PLAAF Munitions II


Inst

Senior Member
Radar is a two-way trip, the antenna interprets the signals received post-bounce. This means signals emitted by AEW&C, especially against stealth, will be detected long before the AEW&C itself detects the target craft.

The point being, if the J-20 has missiles with sufficient range, it can fire and scoot before the AEW&C knows it's there.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Radar is a two-way trip, the antenna interprets the signals received post-bounce. This means signals emitted by AEW&C, especially against stealth, will be detected long before the AEW&C itself detects the target craft.

The point being, if the J-20 has missiles with sufficient range, it can fire and scoot before the AEW&C knows it's there.
Not sure I follow. The difference in time will be negligible. Radio waves travel at the speed of light and these distances are comparatively tiny. The time it takes to process these signals are fractions of a second.

J-20 and any other PLAAF fighter in this situation should have detected the presence of the AEWC based on its active emissions. J-20 will probably have radars off and be vectored in to use its passive sensors. J-16 has no chance, flanker RCS is probably its largest drawback.

The appropriate strategy is certainly to use stealth fighters to take out important assets like tankers, early warning and electronic warfare types. One of the best ways to do this is to push F-35s back far enough so that J-16s and anything else capable of launching long range missiles can take shots where they have enough energy for high hit probability. That job goes to J-20. Fortunately each F-35 can only carry so much air to air. Most F-22s positioned outside the US are in Japan. There's good reason why PCA is being rushed into operation. No one expected a J-20 threat to present itself in numbers so soon.
 
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Inst

Senior Member
Signal strength weakens as the square of distance. Signal strength to target is S, signal strength to emitter is S/4.
 

Inst

Senior Member
When S is sufficient to detect the emitter, S/4 may not be sufficient to detect the target. When S/4 is sufficient to detect the target, S should be sufficient to detect the emitter. LRIP modes could make this more problematic, but LRIP can be countered by software on EW kit.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Oh you are saying J-20 has its radar turned on and the detection range of active emissions is maybe around 300km. But you've already assumed positive detection at 300km how does that change the fact J-20 cannot detect the active emissions from the E2? If signal strength is strong enough to establish positive detection at this range, I'm assuming it's strong enough to be detected in return.
 

Inst

Senior Member
I'm saying that if an AEW&C craft is emitting (the radar is on), the J-20 will spot the AEW&C before the AEW&C craft spots the J-20 as long as the J-20 has a good enough electronic warfare suite. This gives the J-20 a nice window in which it can send a radar homing missile sight unseen, provided the missile has enough range.
 

latenlazy

Colonel
First, because the PL-15s are already in service. Second, how large will the PL-X missile be? Could the PL-X fit in the J-20's bays?
Are we expecting air combat between China and the US before the PL-X is operational (if it isn’t already). Does it matter that it won’t be able to fit into the J-20’s weapon’s bay? At the range it’s designed of why does it need a stealth fighter to launch an attack? Why does that general role have to be done by a stealth fighter when it can be done at standoff ranges with non-stealth fighters?
 

latenlazy

Colonel
I'm saying that if an AEW&C craft is emitting (the radar is on), the J-20 will spot the AEW&C before the AEW&C craft spots the J-20 as long as the J-20 has a good enough electronic warfare suite. This gives the J-20 a nice window in which it can send a radar homing missile sight unseen, provided the missile has enough range.
Given what the current PLAAF networkcentric warfare doctrine seems to look like, it seems more probable that the J-20 would move forward of their squadron to act as detection nodes to get a lock on the AWACs and beam that lock to a J-16 armed with a PL-X, while also serving as a decoy to draw away the AWACs fighter escorts.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
So there is this theory where J-16s are used to lob these long range missiles at important targets while J-20s are used to slow down and deny enemy fighters trying to get air superiority while also serving as frontline nodes to locate and target the giants. To oversimply things. But J-16 or really any fighter in PLAAF is far from ideal for doing this relatively simple bomb-truck job. They should make a version of H-20 to fill this role where a low observable H-20 can be used to lob many more times the number of PL-xx that a J-16 can shoot and at even closer ranges to their targets. Without AWACs and tanker support, USAF is crippled. In such a war scenario, USAF bases in the pacific will all be targeted by dozens of cruise and ballistic missiles to get through PAC-3. Failing that, most are within reach of PLAN and H-6. The real threat becomes USN with its F-35s and Tomahawks. Essentially if PLA missions are to maintain control of regional waters and islands, on top of protecting mainland from attack or invasion, it desperately needs a way to deny US air superiority which begin with these supporting aircraft and pacific bases. After all in these defensive postures, it's the US forces that are operating FAR from mainland support.

PLAAF therefore need several long range missiles that can harass those important assets and keep them at some distance but to do this successfully, J-20 must be able to hold the F-22s and F-35s at a distance otherwise those J-16s will be dropping like flies. This means capable counter-stealth technologies or methods, VLO, and 6 MRAAMs for J-20 at the minimum. Doubt J-20 will ever be able to fit PL-xx or PL-21 internally and by the time long range missiles can be manufactured to compact sizes, the entire playing field would have evolved. Wearing them externally is going to do damage to J-20's RCS given how capable US radars are. Defeats the purpose of arming J-20 with these long rangers because it probably won't improve delayed detection by all that much. This will be at least 2 long range missiles under each wing, hardly a small RCS when we're talking about stealth fighters.
 
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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
So there is this theory where J-16s are used to lob these long range missiles at important targets while J-20s are used to slow down and deny enemy fighters trying to get air superiority while also serving as frontline nodes to locate and target the giants. To oversimply things. But J-16 or really any fighter in PLAAF is far from ideal for doing this relatively simple bomb-truck job. They should make a version of H-20 to fill this role where a low observable H-20 can be used to lob many more times the number of PL-xx that a J-16 can shoot and at even closer ranges to their targets. Without AWACs and tanker support, USAF is crippled. In such a war scenario, USAF bases in the pacific will all be targeted by dozens of cruise and ballistic missiles to get through PAC-3. Failing that, most are within reach of PLAN and H-6. The real threat becomes USN with its F-35s and Tomahawks. Essentially if PLA missions are to maintain control of regional waters and islands, on top of protecting mainland from attack or invasion, it desperately needs a way to deny US air superiority which begin with these supporting aircraft and pacific bases. After all in these defensive postures, it's the US forces that are operating FAR from mainland support.

PLAAF therefore need several long range missiles that can harass those important assets and keep them at some distance but to do this successfully, J-20 must be able to hold the F-22s and F-35s at a distance otherwise those J-16s will be dropping like flies.
I've thought about the possibility of H-20 having a secondary A2A role as well. The PLA may be intending to use H-20 as more than a mere stealth bomber -- one of the PLA affiliated media outlets directed stated in an article a year or two back that EW/ECM, data node, UAV control, ISR may be part of its role as well.
The weapons bay of H-20 would likely be enough to accommodate a respectable number of PL-Xs, and would be a very powerful A2A platform when acting in support of more conventional fighter forces.

But that obviously depends on how many H-20s end up getting bought as well as just how multirole H-20 may be.


In the interim, the carriage of PL-Xs aboard J-16 and maybe other flanker variants still represents a viable capability, and a new one that they did not have before.
 

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