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How many fighters does China have?

This is a discussion on How many fighters does China have? within the Air Force forums, part of the China Defense & Military category; I pulled these figures together from various sources. What should the latest estimates be?...

  1. #1
    planeman's Avatar
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    How many fighters does China have?

    I pulled these figures together from various sources. What should the latest estimates be?


  2. #2
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Off the top of my head it looks alright, although I would have to check my sources (I'm not at home right now) but the number of J-10As, J-8IIs and J-7s looks right to me. At least with the Flankers you pretty much have an exact idea of how many aircraft there are. Also, why not include the JH-7?

    The JH-7 is a strike aircraft but no more than other strike fighters aircraft like the Panavia Tornado or F-15E.
    Last edited by Semi-Lobster; 04-26-2009 at 09:17 AM.

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    williamhou is offline Member
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Q-5, JH-7 missing?

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    yehe is offline Member
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Those are strikers not really fighters I guess.

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    planeman's Avatar
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Yeah I was thinking air-combat aircraft. Many of those included do have strike capabilities but in a scenario where China was trying to get air superiority, all those types would/could play an air-defence role.

    400 J-8-IIs? 500 J-7s? 130 J-10s? How good are these estimates?

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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Too many J-8II I think, China had less than 300 J-8II just 5 years ago, it would be tragic to see the number of J-8II's had increased over the years.

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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Quote Originally Posted by King_Comm View Post
    Too many J-8II I think, China had less than 300 J-8II just 5 years ago, it would be tragic to see the number of J-8II's had increased over the years.
    Production of the J-8F has never actually stopped as far as we know (although 2008 is believed to be by some observers the final year, so maybe it has ended). Afterall, the aircraft was only introduced into the PLAAF in 2004 and has also recently been spotted in PLANAF service as well so its safe to assume that production of the J-8F, while on a much lower scale, might still be continuing, especially with the introduction of the J-8T reconnaissance variant just entering service. I think the J-8IIs, while reaching the end of it's production life, probably has many years of service left in them, especially the newly built J-8Fs, and J-8Ds refurbished into J-8Hs.

    Also planeman, are the 30-50 old J-8I based J-8Es included with the J-8II list? They are actually still in service.

  8. #8
    Lion is offline Senior Member
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    I personally think J-8II number of 400 is a bit too high too although its production is reported continue. Nearing 300 will be a much reasonable number.

  9. #9
    planeman's Avatar
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Maybe if we break J-8 down into the various versions?

    J-8-I / J-8-E <recce only now?

    J-8-IIA: ???
    J-8-IIB: ???
    J-8-IIH: ??? <current main version?

  10. #10
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lion View Post
    I personally think J-8II number of 400 is a bit too high too although its production is reported continue. Nearing 300 will be a much reasonable number.
    The J-8II numbers were greater than 400 in 2006 or something IIRC from a very old Crobato posts from another forum. But this is all off of menory because I can't for the life of me remember the URL. With J-8II production continuing at a small rate since 2004 I wouldn't be surprised if it hit around 500. Frankly there are probably more, in 2007 Crobato said in the previous year that 120 new J-8Fs were built in four batches meaning in 2 years since 2006 when presumably J-8F production has ended and has been dropping off since really, another 40-80 could have been built.

    As for the J-8Es, they are actually in active status as fighters IIRC but as I said before, this is all off of memory, sorry I can't be more useful.
    Last edited by Semi-Lobster; 04-26-2009 at 12:13 PM.

  11. #11
    planeman's Avatar
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    We need Crobato


    The 'official' Sinodefence air force intro states:

    "The current inventory is composed primarily of third- and fourth-generation fighters and fighter-bombers, including 800~1,000 J-7 (MiG-21 Fishbed) and J-8II fighters, 76 Russian-built Su-27 fighters, 95~116 Chinese-assembled J-11 fighters, 76 Russian Su-30MKK multirole fighters, and some 60~80 Chinese indigenous J-10 multirole fighters."
    Last edited by planeman; 04-26-2009 at 12:39 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    On the first two deliveries of Su-27s from Russia, planes #1 to 4 were UBKs, followed by 25 and 26, then 27 to 32 are all UBKs. That's like 12 from the first two batches. Then the third batch is 28 planes all UBKs. That's like 40 UBKs.

    First batch of Su-27s were 24, plus 2 UBKs that were given. (#1 to #24, plus #25 and #26) went to the 3rd Division. Second batch was #27 to #48 which went to the 2nd Division.

    3rd batch is 28 UBKs that went to the 33rd Division. This makes a total of 76 planes made by the Russians.

    The so called 96 J-11s is based on a calculation of four observed J-11 regiments (from the 1st, 6th, 7th and 14th Division). However, the number of kits delivered was actually 105. It has to be assumed that a number of J-11s were made to fill the gaps of attrition, (crashes in training) on the earlier Su-27s which were subject to complaints about reliability.

    There is also a problem in trying to verify the total number of planes per regiment with the last four regiments. Tail numbers in the 1st Division, 1st Regiment as was high as the number 32. If there are 32 planes per J-11 division, that means there would be 28 single seaters, as each regiment should have 4 twin seaters. The 4 twin seaters have to be transferred from the 33rd, but single seater J-11s have to take their place. It is likely that the regiment sized with the PLAAF increased from 24 to 28 with fighter regiments, and 20 to 24 with attack regiments.

    The initial deployments of Su-27s had regiments of up to 24, but the third batch was deployed into a regiment of 28. J-10 regiments number in 28. If we have to assume that the number change, then the J-11 regiments should have a total of 28 aircraft rather than 24. 96 would not be enough then.

    The total regiments would be

    1st Division 1st Regiment (up to 32?)
    2nd Division 6th Regiment
    6th Division one regiment
    7th Division one regiment
    19th Division one regiment (formerly 3rd Division planes, which converted to Su-30MKK)
    33rd Division, one regiment (28 aircraft)

    1st Division 1st Regiment is the one that converted to J-11B. Their J-11A planes must have moved to the 19th, which used to have the 3rd Division planes. These latter planes are the oldest Su-27s from the first batch and appears to be in the process of being retired.

    With the Su-30MKK, they were deployed into four regiments of 19 aircraft each. But the last regiment of Su-30MK2, it was one regiment with 24 aircraft. This shows an increase in size.

    3rd Division 1 regiment
    FTTC 1 regiment
    18th Division 1 regiment
    29th Division 1 regiment

    1 regiment 4th Division PLANAF for Su-30MK2, 24 aircraft

    The JH-7 regiments also started iwth 20, but now appear to be at least 24.

    On the JH-7 and JH-7A, there appears to be

    2 regiments with the 6th Division PLANAF (both upgraded JH-7)
    1 regiment with the 9th Division PLANAF (combined JH-7 and JH-7A)
    1 regiment with the 5th Division PLANAF
    1 regiment with the 28th Division PLAAF (showcase JH-7A regiment)
    1 regiment with the 5th Division PLAAF
    1 regiment with the 11th Division PLAAF

    Most of these regiments were converted from Q-5s, which are transferred to other regiments within the same division.

    J-10 regiments 28 aircraft each, all converted from J-7B/E units.

    1 regiment with the 44th Division (first to get the honors)
    1 regiment with the 3rd Division (J-10 became official after this unit converted)
    1 regiment with the 2nd Division
    1 regiment with the 1st Division

    1 trials regiment with the FTTC (not sure how many)

    J-8F regiments not counting J-8D regiments. I would assume 28 aircraft as per later orbat.

    1 regiment with the 1st Division PLAAF
    1 regiment with the 5th Division PLANAF
    1 regiment with the 9th Division PLANAF
    1 regiment with the 37th Division PLAAF, sister regiment has J-7G

    J-8H regiment, based on J-8D conversions

    1 regiment with the 9th Division
    1 or 2 regiments with the 21st Division

    J-8I, first generation, still around

    1 or 2 regiments with the 24th Division

    J-7C/D, based on 3rd generation MiG-21MF

    1 or 2 regiments with the 25th Division.

    The 26th Division, which has three regiments consisting of J-8B and J-8D was completely retired and turned into a special mission division, such as flying KJ-2000s and Y-8GX aircraft.

    Please note, there is considerable retirement of older aircraft.

    With the first three PLAAF divisions, the 1st Division should go like this

    1st Regiment - J-11B, formerly J-11A
    2nd Regiment - J-10, formerly J-7E
    3rd Regiment - J-8F, formerly J-8D

    2nd Division

    4th Regiment - J-7E
    5th Regiment - J-10, formerly J-7E
    6th Regiment - Su-27, J-11

    3rd Division

    7th Regiment - J-7E
    8th Regiment - Su-30MKK, formerly Su-27
    9th Regiment - J-10, formerly J-7E
    Last edited by crobato; 04-26-2009 at 01:42 PM.
    "Lets do a thermal sweep."

  13. #13
    planeman's Avatar
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    Brilliant info but I got a bit lost cos I'm a thicko. Is this a correct interpretation?


    Arrived at via:

    Last edited by planeman; 04-26-2009 at 06:24 PM.

  14. #14
    Semi-Lobster's Avatar
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    The J-8B has been completely retired already? And have the J-8Ds ALL been converted to J-8Hs already because I don't think the J-8II? I find that hard to believe since there were hundreds of them. I mean at Zhuhai last year there were 2 J-8Ds doing an in flgiht refueling.

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    pla101prc is offline Senior Member
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    Re: How many fighters does China have?

    what about the 27s that just retired? you have to take those out of the total number.

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