Although originally based on the design of the Su-30MK2, the Chinese J-16 multirole fighter showed that it possessed tactical features and quality beyond the original.

The Shenyang J-16 multi-role fighter is designed by China based on the J-11BS platform with some modifications to the Su-30MK standard. This multi-role fighter is predicted to become the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in the future with production no less than a few hundred.

Although considered a clone of the Su-30MK2 when there are many similarities from the shape to the tactical specifications (almost the only difference in the pair of beveled tail), PLAAF confidently asserts that , its multi-role fighter possesses many superior features over the original.

For china, in the near future, it is not J-11 fighters or J-20 stealth fighters, but the Shenyang J-16 will be the backbone of the Chinese Air Force and Navy

According to Chinese engineers, the Shenyang J-16 is equipped with the latest active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with the latest antenna containing 2,000 transceivers, maximum capacity of up to 6 kW and average capacity of 2 kW.

Meanwhile, the Su-30MK2 still uses radar with the old-generation passive electronically scanned array (PESA) N001VEP, the maximum and average power are only 4 kW and 1 kW, respectively.

The above advantages give Shenyang J-16 a much greater range of detection of the enemy, so that appropriate countermeasures can be taken. Even with this parameter, the J-16 overpowered the Su-30MKI of India and was not inferior to the Russian Su-35S.

Besides, communication equipment and electronic computers equipped with Shenyang J-16 are also considered to be more reliable and have better processing speed than those installed on the Su-30MK2.

J-16 is a two-seat, multi-role fighter jet manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation.
Shenyang J-16 is a two-seat, multi-role fighter jet manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation.

Although there are comments about the quality of Chinese-made fighters, there are many problems, especially the domestic WS-10 engine and airframe durability that do not meet all technical requirements. But it should be noted that they have continuously improved over the years, the achievement is not small.

Recently, Chinese engineers announced that the domestic airframe durability of this aircraft has reached 4,000 flight hours. Although there is still a gap with Western aircraft, it has surpassed Su-30MK2’s 3,000 flight hours. The WS-10 engine has also reached over 1,000 service hours.

In appearance, it is difficult to distinguish between Su-30MKK and J-16.

Even in terms of operational history, Shenyang J-16 has not recorded any accidents even though it has been in service for nearly 8 years (launched in 2012). Meanwhile, from 2012 until now, Su-30MK2 has encountered 3 accidents including one crashed just after leaving the assembly line of Komsomolsk-on-Amur to test flight.

In addition, in 2013, Indonesia discovered that two of its Su-30MK2 had cracked frames, though they had only received more than 4 months. Surely not only the two Su-30MK2 above encountered this error, but at least that production batch.

The wing-body arrangement provides the strength needed to carry heavy loads, along with the twin-engine configuration that provides the necessary power and survivability needed for a high-performance fighter.
The wing-body arrangement provides the strength needed to carry heavy loads, along with the twin-engine configuration that provides the necessary power and survivability needed for a high-performance fighter.

Thus, in terms of both theoretical and practical parameters, the Shenyang J-16 proved superior to the Su-30MK2. If China plans to export this multi-role fighter in the future, the market share of Russian fighters is expected to be seriously threatened.

The twin-engines are aspirated through two rectangular intakes under the fuselage near the wingroots, this is an identification feature of all Sukhoi aircraft.

The overall dimensions of the J-16 include a length of 21.9m, a wingspan of 14.7m and a height of 6.36m. The empty weight is 17.7 tons while the maximum take-off weight of 35 tons. It is equipped with two Shenyang WS-10B afterburning turbofans engines that provide 96 kiloNewton dry thrust each and 145 kiloNewton with afterburner. The WS-10B is currently China’s most advanced jet engine, with this engine, J-16 can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.4, the operating range of 3,000km, the service ceiling is 20,000m while the rate of climb reaches 325 meters per second.

In the design of J-16, composite materials are widely used to increase durability and reduce weight.
In the design of J-16, composite materials are widely used to increase durability and reduce weight.

Although not designed for stealth, the J-16 is believed to have a certain degree of stealth due to its special coating. According to a Chinese official, the gray paint coating around the body of the J-16 fighter jet made it invisible to the naked eye or radar. However, Western analysts are skeptical about the stealth capabilities of the J-16, arguing that this is only an exaggerated statement about the feature of the new paint on this fighter, making it only considered a “near stealth” fighter.

What makes China proud of J-16 is that it has been equipped with the latest generation active electronically scanned array radar, which helps to occupy a significant advantage over fighters still using passive electronically scanned array radar such as Su-35S or Su-30MKI. With AESA, J-16 is capable of tracking multiple targets simultaneously at longer distances with high accuracy.

The J-16 was introduced from 2012 to 2013 but the People's Liberation Army Air Force did not provide further information about the fighter until 2017
The J-16 was introduced from 2012 to 2013 but the People’s Liberation Army Air Force did not provide further information about the fighter until 2017

Most impressive is the weapon configuration that the J-16 can carry. Based on the revealed images, the J-16 is equipped with two latest Chinese air-to-air missiles, the PL-10 and the PL-15, both of which are also equipped on the J-20. This is the most important point, marking that J-16 is China’s most powerful multi-role combat capability aircraft, second only to the J-20. The J-16 can also be equipped with a range of air-to-surface missiles of the YJ missile system, and various types of laser-guided missiles and satellite guided bombs. China’s Northern Industry Company has also launched the J-16’s takeoff support system to make it work on aircraft carriers, thereby increasing its threat.

For china, in the near future, it is not J-11 fighters or J-20 stealth fighters, but the J-16 will be the backbone of the Chinese Air Force and Navy.
For china, in the near future, it is not J-11 fighters or J-20 stealth fighters, but the J-16 will be the backbone of the Chinese Air Force and Navy.

Compared to the Russian Su-35, the J-16 has long-range maneuverability and carrying capacity similar to the Su-35, so it can be said that the J-16 is the Chinese Su-35 version. Chinese media has mentioned that a J-16D version is being developed, which is described as having the same fighting power as EA-18G Growler – the world’s most powerful electronic suppression fighter currently in use by the US Air Force. The cost of building the J-20 stealth aircraft is too expensive, difficult to meet the needs of large payroll and comprehensive modernization of the Chinese air force. The J-16 is believed to be a key to filling the gap between the country’s fourth and fifth generation fighters.

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