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Vanguard One

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J-20.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Two Chinese air force J-20 stealth fighters have appeared at an air base in China’s far west as the mountain stand-off between India and Chine enters its fourth month.

The twin-engine J-20s are visible in commercial satellite imagery of Hotan air base, in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang. Chinese social-media users first spotted the planes.

The J-20 deployment, however temporary, signals Beijing’s resolve as China wrestles with India for influence over a disputed region of the Himalayas. But a pair of warplanes, no matter how sophisticated, don’t represent much actual combat power.

It’s not clear whether there are more J-20s out west than just two that are visible in the satellite photo. The Chinese air force possesses only around 40 J-20s.

Hotan lies some 200 miles from Ladakh, the region of northern India along which runs the Line of Actual Control, the demarcation between Indian and Chinese forces in the Himalayas. Diplomats drew that line as part of truce talks following a bitter, bloody border war in 1962.

After weeks of posturing, in early June Chinese forces killed 20 Indian soldiers in a skirmish along the LOAC. Forty-three Chinese soldiers also were injured or died, according to press reports.

Indian and Chinese warplanes and helicopters are patrolling the border zone as the stand-off continues. India has deployed Su-30, MiG-29 and MiG-29K fighters.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force previously deployed at least six H-6 bombers with KD-63 cruise missiles to Kashgar airport, also in Xinjiangan, placing the bombers within striking distance of Indian forces.

The tiny contingent of J-20s arguably is less potent than the H-6 force. Two J-20s flying together probably could mount no more than a single patrol every couple of days. Double the J-20 detachment to four planes, and you might get a daily two-jet mission.


J-20s at Hotan.

CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
Triple it, and you might be able to sustain slightly more than a mission per day, on average. But at that size, the J-20 contingent at Hotan could require the support of the PLAAF’s entire stealth-fighter fleet.

That’s because, owing to training and maintenance requirements, a force of 40 fighters can sustain just a handful of planes on front-line operations over a prolonged period of time.

It’s a problem that smaller European air force are struggling with as they acquire tiny fleets of F-35 stealth fighters to replace their larger fleets of old F-16s. Denmark is buying 27 F-35s to replace 41 F-16s and expects to deploy four F-35s at a time. Belgium is acquiring 34 F-35s to replace 56 F-16s and could deploy around five F-35s.

The J-20s however do underscore Chinese resolve—and could hint at larger, future deployments of a wider variety of fighter types. The Chinese air force at present is thin on the ground in China’s west. The PLAAF concentrates its forces in the east for operations over the disputed China Seas and for a possible invasion of Taiwan.

Besides, the austere conditions and performance-draining high elevations of western airfields complicate fighter operations. Chinese J-16s that routinely fly from western bases reportedly carry just a few small air-to-air missiles and must get new brake discs after every mission.

At 4,600 feet above sea level, Hotan is higher than are most of the bases the PLAAF operates from—with the obvious impact on the performance of aircraft flying from the base. Hotan’s proximity to the LOAC at least mitigates the performance impact of the high, thin air.

To be clear, Indian forces in the region suffer the same constraints, although it’s worth pointing out that India has more experience with air operations in the mountains.

During a clash with Pakistani forces in Kashmir back in 1999, a single coordinated strike by Indian air force Mirage 2000s hauling Litening camera pods and laser-guided bombs succeeded in knocking out a key Pakistani headquarters.

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Dark1

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9 Chinese bomber planes H-6K fly together

See: http://chilp.it
Unless these bombers are stealth, in the modern context, i don't see much use for dedicated bombers. Too easy targets.
The j20 is a unproven plane , and the last few months have given India enough time to coordinate its anti air strategy. Everything is not in the media.
India''s defense will not be in taking down Chinese aircrafts but in putting a heavy cost on the Chinese by taking the fight to china controlled territory.
Whatever China's aim was with these incursions, they seem to lack a plan on how to move forward.
I cant believe the Chinese having such a sorry time against the Americans in the taiwan sector, wanted to open a 2nd front at the same time.
But we always assume that the Chinese are a logical lot , every country has its mavericks and this might be China's kargil.
 

El Sidd

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India is confident about her air superiority over China and continues her path of aggression towards the vulnerable Chinese.

You can corner a tiger but not a dragon.
 

IblinI

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Normal fighter has a 60000 feet ceiling. The 10000 ft can be easily bridged by missiles.
And bombers are slow moving, so easy targets
With only three countries(US,China,Russia) operating strategic bombers, the only stealth bomber in service is B2 spirit, so the rest B-52,Tu-160,Tu-95 and B-1B are all useless according to?yes, you.
 

IblinI

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The j20 is a unproven plane , and the last few months have given India enough time to coordinate its anti air strategy. Everything is not in the media.
stealth and anti stealth is a systematic project, you need decades to study and materialized, but first of all, you need an actual stealth plane, otherwise all strategy is nothing but plans and talks
 

Figaro

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India is confident about her air superiority over China and continues her path of aggression towards the vulnerable Chinese.

You can corner a tiger but not a dragon.
No they are not confident at all. Why else would they then pursue a useless joint venture with Russia for a stealth fighter? Or why then would they buy off the shelf Rafaels for 250 million dollars per unit and beg Russia to expedite S-400 purchases? The Indians are panicking and their actions show it. You cannot hide acts of desperation with words of confidence.
 

Han Patriot

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No they are not confident at all. Why else would they then pursue a useless joint venture with Russia for a stealth fighter? Or why then would they buy off the shelf Rafaels for 250 million dollars per unit and beg Russia to expedite S-400 purchases? The Indians are panicking and their actions show it. You cannot hide acts of desperation with words of confidence.
Pretty obvious. If it's a full scale war, India will be fried. They know it well.
 

Dark1

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No they are not confident at all. Why else would they then pursue a useless joint venture with Russia for a stealth fighter? Or why then would they buy off the shelf Rafaels for 250 million dollars per unit and beg Russia to expedite S-400 purchases? The Indians are panicking and their actions show it. You cannot hide acts of desperation with words of confidence.
Well if only China's main defense was not based on the s400 or their main offense was not su35 and su30 based, as seen in Taiwan.
I see the rafales and even the mirage 2000 having a qualitative edge over anything the Chinese possess. In defense cost becomes secondary, or the Chinese wouldn't have a 250 b usd annual defence budget.
And India has dropped the stealth project with Russia.
 

El Sidd

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No they are not confident at all. Why else would they then pursue a useless joint venture with Russia for a stealth fighter? Or why then would they buy off the shelf Rafaels for 250 million dollars per unit and beg Russia to expedite S-400 purchases? The Indians are panicking and their actions show it. You cannot hide acts of desperation with words of confidence.
It is my assessment that India is escalating at a far rapid pace as winter approach near.

Her presence in the Pacific highways show her growing confidence.
 

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