Tuesday, November 17, 2009

US/China relations + PLA transparency

I just have some random thoughts from the last couple of days with Obama's visit to Asia and all the news releases with PLAAF’s 60th anniversary. There have been a lot of new articles recently about the deterioration of the US-Japan relationships with the DPJ sweeping into power. One of the bigger issues we hear recently is the relocation of the Futenma air bases in Okinawa. And I’m sure that many others know the issue better than I do on this, but it seems like the Okinawans are calling for all US troops to leave the island. I know it’s a very unlikely scenario, but how would loosing an air base like Kadena affect USAF operations in the PacRIM (especially in Taiwan scenario)?
Of course, President Obama also visited China on this trip to discuss a series of issues. Climate change and currency valuation are probably the two biggest items on Obama’s agenda. I think for the former, China will continue to accept more responsibility, because it really is in its national interest to do so. We have basically seen the Chinese green energy industry explode in the last couple of years. Even though it has not made any firm promises on targets, it is actually making a lot of progress in every area. I think the Politburo will soon realize that they are already on pace to achieve targets that Western countries expect of them and actually accept some kind of commitment. Even so, I’m not sure if they will figure this out before the all important Copenhagen talks. In the area of currency valuation, I think Chinese leadership will totally miss the ball on this one. Even though it’s probably for their own good to let RMB appreciate, they will probably stubbornly tie their currency to USD longer than they should. With all of the public and private sector debts, it’s hard to imagine USD having anywhere to go but down. If China wants RMB to have some kind of role in a future world reserve currency, it would be much better if it can speed of the process of becoming a floating currency. On the flip side, if China let their currency rise, then it would not have to purchase as much treasury, which will force more purchase by the FED and accelerate the decline of USD. So while US wants China to let its currency rise, it also might not like the resulting affect. The right thing for China to do is probably let its currency rise. And the right thing for USA to do is to get its spending in order, cut down its debt and raise interest rate. However, neither side looks like they are willing to do the right thing.

On the security side, I think we all know by now what the biggest issues are on both side. I have always found the Chinese complaints over F-16 sale to be kind of funny. I am not entirely sure what the order backlog is like for F-16s, but I believe the following countries are still in the midst of receiving their F-16s: Turkey, Pakistan, Greece, Poland, Iraq and Morocco. Even if the F-16 deal gets approved and signed by next year, it will probably take until 2014 before the F-16s get all delivered. We recently heard that the next generation Chinese fighter will be ready in 8 to 10 years. I really don’t think this F-16 deal will help ROCAF as much as most people think it will. The concern I’ve always read from the Chinese military insiders is that they consider F-16 to be an offensive platform. If that’s the case, a deal can still be done without the latest multi-role weapons like JDAM and SLAM-ER.

The major US complaint over China is obviously the issue of transparency. In the past week, PLAAF made some announcements that were surprising to many people in both the transparency and the content. The deputy commander of PLAAF said that China's 4th generation fighter (5 generation for America) is expected to test flight shortly and also take about 8 to 10 years to enter service. In comparison, J-10 first flied in 1998, delivered to the PLAAF Flight Test & Training Base for evaluation in 2003, had first regiment regiment established in 2004, but still was not considered by Chinese media to have entered service until 2006 when they had already established 2 active regiments. F-22's production version first flew in 1997, commenced Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2003 and achieved FOC in 2007. If China's 4th generation fighter has a similar time line to J-10 and F-22, it would take about 8 years to go from first flight to service entrance. The first flight would have to happen in the next 2 years to achieve that 8 to 10 years promise. The interesting part is that Kanwa, which is well known for its flawed coverage on PLA, claimed that the 4th generation program had no chance of making its first flight in the near future. The funny part was that an expert from Chinese Air Force Command College replied by saying that PLA would never make an open announcement without believing that it will happen. I personally agree with latter, because it really is very unusual for PLA to make such an early announcement on a project that is so strategically important. Also, I have also read enough rumbling through my Chinese sources to believe that 2018 is probably when the 4th generation plane enters service.

I actually even found a US newspaper covering this story. That article picked up this story from a recent Aviation Week entry. I guess the big question now is why Pentagon was so wrong in its predictions, because it actually said China will not have any 5th generation fighter by 2020. As I read this article, I even myself shaking my head reading these parts.

In April, Adm. Wu Shengli, the navy chief, listed supercruising fighters among equipment that his service needed. Notably, all the other equipment on his wish list looked quite achievable by the end of the next decade, matching the timing that the air force now suggests for the fighter.

-----big gap-----

When Wu raised the prospect of a supercruising fighter, an easy answer seemed to be an advanced version of the J-10. That looks less likely now that He describes the future concept as a full generation ahead of the J-10.

“I believe the Chinese have a difficult road if their design is tied to the J-10,” says a U.S. Air Force officer involved in the development of the F-35. “Significantly reduced signature requires more than coatings. It requires an integrated design philosophy with the right shaping, the right structure and the right surface coatings.”

It's pretty well known in China that CAC is not only working on the J-10B project, but also is the main contractor for the next generation project. When the admiral made his statement, I find it hard to believe that the US military actually thought he was talking about an improved version of J-10 or J-11. Much of information on existing PLAAF projects are available online and Huitong's site even does a great job of putting everything together in place. If someone from the Pentagon bothered to check out his section on J-10B, which I can verify to be fairly accurate, they'd know that J-10B has already flied and would be in service years before the end of next decade. They are separate projects. In fact, J-10B must happen before the next generation project, because many of the subsystems will first be tested on J-10B. Here is another part that reflects pretty badly on the US intelligence community:

In his July 16 speech, Gates said that even in 2025 China would have but a handful of fifth-generation aircraft.

The Pentagon seems to have no clue on the progress of China's next generation project or its induction size. I've personally read enough sources to believe that this CAC design will have a small production run like F-22. There will be another next generation design that will form the lo-end of a hi-lo combination (like USAF is doing with F-22 and F-35), but that will come later. I've always found it interesting that the Pentagon seems to have trouble identify the number of each type of aircraft in service with PLA, because they have access to all open sources, secrets sources and the most comprehensive satellite images. I personally commend Scramble for doing a great job in identifying all of the Chinese air bases, order of battle and the plane type in each of the bases. In many cases, Scramble ORBAT is updated before even the most enthusiastic Chinese military forums catch hold of a new regiment conversion.

On a similar note, I saw that the ASBM story has landed on Bloomberg this morning. The most interesting part is here:

China’s ballistic missile “portends the sophistication of the threats that we’re going to see,” Roughead said in an interview earlier this year.

China has ground-tested the missile three times since 2006 and conducted no flight tests yet, Navy officials said.

‘Limited Capability’

General Xu Caihou, China’s No. 2 military official, played down the weapon’s significance.

“It is a limited capability” to meet “the minimum requirement of” China’s national security, Xu, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, said in response to a question following an Oct. 26 speech in Washington.

The fact that General Xu basically confirmed this weapon should tell you how far along it is. I think this is another development that took way too long to be identified and should've been taken more seriously when everyone was focused on the submarine threat. And with the ASBM story making rounds, the just as important story of the long range LACM deployment is almost totally disregarded.

In conclusion, I think that a lot of transparency complaints that the Pentagon throws at PLA are valid, but it is also unacceptable that the Pentagon would be caught off guard in so many cases. There are enough resources out there that can be researched to form much better conclusion on the progress of the Chinese military.

180 comments:

platensimycin said...

RoCAF should focus on force integration, training and contingencies, rather than simply asking for F16Bk50+ purchase.

--------------------------

Lack of transparency (that is, [intentionally] keep your potential enemy in the dark) is, according to Sun Tzu, a great tactic. Arguably, Americans loss many of its industrial and military know-hows through excessive transparency.

----------------------------

Chinese 4G (ie 5G) would almost certainly be much more difficult to realize than anticipated. The LO, avionics, engine and aerodynamic know-hows take years to develop. Remember that it took decades for Chinese to mature and field J10. (Again, deliberate ambiguity played in Chinese's favor). A true Chinese 4G/5G would almost certainly come after Russian/Indian PAK FA; the former has the money, the later pair has both the experience and the money.

Eric Z said...

I find the Pentagon's intelligence (or lack of) to be a bit scary for a few reasons.
1: is obviously as feng's said is that they have made such a bad call on China's 4th generation fighter debut timeline.
2: is that my paranoid side says to me the Pentagon is giving out false information to the public and that they actually can give out "wrong" information because they have more powerful weapons in development capable of destroying an adversary's stealth fighter.

I find the former more likely.
The Pentagon's blunder here will definitely be good for China though.

@platensimycin:
You make an extremely valid point that the LO, engines, avionics etc all need time to develop - but China's had experience in the J-10, and various other projects to draw upon. And there's also the fact that the PLA in general wouldn't make a statement like "we've made breakthroughs", and "the 4th gen fighter will be in service in 8-10 years" without having that information be 100% true. It simply isn't PLA to brag. (In this case I use PLA as an adjective)

I'm not too sure about your timeline on the chinese 4th gen fighter coming out after the PAK FA. The Russians were saying that the PAK FA would see it's first flight this year, but it's still being delayed quite a bit. I'm hoping it will fly this year (stop us waiting), but I am skeptical. If delays continue, we may eventually see the Chinese 4th gen and PAK FA come into service at about the same time.

Feng said...

actually, aerodynamics is probably the least of their problems, considering how maneuverable J-10 already is. Avionics is probably not that hard to achieve too if you look at all the stuff they are experimenting on J-10B. Stealth and engine are the biggest concerns. I don't think they will be able to achieve the same level of stealth as F-22 or even F-35. For engine, they can always fly an improved variant of Taihang to start off and then put WS-15 on there later. I certainly don't think PAK-FA is guaranteed to be finished before Chinese 4G

platensimycin said...

Some key traits of 5th generation fighter jet:

LO, supercruise, super-manoeuvrability, aerodynamic & thrust-vectoring, AESA, sensor fusion, internal weapon carriage (and a new family of armament just for such purpose_. Chinese industry so far has little to no experience in at least 2 (LO & AESA/TV) of 7 key technologies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenyang_J-XX

Anticipate long gestation period for both Shenyang JXX & Sukhoi PAK FA. (One estimate: 15 years from first flight to operational readiness.) The good news: these 5G from the East will almost certainly cost less than their [freakishly expensive] Western counterparts.

platensimycin said...

A lot of 5G requirements actually contradict each other [making it that much more difficult to find a workable solution in between]. For instance:

* Long detection range means large AESA disk, drawing up power and cooling requirement and detectability.

* Low observable means carrying everything internally, inevitably resulting in weight gain that requires hugely powerful but thirsty engine. LO also means simple geometry, making super-maneuverability and low-speed & high-alpha handling difficult.

The list of difficult but necessary design challenges - and at times, compromises - necessary.

platensimycin said...

The new developers' best bet is to study [and copy] F22 design and program intensely, come out with a workable geometry (CATIA, anyone?), refine details and components through incremental upgrades.

Anyway, developing 5G fighter aircraft [if committed to it] has been, and remain to be, a hugely challenging and expensive endeavor.

Feng said...

alright a few things.
I know what the traits of a 5th generation plane is, don't need to list something from Wikipedia.

Don't need you to list J-xx from Wikipedia, which consists of nothing but nonsense.

China does not lack money, it lacks experience and technology. CAC is certainly working on both of that.

platensimycin said...
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platensimycin said...

It is foolhearted to assume that with money & J10 experience one would be able to beat Russian and American (it took Americans 2 decades to get ATF right) to 5G development schedule.

Feng said...

China has been working on 5th generation plane since the early 90s. It's only last year that they selected the CAC design ahead of the SAC design (went through a similar process to the one USA had with F-22 and F-35) and now it's getting built.

platensimycin said...

China signed the contract to locally assemble Su27SK from kits provided by Sukhoi in 1995.

There is no way China could have started working on 5th generation RDT&E since the early 90s.

Eric Z said...
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Eric Z said...

Actually platensimycin....

There was a US ONI report in about 1997 talking about a chinese stealth fighter in development.
If we assume that it took them a few years to realize China was building a 4th gen fighter.... then it is not at all inconceivable the project started in the early 1990's. The assmebling of foreign planes have nothing to do with planning future fighters.

With money and experience from various indigenous projects (and maybe foreign help from russains, europeans, israelis maybe), it would be hardly be beating the Americans and Russians to 5th generation fighter development.

Feng, you said that you would think the chinese 4th gen plane wouldn't even achieve the same level of stealthness as the F-35? That's pretty dire if true... May I ask what makes you think that?

Cause if we have a F-22 weight class fighter with stealth even worse than the F-35 (which has been slammed by many people on it's stealthiness - aus airpower.com for one), then the chinese stealth fighter would have a huge disadvantage. I am sure I do not need to list them.

hbogyt said...

@Eric

Don't worry about it not being as stealthy as F-35. The Chinese 5th gen is designed to suit PLAAF's own tactics and apparently they think it works. The Chinese 5th gen. will be more manoeuverable than f-35 and perhaps f-22, with a price lower than that of f-35. I think it will pop any other plane out of the skies.

@ platensimycin

Signing for those su-27 didn't mean that China didn't have 4th gen. technology. It just so happened that they needed something real quick.

platensimycin said...

Like we did with former USSR decades ago, we underestimate the Chinese in some areas while overestimate them in others.

Eric Z said...

@ hbogyt

It is likely the chinese 4th gen will be more manouverable than the F-35, and as manouverable as the F-22.
But it's unlikely it will have a lower price than the F-35. Feng said that it would be likely that the J-XX will be produced in numbers similar to the F-22.
So if we have a fighter which is as manouverable as the F-22, in the same numbers as the F-22, but even less stealthy than the F-35...

Well the J-XX will be hard pressed to beat modern radars, and will have a huge disadvantage in BVR to say the least.

Ying said...

you dum china men can oly talk about 4th and 5th gen planes, but don't know what fighter aircraft is? china has not been able to develop a good engine yet and it s been more than 20 years now. RD93 engine is an old Russian technology but the main engine for you dum chinese in your J10 and J17. don't try them out with any other country because they will be wiped out of the sky before you realize. this is the reality of mechanical side, going to electronix, china can only produce dollar store bullshit. you are the "superpower" in your own words for your own people. don't make mistake by trying to convince the "round eyes" or you'll face the worst embarrassment of this century.

Ying said...

This bastard Noshir Gowadia sold the stealth technology to dummy PRC for several million dollars (http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=112005044150)
check the link and read that bastard is in the jail paying the price for helping the china dummies.
my last two posts prove that commie china is just a land of brainless dum assholes who can only copy but not develop.

platensimycin said...

Chinese road toward modernization is methodical but it simply takes time, effort and [at times] dumb luck.

PLA/PLAN/PLAAF has some decisive edges and it's getting sharper every year as more money, research and human resources are poured into the modernization effort. Even RAND predicts that PLA will be unstoppable in some areas by 2015.

5G is not simply 3+2Gs; it entails a lot of technological breakthroughs in the aforementioned areas. To the best of my knowledge, Chinese modernization focuses on task multiplying technologies (game-changers, that is). Time will tell whether 5G fighter jet - American or otherwise - will ever fit such bill.

platensimycin said...
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Eric Z said...

@ Ying,

I feel so terrified by your predictions of the PRC's demise and embarrasment, as well as your fantastic use of grammar and spelling.

hbogyt said...

Ying's likely an Indian idiot. I find that most internet users racist towards Chinese are Indians. How ironic. Just ignore his stupidity.

Feng said...

hmm, I don't think ONI predictions are entirely accurate, since 095 hasn't been produced yet. They are pretty inaccurate with everything else on their pdf.

As for 5th generation development, you should know that every country starts research on a new generation while still starting to produce an existing generation. It takes a long time to develop a new fighter. So, it makes total sense that they started to research on next gen in the 90s.

Ying said...

hbogyt! the wise confucious, IDIOT stands for "I do it on terms", obviously my terms. so, i re-iterate that prc will get blown apart rather than ever becoming number one like USA. prc has only "islamic" friends, who also have a dream to islamicize the globle (including PRC). the rest of world unite against the two evils.
the only way china can be saved is thru democracy.

Eric Z said...

@ Ying

That's nice. :)

Feng said...

Ying, you have a lot of anger problems. I suggest that you go see a specialist rather than take it out on my blog.

Ying said...

so you see the truth in my statement as an anger outburst from me. hmmmm ....

Eric Z said...

Ying, let's just agree to disagree k?
This is a military blog, go onto political forums if you want to bash china...

And truth can be an angry outburst you know. (Not that we're all in agreement that what you said was truth).

hbogyt said...

http://news.ifeng.com/mil/2/200911/1123_340_1447055.shtml

Oh, Feng, I'm shattered. That's disappointing.

Eric Z said...

@ hbogyt

Don't despair lol.

I think that the report is just meant to confuse us a bit, the PLAAF general revealed too much, and now they're confusing us a bit.

Besides, most of the information which had been given to us indicates the J-XX will use a delta canard format.
With the bad reporting of CCTV, I belive they mean the 4th gen fighter will be based on the J-10's format rather than the J-10 itself.

(Even if it is based on the J-10, it would be enlarged, modified air intakes, new avionics, engines, materials, space for internal weapons and new radar. So it would be a new aircraft anyway)

They are obviously regretting the PLAAF general's revealing too much...

platensimycin said...

Re: CCTV *

A flattened F22; a Rafale with ventral DSI; a J10 with F16I-like modifications - at least the Rafale-like proposal looks interesting.

* http://news.ifeng.com/mil/2/200911/1123_340_144705

Eric Z said...

The F-16I J-10 was a fan boy art for the J-10B before we saw pics of the J-10B.
The rest are just fanboy art.

stupid CCTV, they use fanboy art so often.. =(

platensimycin said...

Just about to say that the modified J10B concept seems promising. J10 already sports an enlarged dorsal compartment. Other modifications seems feasible.

Rafale-w/-DSI is interesting. Wonder if they can delete everything else and [envision that it] carries storage internally. Geometry is simplified; that oughts to improve LO signature.

http://news.ifeng.com/mil/2/200911/1123_340_1447055_5.shtml

platensimycin said...

China oughts to (probably already has) start designing a whole family of small diameter A/A & A/G weapons: shrink/fold the fins & consider thrust vectoring.

platensimycin said...

McDonnell Douglas JSF proposal: it's rejected but intriguing nevertheless. The fact that it lacks vertical stabilizers suggests that it would probably beat F35 on maneuverability and RCS range.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbZ2Q6lStJE

http://www.alexstoll.com/AircraftOfTheMonth/5-00.html

----------------------------------

Again, it's a shame that America's excessive transparency (i.e. intentional media exposure) gives away many good ideas to foreign competitors.

Feng said...

that article that recently appeared on CCTV and Xinhua is not official. In fact, there are plenty of news stories on both that are basically just in accurate. For example, a CCTV news clip a while ago claimed that J-10 is already using AESA radar. Does anyone actually believe in that?

The deputy commander of PLAAF is the source, you should trust that.

Jiang said...

Feng, long time no see. How are you?

Regarding China's 5G fighter, I think money is not a problem at all, but it needs more competitions. So far, it is between CAC and SAC which is similar to the Lockeeh Martin and Northrop Grumman case. However, this is just building the plane. For radar the Americans have Ratyhaeon and Northrop Grumma to compet, for Engine it is P&W and GE. However China only has Liming to build Engine and 14th institude to build radar, so I think this will be a problem. They need more competitions. The more the better.

BTW, Ying is two things perhaps: 1. A Tawainese piece of Sh!t who is so terrified by the fact that China is advancing so fast both military and economy. 2. A gutter r@t bhangee Bhindian who is jelous at China, Bhinda is so pathatic that it can not compare with China in any way. Let it be Sport, Ecocnomy(China's GDP is 4 times the size of Bhindia event though Bhindia is DemonCrazy), military(China whop Bhindia's a$$ in the 1960's even though Bhindia has USSR and USA support, and now PLA is stronger numerically and techology wise than the mere Bhindian army. So you see why Ying is so pi$$ed. lol, guys just ingorn HER. lol

Jiang said...

Ying is ALWAYS having HER period. hahaha.

Eric Z said...

I thought it was Xi'an which was making the J-XX's engine -- the WS-15?
My personal fear is whether CAC and SAC are able to combine their efforts to get the stealth aspect of the plane to a good standard. It's a bit unrealistic to expect it to be as good as the F-22, but I think it should be at least F-35 level. More all aspect stealth than the F-35.

Also is just the details of the J-XX, it seems to be a problem in which western commentators have said China may have problems in.


And Jiang, dude don't worry about guys like Ying. He has his opinions and just... smile and wave. If you throw a spaz to flame starters they just relish the response which they receive. Just ignore them =/

Ying said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric Z said...

Ying, don't tell me that you're bringing Nostradamus into this...

And no, it's not democracy that will save us, it's GOD. >.>

Ying said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ying said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
platensimycin said...

Eric,

Like what you said, Ying is obviously flamebaiting.

Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!

-----------------------------

Feng,

CCTV is a State-run media outlet. I would say that the alleged report carries some weight.

Working on J10 [and J11B] makes sense - both designs are in production and still have a lot of unexplored potential; optimizing them carries far less risk than starting a brand new project, IMO. PLAAF's J11/J10 is essential the Chinese equivalent - if not a more potent pair - of USAF's F15/F16 hi-lo mix.

It wouldn't mean China wouldn't be running a parallel project, though.

Eric Z said...

Yes it is quite humorous. Humorous was what I was going for.

@ platensimycin

CCTV, actually misreports a lot of stuff for a state run media. Unless they interview someone with a lot of weight and directed to the military (that PLAAF general who was interviewed for example), then I would take what they say about their own military with a grain of salt.

Also you have to take into account that the CCP may be putting out false information through CCTV... In this case about the "4th gen being upgraded J-10" thing, I believe is just bad reporting.


And yeah, happy thanksgiving (even though I don't live in the USA, but still it's the thought that counts I suppose)

Ying said...

oh by the way!!!!
happy thanx givin' to all non commie chinese brothers and sisters. (just few days late to realize :-)
god bless Taiwan

platensimycin said...

Have had the privilege to acquaint quite a few Chinese and Taiwanese, Indian and Pakistani friends and colleagues over the years.

The ethnic divisions seem much acute back home than they are abroad; historical scars run deep, i reckon. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Ying!

Jiang said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
platensimycin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hbogyt said...

Good insults Jiang, they are very good. I'm with you on this one.

Feng said...

clearly, there can't be any civilized debate when Ying is involved, deleting posts.

Feng said...

to platensimycin,
That report has already been dismissed as something by a person not even remotely involved in the project. Xinhua a lot of times reposts rumours started by other sources, so it's not really as accurate as people would think. Especially, it carries no weight against the deputy commander of PLAAF.

Jiang said...

Feng, thank your for revoming my post. I worte those posts just for Ying(Bhangee Bhindi). I see that he read my post and got more angry which is exactly what I wanted.

Feng, sorry for spoil your blog. BUt I have to defend ourselves.

Hope you will not get upset.

Ying said...

so here is the article which can highlight china's 5th gen aircrafts. by reading this article, it manifests that Taiwan's F16s and Mirage are more than enough to wipe out mainland's entire air force.
no hard feeling commie brothers :-)

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairfo/articles/20091129.aspx

Ying said...

so jiang, you were being a bad boy to incite "something" outta me. I always follow Buddha's teachings to stay calm. you did not score anything, sorry!

platensimycin said...

From the same website:

"Intelligence: Unstoppable China" *

China doesn't have to go head-to-head with American counterpart. They will likely hit us where we are the weakest/least expected [again, straight out of Sun Tzu's teaching]. War is about maneuver and deception, not fair play, according to Sun.

There are two trends at work here: pro-China side thinks they can easily jump from 3G to 5G in few leaps while the pro-USA side thinks that rising Chinese influence can easily be tamed [by forces]. Making the very long story short, a little more cooperation might do both sides good. Somehow i think both sides' government realize that; just not their people, yet.

* http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htintel/articles/20091125.aspx

platensimycin said...
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Eric Z said...

Eugh, you're joking me right?
Strategypage? That's as reliable as.... the epoch times, or andrei chang let's say.
Just extremely unreliable as well as frankly a bit biased.

It says "maintenance nightmare". Where did it get this information from? And how did they know that "the chinese stole as much engine knowledge as they could"?
It also claims that the J-10 is not "competitive" to the various flanker variants China was importing from Russia. That is interesting because from what I've heard is that though the J-10 has a shorter range, it's aerial performance exceeds the flankers (manouverability - apparently it can do the cobra manouver better than the flanker, and it made the PLAAF speed record a while ago I belive)

Strategypage imho BS's more than actually writing real facts - so I would take articles from that site with a multiple pinches of salt.

Eric Z said...

platensimycin, you're right that China would definitely use it's ballistic missile arsenal (I believe they're calling it 1000-1500?), in combat with taiwan.

If China gets the first shot, it'll probably decimate most of the airbases, SAM sites which they know of etc. Then they would send in the air force to pick off the remaining SAM's (through ARMs?), airbases. They have enough PGM bombs and I'm sure they are able to manufacture them for a not too expensive price.

If the US does not intervene, then China I believe will be able to achieve air superiority eventually, in their assasin's mace type plan which we've heard so much about.


Basically, any combat with Taiwan would involve lots of ballistic missiles from China, but I doubt that naval and air assets would be "complete suicide".

platensimycin said...

Rocketry is PLA's strong side; SEAD/DEAD is definitely not. Are we so sure that RoC doesn't have a grid of underwater sensor - and sea mines maybe? - laid out just for an incoming PLAN fleet?

"...we underestimate the Chinese in some areas while overestimating them in others."

Eric Z said...

Taiwan can't have laced all of it's surrounding waters with mines, chinese submarines can still launch cruise missiles (if we assume the 093 has that capability), Chinese destroyers I believe have anti ship missiles which also have land attack capability.
But ballistic missile attacks will definitely be the PLA's forte.

China's bought lots of YJ-91/KH-31's with the MKK/MK2 purchase, and have manufactured some of their own apparently. I'm sure they would have trained the hell out of the new toys the moment they got them. I wouldn't go as far as to say they're as good as the USAF, but they're not completely useless either. Good enough to do their job at least.

platensimycin said...

In an event of a cross-strait armed conflict [which seems unlikely at the moment], China would for sure need to factor in potential economic, political and diplomatic fallout that will ensure to follow.

"Don't start what you cannot finish," as an old adage puts it.

AK said...

What would be the FUN if PLAAF could just fly over Taiwan without the Formosa shooting at it with everything we've got!

As for the alleged J10 maintenance owe, it shouldn't be that bad. J10 is a single-engined aircraft that's both domestically designed and built. If China could maintain and even domestically revise Sukhoi 27 & 30 (J11B), the chance is good that PLAAF's infrastructure is robust enough to maintain a sizable J10 fleet (which shares the same engine).

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"Engine-less J11B"

FWS10A (Taihang) is a major technological bottleneck; overcoming it would be a milestone.

http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2010/01/engine-less-j-11b.html

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