Sukhoi Su-35

The Sukhoi Su-35 (‘Flanker-E’) is described by its designer as a 4++ generation fighter that can bridge the gap between legacy fighters and the upcoming fifth-generation fighter. It was derived from the Su-27M, but has been substantially upgraded and redesigned, incorporating a reinforced airframe, improved avionics and radar, thrust-vectoring engines, and a reduced frontal radar signature. China signed a $2 billion contract with Russia in November 2015 for the acquisition of 24 examples of the Su-35 and began to take delivery in December 2016.

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Shenyang J-16

The Shenyang J-16 is a multirole fighter capable of both air-superiority and interdiction missions. The latest version of the Shenyang ‘Sino-Flanker’ family, the J-16 can be viewed as an equivalence to the Sukhoi Su-30MK ‘Flanker-G’ but with upgraded avionics, and is comparable to the U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle. An improved electronic warfare variant, reportedly designated J-16D, is currently undergoing flight testing.

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Shenyang J-15

The J-15 is a carrier-based multirole fighter developed for the PLA Navy, largely based on the J-11 but with features of the Sukhoi Su-33 (‘Flanker-D’). The aircraft first flew in August 2009 and operations from China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning (CV-16) began in 2012. The Air Wing of the Liaoning operates up to 24 J-15 fighters for both air interception and ground/surface strike roles.

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Sukhoi Su-30MKK

The PLA acquired 100 examples of the Sukhoi Su-30MKK ‘Flanker-G’’ multirole fighter between 2001 and 2004. The Su-30MKK is PLA’s first ‘true’ multirole fighter with both ‘beyond-visual-range’ air-to-air and precision strike capabilities. Additionally, the aircraft is also fitted with sophisticated ECM and C4ISR suites for target acquisitions and weapon guidance. SAC has introduced a two-seat multirole fighter designated J-16, with similar arrangement and configuration.

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Shenyang J-11B

The J-11B is the first of the Shenyang ‘Sino-Sukhoi’ family to have been developed independently without Russian assistance. The aircraft resembles the Su-27SK ‘Flanker-B’ in appearance and is also powered by two Russian AL-31F engines initially, but is equipped with Chinese avionics and weapons. A two-seat fighter trainer variant designated J-11BS has also been introduced, which appears to be a direct copy of the Su-27UBK ‘Flanker-C’.

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Sukhoi Su-27 / Shenyang J-11

The Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name: ‘Flanker’) fighter was developed during the Cold War-era to counter the Western 4th-generation fighters. China acquired a total of 76 examples of the aircraft between 1992 and 1999. Another 100 examples were built by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) under license as the J-11. The Su-27 was the first PLAAF fighter aircraft capable of competing with modern Western fighters. The aircraft and its derivatives remain the backbone of the Chinese air power today.

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Chengdu J-10

The Chengdu J-10 is a 4th-generation multirole, single-engine, all-weather fighter aircraft that has been operational with the PLA since 2003, after 17 years of development. The aircraft was originally intended to be a high-performance air-superiority fighter, but the development later shifted towards a multirole fighter with both air-to-air and ground attack mission capabilities. The fighter is generally regarded as comparable in performance to the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D.

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