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China is upgrading their Air Force



Chinese aircraft manufacturers continue to experiment with re-equipping old aircraft with new avionics and radars. In 1996, China and Russia signed an agreement under which a factory was built in China to produce 200 of the most modern Russian Su-27SK aircraft. For this purpose, the Shenyang aircraft Factory, which previously produced J-8 aircraft, was re-equipped. The factory was equipped with advanced Western and Chinese equipment. In 1999, China began the joint production of a Russian fighter aircraft under the designation J-11, which consisted of 70% of Chinese-made parts. By 2003, 95 aircraft had been produced. China refused the remaining 105, citing the fact that the aircraft do not meet the technical requirements of the country, as well as the absence of a clause in the agreement on the transfer of Russian technologies, which caused dependence on the export of components.

In fact, the Chinese quickly mastered new technologies and took all the best that was in the Su-27SK. Having equipped it with units of its own production and improved its aerodynamic characteristics, already in 2000 the first secret launch of the new multi-purpose aircraft J-11B was made, which completely passed to Western standards. The Su-27SK\J-11 airframe was equipped with a Chinese radar, a digital flight control system, and a number of other equipment. Using composite materials, it was possible to reduce the weight of the aircraft by 700 kilograms, which made it possible to put a more powerful Taihang engine on the J-11B. 


There is a constant process of modernization of the aircraft. In December last year, the Shenyang AVIC Aircraft Factory began mass production of an improved version of the J-11B fighter under the designation J-11BG, equipped with an APAR radar instead of the previous pulse-Doppler radar. In 2018, the specialists of the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology presented a model of the KLJ-7A AESA radar. We can assume that this radar was installed in the updated J-11B.


This is one example of how China borrows military developments, rapidly synthesizes our and Western technologies, which in itself is extremely difficult, and creates something new.


Vladimir Gutenev




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