November 8 in Beijing revealed XVIII Congress of the Communist Party of China. The country is preparing for this event and principled, to an old tradition, Congress meets labor feats. Aviation Enterprise Shenyang Aircraft Corporation also supported this initiative by launching tests of the new fighter of his own design. This aircraft was the second Chinese fighter, who is credited with the ability of typical fifth generation of this class of vehicles. For obvious reasons, it is too early read, as these expressions correspond to the truth, even more so in the current situation of lack of information.
On the existence of a new project, it became clear a little more than one year back, when the Beijing Aviation Museum was shown a model of a fighter, markedly different from other Chinese developments. The project gained fame under the title F-60. In the summer of 2012 in the web of the photos of the process of the covered transport aircraft. By projecting from under the tarpaulin structure elements transported plane was identified as the most experienced F-60 standard: affected substantially similar to the layout. Middle of September, sharing photographs were new to the F-60, in which it was clear that the plane was airborne number «31001.» In addition, these photos shed light on the appearance of the aircraft. Then a number of sources distributed Tipo official name of the aircraft — Shenyang J-31, or the «Project 310».
October 31 Chinese press announced the first flight of the new fighter. China Defence Mashup reports that J-31 made its own first test flight is running pilot Gyoen Lee, known for his role in other projects. The flight duration was a bit least 10 minutes. During the flight, the new fighter was accompanied with 2 Sparky J-11BS with instrumentation and equipment for video. On the results of the first flight has not yet reported: Chinese military prefer not about the details of his own works. Because the debate is not subjected to data acquired during the test flight of J-31, and its appearance and expected properties. Try to «play in analysts’ and make a rough kind of modern machines.
For obvious reasons, completely photo flight J-31 are of low quality. Yet, and they can be seen on the view plane. From the outside it resembles South American Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35 immediately. As similarity can lead to the first twin-engine scheme and the corresponding contours of the rear fuselage. F-35 «gave» Chinese unregulated development vozduhopoglotiteli with a recognizable form of the front edge and trapezoidal wing with moderate sweep angles front and rear edges. In Chinese aircraft fuselage discern the features of both the American fighters. The same can be said about the known form ahead. In all this there are differences, for example, a circular shape nozzle engines: Double Motor on the F-22, they have a complex rectangular shape.
It should be noted, particularly nozzle engines are one of the «clues» that has allowed sound version of the type of applied power plant. More which is popular version says that J-31 is equipped with two turbojet bypass engine with afterburner RD-93 or more old RD-33, developed by «Klimov». This version contains the license creation RD-93 deployed in China to equip fighter-bombers Chengdu FC-1 Xiaolong. In addition, a specific hint serve photo on which J-31 aircraft accelerates and climbs. For their new fighter stretches corresponding plume of dark smoke: as you know, Russian / Russian RD-33 engines for certain modes tend to fuming. In the end, China has no engines, with features similar to RD-33/93 and applicable for use on light fighters.
The assumption of a new weight class fighter appeared after comparisons of the aircraft with the ground objects and people. Normal count indicates that the length of J-31 is in the range 14-15 meters. Span case can estimate at 10-12 meters. If these estimates are correct, the new Chinese fighter jet in its size is identical with South American F-35. With respect to the take-off weight similar approach will not work — F-35 has only one engine with a thrust bolshennymi indicators. Yet takeoff weight J-31 may be approximately equal to the weight of the South American fighter. Indicative takeoff weight J-31 can be calculated on the basis of traction engines and applicable thrust-weight ratio. RD-33/93 develop turbofan thrust augmentor in 8300 kgf, as follows, the total 2-thrust engines exceed 16.5 tons. Thrust most fighters in recent years (at normal takeoff weight) usually equates 0.7-0.8 units. So Makar, normal takeoff weight of J-31 may lie in the range from 18 to 22 tons. Naturally, provided that the airplane has a thrust in the above indicated limits.
Flying characteristics J-31 remains a mystery. In principle, you can try to guess the highest speed, range and ceiling, based on the characteristics of past Chinese fighter aircraft zabugornogo production. Yet, now the Chinese themselves may not be aware of its own clear evidence of a new fighter — to fly to prove they will enjoy features only the calculated figures.
Contours of the J-31 aircraft in accordance with the «fashion» of recent years have its own aim to provide low radar signature. One method of Merit stealth is bearing all weapons in gruzootsekah inside the fuselage. Existing picture can not be seen clearly their position and appreciate the size — because of the properties of the cover images connected with the rest of the aircraft skin. Yet, foreign experience allows gruzootsekah read about the location in the central part of the fuselage and may be in its lateral parts, under vozduhopoglotiteley channels.
Due to the inability to appreciate the size gruzootsekah hard read about their capacity and the likely range weapons. Most likely, J-31 has the ability to transport and use short-range missile family PL and medium-range like the line LY-60. Perhaps there is by plane gun, 23 or 30 mm, but its presence is also not proved. The only fact of arming the J-31 having a specific confirmation of lack of objection concerns the outer suspension arms. Placed on the photo layout fighter has no pylons and mounts under the wing. Naturally, to ensure the greatest ferry range aircraft equipped with removable pylons mounted to tanks, but there is no evidence for this applicable. The only reason in favor of such versions — such a possibility last American fighters. Hardly 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 at the beginning of serial production J-31 missiles will receive the newest model, the properties of which will be at the level of development zabugornyh at least 90s. In addition, there is absolutely no disk imaging on-board radio-electronic equipment. In recent decades, specifically avionics is one of the important components of the aircraft, providing a huge proportion of its combat potential. Current development of China’s electrical industry allows us to assume the presence of J-31 on the radar with a passive phased array, but this station can still be developed. Probable characteristics radar with passive phased array, in turn, are the subject of a separate discussion.
It should be noted that all the above conclusions and reflections were made only on the basis of several photo layout. Accordingly, after the publication of the official disk imaging one or another part of the resulting «portrait» would probably not adequately reality. But at the moment we can confidently say follow: new Chinese fighter J-31 continues the tradition of a kind of defense industry of China. This tradition is that each new standard aircraft tanks or other military vehicles in some measure is similar to the foreign equipment made slightly earlier. In defense of Chinese engineers is to say that there are exceptions. But they also 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 it’s a completely different story.