China Flanker Thread II


Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
That is even more than i thought. How come we are suddenly at 140? When you spoke of your take on plaaf orbat you mentioned 2 frontline units operating j16 in full, and two more in conversion. With some (up to a dozen) more in two training/testing units?

I have no fixed clue, ... just for fun I checked for the J-16 the construction blocks for the highest number known and when the first of a new Block appeared:



Block - first seen - highest no. known (assumption of maximum number within that batch)

01 - 08.2015 - 01.22 (24)
02 - 11.2016 - 02.22 (24)
03 - 03.2018 - 03.28 (32)
04 - 09.2018 - 04.22 (32)
05 - 06.2019 - 05.20 (32)
06 – 03.2020 – 06.04 = ... = 114-144 + Batch 06 aircraft
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
Thanks. So one would get 22nd J16 on August 2015 and 55 months later 148th J16 would be observed flying. 148 minus 22 is 126 planes in 55 months. Roughly 2.3 planes per month. Roughly 28 planes per year. (though, of course, this is skewed by early batches being smaller)

Now, assuming 32 planes per batch size is true, the observed dates would suggest 9 months for 10 planes of batch 4 and 20 planes of batch 5 and 9 months for 12 planes of batch 5 and 4 planes of batch 6. So, between 16 and 30 planes per 9 months. Or some 2.55 planes per month. Or roughly 31 planes per year.

While the second method is less precise in itself as there are many unknowns, both methods do suggest that, overall, we are at roughly 30 J16s produced per year. I'd say give or take a few but it seems a few more is a tad more likely than a few less.

That recent rumor of 60 j16 per year notwithstanding, we are indeed seeing an increase in flanker production rates. Assuming, of course, there are also a dozen or so J15 (batch 3?) being made at the same time. Because 40 to 45 flankers per year is a production rate that's never before been observed in China.
 

AndrewS

Major
Registered Member
That recent rumor of 60 j16 per year notwithstanding, we are indeed seeing an increase in flanker production rates. Assuming, of course, there are also a dozen or so J15 (batch 3?) being made at the same time. Because 40 to 45 flankers per year is a production rate that's never before been observed in China.
Last year, we also saw 10 destroyers being launched, which is a ridiculously high production rate which has not been observed in China, or indeed anywhere since World War 2.

And if you think about it, what is the point of building large numbers of destroyers for offshore sea-control, unless they are also backed up by fighter jet cover?

Let's see what happens.
 

ansy1968

Junior Member
Registered Member
Last year, we also saw 10 destroyers being launched, which is a ridiculously high production rate which has not been observed in China, or indeed anywhere since World War 2.

And if you think about it, what is the point of building large numbers of destroyers for offshore sea-control, unless they are also backed up by fighter jet cover?

Let's see what happens.
Hi AndrewS,

It is a possibility that China may be preparing for a major conflict?
 

AndrewS

Major
Registered Member
Hi AndrewS,

It is a possibility that China may be preparing for a major conflict?
Of course. That is what militaries do.

But remember this.

China expects to catch-up and become a wealthy hi-tech society in the future. So time is China's side. The effects of the coronavirus have only accelerated this trend, with a record difference in growth levels between China and the US for example.

Also remember that China has already passed the point where it could be economically contained by the US, so all the neo cons have left is the military.

But thankfully they are still a minority in the US
 
Last edited:

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Originally AL-31 can spool up a lot faster but the thrust level is similar. With the latest batch I’m sure the issues has been resolved.
Spool up time is pretty damn important for a fighter engine. The fact that WS-10s have been flying on J-11s for a decade now and the PLAAF is happy enough with them to have put them on J-20s and later, J-10s, indicates the spool up issue has LOOOOOONG been resolved. It was actually the WS-10's problem as in the very first WS-10 prototypes. Should have been resolved before the WS-10A made its way onto all the flankers around 2010. How would an airforce that has proven record of being demanding (going with Russian engines whenever the Chinese alternatives don't measure up and outright rejecting new fighters like J-11D) be okay with an engine that takes its time to deliver the increased thrust required at a moment's notice. The engine question isn't something like the 5th gen fighter question. There are alternatives supplied enthusiastically by the Russians.

Having pilots wait for the WS-10 to spool up while they require the thrust immediately is pretty unacceptable. To have half the backbone frontline fleet featuring laggy engines is quite unlikely when they could have just went with the AL-31 which has been powering the J-10 side all along during that decade anyway. Common sense tells us the spool up time delay is either a non issue now (back in 2010) or so insignificant, it's not worth the concern.

The first time the spool up time issue was publicly disclosed was before the era of integration with later manufactured J-11B. Ever since then, it's always talked about in past tense and when a film/documentary discusses the obstacles faced in the early WS-10 program. It's been 10 years of uninterrupted and continuous service on J-11s built after circa 2010. At no point was there any disruption where the PLAAF went back to the AL-31 for the J-11 except for the J-15 which always used the Russian naval version while the corrosion resistant variant of the WS-10 wasn't considered satisfactory or wasn't ready, whichever that was.
 

Top