The Shenyang J-11 is a twin-engine multi-role jet fighter operated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) of China. Produced by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the J-11 is an extremely maneuverable air superiority fighter designed for close combat against its opponent fighters in the air.
Following the Middle East War in 1967, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force had a requirement for an aircraft that will replace the J-6 equipped with better low altitude performance, and short take off and landing run. The Shenyang Aircraft Factory presented a new designed lightweight fighter known as the J-11.
In 1988, the J-11 was developed as a Chinese version of the Sukhoi Su-27SK, a Soviet-origin supermaneuverable fighter aircraft following China’s $2.5 billion production contract for the co-production of two hundred Su-27SK with the use of Russian-supplied kits. The terms of the contract entail that the aircraft would be equipped with avionics, radars and engines of Russia. But in 2004, Russia media made a report that Shenyang co-production of the original aircraft was stopped after about one hundred samples were produced.
In December 1998, the first aircraft built in Shenyang took to the sky for flight testing. Extensive production of the aircraft slowed down because of technical issues.
In 2002, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force introduced an enhanced version of the aircraft, the J-11B. This version comprises several Chinese material modification and enhancements to the airframe with refined manufacturing procedures as well as adding domestic Chinese technologies like radar, avionics suite and armament that include anti-ship and PL-12 active radar-guided beyond visual range air-to-air missile supposedly for operations as a maritime strike aircraft.
In 2003, around one hundred aircraft were produced, however ceased afterwards, because the basic J-11 version did not qualify the requirements of the PLAAF.
In 2006, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation delivered the first J-11B test aircraft to the China Flight Test Establishment (CFTE) for testing.
Shenyang J-11 Design
The airframe of J-11 is built from titanium and aluminum alloys. The fuselage unites the cockpit, radar sections and avionics bay. It has an external length of 21.9 meters and height of 5.92 meters. The basic J-11 is equipped with Russian-made components. The indigenous version J-11B has the same airframe and built with Chinese avionics and weapon systems. The aircraft has a wingspan of 14.7 meters and wing area of 52.84 square meters.
The armaments of the fighter aircraft include 1×30-mm Russian-developed Gryazev Shipunov GSh-30-1 internal cannon afforded 150 rounds of ammunition, ten weapon stations can carry wide range of missiles like PL-12, PL-9, PL-8, Vympel R-77, Vympel R-27 and Vympel R-73. It is also outfitted with unguided rocket launcher and free-fall cluster bombs.
Shenyang J-11 Engine and Performance
The Shenyang J-11 is powered by two Lyulka AL-31F afterburning turbofan engines with 16,910/27,650 lbf dry thrust or two Shenyang WS-10A Taihang with 20,050/29/670 lbf thrust.
The maximum speed of the aircraft is 1,300 knots at altitude. It has a standard range of 1,910 nautical miles and a combat range of 810 nautical miles. It can fly up to 62,000 feet and has a climb rate of 59,000 feet per minute. The maximum takeoff and landing weight are 33,000 kg and 23,600 kg respectively. It has a maximum payload of 9,030 kg and fuel tank capacity of 2,480 US gal.
Shenyang J-11 Variants
The first version J-11A is assembled from Russian-made kits. This type was later improved with a missile approach warning system. 104 of this version were built.
The indigenous J-11B is the first version that used the WS-10A turbofan engine, with lighter airframe, new avionics suite, and other improvements. The J-11BS is a twin-seat variant of the J-11B, the J-11BH is a naval variant of the J-11B, while the J-11BSH is a naval variant of the J-11BS.
The J-15 is a carrier-based variant derived from the J-11B with structural elements from the Sukhoi Su-33 prototype. It has the same avionics system with J-11B.
The J-16 is a twin-seat strike fighter variant derived from Sukhoi Su-30MKK acquired by China in 2000. This type is an enhanced version of the J-11BS.
The J-11D is equipped with fixed electronically scanned array radar, Infrared Search and Track (IRST), and can fire heavier imaging/infrared air-to-air missiles. The airframe is made of composite materials and each wing has three hardpoints.