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Chinese ‘Mighty Dragon’ doomed to breathe Russian fire

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Chinese ‘Mighty Dragon’ doomed to breathe Russian fire

Post by el on Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:52 am

While Beijing is proudly leaking more images of J-20 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, China continues to buy Russian military jet engines and spare parts, which might indicate China is in a technological deadlock.
­China is making an attempt to catch up with world leaders and develop hi-tech vehicles in the absence of crucial military know-how and technology, like engines for ultrasonic cruise flights and active phased array antennas.
“As of now, it is too early to say that China is capable of creating a fifth-generation jet from start to finish,” told RT Vasily Kashin from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
­Chinese 5th-gen fighter jet­The Chinese J-20 (Mighty Dragon) fith-generation fighter jet program is advancing in truly huge strides. The jet has already made over 60 test flights, performing elements of aerial acrobatics.

In 2009, General He Weirong, Deputy Commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force estimated that the J-20 would be operational no earlier than in 2017-2019. Now it appears Chinese engineers have done a great job and the jet is much closer to being ready than expected.
Created by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, this heavy fighter jet is the first military plane China has constructed on its own, without visible attempts at copying foreign technology. It resembles neither the American Raptor F-22, nor the Russian T-50 PAK-FA.
Though peculiar forms of the jet and technical decisions allegedly realized in the vehicle might be questionable, one thing about this plane is an established fact.
As of now, the J-20 flies with two Russian AL-31F jet engines it borrowed from the Russian Su-27 fighter jet that entered Chinese service in the mid-1980s.

China also tried to put engines of their own on a second test J-20 vehicle, but the copycat of the Soviet engine AL-31F made by China is not in the same league as the Russian analogue for reliability and durability.
The real problem is both AL-31F and Chinese version are engines of the previous generation.
No question the Chinese jet is a prototype model and technology demonstration vehicle called to test new equipment and technology. Defined as a technology showroom, it may fly whatever engines its creator considers possible. But China has no working engine for a 5G jet.
Despite the fact that China tries to sell clones of the Russian jets at discount prices on the international arms market ($10 million for a J-11, while the Russian original Su-27 is well over $30 million), China continues to buy Russian engines and certain parts of these engines in quantities that far exceed the necessity to do routine maintenance of the Russian planes they use.
Chinese dependence on Russian engines can only be explained by technological inferiority of Chinese engine-building.
Beijing has found itself in a position when getting a decent 5G fighter jets with complying engines means buying engines in Russia, because no other country will sell them anything similar.
­Why China needs Russian 4++ fighter jets­This week, news came that Moscow and Beijing are close to striking a deal on China buying 48 Su-35 multifunctional fighter jets for $4 billion. The main reason for this remarkable purchase could be Russia’s jet engines.
The Su-35 flies with two next generation AL-41F1C engines that enable it to achieve hypersonic speed without afterburner, a feature attributed to 5G jets. And AL-41F1C actually is a de-rated version of the AL-41F1 (117C) engine used on the undergoing tests T-50 PAK-FA, Russian 5G fighter jet.
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