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DT Poll: How Effective Will the J-20 Be in Combat?

by John Reed on September 8, 2011

Earlier this week we ran a poll asking readers what they think China’s J-20 stealth fighter will be used for.

Nearly half of those who responded think it will be used as both a high-speed interceptor capable of taking out fighters, AWACS and tankers and as a long-range weapons truck designed to penetrate an enemy’s air defenses to attack its bases or aircraft carriers.

One interesting point against the carrier/base killer argument came from aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia a while back when he said the following to DT:

If real, [J-20] would fall under Secretary Gates “exquisite” category. Why not invest the enormous platform-related resources into better long-range stealth missile technology? That sounds like much better bang for the buck, especially since they could try to overwhelm US defenses with larger numbers that way. Also, how does it explain those radar signature-producing canards on the J-20? Still, you can’t discount the possibility.

Now, we want to ask you how effective you think the jet will be in combat against air forces equipped with jets like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-22 Raptor or even the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA.

While advanced tech details of the plane are unknown, production versions of the jet are allegedly going to have WS-10 thrust vectoring engines or WS-15 engines that will also allow the jet to super-cruise. As for sensors, the plane may be equipped with an Active electronically scanned array radar and a host of electro-optical sensors that would feed into a modern glass cockpit. With regard to low-observable tech, the bird appears fairly stealthy head on but the big canards up front and the aft section isn’t too stealthy.

Here’s a recap of things the big jet will need if it is to take on air forces equipped with fifth-gen fighters and advanced air defenses.

Anyway, tell us what you think in the poll after jump.


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