pic and story via IHS Janes
IHS Jane's recently identified a radar cross-section (RCS) test complex in China. Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 24 April shows a recently completed test range northeast of Dingxin Airbase (AB) - the second new test site to be identified in the East Asian nation. The first one is located southwest of Beijing near Gaobeidian. A third possible site, predating the new complexes, is situated near Luoyang.This should be staggering news for the F-35 fan club. They're making changes to theJ-20 to make the plane even better.
The location near Dingxin AB is well suited for a signature evaluation complex, with flat terrain and a lack of man-made or natural obstructions near the facility. Additionally, the configuration of the J-20 full-scale RCS test article present suggests design changes may be forthcoming to China's fifth-generation stealth fighter.
Along with the Gaobeidian RCS complex, the Dingxin RCS complex illustrates China's increasing attention to low-RCS aircraft design. The Dingxin RCS complex was constructed after the Gaobeidian site, which was built in the 2009 timeframe - perhaps in an effort to establish an RCS test range in a more secure location.
The problem for the US? If they're actually all in on the F-35 then not only do they need to get the software right but they need to start working on getting that next gen ADVENT engine in the plane, need to push forward with Meteor missiles, probably need to buy MANY more Growlers and need to get serious about it with a quickness.
If by chance we decide that we can take an operational risk to get our house in order and wash our hands of the F-35 debacle then we need the latest gen F-15/16/18/Growlers along with Meteor missiles and some clear thinking about a 6th gen jet.
No matter which way we go, we've wasted time and money on the F-35. We've given the Chinese time to not only catch up but in some ways surpass our next fighter.
This is a sad state of affairs. I hope historians aren't kind to our military leadership that rolled the dice on Lockheed Martins cash cow.