China Flanker Thread II

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by sumdud, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Bltizo
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    Considering the total number of Block II superbugs in USN service and the small number of F-35Cs, that's not unexpected.
    In fact, the USN probably has as many if not more AESA equipped fighters than the USAF now that I think about it, as the USAF's AESA equipped fighters are F-22s and F-35As, as well as a variable number of upgraded F-15s and F-16s, but the total number of upgraded USAF 4th gens is... limited at best.

    In terms of worldwide fighters, the USN and USAF obviously have the highest number of AESA equipped fighters, holding spots no.1 and no.2 (in one order or the other), but coming in at no.3 is definitely the PLAAF.
    When we look at how the earliest of the PLAAF's AESA fighters only began entering service in about 2015 (J-10Cs and J-16s, with J-20s late last year/this year), and already numbering over 200, that is quite impressive no matter how you cut it.
     
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  2. SinoSoldier
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    USN is obviously not a realistic goal for the PLAN to match, but the real threat to the PLA would be the hundreds of potential F-35s and/or upgraded legacy fighters operated by East Asian air forces such as ROKAF or JASDF, even the Indian AF to some extent. ROKAF, IAF, RSAF, are all upgrading their legacy Sukhois or American imports with AESA radars while the JMSDF recently announced their plans to turn the Izumo into F-35B-supporting vessels.

    I agree that the recent adoption of AESA radars has been impressive, but it is really insufficient to face the threat described above even if China has a head start.
     
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  3. Bltizo
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    Well, no one was talking about the PLAN, but rather you mentioned the USN when siege was talking about the PLAAF...

    My point was that suggesting that the PLAAF was somehow "unable" to match the USN's AESA equipped fighters is a bit ludicrous considering the USN probably has about as many AESA equipped fighters as the USAF!
    Going from 0 AESA equipped fighters to about 200, in about 3 years is a bit more than impressive, I would actually call it jaw dropping. No other aerospace industry or nation's air arm is capable of doing that apart from the US.

    As for total AESA equipped fighters are concerned, the PLA's large number of J-10A/B and J-11B aircraft would all make prime candidates for AESA refits in coming years, especially as it seems cost-effective and practical AESA refits like LETRI's air cooled AESA is being targeted for JF-17s. I would be surprised if the PLA did not leverage such technologies for their own non-AESA 4th gens. Going forwards, in the next 3 years or so I expect the total number of AESA equipped fighters to at least double from now, if not more if the PLA chooses to adopt an AESA refit program. The PLA have nearly 400 J-10As and probably about 250 J-11B aircraft between the Air Force and Navy to work with.

    As for the overall strategic air balance in Asia, 5th gen numbers and upgraded 4+ gen numbers are part of the equation. But other force things like force mulitpliers (AEW&C, EW platforms, and tankers), conventional long range missile forces, and strategic ISR and UAV forces will all become relevant as well. Not to mention credible long range air to ground strike capabilities, which only the PLA really has of the East Asia nations (i.e.: not including US) in the form of the fleet of H-6Ks that still grows today.
    So I'd say the strategic air picture looks better for the PLA now than it did five years ago and certainly much better than it did ten years ago.
     
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  4. Air Force Brat
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    Yep!
     
  5. Hyperwarp
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    If you add up all the F/A-18E/F, EA-18G and F-35C, the USN probably has more AESA equipped fighters than the USAF at this moment. But both F-15C/D and F-16C/D will be getting ‎AN/APG-63(V)3 and AN/APG-83 respectively but right now, USN likely has more AESA equipped fighters.
     
  6. antiterror13
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    I think probably a record in the world apart from the USA of course ;)
     
  7. Bltizo
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    Also, I cannot remember but was this picture posted here? It looks like 04XY, i.e.: 4th batch...

    @Deino

    [​IMG]
     
  8. SinoSoldier
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    It needs to be noted that the rate at which the PLAAF is modernizing its fleet will not be sustained forever and will reach a plateau. That plateau, given the comparative budgets and industrial capacities of China and the United States, is bound to be much more numerically & technologically conservative compared to that of the USN/USAF. What you're witnessing now is just the PLAAF attempting to catch up, and when it finally reaches what the PLA brass deems acceptable, it will still be far inferior to the USN's aircraft in terms of both quantity and quality.

    I don't expect to see a significant portion of older J-11B/J-10A/B to be retrofitted with AESA radars, especially airframes from earlier batches. As these aircraft approach the end of their service life, it becomes less of an advantage to have these expensive MLUs with higher-end avionics that would better be used on a new airframe. The further delayed this anticipated MLU program is, the less of a quantity of J-11B/J-10A/B that will be converted.

    Of course I'm not in denial of the PLAAF's rapid transformation into a modern air power through these means. But make no mistake that they have a long, long way to go before they can stand toe-to-toe with its most urgent opponent, and that even if they wanted to match the USN, it is doubtful that they could.
     
  9. latenlazy
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    I wouldn’t be so sure...China’s actual industrial capacity in physical manufacturing output is a multiple greater than the US’s currently. In a war economy China could easily outbuild the US today. Furthermore if China even reaches half the development level of the US their GDP would be double. If growth keeps up even at half the clip it’s at today China would have the capacity for a far bigger military budget in absolute value. So long as the PLA’s budget isn’t spread across maintaining global bases and spending is focused on regional dominance, China’s military budget doesn’t even have to match the US’s dollar for dollar to field a superior regional military. If we look at where China’s state of the art technologies are and compare them to the pace the US’s technology has been progressing, that gap already isn’t very big either. Given these conditions, I’m not sure why we should expect the PLA brass to deem an inferior level to the USN in either quality or quantity as acceptable or satisfactory, or the place to draw the line on military capability over the long run. If the PLA can do better there’s no reason why they wouldn’t choose to.

    Depends on the theater and win conditions. In waging a global war against the US China indeed has a very long way to go. In waging a regional war I think they’re probably much closer than you seem to think. I don’t think it’s worth derailing this thread to go into the details why, but if you’re interested in this discussion we can continue it elsewhere.
     
    #7069 latenlazy, Dec 5, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
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  10. ougoah
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    ougoah Senior Member
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    While a lot of this is an accurate observation, it needs to be mentioned that they have the option of not matching the US in quantity and capability. Enough may be acceptable. Enough for deterrence from direct military confrontation, and even enough for indirect confrontation or proxy conflicts (this is still a luxury at the moment). Pouring more into military can end up being a total waste of labour and resources. Depends on how the economy is set up. Military industry is usually a huge earner particularly when you export things, but honestly this is not in the interest of the world. Facilitating conflict and offering ways for politicians to wage war or threaten war is NOT the direction we ought to go. In this era, China does need to defend itself from aggression so of course a strong military is ideal particularly when many others have similarly capable or superior militaries.

    The thinking here is to strategically allocate resources and optimise everything based on reliable intelligence gathering. Not to overspend and bankrupt the nation because QE on the scale the US practices it on is possibly an unrealistic option for China. Although it seems like China's taking this route at the moment, hopefully all those funds are given for commercial enterprises to speed up STEM progress.
     
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