J-20 5th Generation Fighter VII


zbb

New Member
Registered Member
It confirms that there are now four confirmed J-20 brigades - two brigades for testing+training (they were the first units to receive the J-20), one front line brigade in Eastern Theater Command which we've known about for a while now, and now this story confirms what that the PLA watching community has been speculating for a while now that another front line brigade in Northern Theater Command has received the J-20A.
Do these brigades operate aircrafts other than the J-20? How many planes does a PLAAF fighter brigade have? 18 to 24?

Assuming the 4 brigades only operate J-20's and have 18 to 24 planes each, then there are 72 to 96 J-20's in PLAAF service now.
 

crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
Do these brigades operate aircrafts other than the J-20? How many planes does a PLAAF fighter brigade have? 18 to 24?

Assuming the 4 brigades only operate J-20's and have 18 to 24 planes each, then there are 72 to 96 J-20's in PLAAF service now.
Each brigade has 3 flight groups (大队), each flight group has 2 flight squadrons (中队), and each fighter squadron operates 4 aircraft. Each flight squadron typically typically carries a spare airframe for backup, so doing the math a brigade should have 24-30 aircraft. In essence a brigade is similar in size to a USAF fighter squadron.

That said the two test and training brigades also operates/tests other airframes, so perhaps they only have a flight group or squadron worth of J-20. 1st Brigade in Northern Theater is the aforementioned front line unit that'll be transitioning it's J-11s for J-20s, so I imagine they'll probably be operating a mix of both until the transition is complete. The interesting thing is that 9th Brigade in Eastern Theater, which was the first front line unit to receive J-20s, also operates JL-10s (I'm guessing a flight groups worth of them). I have two hypothesis for this:
  • They're awaiting new airframes to be delivered from CAC, and the JL-10s helps keep the motor (stick and rudder) + decision making skills of the unit's pilots.
  • Given the rate of production of J-20s, there currently isn't enough airframe time to provide the training/currency to maintain crew readiness... it also helps that JL-10s are cheaper to operate than the J-20, and to a certain extent could also provide dissimilar air combat training for the J-20s (hard to keep visual tally of a small target during a dogfight). The USAF sorta does the same (1st Fighter Wing operates F-22s and T-38s), but whether 1st Brigade or any other brigade transitioning to the J-20 will keep the JL-10 + J-20 ... well I don't know. There is some merit I think in the JL-10 + J-20 brigade structure, because it'll allow for quicker fielding and allocation of J-20s to other brigades and theaters.
 
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siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
New images. Pilot is Chen Liu if I am not mistaken. Hard to tell with the shades on.

1Ujy8JO.jpg


8p1eLYx.jpg
 

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