PLAAF Flyaway Costs Thread

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by Inst, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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    Brought up because Manqiangrexue doesn't want to abide by the rules of the forum and moved into personal attacks, and we should have a venue for continuing the discussion.

    Let's start with the J-10, wherein the J-10A was claimed to cost 190 million RMB (27 million USD at current exchange rates) a while back. The rumored costs on the J-10CE is around 30-40 million, but do keep in mind that the smaller JF-17 is believed to cost 25 million or so with its Block III upgrade (including AESA) costing about 32 million.

    Gaps:

    J-20 has a Chinese claim of 110 million, which offends posters badly.

    J-11 cost isn't available on this thread
    J-16 cost isn't available on this thread
    J-15 cost isn't available on this thread.

    Please remember that we're all discussing flyaway costs, not program costs which include R&D and so on. Flyaway costs are only going to discuss the cost of fixed investment (the assemblyline needed to build the aircraft) and the cost of labor and materials to produce it.
     
  2. stannislas
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    stannislas New Member
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    Before any discussion started, can you please provide your source over all the price tags you put there?

    Sorry to say this, but base on how Chinese works, it is pretty impossible for me to imagine that CCTV could provide Chinese military equipment price from their own source, at the best is referring to some foreign source that estimates how much would it likely to be, and those estimation are generally highly unreliable, as I point out earlier in the J-20 thread, the Chinese has a very different system of how their fund their product, so estimation based on how US development their warplane could be highly inaccurate. Usually Chinese weapon price are announced through a weapon expo, like Zhuhai Airshow, but I can’t remember seen any J-20 poster there with a price tag.

    The reason why people always think Chinese weapon is much cheaper and in this case J-20, is that they usually dose, j-10 to f16, 055/052d to Arleigh Burke, etc. We don’t know the reason for this, and I’m not going to speculate how and why, but until a definitive source proven otherwise, I will always put a question mark on any estimations.
     
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  3. Brumby
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    Brumby Major

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    I am commenting based on what you have outlined in this thread and not based on those conversations that took place in the J-20 thread.

    You need to define what you are attempting to discuss and in particular the objectives or conclusion that you wish to draw.

    Please don't go into those F-16 vs J-10 cost comparison. Cost among other things are correlated to capabilities. The reason why an F-16 (whatever version) cost X dollars is because a particular version comes with it a suite of capabilities. For example, F-16 Block 50/52 comes with it R7 release, i.e. with SEAD capabilities that can ID a threat emission with an angular accuracy of within 1 degree. This is one of the best in the 4th gen business. The only other 4th gen platform AFAIK that has similar capability is the Rafale. Unless you know what the J-10C is capable of, you will be making apples to oranges comparison.

    The problem is with all these comparisons, the starting point is the assumption that they are comparable. They are not by any measure comparable predominantly because nobody knows the capabilities behind the Chinese systems. Cost (even if known) itself is a very poor measure because there are other important attributes in a weapons platform.

    The Malaysian experience is a good example in contrast. Malaysia bought around the same time a fleet of 18 MIG-29, 18 SU-30MKM and 8 F-18 D. More Russian units were purchased because it was cheaper on a per unit basis. Today, the MIG-29s are prematurely retired; as recent as 2018 only 4 of the SU-30MKM were operational. The 8 F-18 are still flying and 4 participated in the Australian Pitch Black exercise last year. In the end you get what you pay for.
     
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  4. stannislas
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    stannislas New Member
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    I don't think Malaysian Airforce is a good example for say, the reason why Mig-29 isn't cheap anymore more relate to Soviet Union clasps than the quality of the aircraft. Ever since the USSR fell, the Russian almost hasn't developed or produced anything in the 90s, like a lot of Chinese Su-27Sks were directly taken from their airbase, and J-11A were just exports of factory surplus. Most Russian military exports by then were assemblies of spare parts manufactured in the 80s. Now those spare parts are rare to find, thus the Malaysian stop believes it's economical to maintain in service. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, were those Mig or Su-30 were, in fact, 2nd hand?

    Back to Chinese, there are some results out when they exercise with Pakistan, Thailand, and Russia, that you could use as a reference to estimate their performance. But, I think a better way to compare the weapon systems is by the compare the weapon systems that aim to conduct for a similar mission. Thus you could say, J-10, Mig-29, and F-16 are comparable, J-20 services a similar role as F-22 and F-35 at some level.
     
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  5. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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    @Brumby

    Your point is more that this'll attract Chinats who want to claim that their stuff is the cheapest and the best. This thread is just based on getting the best unit costs available for PLAAF equipment, especially equipment for export. There was ZERO discussion in this thread of how much a F-16 costs (which ended up in the J-20 thread because it was relevant to estimating Chinese cost levels for procurement). So, I mean, if it segues into that level of discussion, you have a point, but we're just discussing what's known about PLAAF procurement costs.
     
  6. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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    JF-17:

    Block I

    https://books.google.com/books?id=U...sx1kKHTw9DicQ6AEwDnoECGQQAQ#v=onepage&q=jf-17 block 1 cost 15 million&f=false

    (15 million)

    Block II

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/2012671/1-jf-17-thunder-flies-high-among-140-aircraft-paris-air-show/

    Myanmar purchase deal:

    https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2017-06-15/jf-17-myanmar-seen-flying-china

    35 million per aircraft, likely including parts and support. Assuming 50% is parts / support (common with many aircraft), implies 18 million unit cost. JDW claims 16 million unit cost. Nikkei claims that the prices aren't publicly available for the Myanmar deal.

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/With-China-as-its-mentor-Pakistan-triples-arms-exports

    Block III prices are more inferred, I recall finding a Pakistani article that claimed the target price for the JF-17 Blk 3 was 32 million, but I can't find it again.
     
  7. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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  8. lcloo
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    lcloo Junior Member

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    Bear in mind the fly away prices between a foreign buyer and PLAAF is very different. Government owned and controlled AVIC is restricted by the government on maximum profit margin they are allowed to earn on selling to another government entity, i.e. PLAAF. And such restriction is not valid for foreign customer.

    Selling to PLA, PLAAF and PLAN are done in socialist way, as doing a service to the country earning only token profits. Thus fly away "cost" = ex-factory cost + token profit margin.

    Selling to foreign customers is done in a market capitalist way as in making maximum profit permissible under competitive condition, fighting off other sellers. Fly away "cost" = ex-factory cost + big profit margin and may be + other add-on parts and services,
     
    #8 lcloo, Jan 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  9. Brumby
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    Your effort is commendable. Good luck then. Let's see how far you get with this.
     
  10. Brumby
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    As you are agreeing with your comments, acquisition cost is not the sole metrics in comparing across platforms. There are other important considerations such as sustainability, serviceability, parts availability, support services, upgrade pathways et al. as evident from the Malaysian experience making acquisition decisions on cost is short sighted and runs counter to a sustainable value proposition.

    I disagree with the general argument of comparability on the basis of mission sets as they are too broad in nature. Based on mission set, I can make the argument that a B-25 and a F-117 is comparable because both are aerial platforms for delivering bombs. In a J-20 vs F-22 conversation, there are many capabilities that are classified and unknown. In the case of the J-20 we hardly know anything about its capabilities. How on earth can you make an argument that they are comparable? What is your basis? You need to make your case based on facts, not opinion.
     
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