Can I join objects without destroying the existing armature?

I want to import a model into Substance painter and have it as one mesh but its made up of a group of meshes. Ctrl J breaks the armature, is there anyway i can detach the armature but keep the same weight paints? Or just a way to join the meshes without breaking the armature?

“Breaks armature” is undefined. What do you mean by “breaks armature”?

Armatures are per object, depending on how you merge your meshes you might either loose existing modifiers or append your mesh to one with modifiers.

Sorry, i explained it wrong
Ive got this model

I would like to join all these objects together without the armature for the entire thing un parenting and the armature modifier disappearing.

If all you are trying to get the posed mesh so you can paint in Substance, you can just export them as .obj after selecting all the pieces. That will give you a combined mesh with applied modifiers (or not), there is even an option for it.

Ah ok, I didn’t know that. Thanks for your help!

Sure. Make sure you play with all the options in the .obj exporter. There are alot of good stuff packed in there which can help in other apps if they support, partitioning, grouping, smoothing etc,