Daily Archives: March 9, 2016

UAE signs $361m deal to buy eight drones as demand grows

According to Arabian Business.com

Monday, 7 March 2016 6:18 PM

The UAE on Monday signed a deal worth AED1.327 billion ($361.2 million) with Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments Company (ADASI) for eight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The agreement, signed on the second day of Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (UMEX 2016) in Abu Dhabi was announced by Brigadier General Rashid Mohammed Al-Shamsi, chairman of Higher Organising Committee of the show.

The drones will be equipped with day and night cameras, radars and telecommunication devices, in addition to training, spare parts and maintenance, news agency WAM reported.

Earlier on Monday, it was reported that sales of drones and other UAVs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to rise as political instability prompts governments to hike defence budgets, experts claim.

Aerospace and defence consulting firm Teal Group said that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are likely to be the main buyers of drones in the coming years – with Saudi alone having allocated SR213.4 billion ($56.9 billion) for military and security spending, according to a report in The National.

More and more governments across the world are using UAVs both for military and commercial operations.

Read original article: HERE


The model UAV is confirmed to be 8 Piaggio P.1HH Hammerhead UAVs by @airrecognition.com


The design of the P.1HH HammerHead aims at being a unique ISR platform, able to climb up to 45.000 feet, loitering quietly at low speed (135 KTAS) for an endurance of up to 16 flight hours and dashing at very high speed (up to 395 KTAS) to target. Its capabilities include being able to host several payload combinations and to perform multiple missions: aerial, land, coastal, maritime and offshore security, COMINT/ELINT, electronic warfare as well as other roles.


Based on the P.180 Avanti II proven architecture and technologies (tested and certified for passenger transportation) and, on the outstanding experience and capability of Selex ES in the mission management systems for manned/ unmanned ISR, P.1HH HammerHead is designed to be an all weather aircraft with twin turboprop propulsion providing maximum safety, operational reliability and the lowest incident rate in its category.


The P.1HH HammerHead design is fully compliant with STANAG USAR 4671 standards to fly in both restricted and unrestricted flight areas, according to the relevant authorities permission.

This is very versatile thanks to its unique patented 3 lifting surfaces configuration (3 LSC) and high aspect ratio laminar wings, adapted for the P.1HH design by moderately increasing the wing span to sustain larger vehicle masses and allocating a quick detachable joint to the outer wings for rapid aerial deployment of the UAS in remote areas. Being based on a certified Mach 0.70 aircraft, P.1HH HammerHead is the fastest MALE.


The P.1HH HammerHead power plant has two, highly reliable Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turbine engines integrated with low noise 5 blade scimitar propellers. The Power Plant is controlled by two Engine Interface Units that receive commands from the FCC to drive the turbine and the propeller governors while managing engine and propeller data. A large upper fuselage tank, supported by a robust yet efficient carry through beam, is integrated to provide the required fuel quantity for long range and endurance. @p1hh.piaggioaerospace.it


Video Credit arronlee33 

Chengdu J-20 Multirole Stealth Fighter

A single-seat, multirole stealth fighter aircraft, the Chengdu J-20 is manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) of China.

It is a fifth-generation aircraft being built for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). Its Nato reporting name is Black Eagle. Two prototypes were developed in November 2010 for aerial and ground testing.

Potential customers of the J-20 are Pakistan, the Middle East, Latin America, South-East Asia and African countries.

Chengdu J-20 design

The J-20 is designed to execute ground attack missions even in hostile environments. The aircraft can reach higher altitudes with its delta wings in supersonic speeds.

It is larger than Sukhoi T-50 and Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. The front portion of the prototype looks similar to the F-22 Raptor and the rear section looks like a Sukhoi T-50.

J-20 20.3 – 20.5 m 4.45 m 12.88 – 13.5 m 34,000 – 37,000 kg 25,000 kg / 12,000 kg (w/o external tanks)
F-22 18.90 m 5.09 m 13.56 m 38,000 kg 11,900 kg  / 8,200 kg (w/o external tanks)
T-50 PAK FA 19.8 – 20.8 m 4.74 – 5.10 m 13.95 – 15.0 m 35,000 – 37,000 kg 10,300 kg
Figures for the J-20 and T-50 are estimates and likely to change as more information becomes available. 

Source chinapower.csis.org

J-20 development

China chose not to participate in the joint development of fifth-generation aircraft by Russia and India as Russia was seen to be more profitable with the Chinese participation. In an effort to build a fifth generation aircraft as competitor to the Russian aircraft, CAIG started the development of the J-20 in late 1990s under the J-XX programme.

J-20 prototype

Also referred as Project 718, the J-XX programme depicts the development of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft carried for the PLAAF.

CAIG was selected as the prime contractor for the program in August 2008.

The high-speed taxiing testing of the aircraft was conducted in December 2010. The maiden flight was completed in January 2011.

J-20 prototype 2002

In August 2011, Russia-based MiG denied media speculations of providing its stealth technology to China for Chengdu J-20 fighter aircraft.

China is the third nation to manufacture and execute the flight test of J-20 demonstrator, following the US and Russia. The Chinese J-20 is expected to enter service between 2018 and 2020. Once operational, the J-20 will supersede Su-27sk Flanker-B, Su-30MKK Flanker-G and Su-30MK2 Flanker-G aircraft.

J-20 prototype

Shenyang J-11 / Su-27SK: Detials

Tupolev Tu-204 testbed aircraft

Tu-204 Tests J-20 Radar – Tu-204 number 769, a Russian origin jetliner belonging to the PLAAF’s flight testing regiment, is now testing a radar for the J-20 fighter, as shown in a television clip.

A PLAAF Tupolev Tu-204 testbed aircraft was seen featuring a J-20 nose cone. It is believed to house the Type 1475 (KLJ-5) active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with 1856 transmit/receive modules.

The China Test Flight Establishment’s (CTFE) Tu-204 has been modified to carry a stealth fighter radome on its nose. Previously, the Russian origin Tu-204 jetliner had been reported to test Chinese air to air refueling technologies. Given the shape and large size of the radome, it is likely that the radar being carried by the Tu-204 is for the J-20 fifth generation fighter. The projected radar for the J-20 is likely the Type 1475 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which provides improved range, transmission power and frequency compared to 1970s era mechanically scanned radars. The F-22’s AN/APG-77 radar was also tested on a Boeing 757 during its development.

Chinese Fighters’ AESA Radars – Shown here are photos and line drawings of Chinese AESA radars. The top one is for the J-10B fighter and has about 1200 transmit/receiver (T/R) modules, the middle one is for the J-16 strike fighter and has 1760 T/R Modules. The bottom one destined for the J-20 5th generation stealth fighter, and has 1856 T/R modules (generally, the more T/R modules on an AESA radar, the more powerful and flexible it is).

The current J-20 prototypes, numbers 2001, 2002 and 2011, most likely carry AESA radars themselves to test the radar performance and to simulate the characteristics of production J-20s as closely as possible. Even so, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) would want to also test the Type 1475 radar on a jetliner, since the larger aircraft have additional space to provide onsite monitoring and diagnosis by engineers and equipment. Having a dedicated Tu-204 test platform for the J-20’s radar would also allow CTFE to schedule flight tests solely on the needs of evaluating the radar; the test flight schedules of the J-20s would also have to factor in questions about engines, stealth and maneuverability. Source popsci.com

Cost in Developing and Producing J-20

In October 2016 China’s Aviation Industry Publishing House openly published “Collection of Gu Songfen’s Articles” which reveals the estimate of the progress and costs in developing J-20 by Gu Songfen, a fellow of Chinese Academy of Engineering,

According to Gu, the total research and development costs at the value of yuan in 2002 are 37.1 billion yuan including the making and testing of 8 test and 6 pre-production prototypes. Research and development of the fuselage costs 20 billion yuan, of engine, 6 billion yuan and of electronic equipment and weapons on board, 7.5 billion and 3.6 billion yuan respectively. The price of a single plane ranges from 450 to 500 million yuan, a little higher than the US$35 million cost for the import of a Su-27. The cost is much lower than that of F-22 and F-35, the EMD of which costs US$19.5 billion and US$60 billion respectively.

Source: mil.news.sina.com.cn “Depth Column: Disclosure of estimate of the cost of China’s 4th-generation fighter jet: Price of a J-20 is perhaps 500 million yuan” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the article in Chinese) Original post: linkedin.com

J-20 production makes maiden flight

The first J-20 squadron expected to be fully delivered by year’s end, the China Flight Testing Evaluation regiment will being developing operating procedures, tactics and technical proficiency to bring the J-20 to combat readiness. At this pace, it is expected that in 2017-2018, the Chinese Air Force will have its first operational stealth fighter squadron.

The J-20 currently relies on Russian AL-31 series turbofan engines (the powerful domestic WS-15 engine will enter service in 2019-2021), everything else on the J-20 is Chinese; its stealth coating, infrared sensor, powerful AESA radar, are all domestically made.

Development of the WS-15 began in the 1990s. The thrust target was reported as 180 kilonewtons (40,000 lbf) in 2012. In 2009, it was known that the prototype was able to achieve 160 kilonewtons (36,000 lbf).

China has about a ten year lead on building and using domestically developed stealth fighters versus other Asian rivals (domestic Indian, Japanese and Korean stealth fighters are not expected to enter service until after 2027). In addition to J-20 and the soon to follow in production J-31 stealth fighter, Chinese plans also call for stealthy drones, bombers and advanced cruise missiles. Source nextbigfuture.com

China’s J-20 stealth jet put into air force combat service


BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — China’s latest J-20 stealth fighter has been commissioned into the air force’s combat service, a spokesperson confirmed Friday.

The J-20 is China’s fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet. It made its maiden flight in 2011 and was first shown to the public at the 11th Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, in November 2016. Source Xinhuanet


China to develop enhanced variants of the J-20 stealth fighter jet: Here

Chinese fighter concept by Rodrigo Avella


Yang Wei, a deputy director of science and technology at Aviation Industry Corp of China and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Daily in an exclusive interview that designers will develop variants of the radar-evading J-20 and will open research on its successor-a sixth-generation fighter jet.

“We are not complacent about what we have achieved. We will develop the J-20 into a large family and keep strengthening its information-processing and intelligent capacities. At the same time, we will think about our next-generation combat plane to meet the nation’s future requirements,” Yang said.

The designer made the remarks on the sidelines of the ongoing first session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing. He is a deputy in the nation’s top legislature.

“In the past, we had to follow others’ paths when it came to designing military aircraft because our research and development capabilities were primitive in this regard, but now we have become capable of designing and making what we want to have,” he said.

PLA admiral rejects talk of J-20 fighters on aircraft carriers: Here

Naval J-20 – Image: china-arms.com


In a program aired on its International Mandarin channel, PLA Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, also a well-known military commentator, admitted that putting J-20 on carriers was rather “contrived”, as the fighters were never designed to be carrier-based aircraft.

“J-20’s structural design and components are all intended for use as a land-based warplane and thus its structural strength may not have been reinforced for take-off from or landing on a carrier, as in these circumstances the plane would have to withstand huge counterforce and inertia,” Zhang said.

Nor are J-20’s wings foldable, to enable it to be parked in the hangar below the carrier’s flight deck, as space is always at a premium on a sea-going airbase.

Unlike the F-35 Lightning IIs, J-20 may not need to be maintained in a hangar with a constant temperature and humidity, as revealed in a previous CCTV report. Yet its delicate stealth coatings may be rendered dysfunctional when exposed to an offshore environment with high salinity and high humidity.

J-20 twin-seater J-20B/J-20S

J-20 features

The J-20 will feature a blended fuselage with low radar cross section, low jet engine intakes, canard delta configuration, modern fly-by-wire (FBW) system, diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI), V-shaped tail and tail fins.

Chengdu J-20 Stealth


Let’s put these august pontifications through the prism of the software simulator running the ‘Physical Optics’ specular reflection model of the J-20. Readers are encouraged to access and digest this analysis, but for the busy, here is the abstract verbatim:

This study has explored the specular Radar Cross Section of the Chengdu J-20 prototype aircraft shaping design.

Simulations using a Physical Optics simulation algorithm were performed for frequencies of 150 MHz, 600 MHz, 1.2 GHz, 3.0 GHz, 6.0 GHz, 8.0 GHz, 12.0 GHz, 16.0 GHz and 28 GHz without an absorbent coating, and for frequencies of 1.2 GHz, 3.0 GHz, 6.0 GHz, 8.0 GHz, 12.0 GHz, 16.0 GHz with an absorbent coating, covering all angular aspects of the airframe.

In addition, the performance of a range of Chinese developed radar absorbers was modelled, based on a reasonable survey of unclassified Chinese research publications in the area.

None of the surveyed materials were found to be suitable for use as impedance matched specular radar absorbers.

Modelling has determined, that if the production J-20 retains the axisymmetric nozzles and smoothly area ruled sides, the aircraft could at best deliver robust Very Low Observable performance in the nose aspect angular sector.

Conversely, if the production J-20 introduces a rectangular faceted nozzle design, and refinements to fuselage side shaping, the design would present very good potential for  robust Very Low Observable performance in the S-band and above, for the nose and tail aspect angular sectors, with good performance in the beam aspect angular sector.

This study has therefore established through Physical Optics simulation across nine radio-frequency bands, that no fundamental obstacles exist in the shaping design of the J-20 prototype precluding its development into a genuine Very Low Observable design.

Above: L-band RCS, below X-band RCS head on, both in PCSR format (M.J. Pelosi).

Engineers and Scientists who work in ‘stealth’ (AKA ‘Low Observable’) designs have a way for explaining it to lay people: ‘Stealth’ is achieved by Shaping, Shaping, Shaping and Materials (Denys Overholser).

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’.

While discussing ‘rear-ends’, both the F-35 and the J-20 have large signature contributions from their jet nozzles. However, the difference is much like the proverbial ‘Ham Omelette’: the F-35 Pig is committed, but the J-20 Chicken is a participant. If the Chinese decide that rear sector Low Observability is tactically and strategically important, they are at the design stage where they can copy the F-22A nozzle design for the production configuration of the J-20.

In a market now dominated by “a total indifference to what is real”, no such option is now or ever was possible for the JSF, as its design is based upon meeting the bare minimum (a.k.a. “Threshold”) requirements of the JORD wherein “excellence is the enemy of good enough”; as has the STOVL F-35B as the baseline design; and, thus, is heavily constrained by the specified roles for this aircraft as well as the risks to reputations based political imperatives of accelerating a much-delayed and grossly over-budget program.

The issue of the use of materials to suppress radar signature is interesting. Publications show that the Chinese are making a substantial investment in use of materials to reduce radar signature and have produced large volumes of research results. So far, there have been no Chinese public disclosures on materials that make a substantial reduction of signatures across a broad range of air combat radar frequencies. Come to think of it, there are no United States research papers on the subject. Why is that, one wonders?

Let’s revisit the opinions expressed about the J-20 soon after its maiden flight. Source ausairpower.net


The FBW system is equipped with a fire control system and engine management system. The active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar will scan the target information and transmit it to the fire control system.

Type 1475/KLJ-5 (AESA) radar


The sensor suite includes an electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) and a large-array AESA radar, which was developed by the 14th Institute at Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology (NRIET, 14th Institute), and is possibly designated Type 1475/KLJ-5. Diamond-shaped windows around the fuselage suggest that a distributed aperture infrared vision system is installed. Source ainonline.com

Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 370.4 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Late 2000s
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Non-Coperative Target Recognition (NCTR) – Jet Engine Modulation [Class Info], Continous Tracking Capability [Phased Array Radar], Track While Scan (TWS), Low Probability of Intercept (LPI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability), Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)
J-20 AESA – (Type 1475/KLJ5?, LPI) Radar
Role: Radar, FCR, Air-to-Air & Air-to-Surface, Long-Range
Max Range: 370.4 km

Source cmano-db.com

KLJ-7A active electronically scanned-array radar is being considered for use with J-20

The Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology’s (NRIET’s) KLJ-7A active electronically scanned-array (AESA) radar is being considered for use with China’s J-20 multirole ‘fifth-generation’ fighter aircraft, a Chinese industry source has told Jane’s .

The radar, a mock-up of which was displayed by NRIET in a three-array configuration at the Airshow China 2018 on 6–11 November, is one of the options being evaluated for use on the platform, said the source, without providing further details.

The KLJ-7A is an advanced variant of the KLJ-7 (also referred to as Type 1478) X-band airborne fire-control radar (FCR) that has previously been presented in a number of different configurations. Source: www.janes.com

The radar operates in the X band and weighs 145kg. It can detect a fighter-sized target at 170km. It can track 15 targets simultaneously and engage four at the same time. It also has a surface search function. AVIC claims that it has a “strong anti-jamming capability.” Source: www.flightglobal.com

Distributed Aperture System (DAS)

DAS  front and rear of cockpit – East PendulumDAS and uneburg lens radar reflector on the belly – sturgeonshouse.ipbhost.com
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 9.3 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2010s
Properties: Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
China EO-DAS MAWS – (J-20) Infrared
Role: MAWS, Missile Approach Warning System
Max Range: 9.3 km

Source cmano-db.com

Luneburg lens radar reflector

The Luneberg reflector gives an homogeneous response inside a wide angle. It is an ideal passive responder, perfect for highlighting, and eventually monitoring the radar target to which it is attached, with a high level of security.

The Luneberg lens is the most efficient passive radar reflector available.
The Luneberg reflector requires no power supply nor maintenance. Source radar-reflector.com

A-Star’s EOTS-86 Electro-optical and sensor system

Wang Yanyong, technical director for Beijing A-Star Science and Technology, confirms that two systems – the EOTS-89 electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) and the EORD-31 infrared search and track (IRST) – are in development for China’s J-20 and J-31 fighters.

Marketing brochures on A-Star’s booth suggest that the J-20 could use the passive sensors to detect and aim missiles against the Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber and Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter, even while its radar is being being jammed by a Boeing EA-18G Growler. It lists detection ranges for the B-2 at 150km and for the F-22 at up to 110km. Source flightglobal.com

Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 111.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
China EO-DAS – (J-20) Infrared
Role: Infrared, Day/Night Spherical Situational Awareness & Fire Control
Max Range: 111.1 km

Source cmano-db.com

A-Star’s EORD-31 IRST

A-Star’s EORD-31 appears to be a conventional infrared search and tracking (IRST) system but with a faceted sensor dome; and the claimed ability to detect a F-22 – Source: (Via Top81 web page)
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 185.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
Generic IRST – (3rd Gen Imaging) Infrared
Role: IRST, Imaging Infrared Seach and Track
Max Range: 185.2 km

Laser Rangefinder

Type: Laser Rangefinder Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 7.4 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Not Applicable (N/A)
Generic Laser Rangefinder – (Anti-Air & Surface) Laser Rangefinder
Role: Laser Rangefinder
Max Range: 7.4 km

Source cmano-db.com

China’s new stealth fighter uses powerful materials with geometry not found in nature

China’s new fighter, the J-20, uses a combination of stealth and datalinks to compete with the best fighters on the planet. Now, state media says the country is also mass-producing metamaterials for the aircraft, which could make it an electromagnetic force.

What are metamaterials? In this case, we’re talking about composite metals and plastics that use artificial geometry to influence the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, as well as elastic waves and sounds. Some metamaterials built using nanotechnology can also be used as super strength materials. In fact, optical metamaterials have already been used to demonstrate invisibility by ‘redirecting’ visible light around itself to avoid reflection, hence their frequent reference to the popular fiction of “cloaking” in Star Trek and Harry Potter. (No real-life cloaking shields have yet been demonstrated).

The metamaterials on the J-20 are likely to be used for as antennas and absorbers, given that the facility making them specializes in electromagnetic tech. Metamaterial antennas can increase radiated power, resulting in longer-range and more precise radar, as well as powerful jammers and datalinks. In turn, by fine-tuning their structures, metamaterial absorbers can be engineered to absorb specific wavelength ranges, such as those from the radars of enemy fighters and missiles. Such absorbers would likely be put on areas likely to reflect radar waves, such as the edges of canards, weapon bay doors, and engine nozzles. Original post: popsci.com

A radome made of meta-material – Photo: Kuang ChiAntennas made of meta-material – Photo: Kuang ChiAn aircraft structure grid made of meta-material

Source thaimilitaryandasianregion.blogspot.com

Refueling probe

A pixilated photo of the J-20’s fuel-receiving probe popping out from the right side of the cockpit. It does so only when conducting refueling operations to keep its stealth capability. Photo: China Central Television

The J-20 is equipped with a fuel-receiving probe on the right side of the cockpit, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

Embedded under the fuselage, the probe only pops up when the fighter jet conducts an aerial refueling mission. When the refueling is completed, the probe is retracted into the fuselage, according to a video released by CCTV in the report.

A military expert, who asked not to be named, told the Global Times on Wednesday that hiding the probe under the fuselage is a perfect design to keep the aircraft’s stealth capability.

“A fixed-probe installed outside of the fuselage, like the one on the J-10 fighter jet, will significantly increase the aircraft’s radar cross-section, making it easier to be spotted by enemy radar,” the expert said.

Early image – military.cnr.cn

Source thaimilitaryandasianregion.blogspot.com

External drop tanks

1700 liter Drop Tank


Image via wb-夜航大叔

The J-20 will feature a glass cockpit enclosed with a bubble shaped canopy. The cockpit will be fitted with two liquid crystal displays (LCD) and a head up display (HUD).


In the cockpit, the J-20 sports three large color displays, plus other small screens, and a holographic wide-angle head-up display. An advanced datalink has been developed, and a retractable refueling probe is located on the starboard side of the forward fuselage. Source ainonline.com

The aircraft can be operated through traditional hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) system.

East Pendulum

Cockpit concept by AVIC group at the Zhuhai Show 2018

A concept cockpit presented by the AVIC group at the Zhuhai Show this year (Photo: East Pendulum)


The J-20 will be armed with internal cannon for close range combat missions. It will comprise eight hardpoints and a large belly weapon bay to incorporate long range PL-12C/D and PL-21 air to air missiles (AAM).

PL-12C air to air missiles (AAM) (SD-10/PL-12 “Sino-AMRAAM”)

PL-12 / SD-10A on display at Datangshan in 2010 (Zhenguan Studio, © 2010, Air Power Australia)

While some confusion remains about designations, most sources identify the SD-10 and PL-12 as the same missile, China’s equivalent to the AMRAAM. This weapon is in sizing and configuration very similar to the AIM-120A, but employs a unique tail planform. Equipped with an active radar seeker, and datalink aided inertial midcourse guidance, this missile is a credible player against the AMRAAM and R-77 series. The indigenous AMR-1 active seeker is identified with the PL-12, and numerous reports exist claiming that it is a derivative of the Russian Agat 9B-1348E seeker package used in the R-77 series. The missile is widely credited with superior range performance to the AIM-120A-C variants.

The production status of the PL-12 is unclear, but the missile has been claimed as a future weapon for the indigenous J-10 fighter and the Su-27SK and Su-30, replacing imported R-77s on the latter. The missile has been photographed on the J-10A, J-10S and J-11B.

A variant with an all aspect infrared seeker may exist, analogous to Russian heatseeking variants of the R-27 / AA-10 Alamo and R-77 / AA-12 Adder.

There is little doubt that the PL-12 closes most of the technology gap between Chinese built BVR missiles, and in service Western BVR missiles. Source ausairpower.net

Type: Guided Weapon Weight: 199 kg
Length: 3.93 m Span: 0.75 m
Diameter: 0.2 Generation: None
Properties: Home On Jam (HOJ), Anti-Air All-Aspect, Capable vs Seaskimmer, Level Cruise Flight
Targets: Aircraft, Missile
Active Radar Seeker – (AAM MR, PL-12) Radar
Weapon Seeker, Active Radar
Max Range: 9.3 km
PL-12C – (2018+, Folding fins for J-20) Guided Weapon
Air Max: 92.6 km.

Source cmano-db.com

4 x PL-15 air to air missiles (AAM)

PL-15 in weapon bay  – chinamil.com.cn

In the main ventral bays, the J-20 is carrying four PL-15 medium-to-long-range air-to-air missiles. The type is somewhat analogous to the American AIM-120D AMRAAM. Speculation about what missile actually would hold the PL-15 designation has bounced around a lot, with very long-range missiles and those fitted with throttleable ramjets also potentially receiving the designation, but now it seems the PL-15 is indeed a dual-pulse motor and AESA equipped missile with a similar profile as its predecessor PL-12. The PL-12 is loosely analogous to the AIM-120A/B.

Note that even with their clipped fins, only four PL-15s are mounted in the J-20’s bays in a similar fashion to the YF-22’s missile configuration. It isn’t clear exactly what the launch mechanism for these missiles is based on these photos. A staggered arrangement with six PL-15s may be possible in the future by the looks of the bays, but this depends a lot on the how the missiles are ejected from the bay itself. The F-22 uses a trapeze launcher system to chuck the missiles clear of the bay. The J-20’s main weapons bays also look remarkably uncluttered, which makes one wonder if the missiles are just mounted to static hardpoints inside, but this is doubtful as what appear to be launchers have been visible in the J-20s bays for years. Source uswordarmy.blogspot.com

Type: Guided Weapon Weight: 199 kg
Length: 3.93 m Span: 0.75 m
Diameter: 0.2 Generation: None
Properties: Home On Jam (HOJ), Anti-Air All-Aspect, Capable vs Seaskimmer, Level Cruise Flight
Targets: Aircraft, Missile
Active Radar Seeker – (AAM MR, PL-15) Radar
Weapon Seeker, Active Radar
Max Range: 11.1 km
PL-15 – (2018+) Guided Weapon
Air Max: 174.1 km.

Source cmano-db.com

6 x PL-21 air to air missiles (AAM)

The Chinese Military Aviation website reports that a new long-range active radar homing AAM is under development, based on the PL-12 technology. The new PL-21, said to be similar to the British Meteror Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM). Meteor is a new concept in air to air weapons, employing advanced air breathing motor technology and state of the art electronics to provide optimum performance against increasingly complex threats. Conventional rocket motor powered missiles rely upon an initial boost phase to achieve the high speed required followed by a ‘coast’ phase to intercept the target. Latest generation, highly manoeuvrable aircraft, are able to out run conventional missiles at the extremes of their range. The air breathing motor proposed for Meteor provides sustained power, following the initial boost, to chase and destroy the target.

The PL-12 features an active radar seeker and an integrated ramjet/solid rocket motor with a entral air inlet. As with the Russian R-27/AA-10, the PL-21 features 4 small stabilzing fins behind the active radar seeker. Two-way datalink antennas may be installed in the tail section for mid-course correction. The effective range of PL-21 is expected to be greater than 100km. The missile might be carried by the new J-11B and J-20 fighters for long-range interception. Chinese Military Aviation reports that the first ground launch test took place in March 2010, with development projected to be completed by 2012. Source globalsecurity.org

The aircraft will also be equipped with two small lateral weapon bays beneath the air inlets to integrate PL-10 short range AAM. It is also expected to be equipped with air to surface missiles, anti-radiation missiles, laser-guided bombs and drop bombs.

2 x PL-10 AAM


China unveiled the PL-10E, an export variant of the PL-10 5th-generation short-range imaging infrared (IIR) homing air-to-air missile (AAM), which itself intended to equip the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) 5th-generation stealth fighter aircraft.

The PL-10 SRAAM is produced by the Luoyang-based China Air-to-Air Guided Missile Research Institute (formerly the Luoyang Electro-Optics Technology Development Centre), a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) consortium, and the designer and manufacturer of all infrared (IR) homing variants in China’s PL (Pi Li/Thunderbolt) series AAMs.

PL-10 5th-generation short-range imaging infrared (IIR) homing air-to-air missile (AAM) on J-20 – chinamil.com.cn
Type: Guided Weapon Weight: 85 kg
Length: 2.9 m Span: 0.45 m
Diameter: 0.13 Generation: None
Properties: Anti-Air Dogfight (High Off-Boresight), Capable vs Seaskimmer
Targets: Aircraft, Missile
IIR Seeker – (PL-10E) Infrared
Weapon Seeker, Imaging IR
Max Range: 18.5 km
PL-10 – (2018) Guided Weapon
Air Max: 20 km.

Source cmano-db.com

Source thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com

Why J-20 Chengdu Carries PL-10 Heat Seeking Missile Outside its Weapons Bay

Tom Weiss


Lock-on after launch capability is not an easy one to achieve. It is technologically complex, requires deep systems integration (software architecture permitting), and robust testing using live missiles, and thus it is expensive. China, being the resourceful and cunning folks that they are, figured out a way to employ any new or relatively archaic high-off-bore-sight short ranged air to air missile while keeping the jet’s aerodynamics relatively intact (doors closed during prolonged maneuvering while the missile hangs out on its rail) while also minimizing the impact a ‘deployed missile’ has the J-20’s low radar cross-section.

That is right folks, China just said “we don’t want to have to rely on LOAL capability, so why not just temporarily (as in for seconds or minutes) mount a similarly agile, but much less complex and expensive, short ranged air-to-air missile outside of the bay during times when close range combat is imminent?”

This is exactly what they did, and honestly, I think it is genius. Radar signature becomes a small factor when fighting for one’s life at close range, having a reliable missile ready to make a u-turn off the rail and subsequently turn your enemy into chaff is so important that is can be seen as a life and death requirement [especially for a big, not remarkably maneuverable fighter]. The alternative, such as the reality the F-22 has faced for the better part of a decade, is that you open the bay up for prolonged periods of time and pay a large penalty in radar cross section and [some] performance. Also, by building a relatively simple contraption, kind of similar to one of those bars that goes on your lap on a roller coaster, albeit with a missile attached, Chinese engineers simplified the launch system and also probably made it much lighter than an F-22 type design. Once again, genius.

Another point to be taken from the J-20’s short-range air-to-air missile launch mechanism revelations are that designers absolutely thought it was necessary to give this jet high-off-bore-sight close range missile capability from day one, and in a reliable and persistent nature when needed. This could be due to lack of maneuverability and/or because of its mission, which I have said for years is to break through the enemy’s (American, Taiwanese etc.) fighter cover and take out their enablers (see tankers, AEW&C, C2 and connectivity nodes). In such a case, being electronically silent is your best bet at surviving, so using infra-red passively guided missiles, which require no electronic emissions, at medium-close ranges may be your only play, at least for anything that does not put out a continuous or semi-continuous form of radiation (see AWACS or JSTARS). In that case, a passively guided anti-radiation missile may be the J-20’s weapon of choice, or a medium-long range AAM that can get within locking distance and featuring active radar or IR for terminal homing, via a traditional data-link feeding the J-20’s targeting picture to it provided by passive sensors (IRST, ESM etc).

Something I would like to emphasize from my original analysis is that the PL-10 that is fired from these side bays is something of a short-to-intermediate range air-to-air missile. This means that in addition to the missile being capable of high-off-boresight shots that are cued via the J-20’s helmet-mounted display or other sensors during a dogfight, it is also capable of near beyond-visual-range engagements as well.

Able to reach out over a dozen miles or so (possibly substantially farther according to different assessments), this missile, combined with its ability to ride outside of the J-20’s side-bays, can be used as a silent assassin of sorts. The J-20 can leverage its stealth and sneak up on targets without emitting any electromagnetic energy, using just its advanced passive avionics, which includes electronic surveillance measures, infrared search and track and electro-optical targeting systems, and third-party sensor data fed to it via data-link, to locate its prey.

In other words, the J-20 can take advantage of the PL-10 when maximum emissions control tactics are used or when it has snuck up on its target and gets within close, but not yet short-range. Using these methods, the J-20 pilot can also use the PL-10 for offensive tasks when its longer-range missiles are expended. Considering the jet only carries four long-range missiles, at least at this time, being able to wield the PL-10 to its maximum potential is key. Once again, this is in addition to using the missile in classic close-range dogfighting scenarios.

Finally, an infrared-guided missile with decent range like this and the ability to hang outside the bay for prolonged periods of time is also a good fallback when fighting in heavy electronic warfare environments as the missile’s imaging infrared seeker is not impacted by electronic warfare tactics. Source uswordarmy.blogspot.com

YJ-91 anti-radiation missile

YJ-91 anti-radiation missile

In 2012, Voice of Russia published a report, stating in late 1990s, Russia exported KH-31P anti-radiation missiles to China. Soon afterwards, China imported the technology and was licensed to produce such missiles. It gave the missile the codename YJ-91. Before that, China tried to produce an anti-radiation missile on its own but failed.

The new anti-radiation missile produced with licensed Russian technology becomes Chinese air force’s major weapon in breaking through enemy air defense. China has specially developed special fighter jets to carry it. For example, China’s J-8HG attack fighter-bomber. Source tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com

The Kh-31P high-speed medium-range “air-to-surface” guided missile with changeable passive radar homing heads is designed to engage radars operating within long- and medium-range air defence missile systems, as well as other ground- and sea-based radars of different purpose, in the corresponding frequency band.

The Kh-31P missile can be efficiently launched either independently or in salvo, in fair and adverse weather conditions, to engage radar targets of opportunity or previously disclosed ones.

The missile can be equipped with changeable homing heads operating in coresponding frequency bands used by modern continuous-wave and pulsed radars of surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems.

The missile’s radar homing head ensures:

– target search and lock-on in the autonomous mode, or by receiving target designation data from carrier’s sensors with the missile on the aircraft suspension station;

– target tracking and missile guidance command generation.

It has a high explosive/fragmentation type of warhead.


 Launch range envelope, km  15-110
 Launch altitude envelope, m  100-15,000
 Launch speed envelope, km/h (Mach number)  600-1,250
 Max missile cruising speed, m/s  1,000
 Warhead weight, kg  87
 Missile launch weight, kg  about 600
 Missile dimensions, m:
 length  4,7
 body diameter  0,36
 wing span  0,914

Source ktrv.ru

*Note techincal data is of Kh-31P

LS-6-500 Extended-Range Bomb

Type: Guided Weapon Weight: 555 kg
Length: 3.09 m Span: 0.89 m
Diameter: 0.38 Generation: None
Properties: Weapon – INS w/ GPS Navigation
Targets: Land Structure – Soft, Land Structure – Hardened, Runway
LS-6-500 Extended-Range Bomb, GPS/INS [500kg HE] – (China, 2010?) Guided Weapon
Land Max: 55.6 km.



The J-20 prototype is powered by Saturn 117S engines supplied by Russia. Each engine produces 32,000lb of thrust.

2 x Saturn 117S engines

As for geometry and attachment points on the aircraft, the 117S engine conforms to its predecessors, the AL-31F and AL-31FP engines. This makes it possible to use the 117S engine for upgrading the entire fleet of previously built Su-27-/Su-30-type aircraft, with minor engine nacelle and equipment modifications.

Engine performance enhancement has been achieved through the use of a new lowpressure
compressor with increased air flow and efficiency and a new turbine with an improved blade cooling system.

Main characteristics:

  • Special power conditions, kgf: 14500-2%
  • Full afterburner military thrust, kgf: 14000-2%
  • Max military thrust (w/o afterburning), kgf: 8800±2%
  • Specific fuel consumption (full afterburner military thrust setting), kg/(kgf·h):
  • Specific fuel consumption (max military thrust setting), kg/(kgf·h): ≤0,77+0,02
  • Turbine inlet temperature, °K: 1745
  • Length, m: 4,942
  • Air inlet diameter, m: 0,932
  • Dry weight, kg: ≤1604+2%
  • Engine acceleration time (from idling to max military thrust setting), s: 3-5

Source roe.ru

The production aircraft will be powered by two WS-10G thrust vectoring turbofan engines each generating 30,000lb of thrust. The engine is being designed and manufactured by Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company. It will feature a single high-pressure turbine, dual low-pressure turbine, annular combustors and compressors.

The WS-10G will be fitted with thrust vector controlled (TVC) nozzles to decrease radar cross section (RCS) and infrared (IR) emissions. The diameter of the engine is 0.95m. The dry weight is 1,494kg.

East Pendulum

2 x WS-10G thrust vectoring turbofan engines (production aircraft)

Developer: AVIC (China)

Shenyang WS-10 was developed on the basis of the French-American aircraft engine CFM56 and copied from the Russian AL-31F, designed to replace foreign aircraft engines on Chinese-made military aircraft and develop their own propulsion industry.


  • WS-10A – modification WS-10 with increased pitch;
  • WS-10B – WS-10 modification with increased resource;
  • WS-10G is a modification with a UHT and an increased 155 kN. for the fighter J-20;
  • WS-20 – modification with 135 kN. for transport Y-20.


  • Management – 100% digital;
  • Traction – 120 – 140 kN .;
  • Specific thrust – 0.75;
  • Resource – 1500 hours;
  • The overhaul life is 300 hours;
  • The carriers – fighter J-10B, J-11 and its modifications, J-20, military transport Y-20.

Source vpk.name


Sunson Guo

J-20 prototype no. 2021 installed with new WS-10X engine

J-20 #2021, first one fitted with WS-10 engine – dafeng cao

Popular Science’s September-9 article “China’s J-20 stealth fighter may be getting a new engine” on September 12. According to the article, there was a new J-20 prototype no. 2021 installed with a new WS-10X engine better stealth with 14-15 ton vector thrust that enables J-20 to conduct supersonic supercruise without using fuel-thirsty afterburners.

On September 20, mil.huanqiu.com published the above photos of the successful test of the new J-20 prototype no. 2021. Source: tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com


Xian WS-15 jet engine

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency says that by the end of 2019, there will be a fourth J-20 production line for trial production of J-20B using China’s homegrown WS-15 Emei turbofans.

Due to the use of WS-15, J-20B’s cruise speed will be Mach 1.8 and maximum speed exceeds Mach 2.2, equal to those of US F-22. China will produce 500 J-20B, more than the future total number of other fifth-generation fighter jets in Asia-Pacific. Source errymath.blogspot.com

In 2019, China will start deploy J-20B stealth fighters with a new Xian WS-15 jet engine. This engine could finally bring China to about the engine performance level of the US PW-119 engine that were installed over 20 years ago in the F22.

The US has jet engines programs to improve and the power and fuel efficiency of engines compared to those used in the F22.

China is continuing to refine the stealth and various component and systems in their J-20 and J-31 stealth fighters.

China is also continuing to upgrade and improve stealth technology and engines in large stealth drones.

China could soon reveal a stealth bomber which might be comparable to the US B2 stealth bomber.

China’s Air Force is well funded and is clearly surpassing Russia’s air force and catching up to US military technology on the whole range of systems. Source nextbigfuture.com

Source web.archive.org

Landing gear

The aircraft will be fitted with a tricycle-type landing gear comprising a single wheeled nose gear leg and two single wheeled main gear legs. The nose gear will drawback into the cockpit floor upon take-off, while the main gear retract forward into the fuselage section.


The J-20 can climb at the rate of 304m/s. The maximum speed will be 2,100km/h. The range and service ceiling will be 3,400km and 18,000m respectively.

Specification from Chinese source

Crew: 1

Length: 21.26 Meters (69.75 Feet)
Wing span: 12.88 Meters (42.26 Feet)
Canard span: 7.62 Meters (25.00 Feet)
Height 4.45 Meters (14.60 Feet)

Empty weight 17 Tons
Loaded Weight?: 25 Tons

Maximum speed: (When Powered with WS-15 turbofan engine)
At altitude: Mach 2.5 (1903 mph, 3062 km/h)
Supercruise Speed : Mach 1.83 (1393 mph, 2442 km/h)

Service Ceiling: 20000 Meters (65620 Feet)

Combat Radius: 2000 Kilometers (1243 Miles)
Ferry Range: 5500 Kilometers (3418 Miles)

(The authenticity of the Image with specifications of the J-20 Mighty Dragon Stealth Fighter Jet is questionable) Source chinesemilitaryreview.blogspot.com

Main material source airforce-technology.com

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image by nestia.com

Revised Nov 22, 2018

Updated Oct 28, 2021

Turkey’s TF-X Program

Progress report

Turkish defense firms join forces for 5th-gen combat aircraft


“We have Aselsan for avionics and computer hardware, we have Havelsan for software, TAI also has its software team,” he said.

The actuators, which provide movement of the wings and control surfaces in warplanes, are the result of a partnership established by TAI, Altınay and a Ukrainian company.

TAI is working to produce the transparent canopy surrounding the cockpit locally, Kotil continued and said: “There is a very effective radar in the nose of the plane. We gave this task to Aselsan, they are working on it. There are sensors on the plane, produced by both Aselsan and Havelsan.”

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey’s (TÜBITAK) Information Security Advanced Technologies Research Center’s (BILGEM) is developing the central computers.

Pavotek, another Turkish company, is developing the power distribution system.

Here’s how much one future TF-X fighter jet will cost Turkey


ANKARA, Turkey — A Ukrainian engine will power Turkey’s new Atak II-class T929 helicopter, the head of Turkish Aerospace Industries announced Monday in a TV interview, during which he also identified the price of the future TF-X fighter jet as $100 million per unit.

Turkish and UK ministers are battling to save the fifth generation fighter jet project: Here


Turkish and UK ministers are battling to save a flagship partnership to develop a fifth generation fighter jet following a dispute over the role of a Turkish company involved in the project for its close ties to Qatar and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Financial Times reported.

Turkey set to finalise national jet plans with Rolls Royce: Here


Turkey and engine manufacturer Rolls Royce will finalise negotiations on an engine design program for the country’s first homemade jet fighter by July 31, the TF-X, Burak Ege Bekdil wrote for Defense News on Tuesday.

Russia interested in developing engines to power Turkey’s TF-X fighter aircraft: Here


Turkey’s program for the design, development and production of the country’s first indigenous fighter jet gained pace late in April when two local prime contractors joined forces to outline a production scheme for critical parts.

TAI and ASELSAN to develop systems for TF-X national fighter jet: Here


The Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) and ASELSAN, which are among the leading defense companies in the country, yesterday signed a preliminary agreement of cooperation regarding the production of the National Fighter Jet, the TF-X, a project of critical importance for the domestic defense industry. The deal took place at the Eurasia Airshow, the largest aviation event in Turkey and held under the auspices of the presidency. The two tech giants develop critical systems such as national radar, electronic warfare and electro-optical systems for the aircraft.

Turkey, UK officials meet over status of Turkish jet program: Here


Top officials from Turkey have met with a high-profile British delegation to discuss ways to go forward with plans to design, develop and build the TF-X, the Turkish indigenous fighter jet in the making.

Turkey sets timetable for critical phase of its fighter jet program: Here


Turkey’s defense procurement authorities have given pace to their work to select an engine know-how supplier that will be the backbone of the TF-X, an indigenous Turkish fighter jet in the making.

“We may not hold onto our original target of officially announcing a technology partner (for the engine) in January, but we will come very close to it,” said a senior procurement official familiar with the program.

Turkey ready to build ‘best fighter in the world’: Here


The general director of Turkish Aerospace Industries on Monday said his firm would soon be ready to work with U.K. counterparts on Turkey’s domestic fighter jet project.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency’s Finance Desk, Temel Kotil said work would begin after the 13th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) which will start in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Britain, Turkey sign defense deal to develop Turkish fighter jet: Here


Britain and Turkey signed a defense deal worth more than 100 million pounds on Saturday to develop Turkish fighter jets, opening the way to deeper cooperation over the lifetime of the project.

BAE-Turkey Fighter Jet Plan Said Delayed After Failed Coup: Here


BAE Systems Plc’s deal to develop Turkey’s first home-built fighter jet has been delayed as the U.K. assesses the aftermath of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to people familiar with the situation.

BAE chosen to assist with Turkey’s TFX fighter project: Here


Following the selection of BAE, Ankara is expected to choose one of the concepts within the next few weeks, and sign an agreement with its development partner by February 2016. It has named Airbus Defence & Space as its second choice, and for now will continue talks with both parties.

Below are some of the rendering 


Updated Apr 27, 2018

Main image by Bloomberg / Photographer Jasper Juinen