|A Shenyang J-11 flies over Anshan Airfield in March 2007.|
|Role||Air superiority fighter|
|Manufacturer||Shenyang Aircraft Corporation|
|Primary user||People's Liberation Army Air Force|
|Number built||253+ (as of February 2014[update])|
|Developed from||Sukhoi Su-27SK (airframe for J-11)|
The Shenyang J-11 (Chinese: 歼-11) with NATO reporting name: Flanker B+ is a single-seat, twin-engine, jet fighter, whose airframe is based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name: Flanker) air superiority fighter. It is currently manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) of China (PRC) is the sole operator of the aircraft.
The base J-11/A is a fourth-generation jet fighter which, like its Sukhoi brethren, is intended as a direct competitor to Western fourth generation fighters such as the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale.
In the 1970s, Shenyang Aircraft Factory proposed a light fighter powered by the British Rolls-Royce Spey 512 engine, but otherwise similar to the MiG-19 then in service. Known as the J-11, the project was abandoned due to difficulties in obtaining the engines.
The J-11 was finally born in 1995 as a Chinese version of the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27SK air superiority fighter after China secured a $2.5 billion production agreement which licensed China to build 200 Su-27SK aircraft using Russian-supplied kits. Under the terms of the agreement, these aircraft would be outfitted with Russian avionics, radars and engines. However, in 2004, Russian media reported that Shenyang co-production of the basic J-11 was halted after around 100 examples were built. The PLAAF later revealed a mock-up of an upgraded multi-role version of the J-11 in mid-2002. The indigenous J-11B variant incorporates various Chinese material modifications and upgrades to the airframe with improved manufacturing methods in addition to the inclusion of domestic Chinese technologies such as radar, avionics suites and weaponry, including anti-ship and PL-12 air-to-air missiles presumably for the role of a maritime strike aircraft. The alleged reason for the sudden stop in the production line of the J-11 was because it could no longer satisfy the PLAAF's requirements, due to elements such as the obsolete avionics and radar, which were structured for aerial missions.
The J-11/J-11B's legitimacy remains unproven, despite a wealth of information coming to light since 2007. In the course of a press conference at the 2009 Farnborough Airshow, Alexander Fomin, Deputy Director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Co-operation, reported that Russia had not so far tabled any questions to China with regard to "copying" military equipment. Fomin reported that Russia handed China the licences to manufacture the aircraft and its components, including an agreement on the production of intellectual property rights. Details of intellectual property rights, however have not been disclosed, fuelling speculation about a "secret" contract or parts of the original contract. The licence, at least officially, did not include an aircraft carrier version- Sukhoi Su-33 nor any variant of it, such as the Shenyang J-15. At the MAKS 2009, Rosoboronexport's General Manager Anatoli Isaykin was quoted saying: "Russia is going to investigate the J-11B, as a Chinese copy of the Su-27 and Sukhoi Company is partaking in the process." In 2010, Rosoboronexport announced via their official website that it was in talks with the Chinese side, regarding the ongoing production of weapons that Russia considers as un-licensed. In light of the ongoing investigations, Rosoboronexport expressed its concern over future sales of advanced Russian systems and components to China.
In the future, the current AL-31 engine may be replaced by an indigenous engine known as the WS-10 Taihang turbofan. At the Zhuhai 2002 airshow, a photo was released allegedly depicting a J-11 modified for flight testing of a single WS-10A. Andrei Chang, a military specialist on China reported that one J-11A was outfitted with the indigenously produced WS-10A turbofan engine, J-11B also uses WS-10A. However, Russian media reports also indicate that China still intends to upgrade the current J-11 fleet's engines with either Saturn-Lyulka or Salyut powerplants. Engines under consideration include the Saturn AL-31-117S (a development of the Lyulka AL-31F planned for the Russo-Indian Su-30MKIs), and the Salyut AL-31F-M1, an improved variant of the AL-31F engine.
In 2002, Russian media reported that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation was looking into replacing Russian-made J-11/Su-27SK components with domestic, Chinese-made parts. Specifically, to replace the Russian-made NIIP N001 radar with a Chinese-made fire control radar based on the Type 147X/KLJ-X family, the AL-31F engine with WS-10A, and Russian R-77 AAM's with Chinese-made PL-9 and PL-12 AAM's. One J-11 was photographed with an AL-31F and a WS-10A engine installed for testing in 2002. However, it was not until 2007 when the Chinese government finally revealed information on the domestic J-11: the J-11 used to test WS-10 was designated as J-11WS, and it was when state television station CCTV-7 aired J-11B footages in mid-2007 when the existence of J-11 with domestic components was finally confirmed officially.
Serial manufacturing of the WS-10 and integration with the J-11, proved to be more difficult than expected. As a result, even though several related prototypes had been tested and at least one regiment converted to the Taihang powered J-11B version in 2007, these aircraft were later grounded for an extended period due to a poor operational reliability. A report in the Washington Times suggested that the Chinese engines lasted 30 hours before they needed servicing, compared to 400 hours for the Russian versions. Defects were traced back to the engine manufacturer, Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company employing sub-standard manufacturing and quality control procedures. Several subsequent batches temporarily reverted to the original, Russian AL-31F turbofans. The engines manufacturing problems had finally been solved by the end of 2009 and the WS-10A had reportedly proved mature enough to power the Block 02 aircraft.
In March 2011 a joint Sino-Pakistani exercise, Shaheen 1, was conducted at a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base involving a contingent of Chinese aircraft and personnel from the PLAAF. Information on which aircraft were used by each side in the exercise was not released, but photos of Pakistani pilots inspecting what appeared to be Chinese Shenyang J-11B fighters were released on the internet. The exercise lasted for around 4 weeks and was the first time the PLAAF had deployed to and conducted "operational" aerial maneuvers in Pakistan with the PAF.
On Aug. 19, 2014 a Chinese J-11B intercepted a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft that was over the South China Sea. At a press conference on August 22, 2014, Admiral John Kirby, the spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense told reporters that “On the 19th of August, an armed Chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft, patrol aircraft, that was on a routine mission. The intercept took place about 135 miles east of Hainan Island, in international airspace.” He elaborated on the incident, saying that the Chinese jet: “crossed under the aircraft with one pass having only 50-100 feet separation. The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 Poseidon, believed to be displaying its weapons load-out. Afterwards, the J-11 flew directly under and alongside the P-8, bringing their wingtips, as I said, to within 20 feet. And then conducted a roll over the P-8, passing within 45 feet.”
The Pentagon spokesman said that the U.S. had registered an official complaint with China through regular diplomatic channels. He also said that the Chinese pilot’s actions had been “unprofessional, it’s unsafe, and it is certainly not keeping with the kind of military-to-military relationship” that U.S. seeks to establish with China. Moreover, in reference to the plane's proximity to China, the Pentagon said that, “Military activities may be conducted within the Exclusive Economic Zone of another nation as an exercise of the freedoms of navigation and overflight.”
In response, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said that the relevant criticism made by the U.S. side was "totally groundless," as the Chinese pilot, with professional operation[weasel words], kept the jet within a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft. He also said it was the U.S. massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China that endangered the two sides' air and marine security, and was the root of accidents. He added that China urged the U.S. side to abide by international law and international practice, respect concerns of the coastal countries, and properly deal with the differences between the two sides on air and marine security issues.
- J-11 - The Chinese-built version of the Russian Su-27SK. The N001V radar, with TS101M processor capable of single target engagement and simultaneously tracking 10 targets during an engagement, is installed. Flight instrumentation incorporates two CRT multifunction displays (MFD) of similar size, one on top of the other with the upper MFD fitted to the right of the HUD. Unconfirmed claims made by Chinese web sources state that the additional CRT display is used in conjunction with domestic electro-optical avionics and weaponry added to J-11, which avoids having to integrate the domestic avionics and weaponry with the aircraft's Russian systems.
- J-11A - J-11A is an unofficial name for J-11s which are produced post-1995 that pilot and military enthusiasts given to it. It is a J-11 with further radar and flight instrumentation upgrade, most notably with the adoption of EFIS in its avionics. The J-11's N001V radar is replaced by the N001VE with Baguet series BCVM-486-6 processor, capable of simultaneously engaging two of eight targets tracked with R-27EA active radar homing air-to-air missiles. Those R-27EA are produced by China based on the technology purchased from Ukraine. The most noticeable difference between the J-11A and the early version of the Su-27SK are the extra Multi-functional Display built on top of the old Head Down Display, the old Head Down Display has also been replaced by a MFD. The J-11A also has a different paint scheme. It has a Chinese national flag located on the outside of the cockpit. There is also a red strip across the plane's wing in the middle. All Chinese made J-11s before 1995 have been ungraded to J-11A standard, all Su-27SK purchased from Russia were left untouched and never received this upgrade.
- J-11B - An indigenised multirole fighter using a Flanker type airframe and advanced Chinese avionics, WS-10A engine, weaponry and technologies, reduced RCS, MAWS, IRST, and composites to lighten the airframe weight by 700 kg. It has been said that the J-11B is over 90% indigenous. It has been reported that more than 2 regiments of J-11B are currently in service. In May 2007, the existence of J-11B was confirmed by the Chinese government for the first time when state-run Chinese TV stations aired a report on the J-11B in PLAAF service. It has been claimed that the J-11B is planned to incorporate an AESA radar. A new group of photographs which shows it with a grey nose, likely an active electronically scanned array radar from the Chengdu-based 607th Institute, has emerged and may be evidence that the aircraft has undergone or plans to undergo retrofit with AESA radar. The aircraft was shown to the public in September 2015.
- J-11BS - A tandem twin seat version of the J-11B under development, initially developed to serve as a combat-capable training aircraft for J-11B pilots. It is reported that the first prototype was built by the end of 2007 and it is also rumored that a prototype aircraft crashed in 2009 during a test flight. It is believed that the letter S stands for Shuangzuo, meaning twin seater in Chinese. On June 9, 2007, a model of the J-11BS was revealed to the public during the opening ceremony of the new aerospace museum of the Harbin Institute of Technology. As of 2012, the number of J-11B and J-11BS in service is over 120.
- J-11BH - Naval version of the J-11B, which was first sighted in May 2010.
- J-15 - Carrier-based version based on the airframe T-10K-3, the prototype of Sukhoi Su-33 purchased from Ukraine in 2001, with indigenous fighter features Chinese technologies as well as avionics from the J-11B program.
- J-16 - A strike variant of the J-11BS with longer range and upgraded avionics, the concept is similar to F-15E fighter/bomber. According to media reports, this fighter is based on Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK that was sold to China in 2000. First few photos of J-16 were published on Chinese internet websites around June 2012, it appears J-16 has a slightly different vertical stabilizer comparing J-11 fighter or J-15 naval fighter. It is equipped with missile pylons for Chinese PL-8 air-to-air missiles, another difference comparing earlier J-11 variants. And its dual-seat layout is certainly different from any single seat Shenyang-manufactured Su-27 variants.
- J-11D - An upgraded variant of the J-11B, featuring an AESA radar from the 14th Institute, increased use of composite materials, more radar absorbent material, two extra hardpoints, in-flight refueling probe, an upgraded WS-10 engine with FADEC, new electronic warfare systems, and a new cockpit. The J-11D uses a similar fly-by-wire system as the J-16.
- People's Liberation Army Air Force: 95 J-11A, 110+ J-11B and J-11BS (as of February 2014[update])
- People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force: 48 J-11B and J-11BS (as of February 2014[update])
- Crew: 1
- Length: 21.9 m (71 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 14.70 m (48 ft 3 in)
- Height: 5.92 m (19 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 62.04 m² (667.8 ft²)
- Empty weight: 16,380 kg (36,115 lb)
- Loaded weight: 23,926 kg (52,747 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 33,000 kg (73,000 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-31F or Woshan WS-10A "Taihang" turbofans
- Fuel capacity: 9,400 kg (20,724 lb) internally
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.35 (2,500 km/h, 1,550 mph) at altitude
- Range: 3,530 km (2,070 mi)
- Service ceiling: 19,000 m (62,523 ft)
- Rate of climb: 300 m/s (60,000 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 371.0 kg/m² (76 lb/ft²)
- Dry: 0.66
- With afterburner: 1.07
- G-limit: 9 g
- Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 cannon with 150r
- Hardpoints: 10: 2 under fuselage, 2 under air ducts, 4 under wings, 2 on wingtips and provisions to carry combinations of:
- Rockets: Unguided rocket launcher
- Bombs: Free-fall cluster bombs
- Fire-control radar: NIIP Tikhomirov N001VE Myech coherent pulse Doppler radar. J-11B to be equipped with AESA radar.
- OEPS-27 electro-optic system
- NSts-27 helmet-mounted sight (HMS)
- Gardeniya ECM pods
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2014, p.236
- International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2014, p.235
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