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Shenyang J-8

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The Shenyang J-8 (Chinese: 歼-8; NATO reporting name: Finback) is a high-speed, high-altitude Chinese-built single-seat interceptor fighter aircraft.


J-8 (Finback-A Series)[edit]

  • J-8: First flew on July 5th, 1969. Initial day fighter variant, resembles an enlarged MiG-21. Equipped with 2 x WP-7A turbojet engines, SR-4 ranging radar 2 x Type 30-I 30mm cannon (200 rounds each), and 2 x PL-2 IR-guided AAMs. Limited production.
  • J-8I: First flew on April 24th, 1981. Improved all-weather version with SL-7A fire-control radar (40 km range), twin-barrel Type 23-III 23 mm cannon, & up to 4 AAMs (or rockets/bombs). Limited production.
  • J-8E: Mid-life upgrade for J-8I.
  • JZ-8 (J-8R): Reconnaissance version of J-8 or J-8I.
  • J-8ACT: First flew on June 24th, 1990, fly-by-wire testbed aircraft.

J-II (Finback-B Series)[edit]

  • J-8II: First flown on June 12th, 1984, the improved J-8I prototype with redesigned nose/front section and fuselage. replacing the nose air inlet with a solid nose and lateral air intakes, similar to those of the MiG-23. China received several MiG-23s in the late 1970s from Egypt and the hinged ventral fin and lateral intakes indicate probable reverse engineering from the MiG-23. Equipped with Type 208 (SL-4A) monopulse radar (40 km range).
  • J-8IIB: First flew in November 1989, improved J-8II with SL-8A (Type 208?) PD radar (70 km range). Powered by 2 x WP-13AII turbojet engines. Armed with twin-barrel 23mm Type 23-III cannon (copy of GSh-23L) and up to 4 PL-5 or PL-8 AAMs (or rockets/bombs). No BVR capability.
  • Peace Pearl J-8 (J-8II): During the Sino-US cooperation era, up to 50 J-8IIs were to be delivered to the US for upgrades and installation of AN/APG-66(v) radar and fire control system for US$500 million, under the Peace Pearl program. However, the project was cancelled and only about 24 J-8II were produced. USAF Air Force Flight Test Center(6510 Squadron)took the task of test flight of modified J-8II.
  • J-8IIACT (J-8II-BW2): First flew in 1988, fly-by-wire testbed and technology demonstrator.
  • J-8IID (J-8D): First flew on November 21st 1990, modified J-8B with fixed refueling probe and updated avionics such as TACAN navigation system.
  • F-8IIM: Unveiled in Zhuhai Air Show 1996, export version of J-8B with Russian Phazotron Zhuk-8II PD radar (75 km range, and able to track up to ten airborne targets and attack two of them simultaneously), R-27R1 (AA-10) AAM and Kh-31P anti-radiation missile. The F-8IIM was to be powered by two, more powerful WP-13B turbojet engines. This aircraft is often mistakenly referred to as the "J-8IIM" with Kh-31A anti-ship missile (ASM) capability, but its radar lacked sea search mode for anti-shipping role. The F-8IIM failed to attract any export customers and no domestic orders. Conversion from older airframe was reportedly much fewer than the 100 units of Zhuk-8II radar delivered, and the conversion might have only been an experimental program with none entering service. The F-8IIM fighter will probably be equipped with Russia's or China's helmet sight and advanced PL-9 and P-73 missiles. Phazotron, a Russian firm, has signed contracts with China to provide 150–200 improved Zhuk radars mainly in support of China's new F-8II fighter, but also to equip the new Chengdu J-10 fighter. These radars have six times the data and signal processing power of the basic variant and greater detection range than the current 80KM. They can track while scanning on 24 targets, display up to 8 of them, and simultaneously provide fire-control solutions for 2–4 of them.
  • J-8III (J-8C): Upgraded J-8II with FBW system and 2 x WP-14 powerplants. Compared to the J-8II, the J-8C had a number of improvements including a new multi-mode pulse Doppler radar which was reportedly based on the Israeli Elta EL/M-2035 radar technology. The aircraft was also equipped with a digital fire-control system and a new ‘glass’ cockpit with multifunctional displays (MFD). The J-8C program entered full scale development around 1991 and the aircraft first flew successfully on December 12th, 1993. Development halted in favor of other version described below, but was used to test new radars such as Type 1471 (KLJ-1) and other avionics associated with FBW system. From this version on, electronic warfare pods such as BM/KG300G and KZ900, as well as navigational/targeting pods including Blue Sky navigation pod and FILAT become operational on J-8II.Canceled after 2nd testbed had crashed.
  • J-8IIF: It is reported that during 2006–2008, J-8II production suffered major setback due to engine problem.
  • J-8IIG: Modified J-8II with tail hook and other improvements for developmental work on ship-borne aircraft for carrier operations, such as in April 1987, evaluating & testing the Chinese reverse-engineered steam catapult from that of HMAS Melbourne, which was finally confirmed 27 years later in April 2014 by CCTV-13. Both the take-off and landing were conducted on land with the reverse engineered steam catapult installed on the beach, and the test pilot was PLANAF pilot Li Guoqiang (李国强). Experience gained was applied to Shenyang J-15.
  • J-8G: An advanced modified variant of the J-8II tasked with the suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) mission was said to have been developed by the SAC in the 2000s. The aircraft, reportedly designated J-8G, was said to be capable of carrying two indigenous YJ-91 anti-radiation missile and electronic warfare suite to attack enemy radar stations.
  • J-8IIM (2006): At Zhuhai Air Show 2006, a new variant "J-8IIM" was put on display with upgraded systems similar to the J-8H. The most significant improvement is the radar upgrade with a new Type 1471 domestic radar used by the J-8H. In comparison to F-8IIM's Russian Zhuk-8II radar, the Type 1471 radar has a number of performance enhancements:
    • Type 1471 radar has 75 km maximum range for targets with 3 square meters RCS, in comparison to Zhuk-8II's 70 km maximum range against target of 5 square meters RCS.
    • Additional ability to handle sea-borne targets that Zhuk-8II does not have. For sea targets with 50 square metres RCS, the max range is greater than 100/80 km for sea state 1/2.
    • Simultaneously tracking 10 targets and display 8 most threatening ones out of the 10 on displays, engaging 2 out the 8.
    • Air-to-Air modes: VS (Velocity Search), RWS (Recon./Search while Scan), TWS (Track While Scan), STT (Single Target Tracking), Air Combat Mode (ACM). AMTI, (aerial moving target indication) mode which is used to discover hovering helicopters can be added upon customer request, though this does not come as standard feature.
    • Air-to-Ground modes: Mapping (Real Beam Mapping RBM), Mapping Expansion/Freezing (EXP/FRZ), Doppler Beam Sharpening (DBS), Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI), Sea Single Target Tracking (SSTT), Air-to-Ground Ranging (AGR).
    • An improved beacon navigation (BCN) and weather (WX) capability.
  • JZ-8F: A reconnaissance version of the J-8F with internal camera in the forward fuselage replacing the cannon.
  • J-8T: Upgraded J-8 with JL-10A X-band radar. Export variant, F-8T, has WP-13B-II engines. China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation claims J-8T is equipped with improved integrate avionic and various guided weapons. J-8T can carry out air-to-air BVR intercepting mission, air-to-ground precise attacking mission and stand-off attacking mission.
  • J-8DF: J-8D upgraded to J-8F standard. Lack of cooling duct below intake. Can fire PL-12 and PL-8 missiles.


See Also[edit]

Related Development[edit]

Comparable Aircraft[edit]

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