Ask anything Thread


Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Three PLAAF units are confirmed to have received J-20s in service:
176th brigade, 172nd brigade and 9th brigade.

176th brigade is a tactics development unit.
172nd brigade is an advanced training and combat reserve unit.
9th brigade is a frontline combat unit.


The units that have had J-20s assigned to them give us a gauge of how far along they are with the programme.
We do not know how many J-20s they are producing annually, however the fact that new units are being equipped with J-20s is proof that production is ongoing and total J-20 numbers are growing.
Thanks Blitzo! I do find it odd that we are not seeing any primer birds, confirmed new tail numbers seem to have dried up?? I suppose my real concern is that there are not any solid leads from even anonymous sources??

But, as I said, China has surprised me more than once, and neither do we have any rumors of real troubles? so we may all get a surprise someday soon..

As you may recall initial batch production seemed to hover very firmly at around 4 new birds a year....
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Thanks Blitzo! I do find it odd that we are not seeing any primer birds, confirmed new tail numbers seem to have dried up?? I suppose my real concern is that there are not any solid leads from even anonymous sources??

But, as I said, China has surprised me more than once, and neither do we have any rumors of real troubles? so we may all get a surprise someday soon..

As you may recall initial batch production seemed to hover very firmly at around 4 new birds a year....
We haven't had any good or up to date pictures of planes at the factory since late 2015, when we saw s/n 2101 in yellow primer -- nothing like between early 2010 and late 2015 when we had semi regular photos of the factor and the J-20 prototypes that would newly emerge.

Since late 2015 we've had very intermittent pictures of the factory (maybe one picture every few months) but we are never sure how up to date they are, and they never reveal anything useful (like allowing us to gauge what annual production rate is).


The lack of pictures from the factory is almost certainly by design -- i.e.: now that J-20 has entered the production phase and is equipping PLAAF units, they are deliberately clamping down on our ability to accurately estimate how many aircraft may exist in service. That is also why sometimes they hide the serial numbers of new in service aircraft, so that we don't know which unit they're assigned to. And even when they do (such as for the 62001 s/n J-20 at 9th brigade that we've seen), they often only show us the "lowest" number so we are unable to estimate how many actual aircraft there may be at any one time. E.g.: at 9th brigade in Wuhu from satellite pictures we've identified 3 J-20s at that base, yet they only show us the "01" airframe at the unit.

We've seen this pattern in the past for other aircraft as well such as SAC Flankers and even for J-10 production to a smaller degree (especially more recently).
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
We haven't had any good or up to date pictures of planes at the factory since late 2015, when we saw s/n 2101 in yellow primer -- nothing like between early 2010 and late 2015 when we had semi regular photos of the factor and the J-20 prototypes that would newly emerge.

Since late 2015 we've had very intermittent pictures of the factory (maybe one picture every few months) but we are never sure how up to date they are, and they never reveal anything useful (like allowing us to gauge what annual production rate is).


The lack of pictures from the factory is almost certainly by design -- i.e.: now that J-20 has entered the production phase and is equipping PLAAF units, they are deliberately clamping down on our ability to accurately estimate how many aircraft may exist in service. That is also why sometimes they hide the serial numbers of new in service aircraft, so that we don't know which unit they're assigned to. And even when they do (such as for the 62001 s/n J-20 at 9th brigade that we've seen), they often only show us the "lowest" number so we are unable to estimate how many actual aircraft there may be at any one time. E.g.: at 9th brigade in Wuhu from satellite pictures we've identified 3 J-20s at that base, yet they only show us the "01" airframe at the unit.

We've seen this pattern in the past for other aircraft as well such as SAC Flankers and even for J-10 production to a smaller degree (especially more recently).
That's true, I even lost track of J-15 numbers, so we could get a surprise at some point? So were we thinking J-15 numbers are in the 24-30 range at present?
 

Xsizor

Junior Member
Registered Member
We haven't had any good or up to date pictures of planes at the factory since late 2015, when we saw s/n 2101 in yellow primer -- nothing like between early 2010 and late 2015 when we had semi regular photos of the factor and the J-20 prototypes that would newly emerge.

Since late 2015 we've had very intermittent pictures of the factory (maybe one picture every few months) but we are never sure how up to date they are, and they never reveal anything useful (like allowing us to gauge what annual production rate is).


The lack of pictures from the factory is almost certainly by design -- i.e.: now that J-20 has entered the production phase and is equipping PLAAF units, they are deliberately clamping down on our ability to accurately estimate how many aircraft may exist in service. That is also why sometimes they hide the serial numbers of new in service aircraft, so that we don't know which unit they're assigned to. And even when they do (such as for the 62001 s/n J-20 at 9th brigade that we've seen), they often only show us the "lowest" number so we are unable to estimate how many actual aircraft there may be at any one time. E.g.: at 9th brigade in Wuhu from satellite pictures we've identified 3 J-20s at that base, yet they only show us the "01" airframe at the unit.

We've seen this pattern in the past for other aircraft as well such as SAC Flankers and even for J-10 production to a smaller degree (especially more recently).
So...it wouldn't be wrong to conclude the number 28 (LRIP with initial prototypes) isn't accurate and the actual numbers are greater. ( not substantially though)
 

Xsizor

Junior Member
Registered Member
Wikipedia states it. I thought therefore 28 was the number veteran members had in their minds whenever a discussion on the actual number of j-20 took place. Counting the serial numbers (as another member pointed out) would only decrease the total produced.
A much more precise figure would be appreciated.
 

Bhurki

Junior Member
Registered Member
Not sure if this is the right thread to ask this.. but, can someone tell how the final number of f-35a acquisition by usaf was decided? Are the 1763 airframes supposed to be in service simultaneously or will some batches be plated before the final batch is put into service.
F-35a is to replace a-10( not short term because they just got approved new wings) and f-16 from the usaf. The combined numbers of both aircraft are around 1000. Since, the future expansion of usaf to 386 sqn deems just 7 extra fighter squadrons to be necessary, where are the rest f-35 expected to be absorbed?
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
So...it wouldn't be wrong to conclude the number 28 (LRIP with initial prototypes) isn't accurate and the actual numbers are greater. ( not substantially though)
It is indeed hard to say, but 20 or so is a number I'm very comfortable with... I think 28 would be pushing it?? but here again, hard numbers are hard to come by, Blitzo might like the #28? or maybe more??

The important thing for each of us to reflect on? "it is what it is", if Monday the PLAAF comes out with list of 35 tail numbers, I will have been "way off"???
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Not sure if this is the right thread to ask this.. but, can someone tell how the final number of f-35a acquisition by usaf was decided? Are the 1763 airframes supposed to be in service simultaneously or will some batches be plated before the final batch is put into service.
F-35a is to replace a-10( not short term because they just got approved new wings) and f-16 from the usaf. The combined numbers of both aircraft are around 1000. Since, the future expansion of usaf to 386 sqn deems just 7 extra fighter squadrons to be necessary, where are the rest f-35 expected to be absorbed?
I will say this, in our current political climate, #1763 airframes is a wet dream? it could happen, but the Air Force says "Aim HI!", its always safer in the long run.... but as Jeff Head says?? "we will see"??

The F-35 will replace A-10's, F-16's, and likely F-15's in the future, those airframes are approaching retirement, as you stated the A-10 is being re-winged to extend its life, F-16's and F-15's are also being "SLEPed" in limited numbers.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
That's true, I even lost track of J-15 numbers, so we could get a surprise at some point? So were we thinking J-15 numbers are in the 24-30 range at present?
It's not impossible that more J-15s may have been built -- however with J-15s we had received serials in a bit more of a regular fashion such that we believe we had managed to have ALL of their serials over time.

That is different for other aircraft like J-16s, J-10B/C, J-20 etc (not to mention older J-11Bs, J-10As etc) whose numbers we have not been able to fully tally like J-15s.
 

Top