China has begun integrating thrust vectoring engines into its 5th generation Chengdu J-20 fighter jet, as per a report from online portal Military Watch Magazine (MWM), without citing a source.
The report states, the J-20 exhibits strong low-speed maneuverability, turning when climbing vertically and gliding up the nose; these are possible only with thrust vectoring engines.
This is not the first such speculation, there have been earlier reports from the Chinese media citing comments from J-20 pilots saying the same thing.
Incidentally, thrust vectors engines are not new to the PLA Air Force. The mass-produced J-10 fighters uses them. In fact, the J-10 is the world’s only single-engine thrust vector fighter jet.
The “three-dimensional thrust vectoring” technology is believed to have been imported from Russia nearly 70 years ago, as part of an agreement in the acquisition of the Su-35S.
J-20 vs F-35
The F-35 and the J-20 are the only mass-produced squadron-level fighters planes in the world. According to US officers, the J-20 has ben designed keeping “two fronts” in mind. While its stealth technology allows it to engage targets at longer ranges without coming into the range of enemy air defense systems, its performance is considered to be better than the F-35. Experts attribute this performance boost to the short-range PL-10 air-to-air missile, which is considered to be one of the most capable in its class since they can latch onto targets at extremely large angles of attack.
The new thrust vectoring engine is likely to provide the J-20 the advantage of the hunter’s distributed aperture. In comparison the F-35 has a fighter aperture distributed through the pilot’s helmet, which allows its pilot to get more info during military missions.
The new thrust vector engine of the J-20 also boosts its combat ability, compared to the F-35, which is considered to be one of the least maneuverable aircraft in the world.
The F-35 however remains as one of the best aircraft that has been optimized for out-of-sight operations thanks to its advanced avionics.