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J-16 Red Eagle (Jianjiji-16 Fighter aircraft 16) / F-16

The J-16 is a third-plus generation fighter jet domestically manufactured by China. Although it uses the classic Russian Su-27 aerodynamic design, everything inside is Chinese, including the WS-10 Taihang engines, an active array radar system and a new generation infrared observation and aiming system. The J-16 is a twin-engine, twin-seat multi-role fighter jet that is also capable of air-to-air combat. It made its debut during the Army Day parade on July 30, 2017 at the Zhurihe military training base in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,

Before the 30 July 2017 parade, the J-16 was never shown to the public. Developed by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, it is based on the J-11B, a modification of Russia’s Sukhoi-30MKK. Almost half of the equipment seen at the parade to mark the PLA’s 90th birthday was being displayed for the first time, and all of it was indigenously made, according to the Ministry of Defence. The fighter is designed for a naval role, and will carry “stand-off” missiles that can attack ships from beyond visual range. Contracry to initial reports, it has a conventional layout, and does nto incorporate notable stealth features.

The J-16, built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), is reportedly a stealthy dedicated attack version of the J-11B (Su-27) multirole fighter featuring active electronically scanned array [AESA] radar and an internal weapons bay. Chinese authorities had not formally released informtion on these developments. It was rumored in November 2010 that SAC was developing a 4.5th generation heavy multi-role fighter with a conventional layout based on J-11B. First flight of this reportedly "Silent Flanker" was rumored at that time to be within 2011.

According to Hui Tong, the J-16 is a version of the J-11BS comparable to American F-15E. Sort of a 'strike flanker'. "The aircraft can be viewed as an upgraded version of Su-30MKK based on its mission and capability, which is comparable to American F-15E. First flight was rumored to be between 2011-2012. J-16 has tandem seats with a WSO sitting in the backseat. It features an enhanced fire-control system with additional AG modes. Besides PL-8 and PL-12 AAMs, it could also carry the same precision guided weapons being carried by JH-7A, such as KD-88 ASM and LS-500J LGB. Compared to JH-7A, J-16 is expected to have a more powerful radar, a greater weapon load (8t) and a longer range (4,000km). "

In May 2011 China Military Report stated that "China's new 4.5 generation heavy fighter (Chinese name "Red Eagle"). August 2008 had been officially off the assembly line in Shenyang Aircraft Factory, in October 2008 in Beijing, an Air Force base in the outskirts of the first flight, October 12, 2009 conducted a second test, a complete success. J-18 is the 4.5 generation fighter aircraft are air superiority fighter heavy. Forward-swept wing fighter design using ultra-stealth characteristics, and install a laser active phased array radar, built-in weapons bay and two large thrust-vectoring engines. Service time is expected around 2015. So far there is no any official information about the machine, nor any information to prove the real existence of the aircraft. Only some information from some people speculate, and speculation of official news."

In fact, the J-16 fighter's first flight had been pushed and pushed again. The main reason is that the weight of the design is overweight, but the greater headache was the funding constraints.

Another analysis from 2011 characterized the J-16 as a "medium-sized fourth-generation supersonic vertical short takeoff and landing fighter" developed by the 611 Research and Development Institute. "Allegedly, this project is an important step in China's independent innovation design, development and manufacture of advanced fighters, technically surpassing the Russian Su-47, and even eventually catching up with the United States."

Photos, showing the Shenyang J-16 fighter jet of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), carrying a huge missile under its wing, at an unknown location were published online on 22 November 2016. According to initial analysis, the length of the missile is almost six meters. According to the Combat Aircraft military magazine, the missile in the photos, apparently, is a new Chinese air-launched missile.

The magazine has three main versions about the missile. The magazine presumed that the photos could show an “anti-satellite weapon, equivalent to the ASAT that was tested from the US Air Force F-15A Eagle in the early 1980s.” As the author of the article noted, anti-satellite weapons have been actively being tested by China for some years now, however, “these have not as yet been intended for launch by fighters.” Another assumption is that the “new missile is not an AAM at all, but an anti-radar missile” – a fully indigenous follow-on to the YJ-91, a Chinese version of the Soviet Kh-31.

Or, it could be “an ultra-long-range weapon intended to defeat high-value assets such as E-3 AWACS surveillance aircraft or RC-135 intelligence-gatherers.” However, Combat Aircraft also noted that if it is such a kind of missile, “it is somewhat surprising” to see that the J-16, which had “a primary air-to-ground role,” carrying it. A very long range air to air missile (VLRAAM) with ranges exceeding 300 km (roughly 185 miles), likely maxing out between 250 and 300 miles. In comparison, the smaller 13.8-foot, 15-inch-diameter Russian R-37 missile has a 249-mile range. Such a missile could outrange any American (or other NATO) air-to-air missile. Additionally, the VLRAAM’s powerful rocket engine might push it to Mach 6 speeds, which would increase the no escape zone (NEZ), that is the area where a target cannot outrun the missile, against even supersonic fighters.

The official media has not reported much from the test flight to the formal service of the J-16, and then to the subsequent delivery of the air force to the air force. The official media has not reported much. The news that the majority of military fans get is only from online hearsay, or from some fuzzy photos of the "wall climbing party" . Everyone is not even sure about the number of J-16s. Some people start to calculate according to the 90th anniversary celebration and believe that the number of equipment now does not exceed 40; some people know from overseas media reports that by 2019 there were more than 100 equipped. It can be known from the CCTV report that the number of J-16 equipment will certainly not be "96". After all, the specific equipment number is still classified, but it must be more than 96. At least 12-24 aircraft were added.

China's multi-role fighter J-16 is confirmed to be able to carry all types of air-to-surface weapons in precision strikes, China's State broadcaster revealed on 30 January 2019. An aviation brigade under the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted day and night mock battle exercises with J-16s in late January, reported China Central Television (CCTV).

Brigade commander Jiang Jiaji, the first pilot to win the PLA's Golden Helmet competition three times, told CCTV at the exercise that the silver-gray painting covering the J-16 is a kind of cloaking coating that gives the warplane a certain stealth capability, making it nearly invisible to the naked eye and electromagnetic devices.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, told the Global Times that the aerodynamic design of the J-16 stresses maneuverability rather than stealth, but the coating can make it more difficult to detect. The stealth coating can reduce detection of the J-16 by radar, Fu said. The jet's camouflaged coloring makes the aircraft blend into the sky and sea, so that the enemy will only recognize it at close range, giving it a huge advantage in combat.

Jiang also revealed that all types of Chinese air-to-surface weapons currently in service with the PLA can be installed on the J-16. This means the J-16 can use a wide collection of air-to-ground missiles, bombs and anti-ship missiles, Fu said, noting that the multi-role fighter jet can carry several tons of munitions and launch multiple waves of attack before it runs out of ammunition. The J-16 is reportedly capable of carrying at least eight tons of weapons.

Besides the J-20 stealth fighter jet that focuses on low observability for both the human eye and radars, China has been experimenting with low observable coatings on its J-16 fighter jet since 2018. The J-16, based on the non-stealth fighter jet Su-27, now features a dark gray coat instead of its original bluish-gray tone and has replaced its original Air Force insignia with a light gray design. The new coat will provide the J-16 a level of stealth capabilities not only against the naked eye but also with electromagnetic devices, said Chinese Air Force pilot Jiang Jiaji on China Central Television in 2019. The new coating can reduce detection by radar, air defense expert Fu Qianshao previously told the Global Times. Having tested the new coatings and markings on the J-20 stealth and J-16, which have proven to be technically mature and useful, the Air Force is ready to expand their use on all warplanes, including fighter jets, bombers, cargo planes, and special mission aircraft, said a military expert who requested not to be named to the Global Times on 15 March 2020. This will result in an overall combat capability boost for the Air Force, the expert said.

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, analysts noted. 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, Fu said. The J-16 can follow up a J-20 attack and clean away surface targets with its missiles and bombs.

As a heavy aircraft in China’s 3.5-generation (Western 4.5-generation) fighter jets, the J-16 can already rely on its excellent stealth coating to greatly increase its concealed attack capabilities. After all, the J-16 is going to “mix” behind the J-20. Yes, so at least it is required that even if one's own stealth ability does not meet the requirements of the J-20, it will not drag the J-20 too much. The J-16’s "stealth" road is mainly achieved by two technical means, "stealth coating" and "low-visibility coating". Although this stealth effect is ridiculed by foreign media as "pseudo-stealth", Under the premise that the original design appearance of the J-16 cannot be changed significantly, these two methods are the best combination of "stealth" that all current 3.5-generation fighters can achieve.

Moreover, the J-16 has never said that such a stealth effect can be compared to the real "stealth fighters" of the J-20, F-22 and F-35. We must know that the latest F-16V in the United States has made stealth efforts, but it is nothing more than adding a "conformity fuel tank" and "Have Glass V" stealth coating. Therefore, the 3.5-generation fighter is subject to the original design, and efforts in stealth can only be achieved by painting "stealth coating".

Although the 3.5-generation fighters, especially the best representatives of the "new" F-16 and F-16V, the stealth coatings sprayed cannot truly achieve the stealth effect of the "native" stealth fighters, because this coating is generally magnetic Metal particles are embedded in polymer to reduce radar waves. However, the stealth effect achieved by this kind of coating, under the premise that the shape of the 3.5-generation fighter cannot be changed, the stealth effect that can be achieved is relatively limited, especially the wings, engine intakes and nozzles. These shapes are square, right-angled, and vertical. Strong radar waves are reflected in flat areas. However, the "stealth capability" of the J-16 is not used to "deep into the enemy's rear" alone. It only needs to ensure that it is not detected before the follow-up attack of the J-20 performs the "kick the door" mission.

the combination of the J-16 and J-20 partners can clearly see the shadow of "touching the US military to cross the river": the combination of F-22 and F-15E. The benefits of this are very obvious: First, rely on F-22 or J-20 to destroy enemy air defense equipment, and after gaining air superiority, the J-16 formation carrying a large number of weapons and ammunition can be launched. Although the J-20 has opened a safer channel, the J-20 ammunition is not large after all, so it can only eliminate the enemy’s most threatening targets. This requires the J-16 to have a certain stealth capability to be safe. after the J-16 has "familiarized" this road, the Chinese Air Force's large number of J-10 and JH-7A can follow this path.

When the J-16 is in the "partner" of the J-20 to perform tasks, it mainly relies on its super mounting capability and the ability to use all types of air-to-ground weapons of our army. After the J-20 has cleared the main air defense targets in front, Carry out fixed-point and precise follow-up strikes to quickly end the battle or open up a safe "air corridor" for the JH-7A strike formation further behind. The J-16 relies on the innate super-mounting capabilities of the Su-27 series and the J-11 series. It can carry several tons of ammunition at a time and launch multiple attacks. It can not only carry precision guided bombs and anti-ship missiles, but also mount air-to-air missiles. Compared with anti-radiation missiles, this kind of strike capability can not only "make up" for the J-20; it can also clear the way for the follow-up mission formation, which can be called a veritable "air ammunition truck".

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:07:47 ZULU