The Shenyang J-15 (Chinese: 歼-15), also known as Flying Shark (Chinese: 飞鲨, Fēishā), is a carrier-based fighter aircraft in development by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and the 601 Institute for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy's aircraft carriers. Rumors initially claimed the aircraft was to be a semi-stealth variant, yet later reports indicate the aircraft is based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-33 and is fitted with domestically produced radars, engines, and weapons. An unfinished Su-33 prototype, the T-10K-3, was acquired from Ukraine in 2001 and is said to have been studied extensively, with development on the J-15 beginning immediately afterward. While the J-15 appears to be structurally based on the Su-33, the indigenous fighter features Chinese technologies as well as avionics from the J-11B program.
Su-33 prototype T-10K-3
Su-33 prototype T-10K-3 - Imsge: chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
Su-33 Flanker-D: Details
China has actively sought to purchase Su-33s from Russia on numerous occasions—an unsuccessful offer was made as late as March 2009—but negotiations collapsed in 2006 after it was discovered that China had developed a modified version of the Sukhoi Su-27SK designated the Shenyang J-11B, in violation of intellectual property agreements.
Shenyang J-11: Details
J-15 program was officially started in 2006. The general designer of J-15 is Mr. Sun Cong (孙聪). The deputy general designer of J-15 is Mr. Wang Yongqing (王永庆).
J-15 Naval Fighter - Image: airforceworld.com
The first J-15 prototype made its maiden flight on August 31, 2009, believed to be powered by Russian-supplied AL-31 turbofan engines. Video and still images of the flight were released in July 2010, showing the same basic airframe design as the Su-33. In July 2011, it was reported FWS-10H turbofan engine was chosen for J-15 fighter, which has takeoff thrust increased to 12,800 kg, compared to the FWS-10 turbofan's 12,500 kg. Other improvements were also made to make it better suited to carrier-based fighter's requirement. On May 6, 2010, the aircraft conducted its first takeoff from a simulated ski-jump.
A twin-seat variant made its maiden flight on November 4, 2012.
AL-31 turbofan engines (China engines were AL-31FN)
Data from gutenberg.org
Type: Two-shaft afterburning turbofan
Length: 4,990 millimetres (196 in)
Diameter: 905 millimetres (35.6 in) inlet; 1,280 millimetres (50 in) maximum external
Dry weight: 1,570 kilograms (3,460 lb)
Compressor: 4 fan and 9 compressor stages
Turbine: 2 single-staged turbines
74.5 kilonewtons (16,700 lbf) military thrust
122.58 kilonewtons (27,560 lbf) with afterburner
Overall pressure ratio: 23
Bypass ratio: 0.59:1
Turbine inlet temperature: 1685 K (1,412 °C (2,574 °F))
Fuel consumption: 2.0 Kg/daN·h
Specific fuel consumption:
Military thrust: 0.67 lb/(lbf·h)
Full afterburner: 1.92 lb/(lbf·h)
Thrust-to-weight ratio: 4.77:1 (dry), 7.87:1 (afterburning)
China’s Breakthrough in Making Taihang Engines for Its Advanced Aircrafts
Recently, a photo of suspected J-11BS fighter jet has been posted on the internet. From the photo, we can see that the fighter uses China-made Taihang engine.
It is said that Chinese naval air force has quite a few J-11 installed with Taihang engines. In addition, the J-16 and China’s first-generation carrier-based fighter J-15 will have their existing engines be replaced by Taihang engines due to the latter’s better performance.
Taihang engine also known as WS-10 series of engine is the first high-performance, high-thrust turbofan engine with afterburner. It adopts high-thrust large bypass ratio and fully digital automatic control systems and has a maximum thrust of 30,000 lb.
The successful development of WS-10 is a milestone in China’s aviation engine industry. This blogger has learned in the news about the progress in the development of J-20 stealth fighter jet and Y-20 heavy transport that using the technology China has developed WS-10G engine with 35,000 lb thrust for stealth fighter jet, WS-15 with 40,000 lb thrust for J-20 stealth fighter jet and WS-20 engine with 31,000 lb thrust for Y-20.
According to Canada’s Kanwa Defense Review, Russia’s aviation industry is seriously upset by China’s cloning of Russian fighters in developing China’s J-11, J-15 and J-16 fighter jets and threatened to sanction China by refusing supply of the AL-31 engines used in those aircrafts, but when they saw China’s J-16 using WS-10 series of engines as replacement for AL-31 with better performance, they found that they were unable to sanction China.
Source: qianzhan.com “China’s Taihang engine shocks the world: PLA J-16 forces Russia to ‘submit’” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese). Source tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com
FWS-10H turbofan engine
It was first rumored in October 2014 that a CATOBAR variant is being co-developed by the 601 Institute and CSIC 704 Institute. This variant features a further strengthened forward landing gear in order to withstand the high-g force during the acceleration. In July 2016 the first prototype of the CATOBAR variant (J-15A? #5xx) flew for the first time, powered by two indigenous WS-10H engines. It features a nose landing gear with a much longer and wider drag strut. An AESA radar might have been installed as well. The production units are expected to be stationed onboard the third Type 002 aircraft carrier to be constructed in the future.
It was rumored in November 2016 that a J-15A took off for the first time from a ground-based electromagnetic catapult (EMALS). The latest rumor (April 2017) suggested that the production of J-15 will end after 3 batches of 24 units for the Type 001 aircraft carrier. It is expected to be followed by the improved J-15B (?) which will feature a new AESA radar developed by the 607 Institute. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
China Experimenting With Catapult Launched Carrier Aircraft
China has stepped up development of Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations for its carriers, with the appearance of a Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark carrier-borne fighter with CATOBAR apparatus and continued construction of supporting land-based infrastructure.
In mid-September photos surfaced online of a J-15 with what appears to be a catapult launch bar on its nose wheel. These are used to couple the aircraft to the catapult of the carrier during the launch sequence, and would be the latest indication that China’s rumored third aircraft carrier will utilize the CATOBAR system of aircraft launch and recovery.
It is not clear whether this aircraft is a new-build prototype for the CATOBAR J-15, or one of the six original J-15 prototypes modified with a new nose wheel. Also noteworthy is that this J-15 is powered by the indigenous Shenyang-Liming WS-10 Taihang turbofan. Although already in widespread use with China’s land-based J-11 fighters, the Chinese engine has never gone to sea during trials and operations on China’s current sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning.
All production J-15s have so far been powered with the Russian AL-31 turbofans, and although some of the six J-15 prototypes have been seen flying with the WS-10, these aircraft were re-engined with AL-31s when they took part in the shipboard trials since they began in 2012.
This new aircraft is likely to be the first of a small number of prototypes that will be used to test China’s CATOBAR infrastructure, which has been undergoing construction at Huangdicun Airbase in Liaoning Province since late 2014 or early 2015, according to satellite imagery. The airbase is also home to the People’s Liberation Army – Navy’s (PLAN) sole regiment of operational J-15s.
Huangdicun Airbase - Image: usni.org
These show what appear to be two catapult tracks, each measuring around 140 meters (460 feet) long, being built at the north-eastern corner of the base, along with a number of support buildings, a new runway and taxiway leading to the area. The tracks appear to be for a steam catapult and an equivalent to the US Navy’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS). Source usni.org
F-15D "Growler Shark"
Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) of China is developing the J-15D, a dedicated carrier-borne electronic warfare fighter. New photographs of the J-15D with jamming pods and primer coating were circulating the Internet in early May, with Chinese observers dubbing the airplane the "China Growler" or "Growler Shark" after the J-15 Flying Shark.
A similar capability was tested on the land-based tandem-seat Shenyang J-16 in 2015, with the designation J-16D. The J-16 is based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK, with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The "D" variant had the infrared search and track (IRST) system and 30 mm cannon removed, likely to accommodate more electronic warfare avionics on the aircraft. The J-16D also featured two wingtip jamming pods, with four knife-edge antennas visible.
The carrier-based J-15 derives from the single-seat Su-33, but SAC produced a twin-seat variant in 2012, known as the J-15S. This has become the basis of the J-15D, where the rear seat is likely to be reserved for the electronic warfare operator. As on the J-16D, the radome on the J-15D lacks an IRST and cannon and also a pitot tube, suggesting the installation of AESA radar. Photos of the unpainted J-15D show various modifications to the original J-15 airframe, including a possible new antenna installation on the leading edge of the canard. The photos also suggest that composite materials have been used for the elevator, flaps, air brakes, and vertical stabilizer.
Of most significance, the J-15D features an improved wingtip jamming pod, compacting the protruding antennas on the J-16D into a streamlined pod. Little is known about these pods but they are often compared with the U.S. Navy's Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-218 Tactical Jamming Receiver found on the Boeing E/A-18G Growler.
The J-15D continues to be powered by Russian NPO Saturn AL-31 turbofans, instead of the anticipated domestic WS-10B engines. Some Chinese sources believe it is due to flight safety on the prototype aircraft and the relative simplicity of integrating with the J-15 airframe. Source: ainonline.com
Image: from the web
An article in the China Signpost believes the J-15 “likely exceeds or matches the aerodynamic capabilities of virtually all fighter aircraft currently operated by regional militaries, with the exception of the U.S. F-22 Raptor”, alleging that the J-15 likely possesses a 10% superior thrust-to-weight ratio and a 25% lower wing loading than the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. However, one of the authors of that same article described the J-15 in another as no game changer; the reliance on ski-jump launches and lack of Chinese carrier based refueling capabilities are believed to greatly reduce its effective range. Hu Siyuan of the National Defense University PLA China has said that “the current weak point of the J-15 is its Russia-made Al-31 engines which are less powerful than that of the American F-35 fighter”.
F-22 Raptor: Details
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: Details
Russian military experts have downplayed any significant competition from the J-15 in the global arms market, with Col. Igor Korotchenko of the Defense Ministry stating in early June 2010, “The Chinese J-15 is unlikely to achieve the same performance characteristics of the Russian Su-33 carrier-based fighter, and I do not rule out the possibility that China could return to negotiations with Russia on the purchase of a substantial batch of Su-33s.”
In September 2013, the Beijing-based Sina Military Network (SMN) criticized the capabilities of the J-15 as nothing more than a “flopping fish” incapable of flying from the Liaoning with heavy weapons, “effectively crippling its attack range and firepower,” an unusual move as it contradicted state-owned media reports praising the fighter. SMN reported the J-15 could operate from the carrier equipped with two YJ-83K anti-ship missiles, two short-range PL-8 air-to-air missiles, and four 500 kg (1,100 lb) bombs, but a weapons load exceeding 12 tons would not get it off the ski jump, prohibiting it from carrying heavier munitions such as PL-12 medium-range air-to-air missiles, making it an unlikely match if hostile fighters are encountered when flying strike missions; furthermore, it can only carry two tons of weapons while fully fueled, limiting it to no more than two YJ-83Ks and two PL-8s.
The J-15’s chief designer, Sun Cong of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has said that the J-15 could match the F/A-18 in bomb load, combat radius and mobility. However, in a similar statement, he said more work was required in its electronics and combat systems. He also indicated the lack of mature domestically produced engines as a current weak spot. Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo stated that the aircraft’s air combat capabilities were better than that of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. However, he also stated that its ability to attack land and sea targets was slightly inferior to the F/A-18E/F; it is also stated that its electronic equipment meets the standards of those on a fifth generation fighter.
Some components onboard J-15 are based on those of J-11B, such as the glass cockpit, MAWS sensors on the tail sting as well as the improved WS-10H turbofan engine with a higher TO thrust (12,800kg) and better acceleration in order to achieve full-load taking off from the ski-jump. In addition it appears to have a new indigenous IRST/LR installed. Its fire-control radar is thought to be based on the Type 1493 PD radar with enhanced air-to-sea capability. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
Image: from the web
Chinese Swash plate/Canted Phased Array Radar on display. It has been long rumored that China has developed a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for J-10B but the presence of the L-band IFF probes in the antenna has started debate if it is and AESA or PESA array..
Image: from the web
GSh-301 30mm cannon
The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30 (ГШ-30) is a family of autocannons used on certain Russian military aircraft.
The GSh-30-1 (also known as “GSh-301”) is the standard cannon armament of most modern Russian fighters including the Yak-141 Freestyle, MiG-29 Fulcrum, Su-27 Flanker and its’ various derivatives. The GSh-30-2 is carried by the Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack plane and in external gun pods. The GSh-30-2K is a modified version with 2400mm long water-cooled barrels and variable rate of fire. It is used on a fixed mounting on Mi-24P Hind-F helicopters.
- Caliber: 30x165mm
- Operaton: Gast principle
- Length: 1978mm
- Weight (complete): 46 kg
- Rate of fire: 1500–1800 rpm
- Muzzle velocity: 860 m/s
- Projectile weight: 386-404 g (13.6-14.25 oz)
- Mounting platforms: Yakovlev Yak-141 “Freestyle”, Mikoyan MiG-29 “Fulcrum”, Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker” (and derivatives), Sukhoi Su-34 “Fullback”
PL-8 IR-homing SRAAM (Python 3)
It has been rumored for a long time that Israel sold the Python-3 technology to China in the 80s, although this was never publicly acknowledged by either side. The result is PL-8 (K/AKK-8?), an all-aspect IR-guided AAM distinguished by its unique swept tail stabilizing fins and a large warhead (11kg). Several variants were developed,including the original PL-8, the improved PL-8A (with more domestic components) and the latest PL-8B. PL-8B was first discovered in mid-2005 featuring a PL-9 style all-aspect InSb seeker and a programmable digital processor, which offer a wider off-boresight angle. Its range has been increased to 20km. The missile is also compatible with Chinese made HMS. Since then this version has replaced PL-8/8A. PL-8B has been seen carried by J-7D/E/G, J-8D/H/F, J-10/A/B, J-11B, JL-9 and JH-7A replacing the old PL-2B/PL-5B. Currently the missile is the primary dogfight weapon in PLAAF’s arsenal until the new PL-10 enters the service (see below). Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
Image: from the web
PL-12/SD-10 active radar-homing MRAAM
The PL-12 is claimed to have an operational ceiling of at least 21 km, with a maximum effective range of 100 km and a minimum engagement range of 1,000 m. The missile has a 38+ g manoeuvering limit and, according to CATIC, it has been tested for a 100-hour captive ‘live flight’ life. According to Chinese claims, PL-12 is more capable than the American AIM-120 A/B, but slightly inferior than the AIM-120C. Source airforceworld.com
PL-12 (K/AKK-12?) was under development at LETRI/607 Institute since early 90s. The missile was expected to be in the same class as AIM-120A/B and its active seeker may have evolved from the earlier AMR-1 design (R-129? based on Russian 9B-1348 seeker & datalink for R-77). Its tailfins appear to have fin tips as well as the leading edges of the fin root cropped. These specially designed tailfins are believed to possess lower drag for greater speed and higher torque for better maneuverability. Two datalink antennas can be seen next to the nozzle for mid-course correction. Several dielectric strips are seen along the middle warhead section which house the radio proximity fuse. PL-12 completed its development test in December 2004 and was certified in 2005. Its export version is called SD-10 (SD-10A as the improved version) and was first revealed to the public during the 2002 Zhuhai Airshow. Currently it is in the service with J-8F, J-10, J-11B, J-15 and Su-30MK2. In addition SD-10A is being carried by JF-17 currently in service with PAF.
Some specifications of SD-10: length 3,850mm, diameter 203mm, wing span 674mm, weight 180kg, max g-load 38g, max speed 4M, range 60-70km. Recently produced PL-12 is expected to feature an improved seeker with new digital processor and SINS. The improved PL-12 (PL-12A?) is thought to be comparable to American AIM-120C4. It was reported in November 2010 that PL-12 may feature an active/passive dual mode seeker in order to achieve greater ECCM capability and kill probability. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
Image: from the web
Kh-31/YJ-91 anti-radiation missile
Two Kh-31P ARMs were on display at a PLAAF airbase as part of the Su-30MKK’s weapon package. Up to 6 Kh-31Ps can be carried by an Su-30MKK as a Wild Weasel aircraft. It can also be carried by the naval Su-30MK2. This supersonic missile is distinguished by 4 ramjet engines attached to its body which give the missile a range of 70km and a speed of Mach 3. It features an L112E passive seeker (with three interchangeable modules to cover different frequency bands) and its weight is 600kg with a 87kg warhead. The domestic version of Kh-31P has been produced locally under a license as YJ-91 (KR-1/H/AKJ91?), which can be carried by JH-7A, J-8G even the new FC-31 and is compatible with the Chinese fire-control system. In addition, the anti-ship version (Kh-31A) was also acquired and is being carried by the naval Su-30MK2 while its domestic counterpart (YJ-91A?) could be carried by the naval JH-7A, J-10B as well as the J-15 onboard aircraft carrier Liaoning. The introduction of Kh-31/YJ-91 ARM has enabled PLAAF to fly SEAD missions against enemy long-range SAM defences. The anti-ship YJ-91A is expected to be surpassed by the bigger and heavier YJ-12. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
The Kh-31P high-speed medium-range “air-to-surface” guided missile with changeable passive radar homing heads is designed to engage radars operating within long- and medium-range air defence missile systems, as well as other ground- and sea-based radars of different purpose, in the corresponding frequency band.
The Kh-31P missile can be efficiently launched either independently or in salvo, in fair and adverse weather conditions, to engage radar targets of opportunity or previously disclosed ones.
The missile can be equipped with changeable homing heads operating in coresponding frequency bands used by modern continuous-wave and pulsed radars of surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems.
The missile’s radar homing head ensures:
– target search and lock-on in the autonomous mode, or by receiving target designation data from carrier’s sensors with the missile on the aircraft suspension station;
– target tracking and missile guidance command generation.
It has a high explosive/fragmentation type of warhead.
Launch range envelope, km
Launch altitude envelope, m
Launch speed envelope, km/h (Mach number)
Max missile cruising speed, m/s
Warhead weight, kg
Missile launch weight, kg
Missile dimensions, m:
Image: from the web
YJ-83KH – modification missiles YJ-83K with passive IR guidance system in the terminal phase of flight. This model can also be used under conditions of strong electronic interference. In contrast, the guidance system can confuse the help of IR decoy targets and smoke screens. Export versions of missiles YJ-83KH bears CM-802AKG and reportedly has a weight of 285 kg and a range of 230 km.
Users : Only PRC
Carrier : H-6G (Badger) – 4 pieces and JH-7 / 7A (Flounder) – 4 pieces
Guidance system : inertial system (autopilot) (guidance in the initial and middle stages of flight) + active radar homing head (guidance on the reflection of electromagnetic radiation homing head of goals) unknown type (guidance in the terminal phase of flight); A detachment of weapons from the carrier occurs at altitudes from 500 to 1 200 m. While in mid-flight missiles YJ-83K moves at a height of 20-30 meters, altitude of weapons in the terminal phase of flight is only 5-7 meters above the surface sea.
Drive : one turbofan engine type unknown
Warhead : aggressively-explosive weighing 165 kg
Length: about 5 m
Body Diameter: 360 mm
Fin span: 1.22 m
Starting weight: 715 kg
Max. speed: 1026 km / h
Range: 250 km
S-8KO 80mm Rocket
‘S-8’ 80mm unguided rocket
The S-8 system is the main caliber weapon in the class of unguided aircraft rockets and can solve a variety of aircraft missions.
The rocket is provided with a solid propellant motor with a summary thrust pulse of 5,800 N.s and operating time of 0.7 s. Progressive methods for body shaping from ready-made rolled aluminum and unique engineering solutions in terms of separate elements aimed at reducing motor manufacturing labor consumption and costs are used in its construction.
The following types of S-8 rockets are operational today:
- S-8KOM with HEAT fragmentation warhead;
- S-8BM with concrete-piercing (penetrating) warhead;
- S-8-OM with illuminating warhead.
YJ-83 AShM fired by J-15 hits target: Here
Image: from the web
On 25 November 2012, Chinese media announced that two J-15s had made successful arrested landings on the aircraft carrier Liaoning. The first pilot to land on the Liaoning was named as Dai Mingmeng (戴明盟). Luo Yang, the aircraft’s head of production and designer, died the same day. PLA Daily newspaper indicated the first five naval pilots including Dai conducted J-15 fighter landing and taking off. Test and training program officials confirmed the carrier-borne aircraft and special equipment for the landing flight had gone through strict tests, and fighter jets can be deployed on the carrier.
Image: from the web
J-15 carrier-based fighters conduct training on the Liaoning: Here
In December 2013 Chinese media reported that mass production of J-15s in full operational condition with combat markings had begun.
In July 2016, a new variant of the J-15, capable of CATOBAR operations and sporting a new active electronically scanned array radar, conducted its maiden flight, with a temporary designation of J-15A being assigned to it.
In January 2017, the carrier Liaoning, returned to the South China Seas after its first deployment into the West Pacific, conducted a series of take-off and landing drills with its force of embarked J-15 fighters.
Chinese media revealed new Chinese aircraft carrier able to dock 36 Jian-15 fighters: Here
CV-001A - Image: from the web
Chinese media has revealed that the new Chinese aircraft carrier will be able to dock 36 Jian-15 fighters [J-15].
According to Chinese news portal Sina, “At the moment, the aircraft carrier being prepared for launch is optimized in terms of load which compared to the Liaoning aircraft carrier can reach from 28 to 36 units of J-15 fighters.”