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Ozair
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Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:23 pm

Appears that Chinese are continuing production of the J-15. This probably highlights how far away the FC-31, or a modified J-20, is from being an operational carrier aircraft for the PLAN. Based on this I expect the J-15 will be the mainstay for Chinese carrier aviation until at least 2035.

Shenyang resumes production of carrier-borne J-15 fighters

Images released on 21 February in an announcement by the Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC), a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), indicate that the manufacturer has resumed production of its carrier-borne J-15 multirole fighter aircraft.

The images, the publication of which comes about three months after the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its second aircraft carrier, Shandong , show at least one J-15 painted in green primer - suggesting that the aircraft is part of a new batch - and technicians working on the platform at what appears to be a factory.

Although the SAC announcement does not specifically mention the J-15, the aircraft type can be identified by its shape and canards. The images also feature a short text, stating, among other things, "full resumption of production".

It is unclear, however, when the images were taken and whether the new J-15s will be different in any way from the ones currently in service with the PLAN on the service's first aircraft carrier, Liaoning .

That said, the technicians are wearing surgical masks presumably as protection against the Covid-19 coronavirus, indicating the images were taken relatively recently.

Since 2012 the J-15, which is a Sukhoi Su-33 derivative, has been the PLAN's sole fixed-wing carrier-borne aircraft. Only 24 of these aircraft had been delivered to the PLAN in two batches before production was apparently halted in mid-2017.

At least two J-15s have so far been lost and two more have been damaged, meaning that fewer than 20 of these aircraft are believed to currently be available for the PLAN's two carriers as well as for training. The additional aircraft will most likely be used to set up a second carrier-based air wing to be assigned to Shandong .

...

https://www.janes.com/article/94506/she ... 5-fighters
 
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Slug71
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Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:57 am

Makes sense since China has probably started construction on its 4th carrier, or close to.
Considering the FC-31 has already had significant changes to the prototypes, development work for a carrier variant would be a ways off if the conventional/base variant design hasn't even been settled on. I guess we'll have to wait and see what changes, if any, the next prototype will have compared to the previous.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:59 pm

Checking around the internet, it appears that the PLAN has been working on a version of the J-15 that has landing gears setup for CATOBAR use. We know that the PLAN has been working on CATOBAR operational components for years, and that the future PLAN carriers are slated to be CATOBAR equipped. Therefore, I believe it to be a reasonable assumption that the serial production model of the J-15 was updated to a version that was a final production model for CATOBAR capabilities. In other words, they stopped production of the old J-15 to start making a new one that can be used on CATOBAR carriers while likely also retaining the ability to operate from their existing ski-jump carriers as well.

A CATOBAR J-15 represents a significant increase in capability for that platform for naval use, likely granting it significantly increased range/payload numbers. It is also reasonable to assume that the break in production was likely also used to update other components, notably engines and EW/detection systems.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:20 pm

What are the chances that China will leapfrog full production of a 5th gen carrier platform in favor of a 6th gen (or 5.5) in order to keep pace with US developments?
 
Ozair
Posts: 5082
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:59 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
Checking around the internet, it appears that the PLAN has been working on a version of the J-15 that has landing gears setup for CATOBAR use. We know that the PLAN has been working on CATOBAR operational components for years, and that the future PLAN carriers are slated to be CATOBAR equipped. Therefore, I believe it to be a reasonable assumption that the serial production model of the J-15 was updated to a version that was a final production model for CATOBAR capabilities. In other words, they stopped production of the old J-15 to start making a new one that can be used on CATOBAR carriers while likely also retaining the ability to operate from their existing ski-jump carriers as well.

A CATOBAR J-15 represents a significant increase in capability for that platform for naval use, likely granting it significantly increased range/payload numbers. It is also reasonable to assume that the break in production was likely also used to update other components, notably engines and EW/detection systems.

Some interesting info, thanks. I agree that a CATOBAR J-15 that could also be operated STOBAR from CV-16 and 17 provides significantly more flexibility although I anticipate once a CATOBAR carrier arrives the aircrew would likely be two separate tranches but using the same aircraft.

DigitalSea wrote:
What are the chances that China will leapfrog full production of a 5th gen carrier platform in favor of a 6th gen (or 5.5) in order to keep pace with US developments?

I could see a new aircraft being designed for the Type 004 carrier, and vice versa, to maximise the capability of both platforms. That new design being a 6th gen platform is probably unlikely, it would seem too risky to look at the first 6th gen being a naval platform before a land based solution and perhaps too early for a real 6th gen platform to emerge. I expect the Chinese will also want to use the J-20 for a few more years before they determine the characteristics of what a 6th gen Chinese aircraft will have.

A 5.5 gen seems as you suggest seems more likely, especially as they move to CATOBAR with an EM cat.
 
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Slug71
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Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:19 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
Checking around the internet, it appears that the PLAN has been working on a version of the J-15 that has landing gears setup for CATOBAR use. We know that the PLAN has been working on CATOBAR operational components for years, and that the future PLAN carriers are slated to be CATOBAR equipped. Therefore, I believe it to be a reasonable assumption that the serial production model of the J-15 was updated to a version that was a final production model for CATOBAR capabilities. In other words, they stopped production of the old J-15 to start making a new one that can be used on CATOBAR carriers while likely also retaining the ability to operate from their existing ski-jump carriers as well.

A CATOBAR J-15 represents a significant increase in capability for that platform for naval use, likely granting it significantly increased range/payload numbers. It is also reasonable to assume that the break in production was likely also used to update other components, notably engines and EW/detection systems.


Not just CATOBAR, even EMALS has been mentioned.
 
Ozair
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Shenyang FC-31 / J-31

Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:20 am

The FC-31 has emerged again in the last few months with one of the prototypes, now painted in a silver grey scheme, flying numerous times over the last two months. The below article also suggests that the FC-31 may finally be adopted by the PLAN after appearing in a recruitment video although there is some doubt on this.

Speculation of military commission rises as FC-31 stealth fighter jet appears in PLA Navy recruitment video


After China's FC-31 stealth fighter jet appeared in the most recent pilot recruitment video for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, speculation increased that the aircraft could become China's next generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet.

The PLA Navy's pilot recruitment program for 2020 recently started, with students from all around the country gathering for a series of qualification tests in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday.



Chinese military observers speculate that this is yet another official hint that the FC-31 might become China's next generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet.



Other observers expressed doubt over how much the cartoon figure reflects the PLA Navy's plan. They say the video is likely made by CCTV and not the Navy, and it could be just a random picture.



https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1190597.shtml

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