I thought I might start a forum post that can be used to keep track of China’s military aviation efforts into modernization. What follows is by no
means a complete or comprehensive list of aircraft under development but maybe a starting point for discussion on the many programs that the growing
Chinese military is, or may be undertaking in modernizing its aviation wing.
Disclaimer: I sourced many different public domain sites on the net for the below info. Specifications are subject to change as info is released by
official sources close to the programs mentioned.
J-20 Mighty Dragon:
Probably the most well-known stealth aircraft that is in the public domain and considered China’s first 5th generation fighter. The J-20 (PLAAF
designated “project 718”) was developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. It took its first flight Jan. 11 2011 and is expected to be
operational by 2019 according to Gen. He Weirong. This will be very dependent on whether China can find or produce an engine suitable for the
aircraft, were as reports indicate that the current engines aren’t up to the task of its intended design. Recent development tests show the J-20
carrying dummy long and short range missiles it its 4 weapons bays.
J-31 / J-21 Gyrfalcon:
Another twin engine 5th generation fighter. Designed by the Shenyang Aircraft Corp. It is similar in design and apparent role as the F35 and may be a
direct result of the secrets gleamed by Chinese espionage on the F35. It took it maiden flight Oct 12th 2012 and is said to be using 2 Russian RD-93
engines (18-20K lbs thrust class). Sun Cong, the J31’s lead designer has said that he hopes the J-31 would someday be used as a carrier bases
J-10B Vigorous Dragon:
An upgraded version of the J-10A model also known as the “super 10”, it features a diverless supersonic air inlet, an IRST sensor, RAM coatings,
an AESA radar and many minor fuselage tweaks over the J-10A. It took its first flight in 2008.
The J-16 is a strike aircraft designed and manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corp. It is an upgrade to the J-11BS with longer range and upgraded
avionics and basically a copy of the Russian Su-30MK2. It was first seen in 2012.
A medium sized and ranged stealth bomber developed by 601/SAC. Designed to replace the H-16 bomber. A prototype or mock-up is rumored to have been
built in 2013. Not much else is known about this aircraft.
Supposedly similar in design to the B-2 this Xian Aircraft Co. designed aircraft has been reported to be on the fast track. It is called the
“strategic project” and again is rumored to carry a rotary weapon pod and use four engines. Other details are not know yet or even if this
aircraft exists or ever will exist.
Built by Xi’an Industries this four engines cargo aircraft is supposed to give the PLA a 2700+ mile range while carrying a 145,500 lbs. payload. It
took its first flight Jan. 26th 2013.
This MQ-9 Reaper based UAV started its design phase in 2005 and first flow in 2008. Like the Reaper it is able to carry air to surface missiles and
has a flight endurance of around 20 hours.
Another mystery Chinese project. This may be a Chinese version of the X-37 or a test bed for a future manned Chines space plane. It supposedly has one
test flight under its belt sometime in 2010.
BZK-005 Giant Eagle:
The BZK-005 is a medium/ high altitude long endurance UAV. It said to have a cruising speed of just over 100mph, a service ceiling of 26, 200ft and a
payload of 330 lbs. Developed by BUAA, the prototype was revealed in a promotional Video in 2006.
A RATO (rocket assist take off) and parachute recovered UAV that was seen at the 60th National Day military parade in Oct. 2009. It is about 14 ft.
long and stay aloft for 12 hours.
Designed with a low RCS by GAIC this UAV is similar in design to the Global Hawk but smaller. With a 500 mph speed, 60k ft. ceiling and 500 mile range
it is designed for strategic recon. and first flew in 2009. I couldn’t find any other pictures of this aircraft other than a static model.
Guizhou (Soaring Dragon):
High altitude endurance UAV, designed by Changdu Aircraft Corp., is operated by the PLAAF for recon. and possible anti-ship warfare. The original
design for this UAV, also similar to the Global Hawk, was first seen in 2011 and then was redesigned and reported to have flown in 2012 . It features
a joined wing configuration and is one of the largest aircraft to feature this wing type. It is aprox. 47 ft long, has a cruise speed of 466 mph, 4350
mile range and a 10 hour endurance.
This is a flying wing design UAV similar in shape to the Sentinel but about twice the size. It is supposed to have internal weapons bays and folding
wings for possible carrier deployment if China can master the tech involved. It took its first flight Nov. 2013