Friday, April 15, 2016

The Chinese PL-15 combined with the J-20...have we already lost air superiority?

via Daily Beast (2015)
Even in the prototype stage, the PL-15 is already an international star. Speaking at the 2015 Air Force Association conference the same week as the test, USAF Air Combatant Commander General Hawk Carlisle cited the PL-15 as the reason for Congress to fund a new missile to replace the American AMRAAM. His reasons for concern is the PL-15’s range. By incorporating a ramjet engine, its range could reach 150-200km, was well as its terminal maneuverability. That would out-range existing American air-to-air missiles, making the PL-15 not just a threat to fighters like the F-35, but also to US bombers and aerial tankers critical to American air operations across the vast Pacific. General Carlisle called “out-sticking” the PL-15 a high priority for the USAF.
Then this.
Indeed, in the wake of Carlisle’s comments, Air Combat Command hinted that it’s not just the capabilities of a single PL-15 that have got Carlisle and presumably other Air Force leaders so worried—it’s how many PL-15s the Chinese air force could fire at one time.

“Few weapons operate in a vacuum,” Maj. Michael Meridith, an Air Combat Command spokesman, told The Daily Beast in an email. “We are interested in a wide variety of operational characteristics like payload, guidance system, warhead type, portability, guidance, resistance to countermeasures, reliability/maintainability, speed, range, etc., which are different based on the weapons system and the other capabilities it employed with.”

Consider that China’s J-11 fighters—versions of the iconic Russian Flanker jet—could, with upgrades, haul as many as 12 missiles the size of the PL-15, plus two smaller missiles, for a staggering 14 weapons in total.

By comparison, the U.S. Air Force’s top-of-the-line F-22 in its normal configuration carries a maximum of six AIM-120 missiles and two shorter-range Sidewinders.
I was monitoring a conversation when I first heard about the PL-15.  I've been looking at Russia (they're being so open on military developments that its hard not to) and forgot that we haven't heard much at all about Chinese military advancements.

But consider.

An air to air missile that has a range of up to 200 km?  The ability for the J-11 to carry as many as 12 of them?

I've been shouted down when I've stated that the Chinese have already achieved regional superiority in the Pacific, and maybe I'm wrong, but they're working hard.  Meanwhile we have US forces deployed world wide in penny packet detachments to achieve....nothing.

We need to get our defense house in order...Step number 1?  Kill the F-35 and get serious about electronic warfare and new anti-air missiles.

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