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Why China Has Deployed J-7 Fighters to Test Taiwan’s Defences

Zarvan

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Amid rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait, a number of sources have drawn attention to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) deployment of J-7 lightweight fighter jets for flights near Taiwan and possibly to test the territory’s defences. An island encirclement exercise on June 17 included four J-7s alongside other PLA aircraft including J-16 heavyweight fighters and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, with a military source quoted by Hong Kong media stating that the aircraft were deployed to test the reaction from Taiwan's air force and public. “The four J-7s made short flights after taking off from an airbase in Shantou, Guangdong province… It was aimed at testing the Taiwan air force’s response, seeing whether all their aircraft have resumed flying,” the source stated. While some analysts have speculated that J-7’s deployment may have been related to the PLA’s conversion of old variants of these aircraft into expendable drones, a number of other explanations exist.





J-7G Lightweight Fighter



Although the J-7 is based on the Soviet MiG-21 Fishbed second generation fighter - a world leader in its time which entered service from 1959 - the variants in active service in the PLA today are considerably more capable and are considered fourth generation fighters in terms of the sophistication of their avionics, sensors, and construction materials. The J-7G, which is the most advanced variant, ended production only in 2013, while the JL-9 fighter-trainer is closely derived from the J-7 design and remains in production today. The J-7G boasts much higher use of composite materials, a full glass cockpit, a new double delta wing, three multi functional HUD displays and HOTAS, helmet mounted sights, a radar cross section reducing fuselage and conformal fuel tanks among other advanced features which set it apart from the Cold War era J-7. Several hundred of the aircraft are currently in service, and while they are being phased out of frontline service and diverted to training units, for replacement by J-10C and J-16 ‘4+ generation’ fighters, they still play an important role in China’s defence.





Chinese J-16 (left) and J-10C Fighters



Deploying the J-7 alongside the J-16 and the Y-8 could provide an opportunity for operators of these very different aircraft to train in joint missions and increase interoperability, as well as allowing the PLA to express its faith in the continued viability of the J-7 design. Indeed, newer variants of the J-7 are in many ways more modern than any fighter in Taiwan’s air force, which relies on 1970s variants of the F-16 and F-5, 1990s variants of the Mirage 2000 and the indigenous Ching Kuo fighter which was also developed in the 1990s. The age of Taiwan’s fleet, and issues with maintenance particularly for the Mirage 2000s which were built in France and have a more questionable quality, have led to high crash rates and forced Taiwan to ground portions of its fleet on several occasions. The J-7 is expected to continue to see service for several years to come, and is prized for its combination of modern fourth generation technologies with a very low operational cost and low maintenance requirements. Replacing the fighters with newer heavier aircraft - particularly the very heavy J-16 - imposes a manifold increase in both maintenance requirements and operational costs for Chinese fighter squadrons, although the increase in combat performance are also very substantial.

Why China Has Deployed J-7 Fighters to Test Taiwan’s Defences (militarywatchmagazine.com)
 

CrazyZ

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Later versions of the J-7 are the best Mig-21 type AC. Mig-21's have the most total air to air kills of any Mach 2 AC (although most of that is from the Vietnam war). If equipped with modern data links and modern munitions....it can still be a threat, IMO.
 

CIA Mole

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Later versions of the J-7 are the best Mig-21 type AC. Mig-21's have the most total air to air kills of any Mach 2 AC (although most of that is from the Vietnam war). If equipped with modern data links and modern munitions....it can still be a threat, IMO.

any jet with bvr missile and awacs support can be deadly
 

Raider 21

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Later versions of the J-7 are the best Mig-21 type AC. Mig-21's have the most total air to air kills of any Mach 2 AC (although most of that is from the Vietnam war). If equipped with modern data links and modern munitions....it can still be a threat, IMO.
No. Phantoms edged more than Fishbeds.

Yes if integrated well and possible, it indeed would be a formidable threat. Largely depends on what kind of pilots are being trained to fight on the J-7 by the Chinese.....
 

Malik Alashter

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No, Its a PAF version with grifo radar and PL5 which is the improved copy of Soviet era AA 2 Atoll Called F7PG, Chinese J7 uses indigenous radar and PL8 which is based on Israeli Python3 by some source
pl-5 bit old, you still use the j-7 right? dont understand why pakistan didnt go with j-10 instead of jf-17 since day one?
Thats the Pakistani version
pl-5 bit old, you still use the j-7 right? dont understand why pakistan didnt go with j-10 instead of jf-17 since day one?
 

White and Green with M/S

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pl-5 bit old, you still use the j-7 right? dont understand why pakistan didnt go with j-10 instead of jf-17 since day one?
Sorry brother F7PG haven't any PL5 i mixed thing up with JFT, F7PG is carrying PL9 improved PL8, JFT carrying PL5, JFT block 1 and 2 has almost same capabilities as compare to J10A with the exception of range and payloads but these drawbacks is corrected by AAR tankers refueling, if you remember brother in 2007 we order 36 J10A but its never materialized because our next govt eats its procurement funds and PAF was not satisfied the performance of J10A's radar and Avionics

And JFT block3 will utilized so many technologies from J10C and J20 s o that's why we don't need it


Recently tweets/ YouTube clips are circulating that's we place an order of J10C to replace our old/vintage Mirages
 

White Lion

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pl-5 bit old, you still use the j-7 right? dont understand why pakistan didnt go with j-10 instead of jf-17 since day one?
pl-5 bit old, you still use the j-7 right? dont understand why pakistan didnt go with j-10 instead of jf-17 since day one?
Brother you need to understand "ADAPT". We as a human are very good at this. We look at what we have and fight accordingly. F-7's are very good for certain roles and PAF is using them in those. At the moment PAF is replacing F-7's by JF-17.
 

Malik Alashter

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Sorry brother F7PG haven't any PL5 i mixed thing up with JFT, F7PG is carrying PL9 improved PL8, JFT carrying PL5, JFT block 1 and 2 has almost same capabilities as compare to J10A with the exception of range and payloads but these drawbacks is corrected by AAR tankers refueling, if you remember brother in 2007 we order 36 J10A but its never materialized because our next govt eats its procurement funds and PAF was not satisfied the performance of J10A's radar and Avionics

And JFT block3 will utilized so many technologies from J10C and J20 s o that's why we don't need it


Recently tweets/ YouTube clips are circulating that's we place an order of J10C to replace our old/vintage Mirages
jf-17 under powered also carry less than 4 tons and the paf still reluctant to depend on it as a first teir fighter thats why they wat more f-16 but with j-10 they wont look for more f-16 anyway paf knows better
Brother you need to understand "ADAPT". We as a human are very good at this. We look at what we have and fight accordingly. F-7's are very good for certain roles and PAF is using them in those. At the moment PAF is replacing F-7's by JF-17.
No doubt jf-17 is a good replacement for the f-7
 

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