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11 January 2011

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i'm am unconvinced that it is actually a "fighter".

let's assume for a moment that this thing is as stealthy as an F-22 or whatever Drone Fighter the US comes up with in the next couple decades.

both planes are stealthy and run passive radar only.

either A] American AWACs ping the J-20 from multiple angles at long range and manage to pick it up, beat its stealth, send coordinates to the F-22or Drone [or even JSF], launch from BVR and the J-20 is toast.

or B] AWACS doesn't detect and the F-22 and the J-20 also don't detect each other until they're within visual range where the massive J-20 with no thrust vectoring loses in a dogfight

maybe the J-20 a big, stealthy missile truck that just listens passively for AWACs and launches missiles and destroys the AWACs before scenario A plays out ..

but then you're just in scenario B, and the J-20 dies anyway. you can even avoid scenario A by sending in F-22s without AWACs support to kill all the J-20s, either in the air or on the runway with cruise missiles .. THEN send in the AWACs.

and even that miserable scenario is dependent on China having an extremely capable, extremely long range AMRAAM.

so i don't think this thing is really a fighter. at least not in the context of superpower conflict.

maybe maritime defense? looks big enough to possibly carry an anti-ship missile. force American carriers to back off to extreme range in order to avoid being surprised by this thing? again, the US could take this thing out on the runway by cruise missiles or in the air with refueled F-22s, Drones and JSFs first... then send in the carriers.

no. the thing seems more like it would be fighter-bomber. more of a bomber-fighter, really. it is big, probably long range, stealthy. it can probably go a lot of places in the region without mid-air refueling and drop bombs or launch cruise missiles with impunity. In that case probably more like a stealthy F-111 than anything else. flying around doing random strike missions against non superpowers doesn't sound very Chinese though, i think only Americans have the audacity to try that stuff.

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