08 November 2015

Chinese Begin to Market the F-35 Done Right

The Chinese were at the Dubai airshow, and the manufacturer is aggressively marketing their FC-31 medium weight fighter:
China’s Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) has stated plans to fly a production version of its FC-31 Gyrfalcon fifth-generation fighter by 2019.

Although reluctant to take questions, company officials also stated they are in negotiations with the Chinese government to offer the aircraft to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force, despite previous reports that the fighter would only be offered for export.

Speaking in Dubai, where the company is displaying a model of the FC-31 outside China for the first time as the company begins the export push for the Gyrfalcon, Li Yuhai, deputy general manager at AVIC, said the aircraft was demonstrating the “technological and management progress” of the program.


Peng said the aircraft’s primary armament would be the PL-9 short-range missile, the SD-10A medium-range air-to-air missile and small diameter bombs. He said the aircraft would be able to carry 2,000 kg (4,400 lb.) of weapons in its single internal bay and 6,000 kg (13,220 lb.) externally.

The company would not say which engine would power production aircraft but that it would be a “advanced medium thrust engine” producing 88.29 kN. (20,000 lb./9,000 kg) of thrust. The demonstrator aircraft is currently powered by the Russian RD-93 which powers the Mikoyan MiG-29.
What is notable here is that, because it does not carry the dead weight that the F-35 does, because it does not carry baggage associated with the STOVL F-35B.

Note the superior rear vision, and the fact that it has a single larger internal weapons bay, which provides greater capacity and flexibility, both of which are an artifact of not having to accommodate a lift fan.

Also, the wing appears a bit larger, probably because it does not have to shave weight to make vertical landings.

Also, the Klimov RD-33 engine has an 8:1 thrust to weight ratio, as versus the 6:1 ratio of the F135 because it does not have to carry around design features that are only needed for driving the lift fan.

Basically, the US Marine Corps requirement that there be a variant that has vertical landing capabilities is a large part of why the plane is broken.

The Chinese, in making what is a very similar aircraft, have avoided those pitfalls.


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