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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014







People's Liberation Army Air Power
PLA-AF/PLA-N Capability Growth and Strategy

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First flight of Chengdu J-XX [J-20] prototype, 11th January, 2011 [click to enlarge] (Chinese Internet).

The rapid economic growth and industrialisation of the People’s Republic of China over the last decade presents Australia with a new strategic reality during this decade - the emergence of China as a regional economic and military superpower. The PLA's air power is the centrepiece in China's military growth.

Conventional strategic thought would see Australia bolstering its existing combat fleet with extensive upgrades and new weapons, expanding supporting force structure elements, and planning for a much more capable replacement for the F/A-18A, the F-22A Raptor, while retaining the F-111 fleet. We are observing the opposite in plans for force structure downsizing by arbitrary F-111 early retirement, and replacement of the F/A-18A with the failed battlefield strike and close air support optimised F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and underperforming F/A-18F Super Hornet interim fighters.

This website will post a selection of relevant articles, analyses and papers.


Page Index


  PLA-AF / PLA-N Air Power Topics





Michael Pelosi and
Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia Jul 2011 A Preliminary Assessment of Specular Radar Cross Section Performance in the Chengdu J-20 Prototype
Carlo Kopp Jamestown Foundation May 2011
China Brief: An Initial Assessment of China's J-20 Stealth Fighter
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jan 2011 The Strategic Impact of China's J-XX [J-20] Stealth Fighter
Carlo Kopp and
Peter Goon
Air Power Australia Jan 2011 Chengdu J-XX [J-20] Stealth Fighter Prototype;
A Preliminary Assessment
Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia Sep 2008
Shenyang J-11B Flanker B
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Apr 2012
PLA-AF and PLA-N Flanker Variants
Richard Fisher IASC Jul 2011 China’s Space Plane Program
Martin Andrew and
Carlo Kopp

Air Power Australia Apr 2012 Advances in PLA-N Carrier Aviation
Richard Fisher IASC Mar 2009
Update: China’s Aircraft Carriers
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jan 2007 Chengdu J-10 Fighter
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jan 2007 PLA-AF/PLA-N Legacy Fighters
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Aug 2009
PLA Air to Air Missiles
Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia Jan 2007
Regional Precision Guided Munitions
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation
Sep 2003
Asia's Advanced Flankers (Su-27/30)[PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation Oct 2003
Su-30 vs RAAF Alternatives (Su-27/30)[PDF]
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jul 2007 The PLA-AF's Airborne Early Warning & Control Programs
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jul 2007 The PLA-AF's Aerial Refuelling Programs
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jan 2007
Xian H-6 Badger
Richard Fisher
IASC
Feb 2008
China's "New" Bomber [Xian H-6K Badger]
Richard Fisher IASC Feb 2012 A Strategic Challenge In China’s New Tactical Fighter Exports
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Mar 2011 Chinese stealth and other fighters
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Jan 2007
The PLA-AF's new force multipliers [PDF]




PLA Guided Munition / Cruise Missile Topics





Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Aug 2009 PLA Guided Bombs
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Aug 2009 PLA Cruise Missiles / PLA Air - Surface Missiles
Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia Jan 2007
Regional Precision Guided Munitions
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Jan 2008
Anti-Shipping Missile Survey [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Jan 2006
Regional Precision Guided Munitions Survey [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation Jul 2004
Asia's Advanced Precision Guided Munitions [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation Sep 2000
Sunburns, Yakhonts, Alfas and the Region [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia May 2007
Carlo Kopp
IASC
Jun 2006





Asia-Pacific Regional Guided Weapons [Index]






PLA Air Defence Systems and Weapons Topics





PLA-AF/PLA-N Strategy and Force Structure Topics





Carlo Kopp APA Analyses
Feb 2011 Assessing PLA Underground Air Basing Capability
Martin Andrew Air Power Australia Dec 2010 A Strategic Assessment of PLA Theatre Missile and ASAT Capabilities
Carlo Kopp The Diplomat Aug 2010 China’s Eyes in the Skies
Carlo Kopp The Diplomat
Jul 2010 China Air Force Steps it Up
Carlo Kopp Jamestown Foundation
Feb 2010 Advances in PLA C4ISR Capabilities
Carlo Kopp Jamestown Foundation Oct 2008 Advances in PLA Air Defense Capabilities Challenge Strategic Balance in Asia
Carlo Kopp
IASC
May 2006
The Flanker Fleet -The PLA's 'Big Stick'
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Jun 2009 Regional strategic trends – China’s influence [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Jul 2007
Regional Air Power Developments 2007 [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Jan 2006
Regional Developments 2005 [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Australian Aviation Sep 2004
Backfires for China? [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Sep 2004
2010+ Regional Futures [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Sep 2004
2010+ Air Power Futures [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation Aug 2004
The Sleeping Giant Awakens (PLA-AF/PLA-N) [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Dec 2003
Sukhois present new strategic risk for Australia [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Submission to the Minister for Defence May 1998
Replacing the RAAF F/A-18 Hornet Fighter, Strategic, Operational and Technical Issues
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Jan 2007 PLA-AF/PLA-N Air Base Infrastructure Reference




The Parliamentary Debate [Click for more ...]




Related Links
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An early production KJ-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control system on short finals (image © 2009, Zhenguan Studio).


Elevated head on view of Chengdu prototype, December, 2010 (Chinese Internet).


New build Shenyang J-11B Flanker B fighter. The missile under the wing is a Chinese clone of the Rafael Python 3  heatseeking missile. The J-11B aircraft are typically painted in different tactical camouflage to the J-11A, with a medium blue grey upper surface, light grey lower surface, black radome, while the half ellipse grey area on the nose is overpainted with uniform camouflage (Chinese internet images).



Chengdu J-10B prototype in flight (Chinese internet images).



PLA-AF Su-27SK (PLA Image).





Comparative assessment of regional AAM types


KJ-200 AEW&C system in flight (image © 2009, Zhenguan Studio).



China's new Chengdu J-10 'Sinocanard' fighter was designed in the class of the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon (Xinhua).



Shenyang J-8-I Finback A interceptor.


Launch of a 'Tomahawk-like' PLA-N cruise missile, believed to be the YJ-62.



Xian JH-7 Flying Leopard / Flounder.

PL-8 Sino-Python on display at Datangshan in 2010 (Zhenguan Studio, © 2010, Air Power Australia).



YJ-62 three round TEL on 8 x 8 vehicle (Chinese internet).



KD-88 ASCM loaded on a JH-7 Flounder.



Chinese sources report the ground launched CJ-10 to be the GLCM variant of the DH-10 design, carried on a three round TEL (Chinese Internet).



PLA DF-31A mobile ICBM TELs (via Chinese Internet).



Raduga Kh-55SM Kent with conformal fuel tanks. In a joint operation with Iran, China illegally acquired samples of this Russian cruise missile. The Kent compares closely to the BGM-109A Tomahawk, but has much better range performance (RuMoD image).


KAB-1500L Laser Guided Bomb. This Russian weapon is a 3,000 lb class equivalent to the US Paveway II/III series weapons (GNPP image).



Xian recently restarted production of the H-6/B-6 Badger, in the new H-6M and H-6K cruise missile carrier variants. The H-6K is fitted with a turbofan engine, significantly extending the striking radius of this Soviet B-29 derivative (XAC image).



LT-2 and LT-3 guided bomb systems (© 2009, Zhenguan Studio).



A H-6U tanker of the PLA-AF refuels a J-10S combat capable trainer over the Guangzhou MR Coast (image PLA-AF).



A H-6U tanker of the PLA-AF (image © 2009, Zhenguan Studio).






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