PLA air operations in westpac region


Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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I think they are doing simulated strike of bases on the Eastern side.

I doubt it.


After all, waypointing for LACMs (whether air launched like KD-20 or ground launched like DF-10) is quite simple. H-6Ks can remain hundreds of kilometers within Chinese airspace, and launch KD-20s on flight profiles with waypointing to hit specific targets on the east.

And that's only if for some reason there is a particular target on the east that can't be serviced with an SRBM or GLCM.



IMO this flight is more of a reflection of geopolitical signalling combined with a general increasing PLA ability/desire to project greater amounts of air power over the ocean.
This flight package w/ AEW&C, ELINT, multirole fighters, bombers and ASW aircraft, obviously reflects a multirole flight package between both the Air Force and Naval Aviation, and is a building block exercise useful for any sort of larger scale air operations in the western pacific in general, rather than necessarily being Taiwan specific.


If they wanted to do exercises that are more Taiwan specific (and to their credit I imagine they probably have) -- I would be sending up multiple flights of fighter CAP in ETC inside Chinese airspace just west of the strait, with representative exercises that can demonstrate the viability of theater-command-scale "alpha strikes" composed of bombers with ALCMs and AShMs, strikers with SOMs and AShMs, supported by a couple of AEW&C, ELINT, and EW aircraft, as well as tactical jammer and tactical recce aircraft and some UAVs... of course with PLARF SRBM and GLCMs (and maybe PLAGF long range MLRS) being involved in some capacity as well, and to carry out multiple rounds of such CAP+strike+recce/AEW "cycles" over a couple of days.

And the thing is it wouldn't require the PLA to fly aircraft over international waters or near Taiwan at all.

Given the effective range of KD-20s being anywhere from 1500-2000km, H-6Ks don't need to fly anywhere within a couple hundred km of Taiwan to begin with. Heck, even if H-6Ks were using the shorter range KD-63s, they wouldn't need to get closer than 200km.
If they are flying H-6Ks any closer than that, it is because they are doing geopolitical signalling and/or there are other scenarios beyond of Taiwan they are training for.
 

escobar

Brigadier
PLAAF counteract US drone surveillance activities?
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Former Taiwanese navy radar operator Hsu Geng-rui noticed the interference in Taiwan’s southwestern airspace when he detected a U.S. drone carrying out a scouting mission in the area on March 11. A Chinese reconnaissance aircraft was trailing the drone, which eventually flew toward the Luzon Strait to avoid the rival aircraft’s obstructions.
USN MQ-4C Triton on March 11
EwPBDbtVcAI6ekT.jpg
US Army CL60 vs. USN MQ-4C vs. PLA Y-9 EW
EwKsEjKUcAE9XPd.jpg
 
Last edited:

siegecrossbow

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Staff member
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PLAAF counteract US drone surveillance activities?
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USN MQ-4C Triton on March 11
View attachment 70465
US Army CL60 vs. USN MQ-4C vs. PLA Y-9 EW
View attachment 70466

That's nothing new. As early as 2019 there were reports of ROCAF ground radars/communications being jammed by PLA EW aircraft, forcing ground control operators to switch to civilian channels and allowing their messages to be intercepted by ham radio enthusiasts from both sides of the strait.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
I doubt it.


After all, waypointing for LACMs (whether air launched like KD-20 or ground launched like DF-10) is quite simple. H-6Ks can remain hundreds of kilometers within Chinese airspace, and launch KD-20s on flight profiles with waypointing to hit specific targets on the east.

And that's only if for some reason there is a particular target on the east that can't be serviced with an SRBM or GLCM.



IMO this flight is more of a reflection of geopolitical signalling combined with a general increasing PLA ability/desire to project greater amounts of air power over the ocean.
This flight package w/ AEW&C, ELINT, multirole fighters, bombers and ASW aircraft, obviously reflects a multirole flight package between both the Air Force and Naval Aviation, and is a building block exercise useful for any sort of larger scale air operations in the western pacific in general, rather than necessarily being Taiwan specific.


If they wanted to do exercises that are more Taiwan specific (and to their credit I imagine they probably have) -- I would be sending up multiple flights of fighter CAP in ETC inside Chinese airspace just west of the strait, with representative exercises that can demonstrate the viability of theater-command-scale "alpha strikes" composed of bombers with ALCMs and AShMs, strikers with SOMs and AShMs, supported by a couple of AEW&C, ELINT, and EW aircraft, as well as tactical jammer and tactical recce aircraft and some UAVs... of course with PLARF SRBM and GLCMs (and maybe PLAGF long range MLRS) being involved in some capacity as well, and to carry out multiple rounds of such CAP+strike+recce/AEW "cycles" over a couple of days.

And the thing is it wouldn't require the PLA to fly aircraft over international waters or near Taiwan at all.

Given the effective range of KD-20s being anywhere from 1500-2000km, H-6Ks don't need to fly anywhere within a couple hundred km of Taiwan to begin with. Heck, even if H-6Ks were using the shorter range KD-63s, they wouldn't need to get closer than 200km.
If they are flying H-6Ks any closer than that, it is because they are doing geopolitical signalling and/or there are other scenarios beyond of Taiwan they are training for.

I think that bomber formation is more of simulated mopping up exercise against hostile enemy navy forces operating east of Taiwan after an initial AShBM alpha strike.

Fighters are there to deal with any surviving CAP from the carriers and/or fighters from Taiwan, J16s are there for the same and SEAD/DEAD against land based SAMs, and ASW MPA is there to try their luck to see if they can catch and kill the obligatory enemy SSN that always operates with CSGs while they are out there.

For an alpha strike against Taiwan, I would expect that to come via ground based cruise and ballistic missiles as well as longer ranges MLRS as opposed to massed air.

The air assets will take off at the same time as the initial missile strike to maximise element of surprise and to capitalise on the initial strike to deliver the crippling death strike while enemy defences are still reeling/reloading after the initial missile strikes.

UCAVs will move in as a third wave to effectively lock in earlier gains by providing real time 24/7 monitoring of key instillations like airfields to ensure repair work does not happen, and to mop up any assets that survived the initial strikes. Same with SAM and AShBM sites and even highway stretches pre-prepared as emergency runways.

Realistically, I would expect the PLA to achieve similar air dominance as the allies did during desert storm and Kosovo within the first 24-72 hours, with naval interdiction flights like the one described above viable from thereafter since Taiwan’s ground based air and SAM forces are expected to be destroyed or thoroughly suppressed by then to allow such forces to operate east of Taiwan without too much risk from Taiwan itself.
 

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