J-11 Shenyang Air Superiority Fighter Jet of Chinese Air Force – Flanker-L

J-11 Shenyang Air Superiority Fighter jet of Chinese Air Force is a twin engine jet fighter, whose air frame is based on the soviet designed Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighter.

J-11 Shenyang Air Superiority Fighter Jet  - Flanker-L

Chinese air force has been looking for a way to produce a counterpart to the fourth generation fighter jets, used by NATO countries. The first idea about developing a Soviet-like fighter emerged in late 70’s when Shenyang factory combined a light fighter design of the Soviet MiG-19 with a British Rolls-Royce Spey 512 engine. This project was known as the J-11, but eventually failed. However this idea was resurrected two decades later.

   In the 1990s China signed an agreement with Russia, that allowed to build 200 Su-27SK aircraft from Russian-supplied kits. Production of the J-11 began in 1998. It made its maiden flight during the same year. However co-production of the basic J-11 was halted after around 100 aircraft were built. Some sources report that China violated agreement by installing indigenous electronics. It seems that Russia refused to supply kits for these aircraft to China as Russia found China is making its own version of Su-27. Later China began to produce indigenous versions of this aircraft, fitted with indigenous engines.

   The J-11 is a twin-engine, single-seat air superiority fighter aircraft, based on the Sukhoi Su-27’s design. It has a Western reporting name Flanker B+. At the time of its introduction it was a fairly respectable fighter jet with Russian engines and weaponry. It was a noteworthy adversary to US-made aircraft, such as Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falconor, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

   So far, there are 253 aircraft of various versions built and the production keeps on going. Produced in the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation in Northern China, all of the Shenyang J-11 aircraft, including the J-11A, J-11B, J-11BS, J-11D, J-15, and J-16 versions are used solely by Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force. It has never been exported.

   The first 100 Shenyang J-11 air superiority fighter aircraft were fitted with Russian-made Lyulka Saturn AL-31 engines. However, the later versions, namely J-11B and J-16 use Chinese-built Woshan WS-10A “Taihang” turbofans.

   Performance of the basic version of this aircraft, the Shenyang J-11, is very similar to Sukhoi Su-27, not only because of an almost identical design, but also because of the equipment. This version employs Russian equipment like NIIP Tikhomirov N001V radar and armament including Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 30 mm automatic cannon and Vympel NPO missiles.

J-11 Variants

J-11A is basically the same aircraft as J-11, the only difference being in improved equipment. This version is equipped with a different electronic flight instrument system.

   J-11B is an indigenous Chinese version, fitted with locally-built radar, avionics and weapons. Some sources report that up to 90% of components are indigenous. It also has some upgrades to the airframe. Existence of this aircraft was confirmed in 2007.

   J-11BS, a two-seat version of the J-11B. Essentially it is a combat-capable trainer aircraft, similar to the Russian Su-27UB. The first prototype was revealed in 2007.

   J-11D, an improved version of the J-11B, fitted with AESA radar and upgraded WS-10 engine. Other improvements include new cockpit, more radar absorbent materials, two additional hardpoints, in-flight refueling probe, new electronic warfare systems.

   J-15 is a carrier borne version, equipped with Chinese-equipment and weaponry. The aircraft is nicknamed the Flying Shark for a good reason – it is faster than its predecessor, with the top speed of 2 940 km/h and higher service ceiling.

   J-16 is the latest model coming out of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. This is a two-seat multi-role fighter. It is an advanced version of J-11, based on the Su-30MKK and fitted with indigenous electronics. Its production began in 2012. Currently Chinese air force operates a number of these aircraft.

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