Comparing China’s new J-15 with the F/A-18E/F as the ideal carrier aircraft

Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (a.k.a. “the Chinese Navy”) recently commented that the Shenyang J-15 is better than the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in terms of air-to-air combat, but slightly inferior with regard to engaging surface targets.

In terms of its performance compared to other carrier-based aircraft in service around the world, Yin Zhuo said that the J-15 capabilities are high. For instance, it reaches a similar level to the U.S. F/A-18C/D “Super Hornet”. While overall it is slightly inferior to the F/A-18E/F, it has better performance in air combat. Its ability to attack land and sea-based targets is lower than the F/A-18E/F, but it is at least equal to, and perhaps slightly better than, India’s Mig-29K.

Aviation analyst Andrei Pinkov gave a comparative analysis of the J-15 and the F/A-18:

“The orientation of F/A-18E/F is a fighter attacker, so that its maneuvering is not so good as the J-15, which derives from an air control fighter. This means that the J-15 is more likely to shoot down F/A-18E/F in close combat,” says Pinkov. “However, the ‘Super Hornet’ is able to take off with the assistance of catapult, so that its real payload is likely to exceed that of J-15, which takes off by means of ski-jump. Thus the U.S. fighter has advantages in terms of attack and combat radius.”

During 2013, the J-15 has made a series of test flights from China’s new aircraft carrier the ‘Liaoning’ as both the aircraft and carrier work-up to operational status. RAdm Yin Zhuo refused to confirm that the J-15 was already in mass production, but commented that online speculation is logical based on the facts that J-15 is already in service, and its technology is mature enough for mass production.

Yin Zhuo said that the full service life of the J-15 would be about 25 to 30 years. The fact that the J-15 and its variants are now regularly seen in flight, and taking off and landing on aircraft carriers, indicates that it will not be subject to any further major modifications. Once mass production is under way the aircraft design will be fixed other than in terms of possible changes to radar and electronic communication systems, or modernization of the engine after 10 to 15 years of service. However, the profile, basic finish, and performance standards of the aircraft have been established.

J-15 tied down on flight deck.


China’s Shenyang J-15 painted in “sea gray” with PLANAF insignia

Courtesy of the Communist Party newspaper China Peoples Daily, a photograph of the production model of the Shenyang J-15 painted in “sea gray” with PLANAF insignia. The J-15 will be based on the PLAN aircraft carrier Liaoning.

尹卓:歼-15舰载机换海军涂装说明已服役 可进行量产


人民网北京9月4日电 (记者 黄子娟)近日,很多眼尖的军迷发现,在央视新闻报道画面中,显示歼-15涂着海灰色涂装,座舱后侧下方还喷绘着一面解放军海军旗。坊间纷纷猜测,或许这正是已经下线的歼-15量产型。军事专家尹卓在接受央视采访时表示,歼15着海军涂装表明已经服役,其技术成熟可以进行量产。







China will build aircraft carriers, increase naval strength

China likely has 2 design concepts from Navantia, stemming from 1990s negotiations and exchange of payments with Empresa Nacional Bazan, which would allow for construction of carriers similar to the Spanish Príncipe de Asturias-class. Between 2007-09, China acquired 4 additional design plans from Russian yards which may augur a nuclear-powered carrier, similar to the US Nimitz or Ford classes, which would mirror current Russian Navy requirements.

China to have more aircraft carriers: ministry spokesman

BEIJING, Aug. 29 — The Liaoning is the Chinese military’s first aircraft carrier, but there will surely be more in future, a Ministry of National Defence spokesman said on Thursday.

China will comprehensively consider the development of aircraft carriers in accordance with the needs of national defense and military building, spokesman Yang Yujun said.

Yang made the comment at a news briefing when asked to confirm media reports that China is producing its first domestically made aircraft carrier.

Currently, China operates one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was refitted based on an unfinished Russian-made carrier and delivered to the Chinese Navy on Sept. 25, 2012.

The carrier’s original design allows it to carry about 30 fixed-wing aircraft.

The Liaoning has conducted successful take-off and landing tests of its carrier-borne J-15 fighters, the main strike force of China’s carrier group.

Chinese Navy begins exercise in Western Pacific

China continues to flex its muscles and irritate its neighbours. This is unlikely to make Japan and South Korea do their happy dance. The key phrase here is “open sea training” and the United States Navy should take clear notice that this indicates the Chinese are going to range far-and-wide throughout the Pacific.

Chinese warships sail to West Pacific for open-sea training

BEIJING, July 16 (ChinaMil) –Upon the end of the China-Russia maritime joint exercise codenamed “Maritime Joint Exercise 2013”, according to schedule, two warships of the Chinese naval taskforce set out on a return voyage to the fleet they belonged to, while the other five warships sailed through the La Pérouse Strait and the Sea of Ochotsk on July 14. The five warships will carry out open-sea training in the waters of the West Pacific during the homeward voyage.

The naval taskforce will conduct drills on such subjects as air-defense, anti-ship operations, attack-and-defense confrontation and so on, so as to explore the methods for carrying out normalized open-sea training and improve troop units’ capability for conducting actual-combat operations. Five warships of the North China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), namely, the guided missile destroyers “Shenyang“, “Shijiazhuang“, the guided missile frigates “Yancheng” and “Yantai“, and the comprehensive supply ship “Hongze Lake“, will participate in the regular training of 2013.

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency said that Japan is vigilant against the expanded range of activities of the PLAN. The NHK also pointed out that this is the first time for Chinese warships to sail through the La Pérouse Strait, and the Japan’s Ministry of Defense is analyzing China’s intentions.

In fact, however, it is very normal for the PLAN to make a return voyage through the La Pérouse Strait after the China-Russia joint exercise nearby the Vladivostok Base of the Pacific Fleet Headquarters of the Russian Navy to the north of the Sea of Japan.

Senior Captain Zhang Junshe expressed that the La Pérouse Strait is an international waterway between Russia’s Sakhalin Island and Japan’s Hokkaido Island, one of the exits from the Sea of Japan to the northernmost tip of the Pacific Ocean, and also a passageway for the Russian Pacific Fleet to and from the Pacific Ocean, and warships and aircraft of any country can sail freely through the strait.

In a press interview, Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo also pointed out that the China-Russia maritime joint exercise codenamed “Maritime Joint Exercise 2013” is PLAN’s first exercise in the Sea of Japan. It is a great training opportunity and also an important step towards understanding the Pacific Ocean for the PLAN to sail through the La Pérouse Strait and the Sea of Ochotsk to familiarize itself with the sea area, and enter the Pacific Ocean to carry out open-sea training.

First Chinese naval aviators receive carrier certification

Two great leaps forward for the Chinese Navy as (1) the first Chinese Shenyang J-15 pilots receive carrier certification and (2) the first Chinese aircraft carrier moves closer to operational deployment.

China’s carrier-borne jet pilots receive certification

J-15, China’s first-generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet (People’s Daily/Li Tang)

BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) — China’s first group of five pilots and landing signal officers received their certifications in the latest sea trials of the Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier.The Liaoning finished its 25-day test and training mission on Wednesday and returned to a navy port in the east China city of Qingdao. During the training, pilots executed several continuous take-off and landing exercises, making China one of the few countries in the world that can train its own carrier-borne jet pilots.

Using the J-15, China’s first-generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet, pilots finished China’s first training mission stationed aboard the carrier as well as the first 105-meter short-distance ski-jump takeoff exercises, an important breakthrough in the sea trials.

Pilots and landing signal officers were tested on a range of skills. They passed the certification process following expert reviews and a flight data assessment.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy also performed exercises related to the carrier’s operations, system guarantees and logistics. Based on the smooth operation of staff, jet fighters and the carrier, as well as the sound cooperation between fighters and the carrier, the Liaoning is now considered capable of carrying carrier-borne jet fighters.

Zhang Yongyi, deputy commander of the PLA Navy and commander-in-chief of the aircraft carrier tests and sea trials, said these results show that China has fully mastered the skills needed for taking off from, and landing on, the aircraft carrier and that it has successfully established a training system for carrier-borne jet pilots.