Future PLA combat aircraft composition


jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
Someone said what i was thinking.
I am no war expert but have been watching what's going on since last decade.

I don't get this theory that you need to match the number of adversary platforms to win "a war" . Considering the geography, i am wondering who is willing to go to war against China? Japan is 60 years old grandpa in wheelchair who will never recover from such a conflict. South Korea is more focused on North than anything else. Even if they buy 100s of F35 from US , i dont see what difference it makes given thy share border with China & they will be toast in case of any misadventure.
Which essentially leaves The US. They couldn't go to war with Russia after they took Crimea. They can't do anything against NoKo . Flying F-22 over Syria or dropping bombs from F-35 over Iraq doesn't exactly scream "superbbb" for me.

I also don't get the scenario where US will be sending it's "armada" to drop bombs on China & China is going to send it's own armada to retaliate by matching the numbers. If US targets Chinese mainland, China should be targeting US mainland, for that i guess 1 long range strategic bomber should be enough.

I was surprised by this report that China is developing 2 stealth fighters & 2 stealth bombers. Unless China wants to get into big ticket arms exports, this makes no sense to me.

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You are talking about platforms that are so costly it would be near about impossible for those to be expendable.
Cheap , cost effective, disposable solution has worked for China . TBH in this era of missiles, ucavs, developing/producing massive numbers of costly platforms make no sense.
Only costly platform i find worth putting money into is submarine.
Additionally i wanted to ask, is there any plan for China to develop intercontinental range hyper sonic missiles that is conventionally armed? Normally conventionally armed ICBM concept isn't cost effective.
But if it's armed with hgv, could this make some difference?

China should really avoid getting into that fetish of "super army armed with super weapons", because trust me, that is a dead end. USSR is gone, now US is going USSR too. "Conceptual war" has no end in imaginary world.
I think it's just misunderstanding due to terminology. Look closely at the report, this new "small stealth bomber" is coded as JH-XX. “JH” stands for 歼轰, which means 歼击轰炸机 (fighter-bomber, or Fighter-Attacker). This I think is a likely a functional successor to JH-7A.

Many of us would think that J-16 is a successor to JH-7A. However, I would think that J-16 is gear more towards air superiority. It is similar to Russian Airforce procuring both the Su-30SM and Su-30M2. One for air superiority role, the other for anti-ship/anti-surface/ground attack. (Some sources says that Su-30M2 is for training mostly).

In this case, I would think that the current J-16 is a balanced platform not optimized for particular role like the Russians did. But one the JH-XX enters services, it will form a high-low combination J/H (fighter-bomber) with J-16. I also believe that J-11D project is still alive, and will eventually come to fruition with a 3D TVC engine, forming a high-low Air superiority with J-20. Of course, there is also the possibility that J-11D will give way to a 3D TVC equipped J-16, optimized for air superiority.

I think the US forces is essentially the same. F-22 fills is the Air-superiority role. F-35A fills the stealthy fighter/bomber role for the air force. F-35C fills the stealthy naval fighter/bomber role. For China, the J-20 fills the Air-superiority role, JH-XX fills the stealthy fighter/bomber role for the PLAAF. J-35 fills the naval stealthy fighter/bomber role.
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
I think it's just misunderstanding due to terminology. Look closely at the report, this new "small stealth bomber" is coded as JH-XX. “JH” stands for 歼轰, which means 歼击轰炸机 (fighter-bomber, or Fighter-Attacker). This I think is a likely a functional successor to JH-7A.

Many of us would think that J-16 is a successor to JH-7A. However, I would think that J-16 is gear more towards air superiority. It is similar to Russian Airforce procuring both the Su-30SM and Su-30M2. One for air superiority role, the other for anti-ship/anti-surface/ground attack. (Some sources says that Su-30M2 is for training mostly).

In this case, I would think that the current J-16 is a balanced platform not optimized for particular role like the Russians did. But one the JH-XX enters services, it will form a high-low combination J/H (fighter-bomber) with J-16. I also believe that J-11D project is still alive, and will eventually come to fruition with a 3D TVC engine, forming a high-low Air superiority with J-20. Of course, there is also the possibility that J-11D will give way to a 3D TVC equipped J-16, optimized for air superiority.

I think the US forces is essentially the same. F-22 fills is the Air-superiority role. F-35A fills the stealthy fighter/bomber role for the air force. F-35C fills the stealthy naval fighter/bomber role. For China, the J-20 fills the Air-superiority role, JH-XX fills the stealthy fighter/bomber role for the PLAAF. J-35 fills the naval stealthy fighter/bomber role.
I'd probably summarize the J-16 as a self-escort fighter that executes a target(s) interdiction mission deep in enemy territory, whereas the JH-7 would require escorts from J-10s or J-11s to counter potential confrontations with enemy fighters while performing a similar ground strike mission. The J-16 probably could do a decent job in an air superiority capacity given it's multirole capabilities, however I still think it's bread and butter should be on it's ability to strike ground targets without the need of escorting fighters.
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
Someone said what i was thinking.
I am no war expert but have been watching what's going on since last decade.

I don't get this theory that you need to match the number of adversary platforms to win "a war" . Considering the geography, i am wondering who is willing to go to war against China? Japan is 60 years old grandpa in wheelchair who will never recover from such a conflict. South Korea is more focused on North than anything else. Even if they buy 100s of F35 from US , i dont see what difference it makes given thy share border with China & they will be toast in case of any misadventure.
Which essentially leaves The US. They couldn't go to war with Russia after they took Crimea. They can't do anything against NoKo . Flying F-22 over Syria or dropping bombs from F-35 over Iraq doesn't exactly scream "superbbb" for me.

I also don't get the scenario where US will be sending it's "armada" to drop bombs on China & China is going to send it's own armada to retaliate by matching the numbers. If US targets Chinese mainland, China should be targeting US mainland, for that i guess 1 long range strategic bomber should be enough.

I was surprised by this report that China is developing 2 stealth fighters & 2 stealth bombers. Unless China wants to get into big ticket arms exports, this makes no sense to me.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

You are talking about platforms that are so costly it would be near about impossible for those to be expendable.
Cheap , cost effective, disposable solution has worked for China . TBH in this era of missiles, ucavs, developing/producing massive numbers of costly platforms make no sense.
Only costly platform i find worth putting money into is submarine.
Additionally i wanted to ask, is there any plan for China to develop intercontinental range hyper sonic missiles that is conventionally armed? Normally conventionally armed ICBM concept isn't cost effective.
But if it's armed with hgv, could this make some difference?

China should really avoid getting into that fetish of "super army armed with super weapons", because trust me, that is a dead end. USSR is gone, now US is going USSR too. "Conceptual war" has no end in imaginary world.
Also, I think this article misled people because we are used to see the conventional perception of US weapon development as a standard to measure everything else by. In case of the US, we are used to thinking that the US has only 2 stealth fighter and 1 stealth bomber (F-22, F-35, B-2). But technically speaking, I would say that the F-35 is actually 3 different aircrafts. I would also think the F-35 project is much more daunting. F-35A/B/C are very different from each other. I would think that it would be easier, faster and much less costly had the US developed three different and independent aircrafts instead. That makes 6 different stealthy aircrafts: F-22, F-35A, F-35B, F-35C, B-2, and F-117. Five in commission, 1 retired.

In comparison, China is only developing/commissioning 4 stealthy aircrafts, J-20, J-31/35, JH-XX, H-20. And it's very likely that JH-XX will share engine and avionics with either J-20 or J-35, most likely with the J-20. So I think China is actually very cautious and modest in spending money wisely in military. Doing JH-XX as a separate project is actually easier to do, than have to be restricted by the airframe/aerodynamic characteristics of J-20 or J-35.
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
I'd probably summarize the J-16 as a self-escort fighter that executes a target(s) interdiction mission deep in enemy territory, whereas the JH-7 would require escorts from J-10s or J-11s to counter potential confrontations with enemy fighters while performing a similar ground strike mission. The J-16 probably could do a decent job in an air superiority capacity given it's multirole capabilities, however I still think it's bread and butter should be on it's ability to strike ground targets without the need of escorting fighters.
What roles would you think Su-30SM and Su-30M2 are best assigned with? Do you think that this could indicate whether there will be a J-11D or a TVC J-16 put into commission in the future?
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
What roles would you think Su-30SM and Su-30M2 are best assigned with? Do you think that this could indicate whether there will be a J-11D or a TVC J-16 put into commission in the future?
Considering the PLAAF only has a small amount of SU-30s in comparison to their growing J-16 inventory, I'd always thought the MKK was a training platform/stopgap (maybe even a chance to peek under the shell of the Su-30 and help the J-16 program move along....) as the J-16 program came into fruition. I mean the PLA did only just get their hands on the MKK in the late 90s/early 2000s, while the J-16 program is only recently coming into maturity. Basically the same reason the PLA were keen to get their hands on the Su-35... I think.

With an AESA radar and abilities to fire off indigenously produced missiles (Laser guided or Beido-based GPS bombs, EW capabilities we're only just learning about, the J-16D is going to be able to conduct the mission of Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses like the F-16 Block 50), I'd say the J-16 has leaped over the MKK... Just my two cents anyway.

As for a TVC variant for the J-11 and J-16.... Well that's what my wet dreams are made of (too much information, but indulge me)! ;) You'd think that with a TVC variant of the WS-10 that was installed on the latest J-10 model, the next sensible thing would be to do the same with the Flankers. That would certainly put the J-11D on par with the Su-35, if not even more lethal. Certainly wouldn't want to get into the visual merge or any sort of dogfight with a PLA Flanker when that happens!
 

silentlurker

Junior Member
Registered Member
Anyone that thinks stealth is the be all and end all of Air combat needs to learn more about how air battles are fought. I suggest you watch some videos on youtube of people flying various planes and fighting in DCS air combat simulator.

The most important in any combat is tactics, not capability.

Stealth is overrated. The only advantage stealth provides is a lower detection range in BVR. A stealthy plane might be detected by an X band radar from 30 miles vs non-stealthy plane at 150 miles. That might seem huge but it is not. First of all, low frequency radar can detect stealth planes from 100s of miles. So, there is no element of surprise here. If a country has low frequency radar in planes or AWACS or even ground based radar, they can easily identify where the planes is.

Once you know where the plane is, there are many tactics you can use to defeat stealth. You can design your radar guided missile to fire without a full lock but low-frequency radar given coordinates. Once they are close enough, the missile can lock on its own. Modern AI allows much more complex logic about these kind of decisions on the fly. With AI you can use image based recognition to lock on targets without using a radar.

Even if you don't have these technologies, you can use superior tactics to defeat stealth. Avoid BVR and just hug to the ground and fly low, thus masking yourself from the planes. You can use terrain features such as mountains to hide. Once stealth planes gets close enough to be detected by your X band radar, you can lock and fire.

You can set up approach from different angles. One group can fight from the front to act as decoy while several groups can engage from the side. Stealth planes have limited number of missiles in their bay and thus, they can be exhausted from missile using decoys and then chased by faster planes from the side or behind.


Discussions about air combat here most of the times boil down to which plane has what new stuff. But there is a reason militaries around the world are not going crazy over stealth. Its just a new capability just like having a more powerful radar which allows early detection. A nice thing to have for sure, and raises the chances of winning. But superior tactics and superior numbers can defeat any equipment.
Are you seriously basing modern air combat on DCS? I suggest you go watch Growling Sidewinder in his series where he battles Ate, a real Rafale pilot. In one of the discussions, Ate specifically mentions how he isn't allowed to play BVR fighting sims because the ingame mechanics are so different from reality. I will try to link it when I can go home and find on the computer.
 

Nobonita Barua

Junior Member
Registered Member
Also, I think this article misled people because we are used to see the conventional perception of US weapon development as a standard to measure everything else by. In case of the US, we are used to thinking that the US has only 2 stealth fighter and 1 stealth bomber (F-22, F-35, B-2). But technically speaking, I would say that the F-35 is actually 3 different aircrafts. I would also think the F-35 project is much more daunting. F-35A/B/C are very different from each other. I would think that it would be easier, faster and much less costly had the US developed three different and independent aircrafts instead. That makes 6 different stealthy aircrafts: F-22, F-35A, F-35B, F-35C, B-2, and F-117. Five in commission, 1 retired.

In comparison, China is only developing/commissioning 4 stealthy aircrafts, J-20, J-31/35, JH-XX, H-20. And it's very likely that JH-XX will share engine and avionics with either J-20 or J-35, most likely with the J-20. So I think China is actually very cautious and modest in spending money wisely in military. Doing JH-XX as a separate project is actually easier to do, than have to be restricted by the airframe/aerodynamic characteristics of J-20 or J-35.
That sounds great.
But does China really need these? That's what I am asking myself.
 

Japhethsdecendent

New Member
Registered Member
What j-35? I haven't heard of this one. US strategy would probably be to relatively slowly constrict china from outside not start with 1000 km and take the brunt of chinas assault. That would be the smart thing to do. The only conventinal missile that can reach well into it is df-26 if i'm not mistaken and how many of those are there? China would be prickly with those missiles but it's geography makes it easier to siege. Also since most surrounding nations would either be hostile to china or at least permit the US coalition to transit time would not be on china's side. Obviously a quick shove and negotiate tactic would not work in a war of this magnitude.
 

Japhethsdecendent

New Member
Registered Member
Someone mentioned a j-35, also I read a comment talking about basing and strategy so where they off topic as well? Since we are rather strict all of a sudden has there been any news on the h-20 lately?
 

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