DavidD wrote:Right, it's not the WS-10, not the AL-31 or the WS-15 either. According to some insiders on Chinese boards, it's an upgraded variant of the WS-10. I'm pretty surprised that they'd put a new engine on a new plane, seems pretty risky to me.
Very very risky if what you say is right. I mean one wouldn't put it on the J-11, but directly on this prototype which has serpentine air intakes. It doesn't make any sense to me.
DavidD wrote:It could be that the AL-31 one was a low-risk prototype for testing aerodynamic performances only while the WS-10x prototype is used for testing stealth and maneuverability as well.
hmmm ... Don't know what you mean by 'stealth" here. What is being tested? The "WS-10x" is being tested or the airframe is being tested. If the airframe is being tested, then why duplicate an expensive prototype. If the engine is being tested, what is the logic of putting it onto a new airframe straightaway. Or is the coupling being tested (very unlikely with both being nascent)?
I can only think of two reason for having two prototypes.
1. make a statement.
2. speed up testing (which I am not sure of, generally preliminary testing has serial dependencies, or so I heard).
DavidD wrote: Perhaps the canards are edge aligned with the vertical stabilizers instead?
Doesn't look like. The leading edge might match (I am more unsure than sure). But the trailing edge is way different on the rudder (it is swept quite far back). F-22 and the PAKFA have its rudder edge matched to the elevator.
As for F-22 and T-50 comparisons, it's a bit premature as both the T-50 and the J-20 are still in very early prototype stages.
May be you are right. But there are some tell-tale signs that the top speed will be limited to 1.8 machs (read inlet design and also the airframe). You see drag-wise it will be worse that EF (we can discuss this going by the level of understanding that you have shown till now, you would know this by yourself). The EF has a very high TWR. But this planform is just optimized for that top speed. I think this is what the experts (albeit biased are saying when they say that China chose a 1985 airframe). This will be the same disadvantage the F-35 suffers vis-a-vis F-22/Su-35/T-50 in terms of missile range, missile evasion and disengagement. Given the all-moving control surface and TVC, this will be maneuverable for sure. But agile, that I am not sure of that. the engines are going to be critical here. Thats why I rated it below the Raptor and T-50. Anyways, lets wait and watch. Btw, the T-50 is being rechristened to something in Russian which means multirole fighter.