Air Force 1 AF100048 Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Navy Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark Fighter - Aircraft Carrier Liaoning (1:72 Scale)
"Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed."
- Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
The Shenyang J-15, also known as Flying Shark, is a carrier-based fighter aircraft in development by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and the 601 Institute for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy's aircraft carriers. Rumors initially claimed the aircraft was to be a semi-stealth variant, yet later reports indicate the aircraft is based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-33 and is fitted with domestically produced radars, engines, and weapons. An unfinished Su-33 prototype, the T-10K-3, was acquired from Ukraine sometime in 2001 and is said to have been studied extensively, with development on the J-15 beginning immediately afterward. While the J-15 appears to be structurally based on the Su-33, the indigenous fighter features Chinese technologies as well as avionics from the J-11B program
Russian military experts have downplayed any significant competition from the J-15 in the global arms market, with Col. Igor Korotchenko of the Defense Ministry stating in early June 2010, "The Chinese J-15 is unlikely to achieve the same performance characteristics of the Russian Su-33 carrier-based fighter, and I do not rule out the possibility that China could return to negotiations with Russia on the purchase of a substantial batch of Su-33s." China has actively sought to purchase Su-33s from Russia on numerous occasions - an unsuccessful offer was made as late as March 2009but negotiations collapsed in 2006 after it was discovered that China had developed a modified version of the Sukhoi Su-27SK designated the Shenyang J-11B, in violation of intellectual property agreements.
The first J-15 prototype is believed to have performed its maiden flight on August 31, 2009, powered by Russian-supplied AL-31 turbofan engines. Video and still images of the flight were released in July 2010, showing the same basic airframe design as the Su-33. In July 2011, it was reported FWS-10H turbofan engine was chosen for J-15 fighter, which has takeoff thrust increased to 12,800 kg, compared to the FWS-10 turbofan's 12,500 kg. Other improvements were also made to make it better suited to carrier-based fighter's requirement. On May 6, 2010, the aircraft conducted its first takeoff from a simulated ski-jump.
The reliance on ski-jump launches and the lack of Chinese carrier based refueling capabilities are believed to greatly reduce the effective range of the J-15.
The J-15 is reported to use different avionics and systems than the Su-33, and uses Chinese-developed technologies, and features various upgrades such as AESA radar, composite and radar absorbent material, MAWS, improved IRST, and new electronics. An article in the China Signpost believes the J-15 "likely exceeds or matches the aerodynamic capabilities of virtually all fighter aircraft currently operated by regional militaries, with the exception of the U.S. F-22 Raptor", alleging that the J-15 likely possesses a 10% superior thrust-to-weight ratio and a 25% lower wing loading than the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet However, one of the authors of that same article described the J-15 in another as no game changer; Hu Siyuan of the National Defense University PLA China has said that "the current weak point of the J-15 is its Russia-made Al-31 engines which are less powerful than that of the American F-35 fighter".
The J-15's chief designer, Sun Cong of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, has said that the J-15 could match the F/A-18 in bomb load, combat radius and mobility. However, in a similar statement, he said more work was required in its electronics and combat systems. He also indicated the lack of mature domestically produced engines as a current weak spot.
Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo stated that the aircraft's air combat capabilities were better than that of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. However, he also stated that its ability to attack land and sea targets was slightly inferior to the F/A-18E/F. It is also stated that its electronic equipment meets the standards of those on a fifth generation fighter.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force Shenyang J-16 Strike Aircraft.
Release Date: September 2014
Historical Account: "The People's Court" - Although the Chinese Red Army (PLA's predecessor) had operated a few aircraft since the Second Sino-Japanese War, the first organized air arm of the PLA was the Nanyuan Flying Group, formed in the summer of 1949 with about 40 ex-Nationalist aircraft, responsible for the air defence of the soon-to-be capital city of Beijing, China.
The PLAAF itself was founded on November 11th, 1949, shortly after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. At the beginning it relied heavily on Soviet help and was armed with Soviet aircraft. Within 6 years, the PLAAF began manufacturing its own aircraft, but initially these were copies of Soviet types. The first of them was the J-2, corresponding to the MiG-15. Some western observers refer to the upgraded MiG-15bis variant as J-4, but PLAAF never used "J-4" aircraft designation.
Soviet involvement also extended to training combat pilots. Those took part to some degree in the Korean War, where Chinese pilots along with their Russian counterparts often engaged American aircraft in combat. This increased cooperation between the two Communist nations also allowed the Chinese to begin building their own versions of the MiG-17 and MiG-19: the J-5 and J-6.
The 1960s proved to be a difficult period for the PLAAF. This was due to the break in relations with the Soviet Union, and as a consequence the Chinese aircraft industry almost collapsed. The outbreak of the Vietnam War helped it to recover, though, as the PRC government began providing the forces of North Vietnam with J-2s, J-5s, and some J-6s. The 1960s also saw the first indigenous Chinese designs, namely the J-8.
Although the PLAAF received significant support from Western nations in the 1980s when China was seen as a counterweight to Soviet power, this support ended in 1989 as a result of the Chinese crackdown on the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and the later collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ironically, China's former foe, Russia, became its principal arms supplier to the effect that Chinese economic growth allowed Russia to sustain its aerospace industry.
Between the Vietnam War and the early 1990s, the PLAAF's flying consisted mostly of large numbers of near-obsolete Soviet planes. The main mission scenario under consideration by the PLAAF during this time was to support the PLA in defending China against a massive Soviet tank invasion. Under the doctrine of People's War, Chinese air strategy involved large numbers of short-range low-technology fighters. This mix of forces would not have stood up well to the Republic of China Air Force, which had fewer but much more modern planes such as the F-16 and Mirage 2000.