The existence of a new project, it became clear a little more than a year back, when the Beijing Aviation Museum was shown a model of a fighter, markedly different from other Chinese developments. The project was known under the name F-60. In the summer of 2012 in the web of the photos of the process of transportation of the covered aircraft. By projecting from under the tarpaulin structure elements are transported plane was identified as the most experienced model F-60: impact substantially similar to the layout. In the middle of September to share hit new photographs with the F-60, in which it was evident that the plane was tail number "31001." In addition, these photos shed light on the appearance of the aircraft. Then a number of sources distributed Tipo official title aircraft — Shenyang J-31, or "Project 310".
October 31 Chinese press announced the first flight of a new fighter. China Defence Mashup reports that the J-31 made its own first test flight under the control of the pilot Gyoen Lee, known for his roles in other projects. The flight duration was a bit less 10 minutes. During the flight, the new fighter accompanied with 2 Sparky J-11BS with instrumentation and equipment for video recording. The results of the first flight has not yet been reported: China's military prefer not about the details of his own works. Because the discussions were not the data acquired during the test flight, J-31, and its appearance and the expected properties. Let's try to "play in analysts' and make approximate form of the modern car.
By completely understandable reasons, all photo flight J-31 are of poor quality. All the same, and they can be seen of the aircraft. Outside, it resembles the South American Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35 once. As a similarity can lead to the first twin-engine, schema and corresponding contours of the rear fuselage. F-35 "gave" the development of China's non-regulated vozduhopoglotiteli with a recognizable form of the front edge and trapezoidal wing of moderate sweep angles of the front and rear edges. In Chinese aircraft fuselage discern the features of both the American fighters. The same can be said about a well-known ahead. In all this there are differences, for example, round-shaped nozzle engines: Double Motor for F-22, they have a complex rectangular shape.
It should be noted, specifically the nozzle engines are one of the "clues" that is allowed to appear on the version of the type applied by the power plant. More which is popular version says that J-31 has two turbojet bypass engine with afterburner RD-93 or a little old RD-33, developed by the company "Klimov". This version is a licensed establishment RD-93 deployed in China to equip fighter-bombers, Chengdu FC-1 Xiaolong. In addition, specific tip are photos in which plane J-31 sprints and climbs. On them for their new fighter reaches the appropriate plume of dark smoke: as you know, Russian / Russian RD-33 engines for certain operating conditions are prone to excess smoke. After all, China has no engines, similar in features with RD-33/93 and applicable for use on light fighters.
The assumption of the weight class of the new fighter appeared after comparing the size of the aircraft with ground-based objects and people. Conventional counting indicates the length of J-31 is in the range 14-15 meters. Span case is estimated at 10-12 meters. If these calculations are correct, then the new Chinese fighter jet identical in size with the South American F-35. With respect to the take-off weight of a similar approach will not work — F-35 has only one slider with bolshennymi performance traction. Yet, take-off weight of J-31 may be approximately equal to the weight of South American fighter. Indicative takeoff weight J-31 can be calculated on the basis of traction engines and usable thrust-weight ratio. RD-33/93 develop afterburning turbofan thrust of 8300 kgf, as it follows the general thrust 2-engines exceeds 16.5 tonnes. Thrust of most fighters in recent years (at normal take-off weight) is generally equated with 0.7-0.8 units. So Makar, normal takeoff weight of J-31 may lie in the range of 18 to 22 tons. Naturally, provided that the airplane has a thrust in the above indicated limits.
Performance properties of J-31 remains a mystery. In principle, you can try to guess the highest speed, range and ceiling, based on the past performance of Chinese fighter aircraft and zabugornogo production. Yet, now the Chinese themselves may not know the precise data of its own new fighter — to fly on the evidence they have to enjoy the features of only the estimated figure.
Contours of the J-31 aircraft in accordance with the "fashion" of recent years have their own software to the small radar signature. One of the merits of stealth techniques is the bearing of arms in gruzootsekah inside the fuselage. Existing photo can not see them clearly state and estimate the size — because of the properties of the cover image are connected to the rest of the skin of the aircraft. Yet, foreign experience can read about the location gruzootsekah in the central part of the fuselage and, perhaps, in its lateral parts, under vozduhopoglotiteley channels.
Due to the inability to estimate the size gruzootsekah heavily read about their capacity and the likely range of weapons. Most likely, J-31 has the ability to carry and use a short-range missile PL family and mid-range like the line LY-60. Perhaps there is by plane gun, 23 or 30 mm, but its presence is also not proven. The only fact of arming the J-31, which has concrete evidence, for the lack of the ability of incurring weapons on the outside of the suspension. Photos posted on the layout of the fighter has no pylons and mounts under the wing. Of course, for maximum ferry range aircraft equipped with removable pylons mounted to tanks, but the evidence for this is not applicable. The only reason in favor of such versions — such a possibility last American fighters. It is unlikely that Chinese engineers were able to pass without going through such an exciting technical solutions.
Combat potential of the new Chinese fighter until completely clear. No one can rule out the possibility that by the beginning of mass production of J-31 will launch the newest model, the properties of which will be at the level of development zabugornyh at least 90 years. In addition, there is absolutely no disk imaging on-board avionics. In the past few decades, specifically avionics is one of the important components of the aircraft, providing a huge share of its combat potential. The current development of China's electrical industry allows us to assume the presence in the J-31 radar with a passive phased array, but this station can still be developed. Probable characteristics of radar stations with passive phased array, in turn, are the subject of a separate discussion.
It should be noted that the above conclusions and reflections were made only on the basis of a photo layout. Accordin
gly, after the publication of the official disk imaging or other detail that the resulting "portrait" will probably not adequately reality. But presently one can say with absolute certainty the subsequent: a new Chinese fighter J-31 continues the tradition of a kind of defense industry of China. This tradition is that each new reference plane of the tank or other military equipment to a certain extent is similar to the foreign equipment made a little earlier. In defense of Chinese engineers is to say that there are exceptions. But they are all the same remain fairly rare thing. Either way, in five years or seven People's Liberation Army of China can immediately get two types of new fighters — Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31. With the emergence of these fighters will increase the combat potential of the PLA Air Force, but that's another story.
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