Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New improved J-31 undergoing testing...

via Popular Science (May 2017)
This uncertainty held until the second, improved prototype first flew on December 26, 2016. The new J-31 prototype is three tons heavier and about 20 inches longer than the original technology demonstrator; it also had key improvements like an IRST sensor, stealthier wings, cleaner burning engines, and an improved radar. In addition to avionics and datalinks that enable sensor fusion, SAC officials state that the production J-31s (which could appear soon as 2019) could have supercruise capability, giving them a leg up over current F-35 fighters. Its WS-13 engines would be replaced by domestic WS-13E or WS-19 turbofan engines to give it that advantage in speed. The combination of the J-31's high speed performance, and suggested payload of 6 PL-12 or 4 PL-21 long range air to air missiles suggests that the J-31 has been optimized as an air superiority fighter, though it can be fitted with a wide array of Chinese precision guided munitions like the LS smart bombs.
Story here.

Read the full story but they're saying that the new improved J-31 will be about 3 tons heavier, uses improved engines and avionics and is optimized for air to air combat.

Interesting isn't it.  If this speculation on the J-31 is the case then sensors, missiles and networking will carry the day.

Regardless we all need to wrap our heads around a terrible fact.  The "stay the course" crowd with the F-35 might have already sealed our fate with regard to air superiority into the future.  Has the US military faced an enemy with qualitative equality and a numerical advantage? 

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