A Chinese sixth-generation tailless fighter
A Chinese sixth-generation tailless fighter
© @OSPSF (Twitter)

| Gaétan Powis | Source : Air&Cosmos 384 mots

A Chinese sixth-generation tailless fighter

A recent promotional video seems to confirm that China is focusing on a tail-less, sixth-generation fighter aircraft project in the form of a flying wing. Another flying wing project is also underway and involves a strategic bomber, but this concept is fairly new to China's defense industry, which is used to aircraft with a more conventional configuration.

A confirmation after Zuhai

In November 2022, during the Zuhai Aerospace Exhibition, Chinese aerospace defense companies were exhibiting many aircraft but also projects of future fighter planes (more info here). Among these, a transparent model of a fighter plane had already brought our attention (article on the subject). Recently, this same model was digitized in a video and seems to confirm that China is focusing on a sixth-generation tail-less fighter, taking on the concept of the flying wing (tweet attached).

This aircraft does not yet have a name or classification but could, according to previous statements by Chinese officials and industrialists, integrate conventional weapons but also energy weapons, hypersonic weapons or would still be able to interact with swarms of drones.

The flying wing in China

The design of this aircraft is a breakthrough for the Chinese aviation industry: looking at modern fighter aircraft developed only in China, so not counting copies of Soviet aircraft (such as the J-15, a copy of the Su-33), these resume a classic design, with duck plans (J-10 and J-20).

Besides the specific characteristics of this future aircraft, a question arises about its armament and more generally about its doctrine of use: will it be able to be used in short-range aerial combat or will it take up the same doctrine of use of the J-20 in long range and not equipped with a gun?

In addition, the concept of flying wing does not only concern the Chinese sixth-generation fighter: China is developing a strategic bomber, called H-20, in the form of a flying wing. Information is just as scarce as the sixth-generation aircraft, but this project seems to resemble the American B-2 Spirit bomber. It has also been the subject of several promotional videos and has been since 2018. One of these actually resembles the B-21 Raider promotional video. In July 2022, announcements of an upcoming first flight had even been launched but no official presentation or a first have been made yet.

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