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Shenyang J-16

Multi-role fighter

J-16 multi-role fighter

The J-16 is an advanced version of the J-11 with an added ground attack capability

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service 2013
Crew 2
Dimensions and weight
Length 21.9 m
Wing span 14.7 m
Height 6.36 m
Weight (empty) 17.7 t
Weight (maximum take off) 35 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x WS-10B turbofans
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 2 x 96 / 145 kN
Maximum speed 2 963 km/h
Service ceiling 20 km
Range 3 000 km
Armament
Cannon 1 x 30 mm cannon (150 rounds)
Missiles PL-9, PL-10, PL-12, PL-15 air-to-air missiles, various anti-ship and anti-radiation and cruise missiles
Bombs free-fall, laser-guided and satellite-guided bombs
Other pods with unguided rockets

 

   The J-16 is a Chinese twin-engine, tandem-seat, all-weather, multi-role strike fighter. It evolved from the J-11 air superiority fighter. It is a more advanced version with an added ground attack capability. It is broadly similar in terms of capabilities to the American F-15E. Production of the J-16 began in 2012. This aircraft has been in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) since 2013. The J-16 is still being manufactured and of 2019 more than 128 J-16ís were in PLAAF service.

   The Chinese military has been looking for an offensive-defensive multi-role aircraft and had the JH-7 as its close air support aircraft. However, the JH-7 did not have radar guided air-to-air missiles, which makes it vulnerable to other fighters common in the region such as the F-16. China sought an aircraft with multi-role capabilities and in 2012 acquired from Russia a total of 76 Su-30MKK for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and 24 Su-30MK2 for the Navy.

   The J-16 is a product of Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. Its design was based on the J-11BS (a twin-seat combat capable trainer version of the J-11) and the Russian-supplied Su-30MKK. The J-16 has improved avionics and uses Chinese WS-10B engines.

   Production of the J-16 began in 2012 and in 2013 the first J-16ís were introduced in PLAAF service.

   The aircraft has an indigenously-designed and developed modern Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and new electronic countermeasures systems.

   The aerodynamic design of the J-16 stresses maneuverability rather than stealth. The jet's camouflaged colouring makes the aircraft blend into the sky and sea. This makes it more difficult to detect by naked eye.

   Although the J-20 is China's more advanced fighter jet, the PLA Air Force still needs the J-16 as the two types of fighter jets can complement each other. The J-20 can use its stealth capability to destroy hostile anti-air installations and win aerial superiority first but it cannot carry as many weapons as the J-16, because the J-20 hides its weapons in smaller weapon bays to ensure stealth capability.

   Composites are used throughout the overall construction of the aircraft to promote strength with weight-saving measures.

   The J-16 has a long range of 3 000 km and can be refuelled in the air.

   This aircraft is armed with a built-in 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds of ammunition. It has 12 underwing hardpoints and can carry up to 8 000 kg of ordnance including air-to-air missiles (8 x PL-12 medium-range and 4 x PL-9 short-range), anti-ship and anti-radiation missiles, cruise missiles, free-fall, satellite-guided and laser-guided bombs and rockets.

   In 2018 a J-16 was seen armed with the newer PL-10 short-range and PL-15 long-range air to air missiles. The PL-15 is an active radar-guided long air-to-air missile with a range of over 150 km and a speed of Mach 4 (4 939 km/h).

   Most types of Chinese air-to-surface weapons currently in service with the PLAAF can be installed on the J-16.

 

Variants

 

   The J-16D is a electronic warfare aircraft variant noted by its wingtip equipment pods and other equipment add-ons. This version has a shorter radome and also lacks the internal 30 mm gun and IRST. The J-16D completed its maiden flight on 18 December 2015. It is broadly similar to the American EA-18G Growler.

 

Hendrik Blom

   Article by HENDRIK BLOM

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J-16 multi-role fighter

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J-16 multi-role fighter

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J-16 multi-role fighter

Expand image

J-16 multi-role fighter

Expand image

J-16 multi-role fighter

Expand image

J-16 multi-role fighter

Expand image

J-16 multi-role fighter

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