China Flanker Thread II


plawolf

Brigadier
China doesn’t even have that many Russian AA munitions left. Only legacy flankers still use them.
I think they bought a significant quantity of Russian AG munitions over the many Su30 purchases, since at the time China was buying with war in mind given the Taiwan crisis that propelled PLA modernisation into high gear. Who knows how much is left?

Something else to consider is that the fact that those munitions have finite shelf lives that they are fast approaching may be another reason why the PLAAF is in no hurry to MLU their Su30s - they may well have decided to get as many years use out of the Su30s as possible since they can be used to give pilots invaluable experience with using live munitions without running down inventories of newer and better Chinese made smart munitions.

Remember that training is a perishable skill, so you don’t want to use your stockpiles wisely to give as many pilots experience as frequently as possible. As such I imagine the PLAAF would have drawn up a detailed multi-year schedule of how much munitions to use each year to maximise their training value over as many years as possible.

Once those munitions stocks start to run low is when I would expect to see the PLA start to upgrade their Su30s with modern Chinese radars and avionics (so no more support of imported Russian stuff). There will still likely to be a significant proportion of munitions left when this starts, as the upgrade of the whole fleet may take years and the PLAAF would not want to have such an important part of their fleet essentially toothless for so long.

It would not surprise me if a decide part of the fleet is never upgraded and just kept around in this training role and eventually retired once all the old munitions have been used up.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
Can anyone please tell me if this is J-16 or SU-30?
J16. Can tell from camo, HUD, IRST and munitions load, although the last is not absolute since Su30s have been seen carrying PL12s. From the side you can also tell by the tails, since only Su30d have square tips while all Chinese made models have sloping tips.
 

caohailiang

Junior Member
Registered Member
And what happens to all the Russian made Su30 munitions if you switch radars? How much time and money will it take to re-integrate all those legacy munitions onto the new radar?

And after all that effort, just how often do you want to hang PL15s on your Su30s on strike missions? Bear in mind that those PL15s are significantly heavier than PL12s.
i think maybe PL15 is not that important after all as a striker. But for strike weapons, what Su30 supports besides AS17/YJ91 plus some PGB? i think KD88 is not supported? let al
So, I agree that upgrading Su-30s with PL-15s probably isn't worth it, but don't agree with the reasoning.

1. I think integration of PL-15s on older 4th gen aircraft lacking AESAs is viable, because going forwards I expect cooperative engagement to be the name of the game. Giving Su-30s PL-15 capability will not give them the ability to guide PL-15s themselves, because they can be guided by friendly 4+, 5th gen aircraft. That is to say, the Su-30s should be able to continue to utilize its current sensors and existing weapons suite (including whatever stocks of Russian weapons they have left) -- if they wanted to add in PL-15s it should not compromise the rest of their weapons availability, because PL-15 upgrades could conceivably be made with only datalink upgrades rather than overhauling the entire sensor suite.
2. Su-30s are not a dedicated strike aircraft as operated by the PLA, they are very much multirole in the same way J-16 is. Giving a multirole aircraft a more capable A2A weapons suite is very much sensible.
I also want to clarify the A2A capability of the Su-30 in context -- for a period from the early to mid 2000s, the PLA's Su-30s were easily the most capable A2A aircraft they had by virtue of them having a reliable ARH BVR capability for the first time with a decently capable radar. Even now, today, they are not operated exclusively as strike aircraft in the way JH-7/As are. They remain multirole aircraft.





... Continued from above.... the reason why it doesn't make sense to give Su-30s PL-15s, is because of priority.
At present, priority for new PL-15 production obviously would be first going to new build 4+ and 5th generation aircraft -- i.e.: aircraft that can guide PL-15s with their own fire control systems. Given the number of new 4+ and 5th gen aircraft being delivered per year, I suspect PL-15 production is probably going to be prioritized for them for a while yet.
That is to say, I doubt older non-AESA 4th gen aircraft will receive PL-15s and the requisite datalink upgrades until PL-15 production capacity is significantly expanded into the future.

In the case of Su-30s specifically -- those Su-30s were flown very, very hard from when they were delivered to now. There are probably not many airframe hours left on them, I expect them to start being retired by mid this decade.
I very much doubt the Su-30s will get a mid life upgrade, because if they don't do a deep structural overhaul of the airframes, a mid life upgrade of weapons suite and avionics suite doesn't make sense -- and on balance, I suspect it would be easier just to order more J-16s which are much more compatible with the overall PLA infrastructure and logistics tail as well as substantially more capable (or if they don't want one for one J-16 to Su-30 replacements, they have J-10Cs and J-20s that they can choose to replace given units, as well as carrier based and land based J-XY production that will begin from after 2025).
So, IMO, given the likely retirement of Su-30s looming just on the horizon, giving them upgrades to accommodate PL-15 and giving them PL-15 stocks just doesn't really make sense.
intrinsic problem with imported weapons when the maker does not really have an upgrade path or that upgrade path diverges from the user's own path.
I suppose those su35 will have similar problem, say, in 10 years? it would be smart to just consume them sooner
 

Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
Just thinking aloud here.

If they are able to integrate PL-12 and PL-8, it would imply they have access to the radar software source code. Wouldn't that basically make the limitations related more to the hardware itself (PL-15 range greater than the usable radar detection range), and/or user interface, rather than technical capability?

Similarly, the Su-27 (original tranche from Russia) was upgraded to fire R-77. The rumor was that Ukrainian engineers with the source code were hired to do this work, is this still the story? Or is there a more concrete story now?

Common military standard control or interface bus.

Su-27 N001 upgrade to N001V includes an upgraded processor.

The radar may only need to assume its still using an R-77. The PL-12 would have to be compatible with the R-77's datalink.

Originally the Su-30s were the only aircraft in PLAAF inventory capable of firing active radar guided AA missiles. Now they’ve been relegated to patrol/air to surface roles (patrol role possibly usurped by J-16). How the mighty have fallen.

The Su-27UBK starting from the second batch, did also, for the expressed purpose of training pilots of the above for that use.

It doesn’t make sense to integrate PL-15 on the Su-30 since the twist cassegrain radar can’t take advantage of the range offered. In fact they haven’t even integrated PL-15 on the J-10B whose PESA radar is leaps and bounds superior to N001.

J-10B has an earlier AESA. Chinese radar institutes may have skipped the PESA thing due to the possibility they were unable to develop a TWT, magnetron, or klystron of the proper size, weight and power ratio in time, and they decided to skip the whole stage into AESA, which would not have required such.

And what happens to all the Russian made Su30 munitions if you switch radars? How much time and money will it take to re-integrate all those legacy munitions onto the new radar?

And after all that effort, just how often do you want to hang PL15s on your Su30s on strike missions? Bear in mind that those PL15s are significantly heavier than PL12s.

The Russian munitions would have expired after ten years. That would already have happened long before yesterday.
 
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gelgoog

Captain
Registered Member
I think as the Russian engine lifetime expires they will replace the Su-30MKK with the J-16.

Perhaps they could resell these aircraft to Pakistan or Iran? Then those countries could purchase upgrades to get these aircraft to Su-30M2 standard.
 
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xyqq

Junior Member
Registered Member
Su-30MK2 night training (@PLA Post).

Su-30MK2-front.jpg

A focus on the pitot tube (the two training missiles are vague but seem different).

Su-30MK2-pitot.jpg
 

Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
I think as the Russian engine lifetime expires they will replace the Su-30MKK with the J-16.

Perhaps they could resell these aircraft to Pakistan or Iran? Then those countries could purchase upgrades to get these aircraft to Su-30M2 standard.

Airframe fatigue lifetime would also be spent. The planes would be headed either in a museum or the scrapyard.
 

supersnoop

Junior Member
Registered Member
Common military standard control or interface bus.

Su-27 N001 upgrade to N001V includes an upgraded processor.

The radar may only need to assume its still using an R-77. The PL-12 would have to be compatible with the R-77's datalink.



The Su-27UBK starting from the second batch, did also, for the expressed purpose of training pilots of the above for that use.



J-10B has an earlier AESA. Chinese radar institutes may have skipped the PESA thing due to the possibility they were unable to develop a TWT, magnetron, or klystron of the proper size, weight and power ratio in time, and they decided to skip the whole stage into AESA, which would not have required such.



The Russian munitions would have expired after ten years. That would already have happened long before yesterday.
So the upgraded processor would imply an official factory upgrade (unless Ukraine could also have offered this)

The aging Su-30 reminds me of the Sunburn, since they are of similar vintage. Sunburn used to be THE CARRIER KILLER, THE MOST FEARED AShM IN PLAN ARSENAL, now it's scrap. Su-30MKK isn't scrap, but it's relevance in PLAAF is second line now.
 

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