skip to main content

Shenyang produces first catapult-capable J-15

China's Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) – a subsidiary of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) – has completed the production of its first catapult-capable variant of the J-15 carrier-borne multirole fighter aircraft, according to images released by AVIC.

The aircraft has likely been produced for the People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN's) third aircraft carrier, which is thought to feature an electromagnetic catapult system.

The images, which were published on AVIC's Weixin social media account on 14 December, show an unnumbered J-15 in People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) markings being pulled by an aircraft tug.

While the front-landing gear is obscured, the images show that the aircraft features launch rails and a radome that are different in shape to regular-production J-15s. Reports have suggested that the carrier-borne J-15 is equipped with a new active electronically scanned array radar, similar to the system integrated onto the SAC J-16.

In addition, the images show that the aircraft has wingtip pylons that are similar in appearance to those on the latest J-16 that can integrate the PL-10 air-to-air missile. Regular-production J-15s, and SAC J-11B/BS fighters, feature deeper pylons for the PL-8 air-to-air missile.

The new J-15 variant is expected to be modified for catapult operations, featuring a new nosewheel leg fitted with a catapult towbar and a more robust bracing strut. It is also thought to feature a new electronic warfare system comparable with the J-16 fighter aircraft.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...