PAF & PLA-AF Are Buying More J-10,J-17 & J-16. Why?

Several articles have been written on the scenario of the India & China war, the main thing which catches the attraction, is a war of IAF vs PLA-AF and PAF. Here, we would be discussing a slightly different scenario. A scenario where we can see the bit of practicality. So, without much further ado, let’s start. In the end, you will understand why PAF and PLA-AF are purchasing more J-17, J-10, and J-16 fighter jets.

China’s Air Force (PLA-AF)

We all know that currently, China has an Airforce of about 2700-3100 Aircraft. The actual number has always remained unknown. Among these 2000 are the combat aircraft. Which are the ones we will focus on. The key point to note here is that most of the aircraft are on the Eastern fronts and some on the Southern and Northern front. The western front still has enough aircraft to battle. But Some issues prevail.

Let’s recap the aircraft of PLA-AF. They got J-7,J-8,J-10, J-11, J-16, J-20, Su-27, Su-30 MKK and some Su-35s. Now thing is to be known that many of them are quite older aircraft. J-20 is claimed stealth but we all know it’s not.

The issue with PLA-AF is that China has no experience of High Altitude warfare. Along with that, we discussed earlier issues with Chinese Engines. The breathing issues of Aircraft at high engines have been found in the Chinese air force.

Above all this, all the airfield near LAC i.e. Hotan, Kashgar, and Nagri Gurgunsa airbase are at the height of more than 10000 feet. Due to this, they won’t be able to carry full payload and full fuel. Which means they would be not fully utilized. Also, the airfields are far from LAC, it will take time for PLA-AF to reach the battle. And with partial fuel and partial load (missiles), they won’t be able to take down fully loaded Indian Aircrafts (They did take form Plains).

Pakistan Air Force (PAF)

We all know what they consist of. But still, let’s do a little bit of revision just in order to make things easier. Their airforce consists of Mirage-III, Mirage-5, F-16, JF-17, and some J-10. We all know about these fighters. Mirage III and 5 are already outdated. F-16 for that, would I would say does anyone remember Balakot. J-10 and J-17 are just Chinese derivations, so we know how are Chinese ones.

Indian Air Force (IAF)

Discussing the basics of our Air-force as well. The IAF has totally more than 1850+ aircraft. But 900 of them are the Combat aircraft. Most of them in the forward region itself. It is said that more than 15 squadrons are within 200 Kms of the border (LAC and LOC) and along with most of the new aircraft.

The aircraft in forwarding bases include Mig-21 Bisons, Mig-29 UPG, SEPECAT Jaguar, Su-30 MKI, Mirage – 2000, HAL Tejas Mk 1, and the latest Rafale.

The Fight Scenario

Now, lets start the fight, but the virtual one. Now, here we will only see air-to-air war. So, we will eliminate the SAM missiles and only talk about air to air capabilites. We all know that Quality of Indian Aircrafts is really good. But at same time China has a Quantity. So what? Lets get back little into history


One might tell that quality wins over quantity. Well, you are true but have you heard about Battle of Kursk of World war 2. The scenario took place where German tanks and Russian Tanks were face to face. The German tanks were much better in quality than Russian but still they lost. Why? You may ask, just because of the large number of Russian tanks.

Just say, a good quality tank can take out 4 Russian tanks, but what if there are 8 Russian tanks, the well German one will eventually be defeated. Earlier in the article of H-6 Bombers, a Quote was given

A Quantity has its own quality

So here, you understood the concept of quantity as well. Coming back to the present.


Here, let’s understand and take the most advanced aircraft of both forces. So from India, we take Rafale ( A 4++ Generation Fighter) and from China, we have J-20 ( A so-called 5th Gen fighter, actually 4th Gen).

Now, a Rafale can carry 4 Meteor Missile (6 without drop tanks). Here, in Rafale will detect J-20 in BVR (Beyond Visual Range). So, if there are 4 J-20 rushing towards Rafale, they will be down. But what if there are more than that, let’s say 10. Rafale can bring 2 more if short-range missiles are equipped. After that, well the State of Art Rafale Aircraft has no offensive measure.

By the time, the warfare will not be BVR anymore, and rest of J-20 will bring down Rafale. Now, same scenario is repeated in other aircrafts like Sukhoi-30 MKI vs Sukhoi-30 MKK, etc .

This even deteriorates when there is Dog fight (The chances of this are likely as close airspace of India and China). And even more when Pakistan comes into the picture i.e. IAF vs PAF & PLA-AF

So, the main point is the Indian front will be losing 1 aircraft for every 5-6 aircraft of Chinese and Pakistani.


The thing to be noted is, even though we have a good quality of Aircraft, we are losing and the China-Pakistan is winning the game by numbers. This is the reason why India Actually needs 42 squadrons as soon as possible. And also it is the same reason why China(PLA-AF) and Pakistan(PAF), even though just 4th Generation fighters are ready to purchase as much as possible as in Quality they don’t stand chance but in quantity, they are acing it and India is far behind them. But one point is worth mentioning that “IS CHINA AND PAKISTAN READY TO LOOSE 6 AIRCRAFT FOR EVERY 1 INDIAN AIRCRAFT? Do Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Nirav Kotak

A Mechanical Engineer and a Defense Enthusiast wanting to share knowledge and learn more from others as well.


  1. May in this case, we won’t only need a good and strong aircraft with excellent range and missile, but also very highly manuverable aircraft like Sukhoi series. So that they can come back to base in time to be refitted with new set of missiles.

    1. This is one way of looking at it. But with Land attack missiles like Brahmos – airborne and land-borne, with Fuel air bombs, in operations the number of Pak bases that will be operational is pure speculation. as we take down the bases their personnel – not east to replace also must be there – hence thermobaric bombs.

      With modern satellite imagery we will know where the aircraft are and we will target them. (they can also but will depend on our anti-missile shield.

      But it depends on how many satellite runways are there and how well distributed pak/Chinese planes are. Whatever that is, if we start attacking the concentrations this mass usage may not be able to last much.

      Having said that I do agree we also need numbers and that’s why LCA has to be refined and production by the score has to be hived off to private players who will produce cheaper and better quality.

      LCA Mar 1 & 1A should be limited as missile carriers with max number BVRMs with longer range than what we have. The issue is when, within minutes of war their aircraft complex will be destroyed replacement also will not be easy.

      Having put all possible scenarios.

      I think we need to A. Prepare for large-scale interdiction of the airbases, large numbers of LCAs piloted and drone style capable of wave type defence. Easier said than done. Needs lots of plnning and I hope they have done it already with a responsive Government.

      1. True dude, but here main point was that we won’t be considering any SAM. Look this way, that all SAM of both China and India are jammed, then?. Whatever remains is an Air combat. So there even having quality, we lack quantity. Also consider this way, that out of blue, 10 J-20(As of now consider 10) are rushing towards India and Rafale(As of now consider only 1) goes to fight then. Then Rafale can bring maximum 6 down, the Rafale will be shot by rest of 4. Here, China won by Number but the damage to China was more as they lost 6 aircraft and we lost one. This becomes more complex when number of aircraft are more.

    2. We should give MMRCA 2.0 to USA for F-15 EX it is quite better than rafale and F/A 18 for navy then best airforce of south-Asia is IAF and PLA AF and PAF will know about their quantity how poor that is

  2. We should give MMRCA 2.0 to USA for F-15 EX it is quite better than rafale and F/A 18 for navy then best airforce of south-Asia is IAF, then PLA AF and PAF will know about their quantity how poor that is

  3. Amateurish to assume we will down 5-6 of theirs for every one of ours. We have only 36 Rafale on orders. They have lots of Su 30 derivatives and even some Su35 on order.
    Not to mention the Fog of War..
    Look at balakot, Strike 1/lost 1
    We may have superiority in quality but masking such a one sided assumption is recipe for disaster. Moreover china needs to cover vast East China corridor and potential Indian allies posturing in any war. That should keep the numbers manageable.

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