Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting
National Flag Graphic

Shenyang (AVIC) J-16 (Red Eagle)

Multirole 4th Generation Fighter / Strike Fighter Aircraft


Reportedly based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK, the Shenyang J-16 is a new multirole fighter-bomber introduced by China during 2013.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Shenyang (AVIC) J-16 (Red Eagle) Multirole 4th Generation Fighter / Strike Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/26/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Chinese have held a long-running and beneficial relationship with the Russians that eventually netted the country access to potent military equipment - fighters, tanks, small arms, warships and associated technologies. Even after the fall of the Soviet Empire in the early 1990s, the trend has continued while China has also poured billions of its own into internal developments to help promote a more self-sufficient China in the Asia-Pacific region.

In 1998, the country introduced the Shenyang J-11 twin-engine air superiority fighter which was based on the capable Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK "Flanker" - nearly 200 of the type have since been produced in China. The Shenyang J-15 then emerged as a carrierborne multirole fighter to serve on China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (16). This aircraft was developed from the existing Sukhoi Su-33 "Flanker" line and is expected to be formally introduced sometime in 2016. Yet another Shenyang/Flanker development has arrived as the Shenyang J-16 ("Red Eagle") which is largely based on the J-11 (J-11BS model) with increased operational range, improved avionics suite and a multirole capability. The aircraft was introduced in 2013 and has seen some 24 production examples follow the single flying prototype.

The J-16 was first unveiled in mid-2012 and is primarily intended for the strike-fighter role which allows its crew to engage ground targets as well as air threats. The airframe supports a crew of two seated in tandem and overall dimensions include a length of 72 feet, a wingspan of 48.2 feet and a height of 21 feet. Empty weight is 38,600 lb with a maximum take-off-weight nearing 77,000 lb. Power is served through 2 x WS-10A afterburning turbofans generating 33,000 lb thrust (wet). Performance includes a top speed of Mach 2, range of 1,900 miles and service ceiling of 56,800 feet.

As a strike-fighter, the J-16 series supports both air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions. A 30mm GSh-30-1 internal cannon is standard and afforded 150 projectiles. There are twelve external hardpoints which support PL-9 and PL-12 series air-to-air missiles, standard anti-radiation (anti-radar) missiles, anti-ship weaponry, rocket pods, conventional drop bombs and precision-guided ordnance. An onboard Electronic CounterMeasures suite provides missile and radar tracking/engagement defense as expected while incoming threats are thwarted through onboard chaff and flare dispensers. Several hardpoints are plumbed for jettisonable external fuel tanks for increased operational ranges.

Outwardly, the J-16 mimics the clean, smooth lines of the excellent and proven Sukhoi Flanker product save for a few subtle external differences. It is said that the J-16 makes use of a special radar absorbent coating along its skin to promote a certain stealth aspect though it is not invisible to existing radar systems. Internally, the aircraft is given an indigenously-designed and developed, all-modern AESA (Active, Electronically-Scanned Array) radar system. The engines (WS-10) are also of a local design (though based on the General Electric GE F101 turbofan) and the same that powers the Chengdu J-10, Shenyang J-11 and Shenyang J-15 fighters. The twin powerplants are aspirated through two under-fuselage rectangular intakes under the wingroots, an identifying feature of all Sukhoi Flanker aircraft. Composites are used throughout the overall construction of the aircraft to promote strength with weight-saving measures.

The J-16 is considered to be in the same general class as the American Boeing F/A-18 "Super Hornet", European Eurofighter Typhoon and French Dassault Rafale multi-role aircraft and adds a new multi-faceted participant to growing Chinese military authority in the tumultuous Asia-Pacific region.

The J-16 designation marks basic strike model variants. The J-16D is a reported Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA) variant noted by its wingtip equipment pods and other equipment add-ons. This version also lacks the internal 30mm gun. In this arrangement, the J-16D is comparable to the Boeing F/A/18 "Growler" EWA aircraft used by the United States Navy.


YEAR: 2013
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Shenyang Aircraft Corporation / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) - China
LENGTH: 72.18 ft (22 m)
WIDTH: 49.21 ft (15 m)
HEIGHT: 20.83 ft (6.35 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 39,022 lb (17,700 kg)
MTOW: 77,162 lb (35,000 kg)
POWER: 2 x WS-10A turbofans with afterburning developing 33,000 lb of thrust each.
SPEED: 1,522 mph (2,450 kph; 1,323 kts)
CEILING: 56,759 feet (17,300 m; 10.75 miles)
RANGE: 1,864 miles (3,000 km; 1,620 nm)

1 x 30mm GSh-30-1 internal cannon

PL-12 and PL-9 air-to-air missiles, conventional, laser-guided/precision-guided drop bombs, rocket pods, anti-ship missiles, anti-radiation missiles and special mission equipment pods (ECM).
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-radar/anti-radiation missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Variants / Models

• J-16 - Base Series Designation; signifies basic strike model.
• J-16D - Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA) conversion model; noted by wingtip pods; lacks 30mm internal cannon; first-flight on December 2015.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (1,522mph).

Graph average of 1200 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Shenyang J-16 (Red Eagle)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (50)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map Site content ©2003-, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo