Charles R. Smith
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
China is about to receive 24 advanced Sukhoi Su-30MK2 Flanker fighters from Russia. The new fighter jets are reported to be the naval versions of the Sukhoi Su-30MKK fighter.
The new Chinese fighters are reportedly equipped with enhanced anti-ship strike capabilities including the Kh-31 Krypton supersonic anti-ship missile.
China has already purchased 78 Su-27SK/UBK fighters and 76 Su-30MKK fighters from Russia, and is building 200 more Flanker jets under license from Sukhoi. The PLA Naval Air Corps will deploy the latest batch of Su-30MK2 fighters.
The disturbing news from Beijing adds to recent bad news for the U. S. Air Force. According to an unreleased U. S. A. F. report, the F-15 Eagle - the most advanced U.S. fighter in service - is inferior to the latest versions of the Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker.
The report covers a series of air-combat training engagements earlier this year between Indian air force Su-30MKs and F-15Cs from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The U. S. F-15s were equipped with the U. S. latest long-range, high-definition radar systems.
During the air combat exercises the Su-30MKs and F-15 pilots were seeing each other at the same time with their radars, but the Indian pilots were getting off the simulated first shot with their AA-10 Alamo missiles and often winning the long-range engagements.
Flanker Beats Eagle
According to a Richard Fisher, a defense analyst and noted expert on the Chinese military, the Chinese Flanker fighters can beat the U. S. top jet fighters including the F-15 Eagle.
"Since 1992 the Pentagon has known that in a close-in dogfight the Su-27 would smear the F-15. That year Russian Sukhois came to Langley AFB and showed us their stuff. What we appear to be learning from the recent exercise with India is that Russian radar, weapons and more importantly, tactics, have all reached a level in which the F-15 is on the verge of being outclassed in the long-range engagement as well," stated Fisher.
According to a recent report by Fisher for the U. S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the Chinese Flanker fighters are a real threat to Taiwan and the U. S. Fisher's report raised early alarm bells about the Chinese purchase of large number of the more advanced Flanker - the Su-30 multi-role strike fighter.
"With the purchase of the Sukhoi Su-30MKK (Mnogafunctunali Kommercial Kitayski-Multifunctional Commercial for China) the PLAAF demonstrated that it had made a clear doctrinal commitment to acquiring multi-role attack fighters capable of "joint" warfighting. The Su-30MKK is the first PLAAF attack fighter capable of delivering precision-guided munitions in all weather conditions, and to use modern air-to-air weapons like the self-guiding Vympel R-77 (AA-12 ADDER)AAM," noted Fisher's report.
"This upgrade program has the potential to rapidly increase the number of multi-role fighters in the PLAAF, conceivably adding up to 78 Su-27SK/UBKs and 200+ J-11s to the 100+ Su-30MKK/MKK2 multi role fighters. The prospect of the later was formidable enough. But the near-term prospect of nearly 400 Sukhoi fighters with ability to launch active-guided R-77s and anti-ship missiles like the Kh-31A on a single mission creates great pressure for a U. S. defensive response. Such a force poses a serious challenge to Taiwan's ability to maintain control over its own airspace as well as complicating U. S. Air Force and U. S. Navy plans to come to Taiwan's defense if needed," states Fisher's report.
New Chinese Missile Superior to U. S.
Worse still is the fact that China is now developing an air-to-air missile considered to be superior to the U. S. AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. The self-guided AMRAAM is the main long-range armament for all U. S. fighter jets.
The new Chinese Project 129 or PL-12 missile is a Sino-Russian collaboration drawn from the Russian AA-12 Adder and equipped with an indigenous Chinese high-power rocket motor. Unlike the Russian AA-12, the PL-12 will have better performance than early models of the U. S. AMRAAM missile. The PL-12 reportedly has a maximum head-on engagement range of 50 miles and a maximum speed of four times the speed of sound.
The PL-12 is now in the final stages of development, with test firings against target drones scheduled for this year. Pakistan is seen as the first export customer for the PL-12. The PL-12 has alarmed U. S. defense sources who now consider it as the primary radar-guided air-to-air missile threat against American and allied aircraft.
The new PL-12 missile, once married to the advanced Su-30 Flanker jets in the PLAAF, can dominate the skies over Taiwan and eventually Asia. The U. S. F-15 Eagle, first flown in the mid-1970s, is rapidly becoming vulnerable to these fifth generation weapons.
The U. S. Air Force answer to the new threat is the F-22 Raptor. The new stealth jet fighter is capable of dealing with both the Su-30 and the PL-12 missile because of its superior speed, agility, and its ability to hide from conventional radars such as those on the Su-30. The U. S. A. F. wants to buy up to 400 of the advanced stealth fighters over the next decade.
"China's Sukhois are somewhat different from those sold to India in that they lack the latter's new BARS phased array radar and thrust vectored engines. But that's only slight cause for comfort, as China is in the midst of upgrading its Sukhoi fleet to enable carriage of the R-77 BVR AAM and attack munitions. Most co-produced Su-27SK/J-11 fighters are so upgraded. This means that very soon the U. S. air forces in Asia could be facing 200-300 multi-role BVR AAM capable Sukhois in the PLA Air Force," stated Rick Fisher.
"This trend was apparent several years ago and the tragedy is that the Pentagon did not start sounding the alarm back then. As a consequence an important chance to bolster political support for the F/A-22 has been lost. Today there is still an unjustified reluctance to publicly link China's growing Sukhoi fleet to a now urgent need to produce the F/A- 22," noted Fisher.
The F-22 Raptor has become a political issue with the current Democrat candidate opposing the stealth fighter. Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry voted against funding the F-22 at least five times, in 1995 and 1996.
Additionally, in 1995 Kerry supported a deep cut in the F-22 Raptor by signing onto S. 151 "to reduce Federal spending by restructuring the Air Force's F-22 program to achieve initial operating capability in 2010 and a total inventory of no more than 42 aircraft in 2015."
In June 1998, John Kerry voted for the Bumpers amendment to the U. S. defense funding for 1999 to drastically cut the F-22 program. In 1998 Senator Bumpers(D. Ark.) repeatedly voiced his opposition to the F-22 and offered legislation to cut the aircraft permanently.
"We are buying all these fighters in spite of the fact that the intelligence community and everybody who knows anything about an airplane knows that there isn't a plane in the world - in France, in Russia, in China - that is even remotely comparable to our F-15 and our F-18 and there won't be, the CIA says, for 15 to 20 years. So what is the rush to judgment?" stated Bumpers in 1998.
The vote by Bumpers and Kerry failed, and the funding continued for the F-22. The words of Senator Bumpers convinced others like Senator Kerry and Senator Kennedy to consider the threat to our pilots and our national defense would not develop for 20 years.
Six years later the threat is already flying.
Deterrence or War
"The vicious circle of development delays, cost overruns, politically inspired number reductions and then reduced requirements are symptomatic of a crisis of leadership that will make war on the Taiwan Strait more possible, as America has lost a chance to put needed deterrent forces in place," stated Richard Fisher.
"The U. S. needed the F/A-22 in the Pacific theater five years ago, so that by today it would be reasonably integrated into our total forces. America will need far more than the 277 F/A-22s our leaders our currently willing to buy, and they are long overdue in the force. They are indeed expensive, but their cost is puny compared to the price America will pay if it either has to fight a war on the Taiwan Strait, or should it even lose that war," concluded Fisher. http://jahtruth.net/horse.htm#1917
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The Jerry Hughes Show on Friday, 5/28/4 at 3 p. m. Eastern time. Show information at http://www.cilamerica.com.
The Charlie Smith Show on the American Freedom Network on Monda, 5/31/4 at
11 a.m. Eastern time. Show information at http://www.amerifree.com.
The George Putnam Show Friday May 28, 2004 at 1 p. m. west coast time (4 p. m. east coast time) on KSPA, 1510 AM, Ontario, and on the "CRN Radio Network" - web radio link at www. crni. net.
New Chinese Jets Superior, Eagle Loses to Flanker