Shenyang FC-31 / J-31 Fighter Demonstrator

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by RedSky, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. latenlazy
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    latenlazy Senior Member

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    A direct shot at path B could be smoothed out by leveraging legacy fighters with better multiplier and support systems, but it's less an either or than a matter of how quickly and aggressively China pursues path B. B happens sooner or later. It's really a question of whether they feel the need to purchase a cheap mainstay fighter along the way to tide over any capability gaps, or whether they think their developing network warfare capabilities will be more than adequate.
     
  2. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Senior Member

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    Yes, path B will happen sooner or later, but I think making the significant strategic long term procurement decision to go on path B sooner rather than later is very much a difficult one and risky one to make.
     
  3. latenlazy
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    latenlazy Senior Member

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    Indeed. I wouldn't expect the PLAAF to pursue it unless they were rather confident about these sorts of capabilities, but they do seem to be increasingly confident as of late.
     
  4. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Senior Member

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    I haven't observed any recent signs of confidence that they may be tending heavily towards path B rather than path A.

    They've definitely been talking more about uavs, autonomy, swarming, datalinks, and suggestions that the new stealth bomber will be more than a traditional bomber, but those are all things we'd expect to hear if they were going for path A as well.
     
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  5. latenlazy
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    latenlazy Senior Member

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    And what about talks of using the J-20 as a control center for drones?
     
  6. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Senior Member

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    We would expect that to be discussed for path A as well, and it signifies they are thinking about path B in the future, but there is no indication that they are thinking about implementing it in the near future (path B) rather than more distant future (path A then path B).

    The US has openly discussed F-35 as a drone controller as well, despite the fact that they are obviously going with path A first.
     
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  7. siegecrossbow
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    siegecrossbow Super Moderator
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  8. Lethe
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    Lethe Junior Member

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    The problem with J-31 as a smaller, cheaper complement to J-20 is that J-31 is still a large and expensive aircraft. If a complementary fighter is required, a smaller aircraft powered by a single WS-15 would be a better choice: smaller, cheaper, better logistics and maintenance efficiency (which translates to better combat efficiency and resilience).

    Someone brought up the MiG-29. The MiG-29 was a response to specific strategic requirements, i.e. to generate large numbers of affordable, high-performance aircraft for the anticipated Armageddon over Germany. In that context, the fact that the MiG-29 had no legs and the engines had to be overhauled every second flight was irrelevant. Within its limited envelope it offered performance that challenged the F-15 for relative peanuts. Once that Cold War scenario disappeared, the MiG-29 no longer made sense, which is reflected both in its lack of export success and the fact that every subsequent future evolution of the platform has been towards turning it into a miniature Flanker (more internal fuel at the cost of aerodynamic performance, greater MBTO in exchange for higher acquisition costs).

    There is no universal logic behind a hi-lo force structure, it is a response to specific strategic requirements, and it is questionable whether China has those requirements. For defensive operations within Chinese airspace, stealth is of only limited benefit and J-10C/D already offers a highly capable and affordable platform for such. For operations outside of Chinese airspace, larger platforms like J-20 are overwhelmingly superior.
     
    #4818 Lethe, Oct 12, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  9. kurutoga
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    kurutoga New Member
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    A lot of smaller countries need to counter 3rd gen jets at its borders. For these, the J31 makes perfect sense as a defensive measure. Considering it is a weak form of nuclear weapon, once you have it, even at a much lower level in terms of absolute capabilities compared to a full fledged 4th gen jet, the others will think twice before attacking you. The world has not seen large scale fights between 4th gen fighter jets, nobody knows how it will work out.

    Even for a country like the US, attacking a smaller air force with, say, 50 J-31, is still not that simple. The increased uncertainty adds anxiety in both military and nations. Some form of this scenario is being played out between North Korea and US right now.

    IMO J-31/FC-31 will be equipped in Pakistan and some Arab countries eventually, just because they have no other choices.
     
    #4819 kurutoga, Oct 12, 2017
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  10. Daniel707
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    Daniel707 New Member
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