In more than one of our materials, the issues of the operational-strategic alignment of forces in the Asia-Pacific region, where China does not yet have any military-technical advantages over the US Navy and Air Force, as well as the “anti-Chinese bloc” navy, have been discussed in detail. The program of the stealthy strategic bomber YH-X, capable of controlling the Pacific zone within the boundaries of the "three chains" strategy, is steadily advancing, noticeably (5-7 years) lagging behind the pace of strengthening in the APR of the US and Japanese navies. So, "General Dynamics" almost once a quarter - half a year manages to launch more and more destroyers URO class "Arleigh Burke"; the last one was EM URO DDG 115 USS "Rafael Peralta", launched on October 31, 2015.
Launching of the most modern "Aegis" URO destroyer "Rafael Peralta"; to date, the US Navy has 65 such ships, and even the technological flaws in the principle of operation of the Idzhisev radar link AN / SPY-1D - AN / SPG-62 did not prevent the Arlie Burkes from becoming the most important naval enemy for the Russian and Chinese fleets
Ships of this class are really being built at a staggering pace and are coming off the stocks like "hot cakes from baking sheets", which makes them to be regarded as the main strategic threat in the ocean and naval theater of operations both for the Russian Federation and for the PRC at the same time, at the pace of renewal of the American fleet, both no matter how unpleasant it sounds, it's worth learning.
But if the Russian Navy and Air Force have something to oppose the most powerful ship composition of the US Navy in the middle and distant sea zones (these are tactical high-precision medium-range bombers Su-34, and long-range Tu-22M3 missile carriers, and the new Tu-160M / M2 with heavy hangers from hundreds of promising multipurpose missile launchers and versions of the Kh-65 anti-ship missiles, as well as the Yasen and Antey submarines with the Caliber-PL and Granit anti-ship missiles), then the Chinese Air Force has nothing of the kind. The delays in the development and optimization of avionics for tactical strike fighters of the 5th generation J-20, which does not allow the Celestial Empire to control even the average operational borders of the state, also contribute to it. The dangerous "gap" had to be closed as soon as possible, and at the time of the shortage of 5th generation aviation, the Chinese aerospace leaders still had to turn again to the modernization of the project of the Russian high-precision front-line bomber Su-34.
The Chinese ambitious project was launched back in the mid-90s, when the specialists of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, who saw the most advanced strike aviation complex in the Russian T-10V-1 (experimental Su-34), began designing a similar machine called the J- 17, but as we see today, with some noticeable structural changes. Initially, the J-17 was planned as a worthy replacement for the aging H-6 medium-range bombers, but now, in light of the aggravation of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, their importance can reach the importance of the program for the transition of the LFI J-10 on-board radar to radars with AFAR and not only. The J-17 project could become a kind of saving option for the Chinese Air Force at the turn of the 20s. and the most interesting fruit of engineering thought, which will make more generations of military specialists and combat aviation enthusiasts argue.
Official information regarding the parameters of avionics and flight characteristics of most prototypes of Chinese combat aircraft is provided rather scarce, therefore it is impossible to accurately characterize their overall combat potential in one mode or another. The picture begins to become more or less clear when the first photographs of new products get into the network, as was the case with the J-15S and the J-20. If the future role of the J-20 in the Chinese Air Force has been known since the first flight of the vehicle: low-altitude overcoming or suppression of air defense with further pinpoint strikes on strategic targets and the destruction of VKP / unmanned and manned AWACS aircraft, then the appointment of a carrier-based multipurpose fighter-bomber and air defense interceptor The J-15S suggests several options at once, each of which is as close to reality as possible.
First, there is practically no potential in solving air-to-surface problems (serial Su-33s, which will soon be modernized, can boast of a similar drawback). The fighters are equipped with similar N001 and N001VE radars, which operate in air-to-air mode at a maximum range of 110 - 140 km, which imposes functional limitations on the aircraft compared to even the "old" F / A-18C "Hornet" a smaller fleet of carrier-based fighters, the aircraft should significantly surpass the American already significantly modernized "Super Hornet".
Secondly, the Chinese Su-30MKK and MK2, which have a similar, not the best, N001VE radar cannot provide advantages over the Indian Su-30MKI equipped with a powerful Bars radar. And under the terms of the contract between the Indian leadership and the Dassault company for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters, the possible risks for the PRC are increasing exponentially. The J-15S, which is the only two-seat "hybrid" deck modification of the Su-30MKK / J-15, is able to mitigate these risks and win back a share of regional dominance from the Indians and the US Navy.
The J-15S is a two-seat carrier-based highly maneuverable multi-role fighter equipped with the most advanced avionics for conducting DVB and striking sea and ground targets. The presence of a co-pilot - the operator of systems, as well as a device for exchanging tactical information over a radio communication channel in conjunction with a high-potential radar with PFAR / AFAR will allow the Chinese carrier-based aviation to meet modern standards of the developed Navy without the need to develop a carrier-based AWACS aircraft. A long range (over 1,500 km) in addition to a powerful radar and a co-pilot will allow Chinese aircraft to fend off the capabilities of the American carrier-based F-35B / C in the maritime theater of operations. Acceleration of the modernization of the J-15S will allow more quickly to improve the equipment already in service with the Su-30MKK / MK2
The situation is exactly the same with the J-17. The first photos of the prototype appeared on the Chinese Internet on November 1. This time, a very original crossing of the gliders of the front-line bomber Su-34 and the promising 5th generation T-50 aviation complex was carried out, which led to fundamental changes in the important parameters of the fighter. Despite the fact that many observers and forum participants have already rushed to classify the photo as a product of the graphic montage of Chinese enthusiasts, I would not rush to conclusions, because the aerodynamic contours of the fuselage are quite consistent with the aviation trends of the XXI century.
We are presented with a fully-fledged analogue of our Su-27IB (Su-34), but differs in the aerodynamic design of the front part of the center section. The glider, which has the usual "Sushki" scheme of "cantilever midplane", instead of the traditional movable forward horizontal tail (PGO) is equipped with the so-called moving part of the influx, which is well known to us in the design of the promising stealth fighter PAK-FA. This shape of the rotary part of the influx not only allows flights at high angles of attack with different weights of weapons and the amount of fuel, but also contributes to a multiple decrease in the radar signature, since the trailing edge of the movable plane is completely conjugated to the wing and does not form an additional RCS.
Another important design feature is the large area and width of these aerodynamic slugs. Firstly, this contributes to the overall increase in the carrying qualities of the fuselage, since in conjunction with the PCHN, the influx has an even slightly higher area than the PGO in the Su-34, this makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption when flying at medium and high altitudes. Secondly, huge oblique influxes almost completely overlap the visible front and side projections of the air intakes for AWACS aircraft conducting patrol mainly from the upper hemisphere (it is quite clear that the J-17 is a tactical attack aircraft that will operate at low altitudes), since the air intakes J-17 are standard and do not belong to unobtrusive structural elements, the air intakes of the T-50 PAK-FA are placed in a similar way, but with a more original slope of the edges towards the rear and lower directions of the relative longitudinal axis of the airframe.
A prototype of the Chinese J-17 multipurpose front-line fighter-bomber in the air. The use of radio-absorbing and composite materials, as well as the use of inclined airframe elements, will make it possible to achieve less radar signature than the Su-34; EPR can be from 1 to 1.5 m2. The latest pre-production modification of the J-17 can get a V-shaped vertical tail and modified geometry of the air intakes.
The nose of the fuselage of the J-17, like its Russian standard Su-34, has an enlarged elliptical midsection, designed to accommodate a spacious and comfortable two-seater cockpit, where pilots are located side by side, and will be able to carry out long-term air operations without undue stress. as it is done at the "Thirty-four". In the flattened radio-transparent fairing of the J-17, a promising radar with AFAR can theoretically be located, which should work both in the synthetic aperture mode for sea and ground targets, and in the air-to-air mode, if in the absence of support for such fighters as the J-10A or Su-30MKK will have to face to face with enemy fighters conquering air supremacy. It is not excluded that the possibility of using the J-17 airborne radar of the LPI (Low-Probality Intercept) mode, where scanning of the airspace is carried out in a special broadband noise-like radio channel of low power, due to which the possibility of identifying the aircraft carrier of the LPI radar by warning systems about enemy exposure is reduced to negligible indicators. There is authoritative information that the Chinese corporation CASIC has implemented the LPI mode in the radar with PFAR HT-233, which is part of the long-range anti-aircraft missile system HQ-9 (FD-2000) - an analogue of the S-300PMU-2 / Patriot PAC-2.
Photos posted on the Internet raise a number of questions regarding the radar signature of the new front-line bomber. J-17 is captured in flight from the surface, i.e. from the lower hemisphere, and therefore it is impossible to know exactly the geometry of the cockpit canopy, the angles of inclination of the bulkheads and other design features that strongly affect this most important tactical and technical indicator.
One of the Chinese sites also shows a technical drawing of the J-17 aircraft, where the "strategic appearance" of the cockpit windows is clearly visible: the block of windows is more placed towards the view of the front hemisphere and is a single-tier structure, while the lower edge of the windows provides a good view of the side and bottom hemispheres, the view of the upper hemisphere is limited. This fact also indicates the striking purpose of the promising Chinese "tactician".
Technical image of J-17 from the Chinese internet. The nose section of the fuselage and the cockpit clearly demonstrate the maximum technical proximity to the 5th generation aviation
The delays in the start of serial production of the J-20 stealth strike fighter, associated with the long-term development of network-centric onboard electronics, radars with AFAR, as well as high flight characteristics of the more aerodynamically "problematic" 5th generation aircraft, forced the Chinese aviation industry to again turn to improving the more proven and proven in battles and exercises of Russian multipurpose fighters of the transitional generation of the Su-27 family.