J-20 5th Gen Fighter Thread VI


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Bltizo

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Keep in mind that the brigades with J-20s mix them with J-16s and J-10Cs as well. 16 is probably the upper-end estimate.
Does 9th brigade operate J-10Cs?

I was under the impression that it operated Su-30MKKs prior to making the shift to J-20s.
Considering from 9th brigade late last year the highest serial from 9th brigade was 62009, (i.e.: 9 J-20s likely in service), the idea that there are 16 J-20s at Wuhu is sensibly around what we expect.



So my running tally for in service J-20s:

Wuhu, 9th Brigade: at least 9 J-20s in service, possibly at least 16 J-20s in service based on the above "2 dadui" post
Cangzhou: at least 4 J-20s in service, each serial confirmed
Dingxin: at least 8 J-20s in service, each serial confirmed

Which gives us at least 28 J-20s service, which if we take the the traditional "1:3/1:2 ratio" of "confirmed to actual" aircraft in service will give us an estimate of somewhere around 50-60 J-20s in service.
 

Air Force Brat

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Does 9th brigade operate J-10Cs?

I was under the impression that it operated Su-30MKKs prior to making the shift to J-20s.
Considering from 9th brigade late last year the highest serial from 9th brigade was 62009, (i.e.: 9 J-20s likely in service), the idea that there are 16 J-20s at Wuhu is sensibly around what we expect.



So my running tally for in service J-20s:

Wuhu, 9th Brigade: at least 9 J-20s in service, possibly at least 16 J-20s in service based on the above "2 dadui" post
Cangzhou: at least 4 J-20s in service, each serial confirmed
Dingxin: at least 8 J-20s in service, each serial confirmed

Which gives us at least 28 J-20s service, which if we take the the traditional "1:3/1:2 ratio" of "confirmed to actual" aircraft in service will give us an estimate of somewhere around 50-60 J-20s in service.
I'm gonna stick with the 18-20 known serials very closely corresponding to the known Chengdu fly aways... I really don't want to rain on your parade, and I may end up being the one whose all weight? I'm still rather certain tbe total is around 20, people play with the number of aircraft assigned to units, especially with 5 gens?
 

Bltizo

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I'm gonna stick with the 18-20 known serials very closely corresponding to the known Chengdu fly aways... I really don't want to rain on your parade, and I may end up being the one whose all weight? I'm still rather certain tbe total is around 20, people play with the number of aircraft assigned to units, especially with 5 gens?

You can make your own estimate, that's fine, but I think recent history has shown us that the number of "confirmed serials" of new in service Chinese combat aircraft at any one time does not reflect the actual number of in service serials.
 

Bltizo

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I'm basing this on a statement made by PLAAF pilots that J-20 pilots are also well-versed in flying J-10C/J-16 and the state media has repeatedly pushed the trio as the "three musketeers" of PLAAF.
I'm pretty sure the interview of the PLAAF pilots being well versed in flying J-10C/J-16 were made by pilots at Dingxin.
And calling J-10C, J-16 and J-20 the "three musketeers" was also reflective of how the unit at Dingxin received the most media exposure prior to late 2019. The fact that those three aircraft are also the PLAAF's most capable and newest fighter aircraft and may feature some degree of synergistic capability also is worth consideration.


BUT -- it is a massive leap to go from the above, to suggest that it is normal for "brigades with J-20s mix them with J-16s and J-10Cs as well".

Because what you wrote before/above makes it sound like you believe it is/will be normal for all J-20 units (i.e.: the majority of which going forwards will be regular combat units) to be mixed units with J-10C and/or J-16 as well.
Such a unit composition would be illogical and somewhat unprecedented for regular combat units.


I believe that any "mixing" of types of J-20 with other aircraft types has only been present at Dingxin and possibly Cangzhou so far, but that is a reflection of those two brigades being advanced tactic development and OT&E etc for the entire air force, which has been the case for other brigades at those two locations as well.

But J-20s entering service with regular units will be operating full J-20 fleets just like how other regular units operating J-10 or Flanker types operate full J-10 or Flanker types rather than mixing and matching.
 

ougoah

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Confirmed serials < Actual serials. Therefore number is at least 28. 50-60 would be surprising to me purely because I was convinced the PLAAF wants WS-15 powered J-20s. Then again there are some in other forums and Chinese boards who are absolutely convinced J-20s have already been using WS-15s since the switch a year ago. Knowing what China's like when it comes to military topics, nothing can be trusted. Not even the serials on the planes. All warfare is deception was written by the Chinese millenia ago.
 

Bltizo

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Confirmed serials < Actual serials. Therefore number is at least 28. 50-60 would be surprising to me purely because I was convinced the PLAAF wants WS-15 powered J-20s. Then again there are some in other forums and Chinese boards who are absolutely convinced J-20s have already been using WS-15s since the switch a year ago. Knowing what China's like when it comes to military topics, nothing can be trusted. Not even the serials on the planes. All warfare is deception was written by the Chinese millenia ago.
We've seen J-20s from mid last year newly produced with WS-10s.

We've had rumours for the last few years that J-20s with WS-15s won't be turning up in service until 2025ish.


If anything I think the expectation should have been that that PLA will procure a reasonably large number of J-20s equipped with interim engines (i.e.: non WS-15, such as Al-31 or now more recently WS-10s) before WS-15s.
This is simply a reflection of the time it will take for WS-15 to finish development and enter production.

However, J-20s powered by WS-10s will likely still be the most capable fighter aircraft in the PLA inventory by a massive margin even without WS-15.
 

ougoah

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We've seen J-20s from mid last year newly produced with WS-10s.

We've had rumours for the last few years that J-20s with WS-15s won't be turning up in service until 2025ish.


If anything I think the expectation should have been that that PLA will procure a reasonably large number of J-20s equipped with interim engines (i.e.: non WS-15, such as Al-31 or now more recently WS-10s) before WS-15s.
This is simply a reflection of the time it will take for WS-15 to finish development and enter production.

However, J-20s powered by WS-10s will likely still be the most capable fighter aircraft in the PLA inventory by a massive margin even without WS-15.
This is certainly my personal interpretation. Which is why the 50-60 figure surprises me a little even if a pair of WS-10s is just enough thrust for the J-20. They won't be able to swap out the WS-10s for WS-15s on these frames in future. J-20s must be quite expensive for the PLAAF. Yes there is a pressing need to have 5th gens and to develop tactics while Japan and USA are collecting F-35s. 50-60 already means at least 120 by the time WS-15 is ready if 2025 is a done deal. That's a huge 5th gen fleet to go with less than ideal engines. Either PLAAF must see immense value in how much better the J-20 is over anything else they've got and/or the WS-10's provide far more than adequate thrust. Giving credit to the 15T empty weight claims.
 

Bltizo

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This is certainly my personal interpretation. Which is why the 50-60 figure surprises me a little even if a pair of WS-10s is just enough thrust for the J-20. They won't be able to swap out the WS-10s for WS-15s on these frames in future. J-20s must be quite expensive for the PLAAF. Yes there is a pressing need to have 5th gens and to develop tactics while Japan and USA are collecting F-35s. 50-60 already means at least 120 by the time WS-15 is ready if 2025 is a done deal. That's a huge 5th gen fleet to go with less than ideal engines. Either PLAAF must see immense value in how much better the J-20 is over anything else they've got and/or the WS-10's provide far more than adequate thrust. Giving credit to the 15T empty weight claims.
J-20s using WS-10s will still be significantly superior to any other fighter the PLA has in its inventory.

Think about if the F-22 entered service with uprated F100s instead of F119s, and think about how much more capable it would still be compared to the USAF's other 4th generation aircraft.


I believe that is likely the situation the PLA faces.
The J-20 is likely simply that much better than anything else they have. Given what we know about how much better the F-22 and F-35 is compared to existing 4th generation aircraft in the US inventory, and the domains which allow them to be that much more capable, I see no reason why the J-20 would not be similarly more capable.


I personally wouldn't be surprised if the PLA ends up producing a total of 600-800 J-20s by the early 2030s, and I could see 200-300 of that production run being powered by WS-10s (and the initial 40 or so by Al-31s of course).
 
This is certainly my personal interpretation. Which is why the 50-60 figure surprises me a little even if a pair of WS-10s is just enough thrust for the J-20. They won't be able to swap out the WS-10s for WS-15s on these frames in future. J-20s must be quite expensive for the PLAAF. Yes there is a pressing need to have 5th gens and to develop tactics while Japan and USA are collecting F-35s. 50-60 already means at least 120 by the time WS-15 is ready if 2025 is a done deal. That's a huge 5th gen fleet to go with less than ideal engines. Either PLAAF must see immense value in how much better the J-20 is over anything else they've got and/or the WS-10's provide far more than adequate thrust. Giving credit to the 15T empty weight claims.
I am pretty certain that WS-10 even AL-31 would be able to replace with WS-15 relatively straightforward ..... remember that J-20 was designed with WS-15 in mind
 
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