The engine issue and composite material shortage are hampering development of China’s fighter jets like J-20 stealth fighter. At present the most advanced companies in producing carbon fiber are Japan’s Mitsubishi, Toray and Toho, and the high performance carbon fiber technologies have been monopolized by the West.
Du Shanyi, board chairman of China’s Composite Materials Society suggested that advantageous forces should be focused onto development of T-800 carbon fiber, and high performance carbon fiber material units should be deployed properly, to prevent low-level manufacturers rush forward together.
Japanese homemade stealth fighter Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin is to use a lot of carbon fiber composite materials, which are lighter and tougher, which can improve cruise performance and stealth effect.
Besides, MiG-29K uses 15% composite materials, F-22 uses 25% and F-35 uses 35%.
J-20 stealth fighter jet of China must use high trust engines and carbon fiber materials to achieve supercruise in the future.
At present, the most important supporting part T-800 carbon fiber field is still incomplete in China, and high performance carbon fiber still needs to be imported, and China hasn’t mastered core technologies for carbon fiber.
But according to a recent report from 163, a Chinese company located in Jiangsu province plans to launch a new facility this year, to product thousands tons of T-800 carbon fiber annually.
It is reported that T-800 material is embargoed by Japan, America and Europe toward China, and is widely used in fields like aerospace, aviation, high-speed rail, etc. Japanese media once reported that Japanese police arrested personnel who exported high-level aviation materials to China.
It is speculated that if the 1,000 tons of T-800 carbon fiber is all used for J-20 stealth fighters, it can satisfy as many as 200 J-20 fighters and other fighters.
American Ministry of Defense once emphasized that only composite materials have the potential to improve performance of fighters by 20-25%.
Therefore, even if J-20 jet doesn’t have top-ranking engine, it may achieve supercruise and supermaneuver by lighter and tougher body.