Air Platforms

China marks aviation milestones with J-10B production, second Y-20 prototype flight

22 December 2013
This image of a production series J-10B at the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation's test field appeared in December. Source: via CJDBY web page

China marked the end of 2013 with milestones for two major military aircraft programmes: the start of series production of the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-10B fighter and a maiden flight for the second prototype of the Xian Aircraft Corporation's Y-20 heavy transport.

In early December, images of two new Chengdu J-10B fighters with temporary tail numbers 101 and 103 appeared on Chinese military websites. Together with images of the J-10B production line that first appeared in July 2013, it is credible that serial production has started for this advanced version of the J-10, which first appeared in March 2009.

Chengdu has also produced more than 250 J-10A and twin-seat J-10S fighters, which are in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the PLA Navy Air Force (PLANAF).

The J-10B's key differences to the J-10A include a redesigned chin intake, with the lower edge now angled forward and movable ramp replaced by a smaller, fixed, diffuser bulge that also contributes to reduced weight and radar cross-section; a longer nose radome that is believed to house an NRIET active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; and an electro-optic (EO) targeting sensor (IRST and laser rangefinder) mounted just forward of the windscreen, offset to starboard. It also has a new electronic warning or countermeasures pod atop the vertical stabiliser.

The J-10B will carry the same array of air-to-air and ground-attack weapons as the J-10A, to include a new twin-missile pylon for the Luoyang PL-12 active radar-guided air-to-air missile (AAM). Its more powerful AESA radar may also enable use of a new larger AAM first seen on a Chengdu J-20 prototype fighter earlier in 2013 and the new CASIC CM-400AKG near-hypersonic ground-attack/anti-ship missile.

A screengrab showing the first flight of the second Xian Aircraft Corporation's Y-20 prototype. (via CJDBY web page)A screengrab showing the first flight of the second Xian Aircraft Corporation's Y-20 prototype. (via CJDBY web page)

The new-production J-10Bs, however, still use the same Russian Saturn AL-31FN turbofan as the J-10A. A prototype of the J-10B equipped with a version of the Shenyang-Liming WS-10A turbofan appeared in July 2011. However, limited access to this powerplant may mean that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation fighters such as the J-11B and J-15 carrier fighter have priority.

Meanwhile, a second prototype of Xian's Y-20 transport flew for the first time on 16 December, following the initial flight of the first prototype on 26 January 2013. Video of the flight posted on a Chinese military website suggested no outward differences between the two prototypes.

The second prototype is also powered by Russian 12-ton thrust Soloviev D-30KP turbofans. China is developing at least three high-bypass turbofans, although the reported 13-ton thrust WS-20, a derivative of the Shenyang-Liming WS-10A fighter turbofan, may be the first to power the Y-20. With the WS-20 installed, the Y-20 is expected to reach its full potential payload of more than 60 tons.

A report from a Hubei City television news programme noted that the PLA may take delivery of initial production versions of the Y-20 in 2017. The report also claimed that China had started discussions for the Y-20 with an unidentified foreign customer.



(488 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.

RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • Selex ES ASIO-B

    Type VTOL mini-UAS. Development Selex ES describes the ASIO-B VTOL mini-UAS as being designed to provide 'perch and stare' and surveillance capabilities in applications such as IED location/identification, target acquisition, battle damage assessment, border protection, crowd control,

  • Selex ES DRAKO

    Type Quad-rotor micro-UAS. Development Selex ES characterises its DRAKO quad-rotor micro-UAS as having a 'minimal' audio signature and as being suitable for close-range reconnaissance, Special Forces and Police support and general surveillance applications with an emphasis on operations in urban

  • Selex ES SPYBALL-B

    Type VTOL mini-UAS. Development Selex ES describes the 0.48 m (1.6 ft) diameter SPYBALL-B VTOL mini-UAS as having been designed for 'hover and stare' and platoon-level surveillance with applications including IED location/identification; target acquisition; short-range 'over-the-hill'

  • AMS Carat A

    Type Single-seat ultralight motor glider. Programme First flown 16 December 1997; flight testing carried out during 1998. Initial production aircraft displayed at Aero '99, Friedrichshafen, in April 1999 under name of Technoflug TFK-2 Carat. Folding propeller certified 7 November 2000; certified

  • Distar UFM-10 Samba XXL

    Type Side-by-side ultralight/kitbuilt. Programme UFM-10 previously known as Speed Lambáda. OK-EUU 38 first flown June 1999; first production aircraft (OK-EUU 39) flew 21 July 1999. Prototype Czech certification awarded 29 March 2004. Total of at least 41 Sambas produced by late 2004,

ADVERTISEMENT

Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.
ADVERTISEMENT