The Chinese only have 13 tankers?!

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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jessmo112

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Unread post03 Aug 2020, 22:38

I saw a warzone article recently that brought to light various aspects of the Chinese airforce.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... e-missions

The warzone article mentions that Chinese Su-30s practice long range 10 hour flights from the mainland to China. I was shocked when I realized that
China only has just over a dozen tankers to support what would likely be sorties of Hundreds of aircraft.
Actually thousands!

Wiki also confirms it.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/People% ... _Air_Force

How can a major power who threatens war with America on a constant basis, get by with only 13 tankers.
This is a serious liability in wartime, and restricts China to being a local power.
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 01:00

China doesn't claim to challenge US militarily, it just claims the need for self defense. That of course has a very high threshold considering what's facing them. What's funny is India/US trying to argue China is a threat yet arguing it isn't.

Consider this, Taiwan is just 100km from the mainland. Taipei and Delhi is ~ 200+km & ~500km respectively from the nearest PLA airbase.

In the day of stealth where tankers are the most vulnerable, the tactical question is more, why does China still need tankers?
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madrat

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 02:20

China can literally attack from every single vector on its neighbors, save for Russia. Tankers are a low priority.
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jessmo112

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 02:35

madrat wrote:China can literally attack from every single vector on its neighbors, save for Russia. Tankers are a low priority.



I call B.S. If China is going to come out and fight the USN and Japan it needs tankers. The pacific is vast.
They can't just rely on long range bsllistic missiles to keep USN fleets at bay. The fighters and bombers need range and persistence.
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madrat

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 03:04

Did you forget they have long range assets?
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 03:20

What's the range of those H-6s? Then add the range of the CJ-10s.

Without tankers, the PLAAF are already wearing down the Japanese air fleet. How do they do that if they can't reach Japan?
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/ja ... r-BB17it0P
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jessmo112

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 05:01

The H-6 and J-10s will need fighter escorts.
Japan is one thing, but now youll be fighting Japan and the U.S. with F-22s actively hunting your tanker assets.
Your trying to compare peace time to war time when Chinese air bases will be inundated with cruise misdile strikes. The key is to damage the bases bad enough So that with no tankers and no airfields nearby China cant stay on station.
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jessmo112

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 05:15

I think Japan honestly needs a dirt cheap fighter for this kind of work. They should retire the F-2 and buy 100 or so surplus F-16s that can do the day to day scramble work.
Save the exspensive F-15s and F-35s for wartime.
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 05:37

jessmo112 wrote:The H-6 and J-10s will need fighter escorts.
Japan is one thing, but now youll be fighting Japan and the U.S. with F-22s actively hunting your tanker assets.
Your trying to compare peace time to war time when Chinese air bases will be inundated with cruise misdile strikes. The key is to damage the bases bad enough So that with no tankers and no airfields nearby China cant stay on station.


The Senkakus & Japanese mainland coast are 400km and 800km respectively from the Chinese coast. The CJ-10s have a range of ~1500km which means basically, the H-6s don't need leave the mainland to strike Japan. Why would they need fighter escort?

Where exactly are the F-22s? Halfway around the globe and they can be in China in an instant? lol.

There are hundreds of airports in China, the target list probably runs into the tens of thousands. Not even the US has that kind of strike capability upfront and you're advocating strikes all over China mainland? lol. which part of nuclear armed do you need to understand? Need 101 first before 112.
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 05:55

jessmo112 wrote:I think Japan honestly needs a dirt cheap fighter for this kind of work. They should retire the F-2 and buy 100 or so surplus F-16s that can do the day to day scramble work.
Save the exspensive F-15s and F-35s for wartime.


Not really. What Japan needs is to put a SAM network in the Senkakus and key positions. Why match the chinese sortie for sortie when there is no way ever to match the PLA plane for plane because of the PLA size and cheap cost of construction? Unlike Taiwan, the chinese are not going to risk TW intrusion because the Japanese will have no hesitation shooting any violators out of the sky.

Then, do the same in return to China, flying planes close to the coast, even thru the Yellow sea & the bashi channel. I think after awhile, China will get the message.
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jessmo112

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 08:23

weasel1962 wrote:
jessmo112 wrote:The H-6 and J-10s will need fighter escorts.
Japan is one thing, but now youll be fighting Japan and the U.S. with F-22s actively hunting your tanker assets.
Your trying to compare peace time to war time when Chinese air bases will be inundated with cruise misdile strikes. The key is to damage the bases bad enough So that with no tankers and no airfields nearby China cant stay on station.


The Senkakus & Japanese mainland coast are 400km and 800km respectively from the Chinese coast. The CJ-10s have a range of ~1500km which means basically, the H-6s don't need leave the mainland to strike Japan. Why would they need fighter escort?

Where exactly are the F-22s? Halfway around the globe and they can be in China in an instant? lol.

There are hundreds of airports in China, the target list probably runs into the tens of thousands. Not even the US has that kind of strike capability upfront and you're advocating strikes all over China mainland? lol. which part of nuclear armed do you need to understand? Need 101 first before 112.


1. Your cherry picking things to try and make a point.
For China to hit some parts of Japan no you dont need tankers. But China is trying to track and kill Subs, destroyer pickets and probably a carrier battle ground in the SCS. For this you will need tankers.

2. As far as airbases are concerned you dont need to hit every base in China. You just need the Airfields killed in a corridor. You want to make the PLAAF range farther and farther from where they took off.
For instance I would kill every airfield on Hainan Island and a narrow corridor heading inland. The extra 100 miles or so the rest of there forces must fly will be crucial.

3. Wiki says that we have JDAMS in the hundreds of thousands.
From 1998 to November 2016, Boeing completed more than 300,000 JDAM guidance kits. In 2017, it built more than 130 kits per day.[4] As of February 2020, 430,000 kits had been produced.[5]
Wiki says 17000+ small diameter bombs
The other munitions will be gone in a week or so making the B-1,B-52 And F-15E nearly useless.
The B-2/B-21 and F-22/35 would likely have to do the majority of the work. Since the Stand off weapons would be depleted quickly.
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 09:26

jessmo112 wrote:1. Your cherry picking things to try and make a point.
For China to hit some parts of Japan no you dont need tankers. But China is trying to track and kill Subs, destroyer pickets and probably a carrier battle ground in the SCS. For this you will need tankers.


The Chinese just did a 10 hour mission with flankers from Nanning to Subi "unrefuelled".
https://www.newsbreak.com/news/16110029 ... e-missions

Start reading more. When I first started out being interested in the military decades ago, I was much like you. But as a suggestion, lose the attitude. Insulting people isn't a good way to get responses. The people here can smell a newbie miles away. No one is cherry picking here.

jessmo112 wrote:2. As far as airbases are concerned you don't need to hit every base in China. You just need the Airfields killed in a corridor. You want to make the PLAAF range farther and farther from where they took off.
For instance I would kill every airfield on Hainan Island and a narrow corridor heading inland. The extra 100 miles or so the rest of there forces must fly will be crucial.


The issue is not capability for the whole of USAF or the USN but how to get assets near enough to be able to "kill" every airbase on Hainan island. For example, its "only" 3700 km from Guam in the pacific (too far for F22/35s without refuel and even with refuel will require quite a fair number of tankers) and there's no permanent fighter detachment there. There's only ~200-300 fighters based in the pacaf (mostly Korea/Japan) and 1 CVN/CVW based in the pacific generally at any one time. What you have mentioned is a rookie response. There's just too much to highlight.

Suffice to say basing is a critical factor for the US pacific strategy. The US can't base too near China cos that risks a large part of its air fleet. The US can't base too far either cos that needs tankers. And it needs enough bases to execute the strategy yet it needs more bases to diversify.

The reality is that China is fighting on or near home ground and doesn't really need tankers.

jessmo112 wrote:3. Wiki says that we have JDAMS in the hundreds of thousands.
From 1998 to November 2016, Boeing completed more than 300,000 JDAM guidance kits. In 2017, it built more than 130 kits per day.[4] As of February 2020, 430,000 kits had been produced.[5]
Wiki says 17000+ small diameter bombs
The other munitions will be gone in a week or so making the B-1,B-52 And F-15E nearly useless.
The B-2/B-21 and F-22/35 would likely have to do the majority of the work. Since the Stand off weapons would be depleted quickly.


Yes, but most of these munitions are generally onboard ships or in ammo dumps back in the US. So are the delivery platforms. It takes time to deploy, and if the opponent allows you to.
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mixelflick

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 14:29

Chinese doctrine doesn't really mandate a substantial tanker force. They have no plans of building an air bridge and deploying to the middle east for instance, to defend a client state (like Iran).

There's a reason they bought/built lots and lots of Flankers vs. Fulcrums, and it's not just because the Flanker is a superior airframe - it's got legs. Long, long legs that they'll use to defend bases in the SCS. Would more tankers help? Sure, but they either don't believe a sustained, long range air campaign is viable or that's something that's way, way down the priority list..
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loke

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 20:29

Tankers have been low on the priority list but it will probably start to climb:

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 58.article

I suspect that once they have developed a tanker variant of the Y-20 they will rapidly produce a decent number of tankers... but as of right now, it's not a priority.

It could also be of course that they will produce a limited number of Y-20 based tankers, realizing that old-fashioned tankers are not very survivable. Perhaps they will focus on developing a stealth tanker instead? Perhaps autonomous like the USN is working on?
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Tiger05

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Unread post04 Aug 2020, 20:51

weasel1962 wrote:
jessmo112 wrote:1. Your cherry picking things to try and make a point.
For China to hit some parts of Japan no you dont need tankers. But China is trying to track and kill Subs, destroyer pickets and probably a carrier battle ground in the SCS. For this you will need tankers.


The Chinese just did a 10 hour mission with flankers from Nanning to Subi "unrefuelled".
https://www.newsbreak.com/news/16110029 ... e-missions


It wasnt an unrefuelled mission. A tanker (apparently an Il-78) was supporting the Flankers. One of the only three Il-78s they have... :|

I have to agree with jessmo112 regarding the size of the PLAAF's tanker fleet. Not very impressive to say the least.
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