The first J-20 BLACK EAGLE taxiing-test snapshots have popped up throughout the blogosphere for a few days. These so-called leaked pictures reveal a design that comes straight from the J-XX with the front part similar to the F-22 Raptor’s one, and the aft a bit like the Sukhoi PAK FA’s one.
Thanks to ChineseKungFu100, you can watch below a High-Definition video in which you can see a huge glass cockpit. It is believed that the J-20 is likely to be cheaper than the PAK FA / T-50, and far cheaper than the JSF F-35 and the F-22, with lower performance though longer radius of combat, and bigger strike capability. The shapes after the forward canards and the chine, may be low-RCS caret air intakes with DSIs – Diverterless Supersonic Inlets – which maintain high-quality airflow to the engines over a wide range of conditions. It is believed that the J-20 may have Russian engines. She is likely to be equipped with an AESA radar.
With this new fighter aircraft, and its brand new aircraft carrier, the PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) could be on a par with the lead air forces in the world.
The Indian-Russian PAK FA (or T-50) might become a blockbuster in 5th-generation-fighter category according to these arguments:
It would be far less expensive than its direct competitors (up to 3 times cheaper)
The PAK FA’s range would be superior by 70% compared to the F-22 one
Bigger in its wing surface and lighter than the F-22, it should be more maneuverable than the Raptor
It would be between 14 and 20% faster than the F-22
The PAK FA would have a 20% thrust-to-weight-ratio advance
As far as radar, system, and stealth are concerned, the Raptor must be over any other fighter aircraft considering its heavy program cost (around $65 billion) compared to the PAK FA one which should not exceed $8 billion.
However, the main problem in such comparison is that crucial assets such as stealth are not visible, and kept secret. Moreover other factors can change the balance: weaponry performance, pilots’ training, and data links among others. For instance, the Russian military are not likely to purchase more than 10 PAK FAs by 2012, and around 50 only by 2016.
22:3617/06/2010Russia’s fifth-generation fighter aircraft Sukhoi T-50 made its 16th test flight at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TSAGI) in Zhukovsky near Moscow, thus completing the first stage of air and ground tests.>>
As I have been told that this post about Rafales vs Eurofighter Typhoons, F-16s, and F-22s left some in disbelief, I believe it is fair to point out that some elements were written in bold typing as « rumours », and the publications quoted were not « filed » as rumours though it might have been some rumours as well – who knows, indeed?
For instance, many times gossip spread about Mirage 2000s that would never shoot F-16s down. Never ever? Watch below…
Many (on a global basis – which means not everybody) people still believe that no Rafale could outperform any F-16. Let us watch hereafter (in French, sorry).
For those who cannot speak French, it is mentioned in this video that the Rafales defeated the F-16s in a US AFB, and the score would have been 6 – 2.
Well, let us go back to the previous Rafales’ performance post for I have not added further information I had read before from a remarkable Swiss aviation specialist’s website: AVIA NEWS. Pascal – AVIA NEWS webmaster – let me quote his analysis according to which the Rafale obtained the best score (95%) among the fighter aircraft evaluated for choosing which will replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5 Tiger. The other two competitors were the SAAB JAS-39 Gripen, and the Eurofighter / Typhoon. I am going to update my previous article about this figure.
Last but not least: The Dutch did compare various fighter aircraft in 2002. Who remembers? The RNLAF – the Royal Netherlands Air Force – carried out this study and the balance sheet came out in the Dutch press:
Here is the rating reported:
F-35 = 6.97
RAFALE = 6.95
Eurofighter = 5.83
F-16 Block 60 = 5.80
Well, we must admit that the JSF / F-35 Lightning II is the best fighter among those that were assessed. However it was a close shave, wasn’t it?
Some might say « it was just an illusion ». Well, why not? Illusion would be everywhere – as for instance:
Do you really think that a serious R&D organisation is used to issuing so-called inaccurate reports?
Do you really think that a DGA/CHEAr research director would recognize that the Rafale can be on a par with the JSF / F-35 Lightning II? This is what happened during a symposium (colloque) in January 2006.
As a conclusion, many people still believe that F-16s can outperform Rafales, MiG-29s, Eurofighters, and even Su-27s. This is not an illusion.