China Flanker Thread II


siegecrossbow

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IMO there's a simple litmus test -- do you think F-15E is a striker?
Actually, F-15E is primarily used for strike within USAF. It was used to fill the gap left by the F-111 after it was decommissioned. The F-15E can perform air superiority tasks well but F-15E pilots don’t receive as much air to air training as their F-15C/D peers. Countries like South Korea with export variants of F-15E probably use it for both roles since they don’t have the luxury of a dedicated striker.
 

Bltizo

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Actually, F-15E is primarily used for strike within USAF. It was used to fill the gap left by the F-111 after it was decommissioned. The F-15E can perform air superiority tasks well but F-15E pilots don’t receive as much air to air training as their F-15C/D peers. Countries like South Korea with export variants of F-15E probably use it for both roles since they don’t have the luxury of a dedicated striker.
Yeah, that's the point I'm making.

In terms of multirole and strike capability, IMO J-16 is the PLA's equivalent of F-15E, in the same way the J-11B/BS is the PLA's equivalent of F-15C/D.
What kind of emphasis on the air superiority vs strike capability the J-16 fleet presently partakes for the PLA vs the F-15E in the USAF, is of course a different question entirely.

But it's entirely appropriate to call J-16 a striker in the PLA if the F-15E is a striker in the USAF.
 

Bltizo

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Guys we don’t have to choose. The term “strike fighter” exists for a reason.
I think strike fighter/striker can be used interchangably to describe any fighters capable of strike.

Dedicated strike aircraft otoh, I would consider to be aircraft like JH-7/A or Su-24 or F-111, and I think that is what totoro is getting at.
 

Inst

Senior Member
The entire bleeding interceptor / striker etc argument has gotten out of hand.

Let's put the division clearly:

Fighters -> primarily intended to destroy other aircraft
Attack / Bomber Aircraft -> primarily intended to attack ground targets.

Within the attack / bomber aircraft family, you see attack planes like the A-10 Thunderbolt II which is intended to attack ground vehicles, or general attack aircraft which can attack a variety of surface targets, and often have some self-defense ability against fighters.

Bombers, on the other hand, are intended to deploy vast amounts of munitions at altitude, often not for precision strike, and often have very long ranges to boot.

You also have aircraft which are classified as fighter-bombers, such as the JH-7. These are attack aircraft that are intended to conduct warfare at stand-off distances, but often have better self-defense ability than attack aircraft against other aerial threats.

Now, let's discuss fighters.

First, most fighters these days are multi-role (omni-role is the new marketing phrase), meaning that they can conduct a variety of missions ranging from interception to ground attack. Second, you have general basic categories of interceptor (intended to attack support and bomber aircraft), air superiority (intended to destroy enemy fighters), and strike (enhanced ground attack ability).

The funny thing is, with 4th generation (international) and 5th generation aircraft, the lines between these categories have blurred. For example, the F-16 was set up as a light air superiority aircraft. As it evolved, its avionics improved, its load capability was reinforced, and it became more of a strike aircraft. But if you put in a fully-modern F-16V vs a F-16A, the F-16A should lose because it has BVR disadvantages and even WVR the F-16V has much more thrust.

Or take a look at the MiG-31, for instance. On paper, it's an interceptor. But the difference between the MiG-31 (4th generation) and MiG-25 (3rd generation) is that the MiG-31 can actually dogfight to an extent, having sufficient advantages against third-generation fighters in terms of speed and no marked differences from 3rd generation fighters in terms of maneuverability. It's demonstrated 18 degree / sec turns. Moreover, in BVR, it has a decided advantage over all 4th generation air superiority fighters, with the challenge being for its missiles to actually hit the air superiority fighter.

The point is, when we say the J-16 is a striker, it doesn't mean that it's worthless vs an air superiority aircraft. It's still fairly competent, and against its same generation peers, while it'd be wasteful to deploy it in such a role, it can still defend itself and maybe even push the attack. The distinguishing factor is simply that it's reinforced for a larger air-to-ground payload than the J-11, and when you consider the technological differences between a J-16 and a J-11A/B, the J-16 can win easily because it has better BVR ability.

In fact, in the 5th generation, we can argue that an air superiority role is actually limiting. If you consider the F-22, for instance, the F-22 is abandonware in part because it has no considerable ground attack ability. It can launch a few bombs from its shallow bays, but it can't pack anti-ship missiles or long-range anti-radiation missiles.

The F-35, in contrast, can do much of the same the F-22 can (be stealthy, launch AAMs), but can load more powerful air to ground missiles. The only thing the F-22 truly has over the F-35 is that the F-22 is capable of high-speed interception missions that the F-35 can't do due to a functional speed limit of Mach 1.3-Mach 1.6.


====

In conclusion, the labels are bloody meaningless once we get to 4.5 and 5th generation aircraft. No one optimizes aircraft for a single role anymore, and even when an aircraft has a "single role" affixed to it, you can't expect its capabilities to match similar aircraft in the role; c.f. J-16 striker can intercept, while the F-16 striker can't.
 

Inst

Senior Member
Doing some research, basically, a striker tends to be a bad or mediocre interceptor. Both the Su-30MKI and base Su-30s have reduced speeds compared to the Su-27 and Su-35. An interceptor tends to fare poorly WVR, but if you look at the MiG-31 it's a capable striker with Kinzhal missiles being loaded on. An air superiority aircraft tends to be defined by its shoddiness at strike.

But within categories, there's great variability, as seen between the F-16 and Su-30.

Basically, it's Blitzo's argument for the J-20 being air superiority fulfilled: the J-20's strike ability is mediocre given that its payload is about exactly the same as the J-31's and roughly comparable to the F-35's.
 

Deino

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Has no one posted this video of the J-16? First time seeing it using air-to-surface weaponry.

Not sure about, but - I think you mean the last few seconds - only here you see one dropping a air-to-surface weaponry ... but no image in this film shows a J-16 carrying any air-to-surface weaponry:

1584255157754.png

Here however it is IMO a randomly taken sequence from a YJ-91 launch and AFAIK we've seen the same sequence together with J-10Bs already:

1584255245418.png


PS: I think these are in fact the first images I remember with true Air to ground (albeit here an AShM) stores besides these unguided rocket pods.

1584264210800.png
 
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Deino

Lieutenant General
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With now schools are closed, I had some free-time for fun ... so here's my layman's attempt for a simple sheet to differ between the various variants, that are in PLAAF and PLAN NA service... Hope you find it useful ;)... and any suggestions are welcome. See it as some "work in progress"


PLAAF + PLAN NA - all Flankers - 1 fighters.jpg
PLAAF + PLAN NA - all Flankers - 2 striker.jpg
 

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