Theory and Application J-20

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by Inst, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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    If we want to talk about the J-20's actual combat capability, with the ability to talk regarding possible competitors and roles, we need to be able to go off-topic.

    So I'm bringing up the LREW / SACM / MSDM complex up for discussion. This is a triad of missiles under development by the United States, with SACM supposedly finishing development by early 2021. These seem to be novel kinetic-kill missiles, possibly subsonic, and with a reduced footprint compared to existing missiles by virtue of skipping the warhead. For instance, the CUDA competitor to the SACM is supposed to be able to fit 12 to the F-22 and F-35, while functioning as a medium-range multi-mode missile in the 60-80km range. These use body thrusters, holes on the body where thrust is exhausted, to enable extreme maneuverability. This would allow SACM to theoretically be able to intercept enemy air-to-air missiles, including long-range interceptor missiles.

    Relative to the J-20, this actually renders it obsolete as both as interceptor and air superiority aircraft. Why? Because interceptor missiles will end up being shotdown by enemy interception missiles. Normal BVR missiles, like the PL-15, could be shot down by a more numerous load of interception missiles such as SACM or MSDM. And when it comes to dogfight missiles, the PL-10 is outranged by SACM.

    On the other hand, were the J-20 to actually employ its own suite of clones, it would have a substantial advantage. Unlike the F-35 as a platform, the J-20 is designed for supersonic maneuverability and supercruise. A J-20 using SACM-clones would be able to outrange the F-35, and be able to intercept enemy support craft at short range, using SACM and MSDM clones to stop enemy protective fire. Moreover, with a longer bay than the F-35, the J-20 could also use larger SACM-clones, allowing its missiles, by themselves, to outperform the SACM / MSDM suite.

    ===

    The alarming thing is, we haven't seen any word on the Chinese trying to come out with their clones of the LREW/SACM/MSDM complex. The most we've heard about is the PL-21/XX, which seems to be stalled, and if advanced kinetic kill missiles are the function of engine technology, the Americans have an advantage there with the Chinese playing follow-up.
     
  2. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    I remember when they said Chinese artificial intelligence was way behind everyone else and then literally on the turn of dime China was up there competing with the US. So what's the story? China caught up so easily or were the Chinese working on it and people didn't know and just went by stereotypes? Or how about the US was bragging about the now cancelled Prompt Global Strike where the US could attack any country in the world like a less than 30 minute pizza delivery? The US even gave warnings to potential adversaries that they had to spend the time to identify it as conventional because it could easily be seen as a nuclear attack. That required hypersonic technology and now who's ahead? But of course now since China has advanced ahead with its hypersonic program, the US says it will automatically assume it's nuclear to deter China from thinking of using it. The US doesn't need these missiles because it has lasers. Laser will beat these missiles anytime. So what does it mean where they have lasers that will do a better job than these missiles? It means lasers aren't even close to working as hyped. Hence it's probably safe to assume these missiles are hype as well or we would've seen a bunch of articles from the National Interest that China has already surrendered to the US because of these weapons. There's a whole slew of new weapons bragged about before and now nowhere.
     
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  3. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    I've not heard anything about PL-XX being stalled. We haven't heard any news about it for a while but that is fairly normal for Chinese missile and AAM developments. It was similar for PL-10 for quite a few years as well.


    As for small size AAMs...
    Considering how early a stage of development US small sized AAMs are, we would not expect to hear rumours about PLA developments as of yet.

    In the longer term, of course we can expect the PLA to investigate and developtheir own small sized AAMs.
    Chances are they will emerge a few years after US small size AAMs but I expect the lag time to be smaller than the time between say, AIM-9X and PL-10 or AIM-120 and PL-12.
     
  4. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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    PL-XX / PL-21 (interception missile with ramjet) was first leaked around 2007, with the diagram of various PL-12 variants in development. It's stalled insofar as it's been more than 10 years and it's still not ready for development, when the R-37M is nearly ready, fits in a Su-57, and uses roughly the same technologies (ramjet).

    As for prototype KK AAMs, the most important capability is MSDM, or the ability to shoot down enemy AAMs with active chaff. This is a game changer in terms of aircraft capability; i.e, up to now, the best people have been able to do was to break radar seekers with AESA jamming or DIRCM vs IR-missiles. This is actual hard-kill capability that, to date, has only been seen vs cruise missiles.

    Likewise, the small missiles can also be moved into naval configuration; we have quad-packed ESSMs right now, the KK paradigm could promise octo-packed ESSMs that'd be capable of rendering ships near-invulnerable to most anti-ship missiles.
     
  5. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Let's clarify.
    SACM seems to be Cuda.
    Cuda was a half length concept hit to kill missile that would double the payload of existing fighters in theory.
    However it sacrifices the warhead. This would be supersonic. Eliminating the warhead reduces length and weight.
    Already many IR guided missiles considered close range are actually ranging into BVR. If you compare the lengths and sizes of some of these missiles to medium range missiles they are actually pretty close.

    MSDM is like a hard kill APS for aircraft. The aim being that these would be fired like we see with systems like Trophy to down an inbound threat missile. It's close range and as the name implies, Self Defence. Because of the size limits of a fighter I suspect that these would be more restricted in numbers or not on most fighters rather more common to bombers, tankers, transports or AEW.
    Like my analogy to Trophy. You have set numbers of interceptors and a set time to reload.

    LREW is not a hit to kill it's basically the US PL21, a longer range two stage air to air missle meant to go beyond Aim120. That said the fact is it's hard to figure how it would squeeze into a F22 or F35 or how it would fare against other LO fighters.
    (See below on why LO isn't dead.) The U.S. chose when developing Raptor not to push a New LRAAM. Now it seems it's make up time.
    In the LO on LO though I doubt either PL21 or LREW would actually factor for much.

    Lasers are fine in theory but practice is still to be worked out. The heat, energy and range limitations are issues. It seems likely that Sixth gens and upgraded fifth, Five point five gens will use lasers for defence against missiles assuming that they can lock and have the power. But as a kill system that seems unlikely at least for a while. Current laser systems disperse energy beyond a couple dozen or so miles. They are also fragile and power hungry.

    LO isn't dead yet.
    Although Russian and China have been pushing the claim of Antistealth radar. it's one thing to detect a LO it's another to complete the kill chain. Missile and fighter radars are fairly small and the critical link to complete intercept. If they don't see the target they don't make the kill. This reduces the actual effective kill range. The addition of secondary assets like EW farther fogs the war.
    This I think is why the next gen air to air missiles systems will favor multi seeker. But still in the end you basically have to be on top of the LO to kill it. And the LO fighter has his own kill chain options if you are close enough to kill you are close enough to be killed.

    Counter point to Mace.
    1)Prompt Global Strike was not canceled it was delayed and reorganized.
    2) 30 minutes or less, or the next one is free is actually do able with nuclear weapons as that is how long an ICBM from launch to impact would take from Russia to the U.S. or visa versa.
    Prompt Global Strike called for a conventional weapons system that could match that.
    Problem is that PGS based on a Ballistic missile has the potential to send Bejing and Moscow into red alert. Hell Moscow has gone on red alert when there ballistic missile monitoring satellites picked up regularly scheduled space launches.
    The objective of PGS was to allow the US to launch conventional missile strikes in a very limited time. For example there have been times when Intel confirmed the location of OBL or Saddam Hussein but by the time strike packages rolled in on those locations the target had moved on.
    With ABM all the rage right now. hypersonic is the vogue word.
    China and Russia have a lead for the moment. Moments come and go.

    Now then J20.
    As I said SACM seems to be Cuda which was devised as a concept to make up for the air to air payload limits of fifth gens.
    A F22 With Cuda could in theory go from 8 air to air missiles to potential as high as 14, of course more realisticly more like 12.
    Where it really shines though is with F35 who's LO payload would go from 6 to 8-10.

    It's likely that the Chinese and Russians would similarly look into it adding more missiles to J20 and SU57. How many would depend on how small they got. But there is a reason why you are three concepts. They are meant to compliment.
     
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  6. Jura
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    Jura General

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    what on Earth is "KK paradigm"
    ??
     
  7. Bltizo
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    I think PL-21 or whatever the ramjet AAM was, may have been tested in some form in the late 2000s but it seemed to have been superseded by the dual pulse PL-15, perhaps cancelled in favour of PL-15.

    PL-XX or PL-X is the larger VLRAAM that we saw carries by J-16 a couple of years ago, a missile in a different class to PL-15 and PL-21. I suspect PL-XX development started later than PL-15 and PL-21.

    So the development time for PL-XX is quite appropriate. For PL-21/ramjet AAM it seems like it may not be actively pursued.
     
  8. Jura
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    Jura General

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    sorta
    Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles:
    Background and Issues

    Updated January 8, 2019 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R41464.pdf
     
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  9. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Kinetic Kill paradigm. AKA Hit to kill.
    Most modern Air to Air missiles have a explosive warhead Cuba/SACM and MSDM don’t plan on warheads neither doe the Iron Dome Timir missile interceptor they aim to hit hard enough to damage the enemy.
     
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  10. Inst
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    Inst Senior Member

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    The advantage of kinetic kill is that they, by ignoring the warhead, can be built lighter and smaller than existing missiles with the same performance. However, the problem with KK is that, well, you can get a near-hit with a warheaded missile that still deals significant damage. A near-hit with KK is also known as a miss. So KK is more jamming vulnerable than existing warheads.

    Re: TerraN_EmpirE: the biggest question is how long it'll take for the Chinese and Russians to do a follow-on with their own missiles to the latest generation of American AAMs. The R-37M is a rough analogue to the LREW capability, and already shows hypersonic characteristics. Blitzo is implying a 2-3 year lag, or even less, considering that the AIM-9X and PL-10 were near contemporaneous, while the AIM-120D and PL-15 were similar in time lag.

    I'm not so sure; the latest American missiles are just as decisive a capability change as from F-15 to F-22, given the proposed self-defense capability. These missiles emphasize reliable homing characteristics as well as new propulsion technologies, and are missiles designed for stealth vs stealth warfare (IR, large salvo, medium range). Given how long it's taken for China to develop missiles (think of how long we've heard about PL-ASR rumors) as well as the game-changing nature of these missiles, it might take 5 years for the Chinese to catch up, by which time the J-20 would have to face American 6th gens.
     
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