The F-35 versus X numbers comparision

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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jessmo111

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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 02:41

In the next 20 years its likely that the F-35 program will reach 3000 units produced and fielded.
There is no doubt that it will be the default stock fighter for the 1st 1/2 of this century.
When we mention the F-35 versus any adversary have we stopped to consider that NO PRODUCTION FIGHTER will even come close?
You cant have air superiority if you can be simply overwhelmed with sheer numbers.
The high number of F-35s will ensure victory.
Consider this

The most numerous Russian design thats modern is the Su-30
But it only sits at 540+ airframes

Su-30: 540
Typhoon: 500+
Rafael 170
T-50?
J-20?
Even the U.S. found it difficult to produce an advanced fighter without exports.
Our enemies would not only need to achieve parity with the F-35, but enjoy a superior kill ratio.
Do you envision China building 2000+ 5th gen fighters?
Its not just J-20 or x Vs the F-35. Your going to need 2:1 or 3:1 odds.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 07:09

This is my take on things too. I love how people are worried about PAK-FA or J-20 when both will likely be produced in double digit or low triple digit numbers. I'd say F-35 is very likely better air-to-air platform than either one of those. It's certainly much better air-to-ground platform than either. It's also much superior ISR and EW platform than either. On top of that it will be far more numerous and comparatively cheaper. If anybody manages to make a superior platform to F-35, it's certain that USA can still easily produce far more of F-35s if needed. I think nobody is seriously thinking about challenging F-35 dominance except maybe very locally.
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talkitron

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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 15:18

hornetfinn wrote:This is my take on things too. I love how people are worried about PAK-FA or J-20 when both will likely be produced in double digit or low triple digit numbers.


China has 1.4 billion people and a growing economy. They can produce as many J-20's as they want.

Russia has a tenth of the population, 144 million people, and has faced economic slowdowns. Eventually PAF-FA production will ramp up but I agree low triple digits seems like a good estimate until 2030. An airframe inducted in 2030 might serve until 2080.
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wrightwing

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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 17:46

talkitron wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:This is my take on things too. I love how people are worried about PAK-FA or J-20 when both will likely be produced in double digit or low triple digit numbers.


China has 1.4 billion people and a growing economy. They can produce as many J-20's as they want.

Russia has a tenth of the population, 144 million people, and has faced economic slowdowns. Eventually PAF-FA production will ramp up but I agree low triple digits seems like a good estimate until 2030. An airframe inducted in 2030 might serve until 2080.

Growing wages and debt, too. It may be physically possible, but it's by no means certain that it's economically possible, to build large quantities of J-20s. They still have other defense items to buy, too.
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blindpilot

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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 19:02

wrightwing wrote:
talkitron wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:This is my take on things too. I love how people are worried about PAK-FA or J-20 when both will likely be produced in double digit or low triple digit numbers.


China has 1.4 billion people and a growing economy. They can produce as many J-20's as they want.

Russia has a tenth of the population, 144 million people, and has faced economic slowdowns. Eventually PAF-FA production will ramp up but I agree low triple digits seems like a good estimate until 2030. An airframe inducted in 2030 might serve until 2080.

Growing wages and debt, too. It may be physically possible, but it's by no means certain that it's economically possible, to build large quantities of J-20s. They still have other defense items to buy, too.


Numbers and quality are difficult things to measure until you suddenly find yourself under fire. But the US (LCS, ESD/B, EPF as notable exceptions) leans to over building, example putting in several fire doors through their aircraft hangars instead of one open bay. US Naval standards (generally) include manufacturing changes that are more than a "sticker" on the hull. Where are the munitions stored etc. etc. Denmark has a nice little frigate/GP hull that runs less than $500M. But what will happen under fire with 117 crew, (or a worse example 40, or even 75 on an LCS)? Who will be the damage control crew? How many compartments can they seal off? What is the armor protection for the munitions? etc. etc.

Say what you will about Arleigh Burkes for example, but the USS Cole was sailing again in less than a year after having a 40 foot hole in her side, and could have still fired weapons or withdrawn with that hole. That doesn't happen on $500M ships.

So what is a number for quantity that survives the first hour of actual battle. The same is true of aircraft and air superiority. If the 200 J-20s are at the bottom of the South China Sea, are 20 F-35s enough? If they aren't is 200 enough? You don't know till the shots are fired.

Can China build hundreds of expensive highest tech 5th Gen? or do they have to settle for quantity at 1/2 capability? I doubt they will match soon, certainly not with engines, the quality/quantity mix seen in the F-35 ... 3000 is a lot of aircraft. Those $500,000 helmets have a lot of capability.

but that's just MHO,
BP
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jessmo111

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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 20:20

Remember even the U.S. had to rely on foreign sales, to help. Im going to assume that the J-20 is close to 100 mill. Chinas foreign policy has been a blunder, leading to few wealthy allies to work with. Here is where foreign policy affects procurement. The will never get to 2000 J-20s alone.
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Unread post05 Jun 2017, 22:59

talkitron wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:This is my take on things too. I love how people are worried about PAK-FA or J-20 when both will likely be produced in double digit or low triple digit numbers.


China has 1.4 billion people and a growing economy. They can produce as many J-20's as they want.


China's entire military budget is smaller than the procurement segment in the US military budget. How many people you have doesn't determine how much you can invest in military.

They certainly can't produce as many as they want, as they certainly haven't done so with any of their weapon systems thus far.
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Unread post06 Jun 2017, 03:38

arian wrote:China's entire military budget is smaller than the procurement segment in the US military budget. How many people you have doesn't determine how much you can invest in military.

They certainly can't produce as many as they want, as they certainly haven't done so with any of their weapon systems thus far.


Just looking at the Wikipedia PLAAF article briefly, I sum several models to get roughly 400 Flanker derivatives in service. Maybe 400 J-20s is a good approximation? I am not claiming that the J-20 will outsell the F-35 but I was arguing against the low triple digits type of thinking posted earlier.
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Unread post06 Jun 2017, 11:42

Both the J-11/15/16 and J-10 program production estimates were/are ~20-30 annually. That's probably a good guess of ~30 unit production rate when it hits FRP and probably half or a third of that LRIP. I'm guessing maybe 500 units over a 20 year production run.
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weasel1962

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Unread post06 Jun 2017, 12:02

arian wrote:China's entire military budget is smaller than the procurement segment in the US military budget.

They certainly can't produce as many as they want, as they certainly haven't done so with any of their weapon systems thus far.


Whilst the Chinese are similarly constrained by budgets. It is a good reminder of production costs. Case in point, Yuan sub sale to Thailand was a unit cost of $390m. A Virginia sub goes for $2.7b. The Chinese don't produce 6 times more subs than the US. Whilst a Virginia can probably sink 6 Yuans (The current exchange rate being 6.8 Yuan to a dollar), the question of budget efficiency is amplified due to lower cost of Chinese production. A third of the US budget gets them more planes , ships and equipment than the US. Salary cost differences are even more stark. The US may have half the billets but pays more than 5 times the salary of an average Chinese soldier. CNY 3k for a lieutenant's monthly pay.

Same thing with the J-11s, J-10s and the J-20. The US can afford and may be producing F-35s at a rate of ~70 a year. The Chinese can probably afford the same rate of production, just at a different quality.
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ricnunes

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Unread post06 Jun 2017, 12:27

talkitron wrote:Just looking at the Wikipedia PLAAF article briefly, I sum several models to get roughly 400 Flanker derivatives in service. Maybe 400 J-20s is a good approximation? I am not claiming that the J-20 will outsell the F-35 but I was arguing against the low triple digits type of thinking posted earlier.


What you say makes sense however don't forget that the J-20 will be a more advanced fighter aircraft compared with "Flanker family" and thus the J-20 will inevitably be more expensive. This means that the number of manufactured J-20 will likely be less than the numbers procured from the "Flanker family".

This is a tendency that's not exclusive to any particular country but to all countries in the world. For example the USAF acquired more than 2000 F-16s (from several variants) but it will "only" (note the quotes) acquire around 1700 F-35As.
What does this mean? It means that even the USA will acquire less 5th gen fighter aircraft compared to 4th gen fighter aircraft. Why would this be any different with China?? Or any other country in the world for that matter?

My take/guess is that China will purchase less than 400 J-20s.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post06 Jun 2017, 13:34

talkitron wrote:
arian wrote:China's entire military budget is smaller than the procurement segment in the US military budget. How many people you have doesn't determine how much you can invest in military.

They certainly can't produce as many as they want, as they certainly haven't done so with any of their weapon systems thus far.


Just looking at the Wikipedia PLAAF article briefly, I sum several models to get roughly 400 Flanker derivatives in service. Maybe 400 J-20s is a good approximation? I am not claiming that the J-20 will outsell the F-35 but I was arguing against the low triple digits type of thinking posted earlier.


There are about that many in service, but IMO 400 J-20s is very optimistic number if they have some real 5th gen capabilities. They definitely have not replaced their 3rd generation fighter force with 4th gen fighters on 1 for 1 basis, it has been more like 1 for 5 or even slightly less. They still use some 3rd gen aircraft as they have not been able to retire them yet. Even then much of their 4th gen fighters are still plain vanilla Su-27s or equivalent with very limited capabilities and cheap price because of that. Producing first stealth fighter with advanced avionics from scratch is extremely expensive. They don't have anywhere near the experience and technology available to what USA and partner nations have. Just developing the engine will be very, very expensive, not to mention avionics. And because China has a lot of other capabilities that need to be upgraded, there is very finite amount of money to throw at fighter development. I think they will have to balance between numbers and capabilities. I really doubt there will be more than 200 J-20 produced for PLAAF.
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Unread post06 Jun 2017, 14:15

weasel1962 wrote:
arian wrote:China's entire military budget is smaller than the procurement segment in the US military budget.

They certainly can't produce as many as they want, as they certainly haven't done so with any of their weapon systems thus far.


Whilst the Chinese are similarly constrained by budgets. It is a good reminder of production costs. Case in point, Yuan sub sale to Thailand was a unit cost of $390m. A Virginia sub goes for $2.7b. The Chinese don't produce 6 times more subs than the US. Whilst a Virginia can probably sink 6 Yuans (The current exchange rate being 6.8 Yuan to a dollar), the question of budget efficiency is amplified due to lower cost of Chinese production. A third of the US budget gets them more planes , ships and equipment than the US. Salary cost differences are even more stark. The US may have half the billets but pays more than 5 times the salary of an average Chinese soldier. CNY 3k for a lieutenant's monthly pay.

Same thing with the J-11s, J-10s and the J-20. The US can afford and may be producing F-35s at a rate of ~70 a year. The Chinese can probably afford the same rate of production, just at a different quality.


A Virginia class submarine is in totally different weight and capability class. It's over twice the size and likely the best nuclear submarine in the world overall. Yuan is just an average diesel-electric submarine which are much cheaper to make. That is like comparing F-22 to MiG-29. Sure MiG-29 is cheaper, but it's mostly because capabilities are not comparable in any way. $390M for a DE sub is not that cheap. Many Western DE subs have roughly similar price.

China can produce some low- and medium tech products cheaper than USA and other Western countries, but not really high tech stuff. In high tech stuff salaries are only small fraction of overall costs. If they could compete in high tech market, there would be Chinese passanger aircraft instead of Boeing and Airbus for example. They only have Comac C919 which seems to enter service in airlines about 2020. Besides, it uses a lot of imported components from Western countries and isn't much cheaper than comparable aircraft from Western companies. I'm sure they would've loved to use Chinese components if there was any available with suitable specs. Same thing with other really high tech products.
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Unread post07 Jun 2017, 03:16

The F-22s can’t do sqwart on the ground and that’s where it will be if the enemy successfully targets the tankers and AWACs that support it. Standoff PGMs and cluster munitions are no longer the sole property of the USAF. That’s going to be even more challenging to handle when the enemy ingress is increasingly stealthy in both aircraft and munition design. Potential aggressors don’t even need to rely on aircraft anymore. Potential munitions include TBMs and UCAVs with all airbases within range mapped out.

Reminds me of how the Germans in WW2 used to think their tanks were superior to everyone and they were. Achieved a high kill rate against American tanks. Highly lethal but built in small numbers. Didn’t help them win the war. Costly to take out but the Americans had numbers and ingenuity on their side.
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jessmo111

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Unread post07 Jun 2017, 03:41

weasel1962 wrote:The F-22s can’t do sqwart on the ground and that’s where it will be if the enemy successfully targets the tankers and AWACs that support it. Standoff PGMs and cluster munitions are no longer the sole property of the USAF. That’s going to be even more challenging to handle when the enemy ingress is increasingly stealthy in both aircraft and munition design. Potential aggressors don’t even need to rely on aircraft anymore. Potential munitions include TBMs and UCAVs with all airbases within range mapped out.

Reminds me of how the Germans in WW2 used to think their tanks were superior to everyone and they were. Achieved a high kill rate against American tanks. Highly lethal but built in small numbers. Didn’t help them win the war. Costly to take out but the Americans had numbers and ingenuity on their side.


The problem is that the F-35 has a qualitative, and quantitative advantage. If your going to sends swarms of mig clones at it. You may as well send, sopwith Camels
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