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

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 Russias Sukhoi-30MKK. Almost half of the equipment seen at the parade to mark the PLAs 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 Peoples 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 VLRAAMs 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.

China's multi-role fighter jet the J-16 is now covered by a coating that can provide near stealth capability and the jet is now 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.

The J-16D variant the D in the designation comes from the Chinese word for electronic, dinzi made its first flight on December 18, 2015. The J-16D is expected to be equipped with a large amount of electronic warfare equipment and still be able to carry necessary air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, in addition to a wide selection of electronic warfare pods, the magazine said, noting that the large payload space could make the J-16D even stronger than the US Navy's EA-18G.

Electronic warfare aircraft is a special operations platform that specializes in electronic reconnaissance, jamming, and attack on enemy radar search, guidance systems and radio communication systems. Its main task is to prevent the enemy's air defense system from performing its due role through electronic interference and other means, and to cover the existing forces to successfully perform various tactical or strategic strike tasks. Due to the uniqueness of the mission and positioning of this type of special operations platform, it enjoys a very high position in the construction of the equipment system under the background of modern warfare. Electronic warfare aircraft, like special aircraft models such as early warning aircraft and tankers, are "multipliers" of modern air combat forces.

The importance of tactical-grade electronic warplanes such as the F-15G and F-16G cannot be ignored. From the perspective of the U.S. Air Force's experience, it is these tactical-level electronic warplanes that often accompany combat on the front line. Due to the higher dispatch rate, lower cost, greater number and more flexible organization and deployment, coupled with the advantages of platform mobility, tactical-level electronic warplanes can perform tasks with various tactical aircraft. The tactical electronic warplanes that kill on the front line can not only guarantee the electronic warfare initiative of the formation, but also go forward to hunt down enemy radar equipment and suppress air defense systems.

Tactical electronic warfare aircraft are mainly modified from fighters or attack aircraft. They can interfere with the radar of the enemy's air defense system while using precision guided weapons such as anti-radiation missiles to accurately damage targets. There is a big challenge with the transformation of electronic warfare. It is difficult to convert medium-sized aircraft into professional electronic warfare aircraft due to insufficient carrying capacity and airframe space. Only a dual-engine medium-sized fighter can achieve a combat capability similar to that of the US E/A-18G Growler electronic fighter.

On 30 July 2017, in the military parade to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the army in Zhurihe, the gorgeous three-plane formation of J-20 fighter jets attracted the attention of the people of the whole country, and also eclipsed the other advanced fighters on the same scene. Under the high attention of the J-20, many people didnt even notice the J-16 fighter that followed the J-20 for the first time in the military parade, let alone the J-20 in the commentary of the fighter echelon. The -16 fighter mentioned the feature of "significantly improved electronic warfare capabilities, and thus has a'combat power multiplier'.

Tthe J-16 itself is the domestic version of the Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK. The two-seater J-16 is roughly the same size as the American F-15E fighter-bomber, and it uses new avionics to replace the original Russian products, including active electronically scanned array radar (AESA), which are currently the most advanced fighter radar technology.

The method of distinguishing J-16 is very simple: the nose has no IRST, no cannon, and the wingtip short baseline lateral sensor integrated antenna is relatively smooth. Compared with the same type antenna of the high-tech family and the J-15D, the J-16 has four pieces. The blade antenna has been integrated into a long strip antenna.

There are multiple new antennas and electronic warfare devices on the fuselage. The nose radome of the J-16D has been redesigned and may be suitable for more advanced AESA radars. Most importantly, the new electronic warfare pod is installed on the wingtip, similar to the American ALQ-218 electronic support measurement pod installed on the EA-18G "Growler" wingtip. These are electromagnetic sensors that can analyze the radar frequency and help determine the location of the radar transmitting equipment. These data are very useful for jamming radars and targeting them for destruction. In addition, it will carry two to three jamming pods under the wings and fuselage, each pod optimized for different radar frequencies. Of course, these jammers can also use AESA technology.

The American EA-18G Growler electronic attack fighter is a special fighter, which is specifically used to interfere with and possibly detect and destroy enemy radar equipment, preventing it from guiding deadly missiles used to strike friendly aircraft. This mission is called the Suppression of the Enemys Air Defense (SEAD). Basically, if a modern air force wants to attack an opponent with strong air defense capabilities, it needs SEAD-capable equipment to avoid unbearable losses.

The Growler is based on the improvement of the F-18F "Super Hornet" fighter, which is faster than the jam platform based on transport and attack aircraft, has more maneuverability, and can be fully armed. This allows the Growlers to provide additional support for attack missions, because Growlers can keep up with the fighters they escort, and it is possible to get closer to the enemy's air defense system.

The wingtip of the Growler is equipped with the ALQ-218V(2) tactical receiver pod specially designed for it by Northrop Grumman. Passive laterally through the principle of interference, with the ALQ-99 tactical interference mounted under the wing. The pod and active phased array radar are accurately positioned to complete situational awareness.

The same is true for China. The J-16 uses wingtip sensors to find direction, and new pods are used for jamming. The most likely scenario is that it comes back to carry 2-3 jamming pods under the wings and fuselage, each pod is aimed at a different frequency radar. Moreover, the Su-27 platform has better flight performance than F-18 platform. The key task is to make up lessons for the Air Force-these advanced fighters under the J-16 system will greatly compensate for the lack of auxiliary aircraft and the inferiority of bombers, and lay a solid foundation for the Air Force far beyond neighboring countries in the 2020s.

Even with the largest electronic warfare equipment, J-16 will make it free to carry weapons in 6 of its 12 external points. At present, there are three different types of anti-radiation missiles (ARM) in our country, which are designed for long-range enemy radars. The CM-103 missile has a range of 100 kilometers. It is accurate enough to hit naval and ground targets with an 80 kg warhead. There is also a locally-developed copy of the Russian Kh-31P missile, the YJ-91, which has a slightly longer range and also has an anti-ship function. Finally, there is the LD-10 ARM missile from the PL-12 air defense missile. Of course, the J-16D can carry most of the other weapons that a basic fighter can carry.

The two-seater version of the J-15 carrier-based aircraft currently equipped on two Chinese aircraft carriers seems to be able to undergo similar upgrades to become the J-15SD. However, because the Chinese aircraft carrier adopts a skid-jump deck design, the effective load of the J-15 fighter is limited. However, it is not clear whether the improvement plan of the J-16D will be adopted.

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Page last modified: 11-11-2020 18:56:37 ZULU