What a ridiculous travesty.
1. The reason the F/A-18 'looks funny' is because Northrop used differential rule (displacing area vertically rather than horizontally) to achieve
single engine drag numbers across the frontal arc while maintaining twin engine thrust to weight ratio advantages around a relatively pitch neutral
wing center of pressure/center of gravity location. That is why the YF-17 could pull 90kn 'wheelies' like a Flanker almost 20 years before it
Cobra/Hook/Tailslide became commonplace at Euro airshows.
2. The J-10 is most assuredly a rip off of the Lavi technology base. Which was itself just another attempt to give Israel a means to support it's
worthless existence by stealing ideas from her 'proud sponsor' and selling it behind our backs.
The irony being that only a /fool/ believes a 'pure attack' aircraft can be made exportable (see the AMX Centauro) in a world dominated by fighter
sales and thus the Lavi was never what the bloody Israeli's advertised it to be (Skyhawk replacement) _from the start_.
Of course, now that they have indeed given the PRC the lock stock and barrel on U.S. composite, flight controls and integrated avionics functionality,
all without a penny back to U.S., the Chinese would be fools indeed not to develop the _innate_ attack-biased capabilities of the Lavi airframe
heritage. Because while fighter-sex sells. Bomber-attack wins wars. And despite all the guff, nobody buys 'defensive weapons' that they don't
want to see used to butcher their enemies.
Ignoring the geopolitical realities of making war without winning resources or land to pay for it, just look at you all here. I SWEAR it sounds like
a round of fantasy football with your stats and odds LOMD obsessivness.
3. The J-10 is itself a waste of time however because the AL-31F weighs almost 1,000lbs more than the PW-1120 (the AL-31FN with thrust vectoring is
more like 1,500lbs more) and while the engine thrust class is also undoubtedly greater, so is it's specific fuel consumption. The Lavi was designed
to beat the F-16 thru _lightweight_, _low drag_, _compareable cost_ (given the U.S. paid for all R&D) performance, effectively bringing F-5 economies
of scale and range performance to a statically unstable airframe with little of the base drag and long moment arm structural penalties of a tailed
airframe. It got there with 5,000lbs of fuel and only two effective pylons underwing.
Look at the Vanguard. It's spec'd lenght and wingspan are _exactly_ the same as that of the Lavi yet it has almost double the weight of internal
fuel and at least half a ton of added weight in a larger engine. That means it may well be a rocket ship in the straightaway, but it is going to have
a monstrous wingloading which will quickly 'add up' to F-16 or greater (150lb/square foot) levles when fully kitted out with tanks.
And for all that, the range shown is pathetic, even if it does, again, overlap that /predicted/ for the smaller/lighter Lavi as a function of scaring
the Syrians and Iraqi's if not Iranians. The Chinese NEED a 3,000km radius fighter and they NEED one which can cover these linear distances at rates
of travel approaching that of an F-22.
The J-10 is no where's close and likely will /never be so/. Because of drag. For it lacks the Lavi's SRM tiprails. Yet it continues to need large
wing tanks to offset it's fuel shortcomings (my bet is that 4,500kg is a flat out lie) and the 'tunnel inbetween' a 300lb outboard pylon and a
3,500lb inboard one is the ONLY place to put significant standoff weapons like AS-13/18 or ballistic LGB/IAM. Or to place wide-span A2A weapons like
the PL-8/9/10. This alone will dictate that the jet's effective capabilities are defined by the point in the mission at which it _has to_ jettison
fuel to gain back acceleration Ps.
And when that happens, the 8,000lbs of fuel I see under the jet will instantaneous end the mission because, even if you duck the SAM or accelerate to
first-pole dominance on the BVR AAM shot, you WILL mission-kill yourself for the continued penetration to target with reserves to get home on
whatever's left inside the jet. The stubpylons are worthless because they don't allow for safe clearance of CCG guidance heads on a SALH weapon.
And their total munition length may even make light (GBU-38/39 class) IAMs uncarriageable.
Overall, the J-10 is half the fighter it needs to be. Half the fighter the J-11 /already is/. And thus can be classified, at best, as the 'low
end' (airshow sextoy) of a mixed fighter force system that cannot cover all of China but must be locally deployed or based-in with little more
competence against the India or even ROC/ROK threats than the F-7 whose type-equivalency it replaces.
While I hate the Israeli's for effectively stealing American Glass Cockpit tech (and the cockpit IS btw, a virtual clone of the Lavi TD which
supposedly was shipped to the PRC after the Chinese paid IAI to refurbish it), the Lear Siegler Astronics flight control tech. Even the composite
wing technology which IAI STOLE FROM Northrop Grumman. The simple fact of the matter is that the PLAAF got 'bargained into the basement' for
received quality as a function of total aeronautical design.
4. In terms of 'beating the Euroflubber' the entire notion is ridiculous. Because the Chinese will blow up Typhoons using ballistic technology to
level the airfields of Taiwan or Korea long before they face an AMRAAM or Meteor equipped force with Python-3 and Aspide clones (or even the
SD-10/PL-12 AMRAAMzhou). And when it comes to a 'dogfight' both jets are likely to be equally well equipped to kill each other with parthian type
shots (HMS, IRST and a decent motored SRM with widebore optics or IMU/datalink based HOBS). But NEITHER ONE has the capability to /survive/ the
other's shots. It is like Clint Eastwood walking down the street with a stove door strapped to his chest as The Mad Mexican shoots him in the heart
with a Winchester. Where that improvised armor is a DIRCM, _then_, maybe, I will believe in WVR combat. Otherwise, no amount of physical performance
on the part of the shooter will exceed the ability of it's pilot to cue the missile seeker by turning his head. TAC Brawler tests way back in the
1980's with Kaiser's 'Agile Eye' (before Congressional sellouts again gave half the profits to Elta for the 'DASH' clone technology that now
pollutes the JHMCS); achieving a 3:1 improvement in first sight and a 7:1 improvement in first shot over non-HMD equipped visual shooters.
And so you are looking at two 7ft tall NBA centers trying to kill each other by freethrowing handgrenades while 'hiding in a barrel' that only
protects them if the grenade doesn't land in with them. At 3pter range, it may work. At dogfight slam dunk distances you won't stand a prayer.
5. Manned fighters are stupid for the simple reason that nobody retains the balls to walk like Napoleonic Infantry into the wall-of-BVR musket and
cannon fire that is moder _guided_ 'bullets'. We see this evertime an enemy fights us. Humans are cowards that want to kill their enemy gloriously
or by bar-lies. Not 'die bravely' at the hands of a robotic missile. MiG-29's come over at us over Bosnia and, at the last minute, lose their
nerve and turn away to try and notch AMRAAMs that are not seduced by the maneuver at all. MiG-21 and Mirage F-1 fly -away from- their main operating
bases over Iraq when Navy Tomcats start brooming their radar warning receivers with AWG-noise. Leaving _home soil_ (home plate) bases to be
A better setup for weapons reach and overall situational awareness helps. But only a little bit. Because the training and the mindset is always
going to be flakey between individuals and times in service (RHIP) for competence vs. dumb-guts.
With this in mind, one must remember Stalin's saying: "Quantity has a quality all it's own".
For the definition of war often comes down to not how many skilled opponents you can kill but rather how many stupid friends you can convince to 'use
up his bullets' so that you can overrun and club the opfor to death.
Say an SRM costs 200 grande. Say an MRM costs 400 grande. 'Universally' (for quality). Say a MiG-21 /class/ robotic fighter costs 5 million 'in
Chinese terms' (8:1 Yuan:USD fixed ratios).
Now say a Eurofighter costs 60 million.
If I take a flight of four Eurofighters and arm each of them with 4 BVRAAM class weapons at 400 grande each and 2 ASRAAM class weapons at 200 grande
each, that's 248 million dollars on the wing. NOT including significant 'cost of living autopilot' expenses for recurrent training and families
and housing and and and inherent to aircrew. Which typically runs about 1 million a year, per pilot, in the U.S. (with admittedly a much higher
flying rate than even the UK achieves).
Let's say I put up 20, five million dollar UCAVs, each armed with 2 PL-8 class weapons. That's 104 million dollars. Furthermore, let's say that
_every one_ of the Eurofighter's longrange weapons scores a kil in the BVR phasel. That leaves 4vs.4 in the WVR merge. If HALF OF EVERYONE'S
REMAINING SRMS SCORE before disengagement, that's a _purely attritional LER (Loss Exchange Ratio) of 128 million dollars vs. 94 million dollars. And
the 'lemming approach' WINS.
Because the expensive missiles are gone regardless (must be reimported to theater from existing stocks in the short term, replaced in the long term).
And the Eurofighter force, even though it has scored a nominally /tremendous/ kill rate (9:1) is down two fighters from perhaps an 'expeditionary'
total of 40 such aircraft that it simply cannot replace. While the 5 million dollar UCAVs can be shipped in, a wing at a time, indefinitely 'as fast
as CATIC can make them'.
If you face two such raids per day, by the end of _1 WEEK, 3 DAYS_ of fighting, you will have lost your entire manned force. While the Chinese have
merely expended 360 'drones' which will be replaced in a year or two. And have /never/ paid a single dime for pilot training or family support. At
Is the kind of airframe I am talking about.
The HIMAT having a miserable T/Wr off it's J85 core, STILL managed to routinely turn _inside_ an F-15 at height. Often pulling upwards of 12Gs to do
so. And the Eagle, simply could do nothing to hold position aft of the drone's 3/9. Within 1 circle, it ALWAYS lost (indicating sustained turn
rates approaching 30dps).
Take that maneuver capability, use a basic IRST (which costs half as much as an advanced AI radar, say 1.5-2 million bucks) to cue those SRMs onto
'any target which looks /different/ from another HIMAT (a single silicon chip with a single silouhette classification capabiltiy, probably worth 50
cents). And another 4-5 Missile Approach Warning Sensors (bugeyes that function much like the nightvision on a highend cadillac and in fact use much
the same _uncooled_ technology). And then point them in a given direction with orders to 'kill on sight' while across a given fenceline.
And you will have a force that will eat the enemy alive. Because the reality is that a well flown target drone (not a QF fighter conversion but a
real Chukar or Firebee type system), with MAWS cued expendables and a lot of evasive maneuver capability, will in fact _physically defeat_ almost any
missile out there. And frequently does so, whenever signature augmentation fails.
If you shoot and miss and the drone evades and closes in, there is no requirement for bravery. Because it doesn't care that it will beat the shot
70% of the time. Nor does it feel an overwhelming need to run away in the face of superior enemy firepower. While the nominal 'fighter' aircraft
is a virtual cement truck on stilts for comparitive agility once the drone enters 'dogfight' WVR distances. And so the 'fighter' can ONLY _run_.
And the drone is now the 'braver warrior'. Since it doesn't care if it dies. And will in fact beat most threat shots better than the best human
fighter pilot ever born.
THAT is what the Chinese should be looking towards if they want to impress with more than their ability to monkey-see:monkey-do. Because, even using
'free world marketed' Western Technology against itself rather than trying to play catchup as the Russians once did on a 20 year technology
shortfall; they are only playing into a game whereby the man in the cockpit is the most serious design limitation of Polish Engineering by which the
entire concept of air combat is compromised.
And that 'limitation' is one set, artificially, by Western Manufacturers looking to make the maximum megabucks from satisfying WESTERN pilot corps.
Who themselves only get to exist so long as their block obsolescence in accomplishing the task at hand is not rendered obvious. By someone (or
nation) willing to break out of the evolution-not-revolution loop.