Future PLA combat aircraft composition


tamsen_ikard

Junior Member
Registered Member
How many modern 4th gen + 5th fighter do you guys think that China needs to effectively dominate East Asia Air space and ensure that even US+Japan+Taiwan combined will be beaten thoroughly by China? I am only considering the first island Chain here.

i was doing a numbers count on wikipedia, this is the number that I found about these countries:

US: 1700 Air force (1000 F-16) (400 5th gen) and 560 for Navy (Almost entirely 4th gen for now) = 2360 4th gen+ fighters

Japan: 300 4th gen+ fighters (12 f-35)

Taiwan: 170 (F-16 and Mirage 2k)

They have total count of around 3000 planes.

However, US is far away from this region. And it has many interests and empires to defend around the globe. So, I think the maximum fighter count they can ever devote to a fight with China will be about 50% of the total.

50% of US fighters + entire Japan and Taiwan fleet = 1650 (200 5th gen)

Considering the fact that Chinese J-10 and and J-11 fleets are much more newer than whatever they have, mostly 20-30 year old F-16 and F-15. How big should China's fleet be to achieve complete air superiority?

I know in a battle a lot factors will come into play including naval ships, China's ground based missiles and so on. But let's discount all of that for simplicity and focus on purely fighter numbers and quality.

Can we assume that China will achieve Air dominance in East Asia if they have 2000 4th gen+ fighters (400 J-20)?

What would be realistic timeline for China to achieve that number based on the current production rate of Chinese fighters and any future ramp of J-20?

Currently they have 1200 4th gen+ fighters. Can they get to 2000 by 2030?

What would be your estimate of how many fighters China needs to achieve complete air dominance over East Asia?
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
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  • #192
Here are more precise and up to date tables:

US
500 fifth gen fighters
1200 fourth+ gen fighters
1200 fourth gen fighters (f16s and legacy hornets)
120 third gen (capability wise) harriers
220 A10 (with no real A2A capability)

China
50 fight gen fighters
500 fourth+ gen fighters
750 fourth gen fighters
100 third gen (capability wise) J8
550 J7 and JH7 with very little A2A capability

Japan has some 320 fighters (290 are 4th gen or better)
Taiwan some 340 fighters (260 are 4th gen or better)
Australia 120 fighters
South Korea 550 fighters (240 are 4th gen or better)

And potentially even Britain might get involved to an extent, with some 160 fighters

I really won't go into politics, as to who will get involved and to which extent. Even though those decisions are absolutely crucial and would very much shape the conflict and possibly even decide the winner.

I also won't go into just what percentage of whose forces would be likely to be present.

But lets just say that if 50% of US and UK forces are present, and if all other mentioned countries are present at 100%,
China would be looking at 3030 fighters. Of which some 460 being 5th gen and further 2170 are 4th or 4th+ generation.

Facing some 1950 Chinese combat jets, of which 50 would be 5th gen and further 1250 4th/+ gen.

Getting closer to enemy controlled territory (with their radars, SAMs, ships) means a lot, so either side would be hard pressed to actually go over the other side's territory. But that also includes the first island chain.

Frankly, if the said figures ARE applied, i don't think China today can project its power over the first island chain line. somewhere to the mid distance from China to first island chain - yes, probably. But not much farther than that. Likewise, despite the numerical and technological superiority (9 times more 5th gen fighters and close to 2 times more 4th gen ones) the opposing side would likely be losing more planes than China if it tried to operate over the Chinese coastline.

Then again, the opposing side just might afford to do that for some time, given its numerical advantage. And that doesn't even take into account the fact we've here used just 50% of US forces. Over a longer war period, if one counts a higher percentage, of say 75% US planes,
China could be facing up to 3840 fighters. Of which some 560 being 5th gen and further 2770 are 4th gen/+.
That'd constitute 11 times more 5th gen and 2.5 times more 4th gen fighters.

Once again, the calculus is NOT that simple in reality, but IF such a big coalition is applied in a model, and if most of US forces participate, China of today would be very hard pressed to defend its shores. The fact it might down more enemy planes that it'd lose itself would not help much in the long run.
 

tamsen_ikard

Junior Member
Registered Member
Here are more precise and up to date tables:

US
500 fifth gen fighters
1200 fourth+ gen fighters
1200 fourth gen fighters (f16s and legacy hornets)
120 third gen (capability wise) harriers
220 A10 (with no real A2A capability)

China
50 fight gen fighters
500 fourth+ gen fighters
750 fourth gen fighters
100 third gen (capability wise) J8
550 J7 and JH7 with very little A2A capability

Japan has some 320 fighters (290 are 4th gen or better)
Taiwan some 340 fighters (260 are 4th gen or better)
Australia 120 fighters
South Korea 550 fighters (240 are 4th gen or better)

And potentially even Britain might get involved to an extent, with some 160 fighters

I really won't go into politics, as to who will get involved and to which extent. Even though those decisions are absolutely crucial and would very much shape the conflict and possibly even decide the winner.

I also won't go into just what percentage of whose forces would be likely to be present.

But lets just say that if 50% of US and UK forces are present, and if all other mentioned countries are present at 100%,
China would be looking at 3030 fighters. Of which some 460 being 5th gen and further 2170 are 4th or 4th+ generation.

Facing some 1950 Chinese combat jets, of which 50 would be 5th gen and further 1250 4th/+ gen.

Getting closer to enemy controlled territory (with their radars, SAMs, ships) means a lot, so either side would be hard pressed to actually go over the other side's territory. But that also includes the first island chain.

Frankly, if the said figures ARE applied, i don't think China today can project its power over the first island chain line. somewhere to the mid distance from China to first island chain - yes, probably. But not much farther than that. Likewise, despite the numerical and technological superiority (9 times more 5th gen fighters and close to 2 times more 4th gen ones) the opposing side would likely be losing more planes than China if it tried to operate over the Chinese coastline.

Then again, the opposing side just might afford to do that for some time, given its numerical advantage. And that doesn't even take into account the fact we've here used just 50% of US forces. Over a longer war period, if one counts a higher percentage, of say 75% US planes,
China could be facing up to 3840 fighters. Of which some 560 being 5th gen and further 2770 are 4th gen/+.
That'd constitute 11 times more 5th gen and 2.5 times more 4th gen fighters.

Once again, the calculus is NOT that simple in reality, but IF such a big coalition is applied in a model, and if most of US forces participate, China of today would be very hard pressed to defend its shores. The fact it might down more enemy planes that it'd lose itself would not help much in the long run.
I don't think your numbers for US are upto date. I got my number from Wikipedia. And according to that. US certainly does not have 2400 4th and 4.5 gen in service. US stopped service of a lot older 4th+ fighters to save money to buy more F-35.

Your numbers for other countries are also incorrect and exaggerated when I look at Wikipedia numbers. Taiwan most certainly does not have 340 fighters

Current number for Taiwan is: 115 F-16, 46 Mirage, 105 FCK, 25 F-5. I don't consider FCK to be a 4th gen fighter. But even including that, the number comes to 266 4th gen and 280 total.

I also don't think UK and Australia is a factor in a war with China. There is just no way and reason why UK would get involved in such a war. Same thing Australia. Their forces are too far away and tiny. They don't have any reason to get involved in a war with China if it remains limited to the first island Chain.

Korea is also not likely to be involved because they are completely checked by North Korea. They have no reason to fight China when that might lead to North Korea also getting involved.
 
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