This is not a fighter fifth generation

Beijing made the first move in the development of their own fighter fifth generation. China's aviation industry progress is impressive, but coupled with the fact life Chinese designers to significantly complicates a number of system engineering and technological problems. In the coming years, the attention of the world aviation community will be focused on how China will tackle this challenging puzzle and that he will succeed in the end.

Last week, from the runway airfield test center in Chengdu got kind of clumsy heavy plane with 2 keels and licked the collapsed outline, outstanding architecture "Stealth". Christams leak in Chinese blogs that demonstrated the infamous photo properties of the new fighter, made on the camera mobile phones, find their proof. January 11, sources Celestial officially confirmed the first flight of the J-20, known in the Western press as "Black Eagle" — the layout of Chinese fighter fifth generation. China comes into play the "big boys", right behind Russia and the United States trying to make their own plane, meeting the highest standards of aviation technology of the XXI century.

Aircraft with a thousand names

J-14, J-20, J-XX, XXJ, «Black Eagle", "Black Ribbon", "Mighty Dragon" … How not named in the press and on the Web this is hypothetical machine that in fact at the time and no one had never beheld, enjoying the rather poor graphics images "probable species" (different degrees of fabulousness). At least some information about the parameters and the form of the new aircraft was obtained only with the visual material on the first test flight, abundantly provided after January 11, 2011 in the Chinese Web. And this despite the fact that the very fact of development in China, "future fighter" was quite understandable since that time.

Back in 1995 there were leaks that Beijing is funding research on the elements of aviation fifth generation. This information caused a flurry of drama: the Chinese economy is the mid-90s, for all its undeniable success does not jibe at his own technological equipment with puzzles this magnitude. The verdict was clear: the Middle Kingdom would first need to learn how to do the preceding aircraft, the fourth generation whose offspring like the Russian Su-27 was still not placed even at the "screwdriver" assembly (recall Celestial mastered this puzzle only to 2000).

We have shown in the best case, the "demo" an empty shell

In 2005, it was proved that the PRC has completed studies on the formation of such an aircraft preliminary design. Alignment of the public sounded skeptical as before, but much more respectful. The term "fifth generation" in discussing the future of Chinese machinery used, but with a classic condescending pardonable slip of the tongue: aware generation, maybe fifth, but still — there is China, anyway …

In addition, a number of systems, the fourth generation in China by the time and had not been worked out and the country is still dependent on imports. But China's economy is already standard in 1995 was significantly different from its form in 2005: toggles industrial policy to build Beijing's gross industrial output dot technological modernization are becoming increasingly gave a point to know.

January 11, China made the latest claim: the world showed the first "technology demonstrator" fifth generation. Hard to refute a big step forward, aircraft manufacturers made the Middle Kingdom, led by Ian Vey — the main designer of aircraft such as the FC-1 and the double version of J-10 fighter.

"Black Eagle", apparently, has a length of about 22 meters (no official data, it is necessary to make relative measurements at ground photographs) and conventional take-off weight of about 35 tons. In the layout elements of the twin-engine aircraft used "duty" to ensure that the elements of the modern stealth aircraft. Curiously enough, and likely of the machine to "read" by its external appearance: how can you tell, she has a fairly roomy interior compartment for mounting weapons.

Virtually all observers have noted that fighter krupnovato came: for the aircraft gains advantages in the air, he obviously peretyazhelen. Quite evident that early and heavy talk about the tactical purpose of the test platform presenter, but if you find a possible application of the combat vehicle of similar characteristics, it is likely to strike fighter-bomber like the Russian Su-34. Presumably the "Black Eagle" is loaded with anti-functions (and what can be justified by the possible size of the inner compartment) may be, with the installation of overall languid missiles S-802 or their equivalents.

"I do not recognize you in make-up"

Aerodynamic aircraft assembly immediately produces several sources of borrowing. In 1-x, is clearly visible "hand" of the Russian aircraft industry. Some solutions are meticulously copied from the Russian "technology demonstrator" 90's: S-37 "Berkut" office "Sukhoi" and "MiG 1.42" — rival Mikoyan machine makes the project a promising functional fighter (IFIs).

The design of the bow of the issue, "close relationship" with the only one on this day serial fighter of the fifth generation — F-22 Raptor. Comes to fun, for example, besperepletny canopy actually made one to one, as in South America, "predator", right up to the noticeable in images of small details. But on closer examination the assembly vozduhopoglotiteley immediately pops up in another plane visual memory — and not yet risen to the same series of South American F-35.

If the output of the origin of the observed visual layout solutions, there are still some reasons, the guesses about the "stuffing" of the aircraft are sometimes put forward the most controversial. Thus, the weight of the motor unit causes problems J-20. Initially, the Western media claimed that the plane is not nothing but a Russian AL-41F-1C, aka "the product 117S" — regular engine Su-35s. But after analyzing the photo the tail section, this assumption has disappeared: the configuration of nozzles obviously did not match known images "of the 117th." What a view of the actual delivery of the unit in China are not available.

Several assist in search of semi-official Middle Kingdom: a posted message is about rewarding creators of engines for aircraft J-20. It indicated that the question of the WS-10G — last modified "tenth" of the family, the Chinese multi-functional analogue of Russian AL-31F engines. The G series is different from their predecessors increased to 14.5 tons of thrust and a new block FADEC (digital electronic engine control system) manufactured.

But there remain a number of oscillations. For example, some fans of aircraft, comparing some pictures back of the "Black Eagle" with well-known images of engines, and most have come to a stunning conclusion: Tipo Chinese "fifth generation"Soared … on the Russian AL-31FN, state engine J-10 fighter.

It seems that it was, of course, that the Chinese have had their share of temporary alternatives: their model of the fifth-generation took to the air on the crotch engine, as well as our T-50 waiting for finishing the regular "product 127". But in contrast to the Russian situation justified the move to a more severe systemic neuvvyazkami in engine.

That instead of the heart?

Engines — is, without a doubt, the prime pain in the head developer of the "Black Eagle" a
nd all the Chinese aviation industry. The advancement in the field of engine falls behind the pace of development of the aviation industry as a whole. Here the Chinese ran into a number of basic problems, at first — in the lack of technology materials and alloys for special purposes.

You can get (fully legally, under contracts with Moscow) relatively modern (designed in the early 80's) family of engines AL-31F. But just copy them and start production does not seem likely. This task requests the creation of new industries in the field of metallurgy and metalworking, designers are able to stuff with modern materials and provide the required precision manufacturing and assembly process that put their life motors even applicable to small values.

Unhurried, patient growth of the Chinese locomotive family WS-10 shows the truth of this thesis. In particular, there are difficulties with the languid details turbines. A number of professionals have pointed out that China buys in Russia a set of devices for aircraft engines, but shows particular interest to the blades and turbine discs. Their development — is the rather weak link Motors China. Completely may be that in the coming couple of years we will be watching the picture, when the Chinese in the database will use its own engines imported from other countries "critical elements" made in Russia.

Yet this branch progresses. And after a couple of years back the product dvigatelisty Middle Kingdom could not be called by another as "odd jobs": and the truth, their share does not exceed 20 hours, even on the shield. At the moment, these features have become significantly better, but still far from the required 1,000 hours of Chinese military. Recall, a staff resource Russian AL-31F is 800-900 hours, and the version of the AL-31FN production MMPP "Salut", created for the J-10 fighter jets, according to reports from China, brought up to 1500 hours (out of the equation here is the question of the actual operational reliability — in fact similar to the increase in China's resource does not come from a good life).

Does not go so far nothing quite good at copying and other family Russian engines. The already mentioned Chinese lightweight fighter FC-1, more recognizable under the export marking JF-17 Thunder, so far not translated into WS-13 engines (they are in development for about 10 years), and serial machines continue to fly on our RD-93 — close relatives of RD -33, set on a family of MiG-29. Prerequisites exactly the same: the reliability and life of their own engines as before are not sufficient to transfer machines with them in working operation, and all the more noticeable for export supplies (why JF-17 in almost everything and is intended).

Hence also the energetic enthusiasm of Beijing declared to the procurement of the aforementioned "117S products." Hard to judge if it will eventually get this Chinese engine. According to some reports, our country is not fundamentally against that of implementation that has been proven during nedavneshnego visit to China, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. But knowing the rules of the Russian voenproma hardened, you can read that the "117th" China sees no earlier than at the hands of the Russian Federation will be at least a tried and tested model of the motor follow the technological level (that is the "product 127"). And before the "Black Eagles" will enjoy easy: not strong enough WS-10G, or until very vague and promising WS-15, which is meant to get up to 18 tons of thrust.

But the fact that the J-20 flew into the "non-native" engines are not so important in comparison with some preparatory conclusions regarding, for example, the design features vozduhopoglotiteley. Some experts at indicate that their shape is optimized for subsonic besforsazhny mode.

So Makar, Chinese "forward-looking demonstrator fifth generation" with a certain modicum of probability is not intended for training cruise "supersonic" — at least in the last now observed form. This solution is quite reasonable: the Chinese at the moment and do not close cursors that are able to produce more than 9 tons of thrust without afterburner, that just is not enough. Coupled with the fact the size of vozduhopoglotiteley "Black Eagle" further confirms the ability to install the coming more massive engine.
Eyes and ears

Quite inadequate and technological level of China's electronic industry. Celestial loses much of the Russian Federation and the United States in the development and production of modern avionics. Maximum, as can be read in the definitions of sustainable mass production of reliable samples — a "unique localization" Russian radar family N001, were part of the on-board systems passed on to Beijing Su-27SK and Su-30MKK also radar "Pearl", which was staged later.

As noted by a number of professionals, proprietary Chinese radar (for example 149H, devoid of even a passive phased array, or having her "type 1473", made on the basis of Russian "Pearl") own relatively simple parameters, and despite the impressive pace of progress, the gap in system design electronic systems maintained. For example, radar systems with active electronically scanned array (AESA), by his own stung at least close to the adoption, in the PRC is not available.

This means that in a complex avionics, "Black Eagle" probably no equipment ultimaticheski necessary for him as a fighter Tipo fifth generation. As we see, and then it goes faster on the test aircraft platform, if a combat vehicle (even pre-production run) with a full set of required performance characteristics.

Developing the problem of avionics and avionics can be mentioned. Requirements for machines fifth generation in this area are quite high, and so far it is not clear exactly to what extent China is able to provide the "Eagles" strong information management systems, particularly in terms of alignment with the weapon control systems. On the other hand, it should be noted that the Celestial Empire will soon have gained completely tangible success in the development of avionics equipment for its own third-generation, because this part of the puzzles solved looks a bit more on the background of, say, a much more severe problems with the engines.

Questions have even such things as besperepletny canopy, which brings us back to the previously mentioned difficulties with special materials. The Chinese have for the first time shown that they are able to create such products (particularly noting that the light is on standard equipment). But the real point is not quite clear about its features and capabilities to operate in a mode of long supersonic flight — whether the Chinese obsessed with material scientists due process?

The same questions remain, and when we ran across yet another technological element Aviasistemy fifth generation — radio-absorbing coatings. How adequate Chinese "stealth materials" put puzzles (and generally if they are able to solve them at least in some degree), at this moment we can not say.
Five-year plan in four years

So, that still got my hands on China? For a start it anything you want, except for the fighter fifth generation. At first glance, "Black Eagle" makes memory "dump" promising parts of the global aviation industry, taken over by the principle of "anything goes in the economy." Maybe the creative originality of Chinese products is matchless synergy of these combined solutions of the complex, which will output a higher tactical efficiency, but to judge this until clear in advance. It's entirely possible that this raw layout will fully successful machine, but its design and possible "filling" is currently raise more questions and hesitations than answers and statements.

Stable and without the help of others China is able to produce at the moment o
nly benign machines of the third generation with improved weapons, avionics and avionics. Already the transition to technology 4th generation is accompanied by structural properties of the fall production of devices and the weakening of the tactical and technical characteristics of products. Issue of modern engineering 4th generation, in general, is also likely, but it still asks the import of a number of critical parts. Lagging behind in the development of China's aerodynamics and the school, in spite of the dense and long-term support of the Russian class professionals.

These criteria talk about the possibility of the Middle Kingdom to design and create a stable aviasistemu fifth generation is unrealistic. Moreover, as we have uttered, "Black Eagle", apparently, and is not such a system. More is possible that it belongs to a generation "4 +" with the individual elements of the fifth — and that only in this case, if it is successfully implemented stealth technology. Neither features available on this day, engines or on board the aircraft fighter Electronics 5th generation can not be considered. With the highest probability, it is not so, and from the standpoint of performance nonafterburning cruise.

We have shown in the best case, the "demo" an empty shell, and in the coming years, it will be uniformly filled with modern design elements, which can be dramatically reversed the current ideas about the future of Chinese car. On the one hand, this conclusion are pushing some absolutely fantastic pace of technological modernization of the Chinese defense industry and actively Beijing's policy in the field of defense technology transfer (not always legitimate, in general). On the other — just as saying that there are no miracles and Celestial aviation industry will have to go all the way all the way by learning to first make the least sophisticated machines. Prior to 2020, South American analysts believe that the most life-affirming time of acceptance of the heirs of "Eagle" on the arms, still quite a lot of time.

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