Enhanced Agility - High Survivability - Superior Stealth Technology
By M. Ahsan
Fifth-generation aircrafts are classified as most advanced jet fighters. They incorporate highly advanced technology, with stealth and multirole capabilities, high-performance mechanical structure, low probability of intercept radar (LPIR), sophisticated avionics features, and highly advanced software and integrated computer systems capable of networking with other elements within the battlespace for situation awareness.
At present, only four countries (US, Russia, China and Japan) have successfully flight tested the fifth-generation fighter jets, while India and Turkey are in the development phase of acquiring their own next generation fighters.
The five most advanced stealth jet fighters that have touched the sky include, American Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and Lockheed Martin F-35 (A/B/C variants) Lightning II, Russian Sukhoi PAK FA (T-50), Chinese Chengdu J-20, and Japanese Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin.
1. Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor - US
National origin: United States
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Boeing Defense, Space & Security
First flight: 7 September 1997
Introduction: 15 December 2005
Number built: 195 (8 test and 187 operational aircraft)
Cost: US$150 million/unit
Length: 62 ft 1 in (18.92 m)
Wingspan: 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)
Height: 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)
Empty weight: 43,340 lb (19,700 kg)
Loaded weight: 64,840 lb (29,410 kg)
Maximum takeoff weight: 83,500 lb (38,000 kg)
At altitude: Mach 2.25 (1,500 mph, 2,410 km/h)
Supercruise: Mach 1.82 (1,220 mph, 1,960 km/h)
Range: >1,600 nautical miles (nmi) (1,840 mi, 2,960 km) with 2 external fuel tanks
Combat radius: 460 nmi (with 100 nmi in supercruise clean) (529 mi, 852 km)
Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A2 Vulcan 6-barrel rotary cannon in right wing root, 480 rounds.
Air to air mission loadout:
6× AIM-120 AMRAAM
2× AIM-9 Sidewinder
Air to ground mission loadout:
2× 1,000 lb (450 kg) JDAM or 8× 250 lb (110 kg) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs
2× AIM-120 AMRAAM
2× AIM-9 Sidewinder
4× under-wing pylon stations can be fitted to carry 600 U.S. gallon drop tanks or weapons, each with a capacity of 5,000 lb (2,270 kg).
AN/APG-77 radar: 125–150 miles (200–240 km) against 1 m2 (11 sq ft) targets (estimated range)
AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector (MLD)
AN/ALR-94 radar warning receiver (RWR): 250 nmi (463 km) or more detection range
MJU-39/40 flares for protection against IR missiles.
2. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II - US
National origin: United States
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
First flight: 15 December 2006
Introduction: F-35B: 31 July 2015 (United States Marine Corps), F-35A: 2 August 2016 (United States Air Force), F-35C: 2018 (United States Navy)
Number built: 171 (as of March 2016)
Cost: F-35A: US$98M/unit (low rate initial production without engine, full production in 2018 to be US$85M/unit), F-35B: US$104M/unit (low rate initial production without engine), F-35C: US$116M/unit (low rate initial production without engine)
Length: 50.5 ft (15.67 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft (10.7 m)
Height: 14.2 ft (4.33 m)
Empty weight: 29,098 lb (13,199 kg)
Loaded weight: 49,540 lb (22,470 kg)
Maximum takeoff weight: 70,000 lb (31,800 kg)
Mach 1.6+ (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) (tested to Mach 1.61)
Range: >1,200 nmi (2,220 km) on internal fuel
Combat radius: 625 nmi (1,158 km) interdiction mission on internal fuel, 760 nmi (1,407 km) for internal air to air configuration
Guns: 1 × General Dynamics 25 mm (0.984 in) GAU-22/A 4-barrel rotary cannon, internally mounted with 180 rounds.
Hardpoints: 6 × external pylons on wings with a capacity of 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) and two internal bays with two pylons with a capacity of 3,000 (1,360 kg) for a total weapons payload of 18,000 lb (8,100 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of missiles and bombs.
Air-to-air missiles: AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9X Sidewinder, IRIS-T, MBDA Meteor (pending further funding).
Air-to-surface missiles: AGM-88 AARGM, AGM-158 JASSM, Brimstone missile / MBDA SPEAR 2, SPEAR 3, Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), SOM.
Anti-ship missiles: Joint Strike Missile (JSM), Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).
Bombs: Mark 84 or Mark 83 or Mark 82 GP bombs, Mk.20 Rockeye II cluster bomb, Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) capable, Paveway series laser-guided bombs, Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) series, AGM-154 JSOW, B61 mod 12 nuclear bomb.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems AN/APG-81 AESA radar
Lockheed Martin AAQ-40 E/O Targeting System (EOTS)
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS) missile warning system
BAE Systems AN/ASQ-239 (Barracuda) electronic warfare system
Northrop Grumman AN/ASQ-242 CNI system.
3. Sukhoi PAK FA (T-50) - Russia
National origin: Russia
Manufacturer: Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO)
First flight: 29 January 2010
Introduction: 2018 (planned)
Number built: 6 flyable prototypes
Cost: US$50+ million
Length: 19.8 m (65.0 ft)
Wingspan: 13.95 m (45.8 ft)
Height: 4.74 m (15.6 ft)
Empty weight: 18,000 kg (39,680 lb)
Loaded weight: 25,000 kg (55,115 lb) typical mission weight, 29,270 kg (64,530 lb) at full load
Maximum takeoff weight: 35,000 kg (77,160 lb)
At altitude: Mach 2.0 (2,140 km/h, 1,320 mph)
Supercruise: Mach 1.6 (1,700 km/h, 1,060 mph)
Range: 3,500 km (2,175 mi) subsonic, 1,500 km (930 mi) supersonic.
Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.181 in) 9A1-4071K (GSh-301) cannon in right LEVCON root.
Air to air loadout: 4× K-77M or 4× izdeliye 810, 2× K-74M2 or 2× izdeliye 300.
Air to ground loadout: 4× Kh-38M or 4× Kh-58UShK or 8× KAB-250 or 4× KAB-500, 2× K-74M2 or 2× izdeliye 300.
Air to sea loadout: 4× Kh-35, 2× K-74M2 or 2× izdeliye 300.
Hardpoints: Six external hardpoints. Kh-31, R-73, R-77.
Sh121 multifunctional integrated radio electronic system (MIRES)
N036 Byelka radar system
N036-1-01: Frontal X-band AESA radar
N036B-1-01: Cheek X-band AESA radars for increased angular coverage
N036L-1-01: Slat L-band arrays for IFF
L402 Himalayas Electronic countermeasure suite
101KS Atoll electro-optical system
101KS-O: Laser Directional Infrared Counter Measures
101KS-V: Infra-red search and track
101KS-U: Ultraviolet Missile Approach Warning system
101KS-N: Targeting pod.
4. Chengdu J-20 - China
National origin: China Manufacturer: Chengdu Aerospace Corporation
First flight: 11 January 2011
Introduction: 2018 (planned)
Primary user: People's Liberation Army Air Force
Number built: 8 prototypes and 4 low rate initial production fighters
Cost: US$110 million/unint (as of 2011).
Length: 20 m (66.8 ft)
Wingspan: 13 m (44.2 ft)
Height: 4.45 m (14 ft 7 in)
Empty weight: 19,391 kg (42,750 lb)
Loaded weight: 32,092 kg (70,750 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight: 36,288 kg (80,001 lb) upper estimate.
Maximum Speed: 3 2,100 kmh (1,305 mph; 1,134 knots)
Range: 3,400 km (2,113 miles)
PL-12 Medium Range AAM.
Use of various Russian/Chinese air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, anti-radiation missiles, laser-guided bombs and conventional drop bombs are assumed. A standard internal cannon for close-in combat is probable.
5. Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin - Japan
National origin: Japan
Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
First flight: 22 April 2016
Primary user: Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Number built: 1 prototype
Cost: US$366 million (equipped with IHI Corp.)
Length: 14.174 m (46 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 9.099 m (29 ft 10 in)
Height: 4.514 m (14 ft 10 in)
Empty weight: 9,700 kg (21,385 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight: 13,000 kg (28,660 lb)
Maximum speed: Mach 2.25, 2,475 km/h (Mach 1.82 supercruise)
Range: 2,900 km (1,802 mi; 1,566 nmi)
Combat range: 761 km (473 mi; 411 nmi)
Presumed internal 20mm cannon. Proposed six internal weapons bays for delivering air-to-air and air-to-surface guided/homing munitions.