J-10 Thread IV

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by Jeff Head, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. plawolf
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    plawolf Brigadier

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    Don’t knock iron bombs. Only 10% of the bombs used during Desert Storm were PGMs.

    Even back in the early 90s, computer assisted launches of iron bombs were able to achieve pretty respectable accuracy that were well within the lethality radius of the bombs.

    In terms of risk to aircraft, iron bombs are actually safer for fighters to deliver compared to LGBs.

    With iron bombs, once the launch aircraft drops them, their involvement ends and they are free to RTB or perform evasives. OTOH, unless you have ground forces lazing targets for you, a fighter would need to keep a target painted with his laser until impact. That makes the aircraft more vulnerable in contested airspace.

    As for pictures, well the PLA is very sensitive about showing off offensive weapons. There are precious few official pictures of any PLA aircraft with offensive weapons loads.

    That is a deliberate policy choice, so the lack of photos of PLA aircraft with PGMs should not be taken as evidence of a lack of such weapons in Chinese inventories.

    But given the threat environment China faces, I think the PLA’s primary strike weapons are going to be long range stand-off weapons; supplemented by UCAVs for high value close quarters precision work.

    China’s fast jets would primarily be tasked to clear the skies of opfor air power and for launched stand-off strikes.

    Once enemy air and air defences have been suitably neutralised, dropping iron bombs from fast jets would pretty much be just as effective as LGBs, but only at a fraction of the cost per bomb.

    Oh, and when fastjets do that, they will be operating at medium to high altitude, above the effective ranges of MANPADS and most AAA.
     
  2. Totoro
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    Totoro Captain
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    But I like to knock them, so excuse me if I keep doing that.

    Percentage in DS is meaningful because... ? During Vietnam it was <1%.
    DS was 8% according to data I found.
    Air strikes on Yugoslavia had 35% guided weapons use.
    Invasion of Iraq had 68% guided weapons use.
    Libya bombings: UK MoD had 76% guided weapons use. Some other NATO countries had 100% use.

    So the trend is very evident.

    Whether you want to bomb enemy's fixed infrastructure or relocatable (or even moving) targets, guided weapons are preferred.

    Russians, which did claim their SVP-24 system is good enough, still increased their stocks of guided weapons, adding next gen LGBs and adding satellite guided bombs to their arsenal.

    Various computer assisted systems are great, of course one is going to use them with unguided bombs. BUT, they can only do so much. To maximize results and minimize the number of
    sorties/planes needed for a mission, guided weapons are still preferred.

    I can't find ANY official info on precision of SVP-24, for example. Unofficially, 3-5 meter precision is usually cited and regurgitated online but without giving any altitude context. Which is crucial. Norden sights from ww2 also used computer (analog one) with automated bomb control and an autopilot, but have proved to be quite imprecise as the altitude increases. To the point where bombs missed a few hundred meters when dropped from 6000 m or so. Modern computer controlled systems should indeed be expected to improve upon that, perhaps even get the bombs to tens of meters when dropped from similar altitudes, but that could still be improved upon. Today guided bombs have moved on from the beginnings of JDAM. 2-3 meter precision is something that can be regularly expected from guided bombs nowadays.

    While LGBs may indeed expose the plane in certain situations, there's other situations where unguided bomb delivery exposes the plane to even greater dangers.

    LGB use may have the plane fly 8+ km high, potentially 10+ km away (horizontally) from the target. (It could be 20 km with today's lasers, who knows) While longer reach SAMS will endanger it, various other anti air systems won't.

    A plane delivering unguided bombs will necessarily be flying both lower and closer to the target. Probably so close it's going to almost overfly it. So various shorter ranged systems will come into play, endangering it. Sure, it may not get seen by longer ranged radars in its low flying approach, but it doesn't mean it will be safer overall. Longer ranged SAMs are also bigger targets, so they are going to be hunted first. While short range AA will usually always remain a threat.

    Whether PLAAF uses guided bombs more but hides that fact - well, that's possible. I'd personally say it's not likely, though. PLAAF doesn't seem to hide seemingly more important stuff. Various new weapons are seen on planes every few years, so why would satellite guided bombs be different? Satnav is almost certainly used in various cruise missiles already. (I would very much like to see high res close up images of KD-88 though, from all angles)

    I'd personally expect the reason to be that PLAAF simply did not get around to implement them. They may think their importance doesn't warrant the investment yet. They may (correctly or not) assume that getting close to targets of a peer opponent is going to be unlikely anyway, so stand off missiles are the most numerous weapon they intend to use. And that tactical bombing missions is something PLAAF is simply not tasked with, so the occasional LGB is enough for those. I personally think that'd be a grave mistake, not to include tactical strikes within the core mission set of PLAAF. I am not talking about frontline bombing. But about battlefield interdiction and bombing of various fixed sites (ports/airports/barracks/depots/factories) as well as time-important targets. (enemy has a MLRS battery in the area or a radar, etc) Those targets are going to be so plentiful that various KD-88 missiles are likely NOT going to be nearly enough to cover them in sufficient numbers. China would need literally hundreds of thousands of such missiles to cover such target classes. And KD-88 is likely both too expensive and too large (usually 2 per most planes if sufficient range is to be achieved) to be used as a mainstay weapon. Counting on the Rocket force or even PLA's artillery and MRLs to do that mission is inadequate. Rocket force's cruise missiles and ballistic missiles are simply too expensive for the numbers needed. And the ranges involved and geography of the Pacific war theater don't allow the PLA to get close enough.

    For comparison: US has upward of 400 000 JDAMs, LGBs and SDBs. And is planning to expand its arsenal of cruise missiles from roughly 10 000 to 15 000.
     
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  3. ougoah
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    ougoah Senior Member
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    They're expensive and complex. Those trends are misleading because; 1. both US and China probably have stocks of a few months worth or so of PGM depending on intensity of conflict. Manufacturing them takes much longer, cost more in materials and processes. I think there's always room for unguided bombs and rockets simply because they may often achieve the same desired effectiveness in many cases. This isn't to say PGMs are not important or worth stockpiling, they are and they are being stockpiled. Developments are always improving their abilities in China, USA, Russia ....

    2. Those 21st century conflicts were extremely small scale and have tended to avoid collateral. The professional militaries currently fighting in and around Syria all use PGMs almost exclusively. If they were fighting a high intensity war, they'd already be prioritising their resources and running on a tighter margin. With the current intensity levels, it isn't worth the extra risks in reduced capability, reliability, and accuracy. If Turkey was at war with Russia, let's see how long before they exhausted every single PGM they own and could build. Using unguided munitions effectively is more challenging in some ways. Training for them is about as necessary as training with loading up PGM drop procedures.

    Anyway this discussion came out of a picture of a J-10 loaded up with dumb bombs? We all know J-10 is capable of carrying unguided bombs and rockets. The only "surprise" is the size and weight off these bombs, never seen on a J-10. The economy and strategy behind guided:unguided inventory ratios is probably best left to those who know the details. There is certainly a place for both and all militaries agree.
     
  4. lcloo
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    lcloo Junior Member

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    Another photo of J10C dropping four iron bombs. Iron bombs are used in low AA threat areas and against low value targets.

    309c2370489b1f53130705.jpg
     
  5. Totoro
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    Totoro Captain
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    Is there an image of that same plane taken a few seconds earlier? It looks to me that twin ejector pylons are used but i want to be 101% sure.
     
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  6. xyqq
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    xyqq New Member
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    Probably not the same plane/flight if you refer to the following:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. xyqq
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    xyqq New Member
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    Looks like that the bombs are released one by one rather than at the same time.
    Could be in the order like this: left side of left twin pylon -> right side of right twin pylon -> right side of left twin pylon -> left side of right twin pylon
     
    #3547 xyqq, Dec 6, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  8. xyqq
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    xyqq New Member
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  9. Totoro
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    Totoro Captain
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    Having measured the bombs, they're roughly 2.2 to 2.3 m long. Which would make them 250 kg class ones. And with what seems to be a twin ejector rack under each wing, I would venture to guess that two of those were carried on each of the middle pylons on each wing. Curiously enough, two pylons under the intake are also present. One would expect, if they were to carry various pods - to either carry the pods or not be present at all. We also know from other, previous images that those positions can hold 250 kg bombs. Whether these two particular pylons carried bombs, which may've been dropped before this image was taken, is unknown.
     
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  10. siegecrossbow
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    siegecrossbow Brigadier
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    Documentary on J-10s performing ultra-low altitude flights.

     
    Air Force Brat, jobjed, P5678 and 3 others like this.
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