Shenyang J-15

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Role Carrier-based Multirole fighter
National origin People's Republic of China
Manufacturer Shenyang Aircraft Corporation
First flight August 31, 2009[1]
Introduction 2013
Status In production, in active service
Primary user People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force
Number built 21
Developed from Shenyang J-11B

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,[2] was acquired from Ukraine in 2001 and is said to have been studied extensively, with development on the J-15 beginning immediately afterward.[1][2][3][4] 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.[5]

Design and development[edit]

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."[1] China has actively sought to purchase Su-33s from Russia on numerous occasions—an unsuccessful offer was made as late as March 2009[6]—but negotiations collapsed in 2006 after it was discovered that China had developed a modified version[7][8][9] of the Sukhoi Su-27SK designated the Shenyang J-11B,[10][11][12] in violation of intellectual property agreements.[1]

J-15 program was officially started in 2006,[13] and the first J-15 prototype made its maiden flight on August 31, 2009, believed to be powered by Russian-supplied AL-31 turbofan engines.[5] Video and still images of the flight were released in July 2010, showing the same basic airframe design as the Su-33.[14] 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.[15] On May 6, 2010, the aircraft conducted its first takeoff from a simulated ski-jump.[5]

The J-15 is reported to use different avionics and systems than the Su-33, and uses Chinese-developed technologies, and features various upgrades such as AESA radar, composite and radar absorbent material, MAWS, improved IRST, and new electronics.[16] 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.[17][18] 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.[19] 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".[20]

A twin-seat variant made its maiden flight on November 4, 2012. The general designer of J-15 is Mr. Sun Cong (孙聪).[21] The deputy general designer of J-15 is Mr. Wang Yongqing (王永庆).[13]

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 carry only carry two tons of weapons while fully fueled, limiting it to no more than two YJ-83Ks and two PL-8s.[22]

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.[23] He also indicated the lack of mature domestically produced engines as a current weak spot.[24] 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.[25]

Operational history[edit]

On 25 November 2012, Chinese media announced that two J-15s had made successful arrested landings on the aircraft carrier Liaoning.[26][27][28] The first pilot to land on the Liaoning was named as Dai Mingmeng (戴明盟).[29] 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.[30]

In December 2013 Chinese media reported that mass production of J-15s in full operational condition with combat markings had begun.[31]


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1-2
  • Length: 21.9 m (72 ft)
  • Wingspan: 14.7 m (48.25 ft)
  • Height: 5.9 m (19.5 ft)
  • Wing area: 62.04 m2 (667.80 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 17500 kg (38600 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 27000 kg (60000 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 33000 kg (72752 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × WS-10A[32] afterburning turbofans[32]
    • Dry thrust: 89.17 kN (20,050 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 135 kN[32] (33,000 lbf[32]) each
  • Wingspan, wings folded: 7.4 m (24.25 ft)



  • 1 × 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds
  • Munitions on twelve external hardpoints, including:

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c d Chapligina, Maria (4 June 2010). "Russia downplays Chinese J-15 fighter capabilities". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Chinese Aircraft - J-11 (Su-27 FLANKER)". Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  3. ^ Revealing Shenyang J-XX Stealth Fighter of China - What's On Xiamen
  4. ^ 俄方称中国自研先进战机不顺 仍将回头购俄战机_军事_凤凰网
  5. ^ a b c Fulghum, David A. "New Chinese Ship-Based Fighter Progresses". Article. Aviation Week. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Chang, Andrei (March 4, 2009). "China can't buy Sukhoi fighter jets". United Press International. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  7. ^ China imitates Russian Su-27SK fighter -
  8. ^ The Development of China's Air Force Capabilities | RAND
  9. ^ Defence Security Report
  10. ^ Chinese version of Russian jet endangers bilateral relations
  11. ^ Wendell Minnick. "Russia Admits China Illegally Copied Its Fighter". DefenceNews. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  12. ^ SIPRI Yearbook 2009:Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  13. ^ a b "J-15 program & deputy general designer". Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ "First glimpse of Chinese fighter, or Russian rip-off?". The DEW Line. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "J15 carrier based fighter, FWS-10 turbofan engine". Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "Chinese Military Aviation". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ China SignPost™ (洞察中国) #38: “Flying Shark” Gaining Altitude: How might new J-15 strike fighter improve China’s maritime air warfare ability?
  19. ^ Collins & Erickson, Gabe & Andrew (June 23, 2011). "China’s J-15 No Game Changer". The Diplomat. 
  20. ^ Jian, Yang. "J-15 jets on deck as carrier sets off on longest sea trials." Shanghai Daily, 12 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Test Flights of J-15S Flying Shark Tandem Seat Carrier-Borne Fighter". Chinese Military Review. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  22. ^ Chinese Media Takes Aim at J-15 Fighter -, 28 September 2013
  23. ^ 李京荣. "J-15 fighter able to attack over 1,000 km". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  24. ^ "J-31 may become China's next generation carrier-borne fighter jet - Global Times". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  25. ^ F_161. "J-15 better than U.S. F/A-18 in terms of air action, slightly inferior in terms of attack against sea targets - People's Daily Online". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  26. ^ "J-15 successfully landed on China's carrier Liaoning". Xinhua English (Beijing). 25 November 2012. 
  27. ^ "More photos of the two J-15's landing and taking off on Liaoning". 新华网 (北京). 25 November 2012. 
  28. ^ "Jets land on China's 1st aircraft carrier". China Daily. 26 November 2012. 
  29. ^ "戴明盟:着舰成功首飞第一人". 钱江晚报 (杭州). 24 November 2012. 
  30. ^ "First five Chinese naval pilot conducted J-15 fighter landing and taking off on board Aircraft Carrier Liaoning". beijing. 26 November 2012. 
  31. ^ Kang, Charles; Wu, Lilian (3 December 2013). "China begins mass production of fighters for aircraft carrier". The Central News Agency. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f "J-15 Flying Shark » Aircraft - Versus - Compare". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "China's new fighter jet has 3,000 km range". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 

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