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Images show PLANAF J-15s armed with KD-88 and YJ-91 missiles

Images have emerged in Chinese state-owned media showing at least two People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) J-15 fighters equipped with what appear to be the KD-88 air-to-surface missile and either the YJ-91 anti-radiation or YJ-91A anti-ship-missile: an indication that China has enhanced the multirole capabilities of this carrier-borne fighter.

CCTV broadcast images in early November showing at least two PLANAF J-15 carrier-borne fighters at Huangdicun Airbase armed with what appear to be the KD-88 (fitted onto the aircraft in foreground) and YJ-91 missiles (fitted onto the aircraft to the right).

The images, which were broadcast in early November by China Central Television (CCTV), show the J-15s on the ground at the PLANAF’s Huangdicun Airbase, although it is unclear when the images were taken.

Since the J-15s shown in the image feature three-digit serial numbers – unlike the latest ones displayed during the 1 October parade in Beijing that feature two-digit serials – it is possible that the video was taken some time ago, meaning that the fighters may have been fitted with this armament several months ago.

The J-15, which has an estimated maximum weapon load of 6,500 kg, had been previously spotted fitted with the YJ-83K anti-ship missile but the CCTV report marks the first time images of the fighter armed with the KD-88 and the YJ-91 missiles have been released.

Developed from the J-11B by the No 601 Research Institute and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) the J-15, which also incorporates features of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter, is the PLAN’s first dedicated carrier-borne fighter. The aircraft, which is believed to use an indigenous multimode fire-control radar based on the Type 1493 pulse-Doppler radar fitted on the J-11B/BS fighters, is powered by two AL-31F engines. The first serial aircraft were handed over to PLAN Carrier Fighter Group in late 2013.

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