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AirSea Battle

Here’s some J-20 stealth fighter porn to start your short workweek. Enjoy these photo-montages of the the big fighter rolling and banking hard as its test pilots expand the plane’s flight envelope. Meanwhile, take the poll below the jump and tell us what missions you think China’s stealth jet will be used for.


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Thought I’d sign off for the day with this image from Google Maps showing the mock up of the aircraft carrier Shi Lang that the PLAN built at the Wuhan Naval Research facility on the shore of Huangjia Lake in China. Zooming in shows a model Su-33 carrier-borne fighter and what looks like some sort of fake helo on the deck (also notice the ski jump on the bow). The phony carrier has been known about for a long time and this has been visible for a while so it’s nothing new. Still, it’s interesting to see it from above. Here’s a link to it on the map.

The picture below from the Scramble forum shows the fake carrier under construction. Pretty cool to see it looking like a carrier on top and just another building below the “flight deck.”

Here’s some midweek video on China’s version of YouTube showing off the PLAAF’s newest tactical jets. The star of the show is obviously the J-20 stealth fighter. This video cearly shows it performing pre-flight tests of its flight controls, taxiing, taking off and landing. However, as Steve Trimble of The DEW Line points out, the new J-10B makes an appearance in the video powered by China’s own WS10 Taihang engine. This is serious because China views its dependence on Russian-made fighter engines to be a major obstacle to its rise as a military power. The older JF-17 Thunder (which is also flown by Pakistan) also makes several appearances.

Check out this marketing video from last fall’s Zuhai Air Show depicting a strike on a carrier battle group by Chinese ballistic missiles receiving targeting data from a UAV.

So, I missed this while I was getting my America on this weekend. China’s Global Hawk-style, high-altitude unmanned spy drone could be making its way into PLAAF service, as these pics from China Defense Blog may indicate.

What’s most significant about this aircraft making its way into military service is the idea that it may be used to provide targeting data for China’s much fretted about anti-ship missiles.

Per Aviation Week:

U.S. analysts are already suggesting that the new Chinese UAV design — with its 60,000-ft. cruising altitude, 300-mi. radar surveillance range and, possibly, lower radar reflectivity if made from the right composites — could serve as the targeting node for China’s anti-ship ballistic missiles.

As James Holmes points out in The Diplomat, this is just the latest development in China’s increasingly sophisticated military modernization efforts that are aimed at removing China’s reliance on foreign weapons suppliers. Pay close attention to Holmes’ last line about China’s ability to produce high-quality aircraft engines.