China's transport, tanker & heavy lift aircraft


vincent

Senior Member
China don’t have enough transports for its internal use. Adding IFR capability would add to cost and complexity with little potential use
 

xyqq

Junior Member
Registered Member
Russian UPAZ-1 pods can reach in excess of 5000 lbs per minute with 52mm dia hoses (since they have to fill Tu-160s with these!), but the newest booms on the KC-30, KC-46 and KC-10 are able to transfer up to 8000 lbs per minute. Ultimately the boom is still better for large aircraft, however the USAF is not an example to emulate by using it for tactical fighters. Just by having the ability to refuel two smaller receivers in parallel the efficiency of probe/drogue rapidly outstrips the boom for handling smaller aircraft.

It's also misleading to suggest 5th generation fighters have higher fuel requirements - they just carry all of it internally so as to avoid the RCS penalty of drop tanks. If you factor external fuel into the load of a 4th generation aircraft, you end up with similar amounts, especially when you consider that 5th generation fighters tend to be larger, so it's no use comparing them to light 4th gens like the F-16 or J-10. Against a Flanker or F-15 with conformal tanks suddenly the J-20 doesn't look so special anymore in this regard.

Stealth has little bearing on the rift in fuel capacity between strategic bombers and tactical fighters, so the applicability of the boom hasn't changed.
Good update!
With the probe extended, J-20 is no longer stealthy and is exposed to detection and potential attacks for around 10 minutes of approaching and refueling (assuming that the floating basket is cooperative). In contrast, the use of a low-profile and fast boom receptacle is safer for both J-20 and Y-20U (i.e., J-20 standing by on alert without the enemy knowing it).
 
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Bhurki

Junior Member
Registered Member
Good update!
With the probe extended, J-20 is no longer stealthy and is exposed to detection and potential attacks for around 10 minutes of approaching and refueling (assuming that the floating basket is cooperative). In contrast, the use of a low-profile and fast boom receptacle is safer for both J-20 and Y-20U (i.e., J-20 standing by on alert without the enemy knowing it).
The tanker doesn't employ stealth at all, so it doesnt really matter if the docking aircraft loses a bit of its cloak. F35c uses the drogue method for refuelling as well.
The primary targets for enemy, after taking care of immediate threats will be to take out primary logistics and support aircraft i.e. refuellers and aew, which'll make them operate from a safe distance away from enemy controlled airspace. So there's really no point in having a 'low profile' boom.
About the refuelling rate, the main factor will be at the reciever end, if an aircraft is configured for probe-drogue refuelling with a limited rate lesser(inherent design choice) than that of refueller, then it doesnt make sense to upgrade the refuelling rate of the 'U' aircraft.
 

xyqq

Junior Member
Registered Member
The tanker doesn't employ stealth at all, so it doesnt really matter if the docking aircraft loses a bit of its cloak. F35c uses the drogue method for refuelling as well.
The primary targets for enemy, after taking care of immediate threats will be to take out primary logistics and support aircraft i.e. refuellers and aew, which'll make them operate from a safe distance away from enemy controlled airspace. So there's really no point in having a 'low profile' boom.
About the refuelling rate, the main factor will be at the reciever end, if an aircraft is configured for probe-drogue refuelling with a limited rate lesser(inherent design choice) than that of refueller, then it doesnt make sense to upgrade the refuelling rate of the 'U' aircraft.
I do not think that there is "a safe distance" for tankers and AEW platforms during wartime, as one important (probably the most important) mission of stealthy fighters is to take out those strategic targets at the onset.
 
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Bhurki

Junior Member
Registered Member
I do not think that there is "a safe distance" for tankers and AEW platforms during wartime
There certainly is, aew and refuellers work from 'forward- sanitized' areas when on the offensive and under the ground based A2/AD umbrella when on the defensive.
Any support aircraft leaving these respective zones will be primary fodder for an adversarie's air power.
Otoh, my point was that attaching a 'low profile' boom to massive radar reflector that a legacy refueller is doesnt do any justice to the cost/benefit ratio.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Good update!
With the probe extended, J-20 is no longer stealthy and is exposed to detection and potential attacks for around 10 minutes of approaching and refueling (assuming that the floating basket is cooperative). In contrast, the use of a low-profile and fast boom receptacle is safer for both J-20 and Y-20U (i.e., J-20 standing by on alert without the enemy knowing it).
First even with probe open and doors open a True fifth gen fighter is a lot smaller target than a fighter of the Fourth Generation which is a tremendously smaller signature than a tanker or AEW.
No Tanker or Awacs is today Low Observable. A Hypothetical Y20U boom or basket sure as hell wouldn’t be either. The Flying boom is a large radar target attached to a transport aircraft. If you want a stealth tanker you would have to start from either scratch or a LO Bomber. Not a Y20U, An H20U. Yet even then the second it extends a boom or Basket it’s blood in the water. The Boom is a radar signature to. A basket is one as well.
A LO tanker would have to find a “semi safe Bubble” an area where in local adversary air denial is lax. Due to geographical factors that limit enemy coverage or jamming.
I do not think that there is "a safe distance" for tankers and AEW platforms during wartime, as one important (probably the most important) mission of stealthy fighters is to take out those strategic targets at the onset.
There isthe factors are the range that Fifth gens can go without refueling and the number of air denial assets in the area.
Even the stealthiest of fighters have limits if they get to close to radar transmitters. The Awacs forms a cluster of command and control with ground based SAM systems, conventional fourth gens, Radar sites and other assets that when networked put Fifth gen penetrating assets in a bad spot. Like trying to navigate a mine field.
Stealth doesn’t mean invisible just harder to find.
This limits its power potential if you have a hard zone. Like an ant trying to scout in the zone of control for another Ant colony. The closer to the Hive the more dangerous.

If a Tanker strays to far into the empty space between enemy and friendly sky it’s to become chum to a school of Stealthy Sharks. However inside the network of local friendly air denial and Mutual cover a tanker is safe and a refueling probe Extended on a fifth gen doesn’t matter.

This is why even with fifth gen fighters many nations are still buying new Awacs and Tankers based off commercial or transport aircraft.
 

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