I do understand the threat that bomber launched ALCMs may pose and the desire for F-3 to be able to intercept the launch platforms, but I was more thinking that in the PLA case, the threat of bomber launched ALCMs will probably only make up a fraction of the overall LACM arsenal that the PLA could be able to use against the JSDF in event of a war.Ainen said:Well, as an absolute example - imagine Russian tu-160(quite a valid concern for Japan, too) with full missile load(x-102, 12 units), being capable to launch missiles far to the East of Honshu, while covering all the distance in unobservable international airspace clockwise, down low.
This way, not only launcher and missiles won't be observed, but missiles will be able to use all-low trajectory with essentially as many waypoints as will be necessary. They can even wait for launcher or other assets to alert another direction and draw defence attention there, untill it is too late.
H-6k can't go that far, sure, and its missiles are far shorter-ranged. But they are far more numerous, and they still can attack from, say, extreme South or even SSE. And, unlike my example with blackjack, it can be escorted by both fighters and new chinese escort jammers.
F-3 planners has to take into account not just h-6s, bears and blackjacks, but future Chinese and Russian developments, full usage of chinese SCS bases, even for possible non-friendly Taiwan, just in case.
So I was wondering whether F-3s would actually be intended to be used in a bomber interception role primarily and if it would have been designed around that as a core requirement. But it seems like you are talking about the full range of air to air missions as well, so that makes more sense to me.