PLAAF J-11 beat RTAF Gripen 16-0 on first day of Falcon Strike 2015

A talk was given at China’s Northwestern Polytechnical University on Dec. 9. The speaker was reported to be Li Zhonghua who is said to have participated in Exercise Falcon Strike 2015 in Thailand. One of the slides showed the score during each day of the exercise and during the first day, the Thais flying the Gripen were beaten 16-0.


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Another slide shows that although the Thais did very badly on the first day. These were dogfights and the Gripen fared better in the beyond-visual-range (BVR) arena. With 24 percent of the kills at range beyond 50km.

There were important lessons for the Chinese side. This slide explains that the Chinese pilots had poor situation awareness. Too much focus was on front of the aircraft rather than all round. There was a lack of coordination between the attacking aircraft and its sweeper escorts. The pilots were not experience in avoiding missile shots. Their response were too mechanical and could not judge correctly on the evasive techniques for missiles with different ranges.

In large scale air battles, the Thais were able to score kills while playing the attacker by taking down the Chinese defenders. When the Chinese attack, they had difficulty making it pass the Thai defenders. The only success for the Chinese when attacking is when they were protected by the Gripen, that was a low-level attack.

In 2 vs 2 scenarios, the Chinese found that they are poor in judging the threat and the evasive actions were insufficient. The fire control and weapons integration for the J-11 is still behind the Saab Gripen.

Despite dominating in the dogfight arena, the Chinese still picked up important lessons from the Thai. They found that when dealing with Thai attacks using the Sun as cover, the strategy of the Chinese are simplified. When in an advantageous position, the Chinese were in a rush to score victory and fell into traps put up by the Thais.

  1. Tamas Feher says:

    > PLAAF J-11 beat RTAF Gripen 16-0 in dogfights

    You are not supposed to engage in a dogfight with a JAS-39 Gripen, because the swedish fighter is very small sized and can easily hide from visual and radar observation. It is supposed to suprise the invading enemy instead, being a defence fighter designed by a neutral country. If a Gripen pilot finds himself in a dogfight in a real war, he has done something very wrong tactically.

    Sweden did consider designing and building a 2 or even 3 engined “Super Viggen” fighter to replace the J-37, but quickly realized that defeating the Su-27 would only mean the USSR sends MiG-31 instead. The only way to survive was with a small and nimble fighter, which has advanced electronic and road-base mobility, at the price of raw engine power and aerobatics.

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