reply to post by Dimitri Dzengalshlevi
Here's a good article by the guys at AusAirPower.net (kudos to member Vitchilo for this, who posted it in his North Korea thread). It's a
pretty good read and is generally right about assessing the J-20 as a long-range fighter that can cover most of Asia and even target US bases at
Okinawa and Guam. It also goes on to explain how the J-20 will be produced around 2015, before the F-35 and how it also does not feature a lot of the
design flaws that the F-35 has.
A hell of a lot of conclusions about an aircraft that has yet to fly, let-alone go feet-wet and successfully deploy a weapon.
As much as I criticize our own fighter development processes and dog Lockheed-Martin for failing chemistry and corrosion control courses in designing
the F-22; those aircraft are in the air and in serviceable numbers.
As for the JSF - it never was intended to be an air superiority design. I think it's a rather shoddy design philosophy, and we should have taken the
concept up a notch to a larger airframe, similar to the F/B-111. However, trying to compare a strike aircraft to an air superiority fighter is like
trying to compare a cargo aircraft to a strategic bomber.
The J-20 is, obviously, not an air-superiority design. Comparing it to the F-18 and the F-35 is more appropriate - but you're looking at a
multi-spectral comparison. The radars on an F-18 stop just short of being able to conduct an MRI on you - they can do everything from advanced search
and track functions to electronic warfare. The F-18 can carry a wide range of munitions and has a practical loiter time.
In that sense, the Chinese have a rather steep contrast to try and overcome. The airframe may be somewhat LO - but that doesn't make a
By that same token, comparing the J-20 to an F-15 is like comparing an F-35 or F-18 to an F-15. The J-20 is going to use its design features to avoid
conflict with the F-15, not engage it.
On top of all this, the report theorizes that the J-20 will be a more effective anti-carrier weapon than ballistic missiles like the DF-21.
I don't really see this being aimed at the naval role, in any sense. Anti-ship weapons tend to be rather large. You would need to mount them
externally or have a massive internal bay to keep them - one larger than this aircraft has to offer. Unless you plan to bomb the ship - which is not
all that bad of an idea, but China is still a long way away from having precision guided bombs that could successfully hit a moving target, such as a
ship. It seems an unnecessary risk for the airframe.
Now, China could develop a new anti-ship missile with a shorter range - but this makes very little sense, as their existing airframes can launch
existing weapons from stand-off ranges (as they were designed).
This is most likely intended to strike land-based targets with a high threat level with a higher probability of survival - just like the JSF and B-2.
Sure - the JSF can mount anti-ship missiles, but that kind of throws your LO out the window - using an F-18 for the sortie makes far more sense as you
can carry a larger payload further and use your JSF for something a little more fitting, or not at all.
Please show me a working, production drone that can engage in combat with a 3rd generation fighter, let alone 4th or 5th. American ambitions
for drone capabilities are far from the reality. They will not replace combat pilots. At best, in the next 30 years and for the 6th fighter
generation, drones will act as escort support for fighters.
The problem with your request is that a lot of drone aircraft under development are classified, and many of the results of testing are also
There are several things going for drone aircraft. First - it doesn't matter if they are 'better' or 'worse' than a pilot. What matters is that
we can crank them out faster than we can make babies and train pilots while killing your pilots. Drones are a frightening concept when it comes to
attrition, as it makes the notion of attrition warfare quite acceptable to those with drone capability.
Second, the G-tolerances of drones can be far greater than manned aircraft for a number of reasons - the entire structure can be revised to not have
to utilize a cabin and life support systems. Biological factors (such as blackout) are also not an issue. You can have a substantially lighter and
'tighter' airframe with heightened maneuverability.
Third, the reaction times of a drone can be far faster than those for a human. Many of the processes in aircraft are already being automated -
particularly in the world of electronic warfare, where human response is simply too slow to be effective. A drone can react to a missile launch
and/or many other events as quickly as it is capable of processing the information, which is often far faster than a human can become aware that
anything has changed.
Fourth, simultaneous awareness. Many of the autonomous designs being developed today are stepping away from single-processor controlled units and
going towards processor/program networks tasked with their own systems. These programs can then be said to be fully aware of the entire air-frame and
environment around it and programmed to respond to developments in either. This means that attention will never be 'divided' amongst different
tasks that would normally be carried out by a pilot - all can be carried out simultaneously.
Now - not all of these are exclusive to drones. However - even a drone that does nothing but fly in circles and launch missiles at anything failing
to respond correctly to IFF is a threat that needs to be considered. Again - it doesn't matter if it is better than the pilot, or not. That is like
saying missiles are no-good because they are not better than the pilot. Doesn't matter when they kill the pilot and the horse he rode in on.