Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark
The Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark (Chinese: 歼-15 飞鲨, Feisha) 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 Russian-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 sometime 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.
The J-15 is equipped with composite and radar absorbent materials to reduce its weight and radar signature, upgraded WS-10 engines on early prototypes, a new glass cockpit, MAW sensors, an IRST, and an active electronically scanned array radar on later variants.
On November 25th 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). PLA Daily newspaper indicated 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.
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 Sea 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.
Variants[edit | edit source]
- J-15: Carrier based fighter incorporating structural elements from the Sukhoi T-10K-3 prototype purchased from Ukraine in 2001 and avionics from the Shenyang J-11B.
- J-15S: Twin-seat combat-capable trainer.
- J-15T: CATOBAR operation prototypes, first seen in September 2016. Two were built.
- J-15D: Electronic warfare version of the J-15S.
- J-15B: Upgraded CATOBAR-capable variant, with modified landing gear for catapult-assisted take-offs, upgraded avionics with an AESA radar, and additional improvements, which made its maiden flight in July 2016.