China Flanker Thread II


Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
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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.
All growth will eventually reach a plateau depending on how one measures it.

For example, going from say, 10 to 200 AESA equipped fighters in the space of three years in terms of "percentage increase" is a 2000% increase in AESA equipped fighters.

But hypothetically going from 200 to 500 AESA fighters in the next three years would "only" be a 250% increase in AESA equipped fighters even though in those three years the absolute amount of AESA equipped fighters added will increase compared to the previous three years.



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 would be interested to know what you think the PLAAF's level of "acceptable" would be considering the PLA's overall modernization trajectory is one that will be evolving as long as the nation's economic health and technology base keeps evolving.




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.
Considering the vast majority of J-11Bs and J-10A/Bs only entered service within the last ten years, I think we are hardly in a rush to start calling full time as to whether they will be upgraded or not. Maybe in another five or ten years if there is still no indications of an MLU being done I would agree with you.



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.
In terms of military aerospace technology I think the PLA's advancements over the last decade has exceeded expectations in almost every domain.

In terms of military capability and the balance of strategic air power in the region I think if I were the PLA I would much prefer to be where things are in 2018 rather than 2008 or 1998.

And in terms of the PLA's military aviation capability to fight a regional high intensity war in a multi-domain manner, the gap in military capability has shrunk even more dramatically.


Wholesale numerical comparisons of capability of course means the USAF and USN would take the no.1 and no.2 spots (or vice versa), but the pace at which the PLA has climbed up the ranks from two decades ago to now is unprecedented.
 

latenlazy

Colonel
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.
Minimal deterrence was almost certainly the main focus for military development within China's political leadership a decade ago, but taking all recent signals in stride it seems very apparent now that based on the last 5 years of strategic developments they have made a determination that China's security situation is likely to trend more towards pessimistic scenarios rather than optimistic ones, which will then necessitate broader and more expansive military capabilities to meet those challenges. It's not a coincidence that we're now hearing that the PLAAF may be deciding to pick up a second stealth fighter, or that initial orders of the Type 055 might end up being greater than the 8 hulls that was first planned. In the last few years there has been a marked uptick in the cadence and scope of the PLA's military development, and more overt and committed efforts to project a stronger (some might accuse more aggressive) forward geopolitical position and posture. I don't think China needs to contest the US's military supremacy at the global level or match the US in defense spending as a share of GDP to meet its security needs, but overmatching the US at the regional level looks increasingly like it may become the key imperative by which the bar will be set.

Edit: On tech, I don’t think China’s leadership sees a contradiction between military spending and STEM progress or commercial technological development. Rather, they see the former as a key (though probably not singular) driver of the latter. Money they’ve spend on chasing military modernization is also money spent on upgrading their scientific knowledge, technical competence, and industrial base, which is then monetized by commercial applications.
 
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ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Minimal deterrence was almost certainly the main focus for military development within China's political leadership a decade ago, but taking all recent signals in stride it seems very apparent now that based on the last 5 years of strategic developments they have made a determination that China's security situation is likely to trend more towards pessimistic scenarios rather than optimistic ones, which will then necessitate broader and more expansive military capabilities to meet those challenges. It's not a coincidence that we're now hearing that the PLAAF may be deciding to pick up a second stealth fighter, or that initial orders of the Type 055 might end up being greater than the 8 hulls that was first planned. In the last few years there has been a marked uptick in the cadence and scope of the PLA's military development, and more overt and committed efforts to project a stronger (some might accuse more aggressive) forward geopolitical position and posture. I don't think China needs to contest the US's military supremacy at the global level or match the US in defense spending as a share of GDP to meet its security needs, but overmatching the US at the regional level looks increasingly like it may become the key imperative by which the bar will be set.

Edit: On tech, I don’t think China’s leadership sees a contradiction between military spending and STEM progress or commercial technological development. Rather, they see the former as a key (though probably not singular) driver of the latter. Money they’ve spend on chasing military modernization is also money spent on upgrading their scientific knowledge, technical competence, and industrial base, which is then monetized by commercial applications.
Military modernisation is definitely not the singular driver of STEM progress. So many military technologies are classified and cannot be commercialised, either enforced by law or due to inapplicability. Spending money on military in the belief that the few shreds of evidence suggesting it indeed drives STEM, will come back to bite China. It is more often the other way around. It is of course still important to have dedicated research and development in military industries but STEM progress and discoveries often find military application while it is rare that military tech ends up commercialised and making money. Although that's obviously happened as well. It's just that many of these are either proprietary knowledge or too sensitive to disclose.
 

latenlazy

Colonel
Military modernisation is definitely not the singular driver of STEM progress. So many military technologies are classified and cannot be commercialised, either enforced by law or due to inapplicability. Spending money on military in the belief that the few shreds of evidence suggesting it indeed drives STEM, will come back to bite China. It is more often the other way around. It is of course still important to have dedicated research and development in military industries but STEM progress and discoveries often find military application while it is rare that military tech ends up commercialised and making money. Although that's obviously happened as well. It's just that many of these are either proprietary knowledge or too sensitive to disclose.
It’s not the military technologies themselves which drive STEM. It’s the knowledge based and industrial capacity generated by pursuing military technologies, which then generate derived benefits in commercial application. That said, it is in fact not rare at all that technologies which start off through military research and applications end up driving huge commercial successes. Most of the major commercial inventions and innovations we see as cutting edge today started off as military tech. That includes nuclear power, semiconductors, the internet, telecoms, and aerospace. Silicon Valley doesn’t exist without DARPA and the massive MIC in California. The internet was originally invented to explore decentralized communications protocol to make nuclear launch commands resilient to first strike and decapitation attacks. The US Space Program was a military program, and generated a whole slew of innovations across multiple industrial sectors. Top of the line commercial aviation doesn’t exist without all the military funding underwriting the R&D for new materials. Military needs both create the requirements that push technical performance and provides price and risk tolerant funding that helps bridge technologies which otherwise wouldn’t be cost viable in the private market. Any close study of the history of technology would find that military funding runs deep in many of the most essential commercial technologies we rely on today.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
In Twitter People Talking About “J-11E", Is This a True? So What Happen For "J-11D"?

Could you please post that specific "tweet"? Otherwise I find it quite difficult to judge its credibility ... for example if this stems from WantChina, the SCMP (esp. Minnie Chan) or one of the other typical suspects I won't rate it very high...
 

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