China Flanker Thread II


Inst

Senior Member
That’s a pretty tame claim for Indian media. I really expected to read something like “MKI’s capabilities are so powerful, it can blast away the J-16 before the pilot can climb into the cockpit”
I mean the MKI does have advantages over the J-16, mainly in its TVC. The J-16's advantages lie in avionics. It's typical Russia vs China airframes; the Russians tend to have better airframe design (the Su-35 has better designed fuel tanks that give it a range advantage over Sinoflankers), better engines, and the Chinese have better avionics.

If the J-10C radar is as big as claimed, it makes very clear how the Chinese want to go about things in contrast to how the Russians want to go about things; the Russians want to reach WVR and win through superior agility, while the Chinese want to keep things BVR and win long-range. The Chinese are closer to the Americans in this case (emphasis on stealth, BVR, and the Chinese managed to panic the USAF with the PL-15 being better than comparable American missiles), while the Indians are closer to the Russians (and the Rafale, a poorer BVR fighter than the Eurofighter, purchase, shows it).

On the MKI vs J-16 line, the Indians can make a credible argument based on their WVR advantages against a BVR-oriented aircraft.

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On reading the article, the article is correct in that Su-30MKI outperform J-11As and probably Bs as well, since the Su-30MKI features TVC, and the J-11As and J-11Bs feature pulse doppler radars, the PLAAF having been too cheap to go for PESA options. It's wrong because it completely neglects the J-16's AESA advantage over the Su-30MKI, however.

The Chinese claim that the J-16 is decisively superior to the Su-30 is true when considering Chinese Su-30MKKs, which are basically strike J-11s and lack both PESA and TVC. The "generation ahead" statement is strictly false; the best the J-16s could claim to be compared to Su-30s of any designation would be half a generation ahead, since 4.5th generation is defined by AESA.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
TVC is overblown, especially on aircraft that were not designed with them to start with.

The biggest limiting factor in fighter agility is the airframe design itself. Push the airframe beyond it’s designed tolerances and at best you waste all your energy and make yourself a sitting duck, and worse case you can manoeuvre kill yourself from stalls, Gee-lock or catastrophic airframe failure etc.

The MKI with its canards and TVC are great at airshow displays, but in real combat simulations, their TVC proved more Hinderance than asset as American pilots gleefully recall from red flag.

The Russians didn’t delete the canards off their Su35s because they were super useful. And the Su35 only attained its agility due to significant internal re-designs to tailor the plane to work with TVC.

In a real world WVR fight, I really don’t see the MKI having any meaningful advantages over the J16, especially with the use of HMD and off bore sight AAMs. Hell, J16s with PL10s should totally obliterate MKIs using R73s in WVR all day long.
 

Inst

Senior Member
TVC is overblown, especially on aircraft that were not designed with them to start with.

The biggest limiting factor in fighter agility is the airframe design itself. Push the airframe beyond it’s designed tolerances and at best you waste all your energy and make yourself a sitting duck, and worse case you can manoeuvre kill yourself from stalls, Gee-lock or catastrophic airframe failure etc.

The MKI with its canards and TVC are great at airshow displays, but in real combat simulations, their TVC proved more Hinderance than asset as American pilots gleefully recall from red flag.

The Russians didn’t delete the canards off their Su35s because they were super useful. And the Su35 only attained its agility due to significant internal re-designs to tailor the plane to work with TVC.

In a real world WVR fight, I really don’t see the MKI having any meaningful advantages over the J16, especially with the use of HMD and off bore sight AAMs. Hell, J16s with PL10s should totally obliterate MKIs using R73s in WVR all day long.
It's about your operational parameters. The reason the Americasn prefer BVR and the Russians prefer WVR is that in WVR, you're likely to get slaughtered even if you're superior due to HOBS. In BVR, technological and qualitative superiority comes into play and you can get ridiculously lopsided kill-counts if the disparity between the planes is good enough.

It also ties into Russia vs China vs India. The Soviets, traditionally, were more into air denial than air superiority. Their primary goal was for their aircraft to get NATO to stop bombing them, or stop bombing them enough that they could complete their mission objectives. The Chinese, and many Americans don't understand this because of their air doctrine, are different. China is a dual land / sea power that, unlike India, has some very undefensible borders (like Russia) but also has its most prosperous and richest provinces on the coast. It constantly has a strategic question of whether to go air or land, but the compromise choice is airpower, which can exert influence both in a land battle or in a naval battle. In other words, China is like the United States is that it wants air superiority, even if it has to spend exorbitant amounts to get there.

India, on the other hand, has a mostly pacific naval front (India has no competitors in its waters, and the United States is neutral), and has mostly land boundaries in contest. So it's closer to the Russian model, except that its operational practice seems closer to the American model in emphasizing air bombardment as opposed to ground bombardment (Indian SPGs are woefully outdated or woefully few in number). It's closer to a hybrid between the Russian model (and the Russians do have good attack planes) and the American model in that they favor WVR, but emphasize bombardment from the air instead of from the ground like the Americans.

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As for MKI TVC, TVC grants excellent instantaneous maneuverability, allowing you to put your opponent into your kill zone with ease, or sacrifice energy to dodge a missile or two.

When it comes to PLAAF vs InAF, it's mostly a BVR vs WVR fight; the Indians want to come up close to dogfight (the Sinoflankers and J-10 has no or minimal advantage there, and the Chinese are likely to be outnumbered due to Indian base locations), while the Chinese want to keep the fight long-range so J-10 AESA, J-16 AESA, J-20 AESA / Stealth are decisive factors.
 

Inst

Senior Member
Yup those TVC and Cobra stunt is good only in Air Show but totally useless in real fight as they bleed energy and drop like a rock allowing the opponent to just drill it
As those Indian bases near the border they will be obliterated the first minute the fight started. come on Inst you have been over estimate the Indian for a long time. BVR vs dog fight is no longer a debating point since BVR missile is so much reliable now

First part
Second part
It depends on how the fight is conducted, since the most likely combat scenario would be a border dispute. In that case, it'd be WVR, and the ability for Su-30MKIs to energy-bleed, get a target, and fire, or alternately reduce effective range of PL-10 ASRs would be important.

As for basing, it depends on the terms of engagement. A massive saturation attack on Indian bases would require significant logistics to set-up and pull-off as well, and it'd be a full scale war, as opposed to merely a border clash.

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But my goal is to highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses of Su-30MKI vs Sinoflankers, not to turn this into an India vs China shitting contest.

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What's the latest news on J-11Ds so far? Still cancelled?
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
It depends on how the fight is conducted, since the most likely combat scenario would be a border dispute. In that case, it'd be WVR, and the ability for Su-30MKIs to energy-bleed, get a target, and fire, or alternately reduce effective range of PL-10 ASRs would be important.
Without getting massively off topic, just wanted to point out that the IAF MKI that was allegedly shot down in 2019 was by a BVR AMRAAM fired by Block 50 F-16s from within Pakistan territory... Or at least it had the IAF panic buying Rafales and Meteor missiles because regardless of whether their plane was downed or not, their MKIs were completely outranged by PAF's AMRAAMs. The fact that the J-16 has an AESA and the MKI doesn't is a big deal, it can safely paint OPFOR on radar (with much higher accuracy and fidelity than a PESA radar, and also much higher resistance to jamming) from a safe standoff distance and lob off PL-15s without the OFOR even knowing... assuming the PLAAF pilot doesn't break radar lock and sends the semi-active seeking PL-15s going pitbull that is. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the MKK/MKI especially when it comes to it's bread and butter mission of strike interdiction, but having an AESA radar gives the J-16 much more multirole capability on the air-to-air front than a PESA limited MKI.

What's the latest news on J-11Ds so far? Still cancelled?
The prototype was spotted up in the air
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. The project might still be alive, but SAC's production lines are kinda busy pumping out J-16s for the PLAAF, J-15/16Ds as EW becomes more of a contested sphere on the battlefield, and eventually J-15Ts+J-XYs as the 003 carrier comes online in the coming years... Certainly makes one question whether SAC might not have the capacity to fit J-11D production into all that.

From a PLA inventory planning and procurement perspective, the existing J-11A/Bs are relatively young and still have a bit of airframe life to them... a MLU would also see their lifetime extended as well as an increase in their combat capabilities. So replacing their older Flankers with the J-11D isn't a priority, especially when the J-16 itself is quite the capable multirole 4.5+ generation fighter. That would suggest that the J-11D prototype at SAC might just be a testbed for MLU technology, rather than a prototype aimed at full scale procurement.... That's my hunch anyway.
 
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