see, is very unknown at this point. The key one is the thrust to weight ratio. This determines acceleration and maneuverability. The best ratio, if accurate, is the PAK-FA, followed by the F-22. The worst may be the J-20, but that's very much in the air.: there's no accurate weight or thrust figures here. It depends on what engine is being used and how much the actual weight is.. The Russian saturn series, then they are likely to have a better thrust ratio than other potential engines.

Stealth Aspects

Looking at the aircraft from the stealthiness point of view, the F-22 still reigns in a big way. The designers went for an all aspect stealth. We pay for it, too. The F-35 is the F-16 to the F-22's F-15, so it should not be expected that the stealth will be up to the same level despite several more years of technology development.

Russian T-50/PAK-FA

The Russian T-50, I hope, is only an airframe prototype rather than an all around just before production prototype. The reason being that there are a huge number of aspects of it that are very, very unstealthy. If you watch the video of the pilot climbing out, you can see rivets, for example. You can also see a huge number of probes on the nose of the aircraft as well. These are very, very unstealthy.


The J-20 looks a lot stealthier than the T-50. In the frontal aspect, it may be in league with the F-22, base don shaping. However, a lot depends on the material science. There are rumors that the Chinese are having problems with the advanced composites. Its really hard to tell really. MatSci is really hard, especially military grade materials that can be fabbed in a consistent manner. That said, even if the matsci is up to USAF specs, the rear aspect of the J-20 is less than stealthy, to put it mildly. This jet is intending on penetrating and killing, but not operating over an unfriendly country, ie scenarios where being detected from behind is just as likely. Think of this as more a defensive interceptor at this point. It may have more in common, role wise, with the MiG-31 than the F-22's intended role.


This is the huge and terrible IDK of all the analysts. The US has probably the most advanced avionics, but the F-22 has had a long development cycle. Yet, the architecture on the F-22 is likely more advanced than the Chinese one, but we cannot say that for sure. Sadly, honestly, it will be more advanced than the Russian one. With the fact that data sharing and fusion from multiple sensors and sources is very important going forward, this is really a critical aspect for all the fighters.

A very FAST Wrap-up:

The J-20 is problematic for the US, Russia, Japan, and India. For rather different reasons, though.

The US just canceled building further F-22A's. The JSF is late and overbudget nearing the cost of the F-22A. it also has inferior stealth and air to air capabilities. Depending on the details of when the J-20 is going into service, this could tip the balance in several ways. We had been counting on the idea that the F-22 would mow through the Chinese air force if it ever came to a boxing matching killing off the Su-30 and derivs with our high end monster, the Raptor. Then the F-35s would be more than a match for what followed. The problem now is that there is a fighter that while it might not match the F-22, will at least have a strong chance of eating lower end F-35s. Along with the fact that the refitted Varyag has had smoke in her stack again and the Chinese are now working on (or may have deployed) a anticarrier ballistic missile, the balance of power is shifting in a big way in East Asia.

For the Russians, the Chinese have probably leapfrogged them. The Russians have been idle for a variety of reasons for the past 20 years. Mostly economic, actually. However, the MiG I.44 (here too), Berkut, and, now, the T-50 are just too little too late with not enough technology behind them. The very critical avionics package is just something that the Russians don't have at all. To make matters worse, others are going to question why to buy the T-50 now, which Russia had hoped to export. The tier one (F-22) is impossible to buy and the J-20 can (probably) kill the PAK-FA.

Incidentally, this is equally a problem for the Europeans, since the EuroFighter and Rafale are not going to be up to the J-20 standard either. None of the Europeans are working on a 5th generation fighter either. They are doing drone work, like the US is though. However, should the Chinese offer the J-20 for sale...

For the Indians, now they are between a rock and a hard place. They can either continue with the Russians and try to provide their avionics expertise or they can go it alone with the MCA project. Given the problems that they have been facing with the Tejas development, this may not be the best option whatsoever.

Then there's Japan. Oy. They wanted and begged for the F-22. The F-22 is banned for export though and so they started working on their own stealth fighter project. Given their experiences with the F-2, they may be wary of taking on the task though. As for what they can do? IDK.

(aside: Supposedly the Koreans along with other countries are working on a fighter.)

The J-20 is a great treasure for those of us that are stealthy aircraft fans. However, for the US and others, its a huge headache. It remains to be seen how fast it gets introduced. However, it'll be too soon for the US, no matter when.

Small update (1/10/11): The J-20 seems to have taken its first flight.


Air Power Australia: Chengdu J-XX [J-20] Stealth Fighter Prototype: A Preliminary Assessment.

Aviation Week: China's Stealth Striker, J-20: Denial is not an Option, Everyday its getting closer, Fog Lifts at Chengdu, and China's Stealth Fighter in Taxi Tests.

China Defense Blog: Chinese Stealth in Plain Sight, Early Eclipse, Possible Cockpit Photos, and A series of photos of J-20 taxi and take-off.

Defense Tech: J-20 vs F-35

War is Boring: China's Stealth Fighter: Russia's View

Skyline: Best Part of The Movie?

Some day, somebody has GOT to sit down and plan a military strike by military folks given the resources at hand for an alien invasion movie.

The drones, kewl. No problem. The way they were used. erm. Looks kewl, but soooo inaccurate.

Oh well.

No, not seen the movie. However, someone flagged me to look at this youtube clip of it.