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Shenyang (AVIC) J-13

Air Superiority Fighter Project

Shenyang (AVIC) J-13

Air Superiority Fighter Project


The Shenyang J-13 air superiority platform was to place China as a major player on the world stage concerning fighter design - development troubles doomed it.
National Flag Graphic
YEAR: 1975
MANUFACTURER(S): Shenyang Aircraft Corporation / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) - China
OPERATORS: China (cancelled)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Shenyang J-13 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 57.41 feet (17.5 meters)
WIDTH: 34.12 feet (10.4 meters)
HEIGHT: 13.62 feet (4.15 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 17,637 pounds (8,000 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 25,706 pounds (11,660 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Woshan WS-6 OR WP-15 turbofan engine developing at least 26,455lb of thrust with afterburning.
SPEED (MAX): 1,880 miles-per-hour (3,025 kilometers-per-hour; 1,633 knots)
RANGE: 1,454 miles (2,340 kilometers; 1,263 nautical miles)
CEILING: 62,336 feet (19,000 meters; 11.81 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 40,000 feet-per-minute (12,192 meters-per-minute)

1 x Internal cannon

Support for various air-to-air munitions held externally across several under-wing and under-fuselage hardpoints as well as wing tip mountings.
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

Series Model Variants
• J-13 - Base Series Designation


Detailing the development and operational history of the Shenyang (AVIC) J-13 Air Superiority Fighter Project.  Entry last updated on 11/11/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Sino-Soviet Split (1960-1989) between communist China and the Soviet Union forced the Asian power to seek internal solutions to its ongoing military requirements - hence programs such as the Chengdu J-9, Nanchang J-12 and Shenyang J-13. The latter entry was based around the concept of a Mach 2-capable single-seat, single-engine fighter of all modern design and capabilities. However, the learning curve for the program - particularly in development of a viable high-performance engine - led to the drawn-out program's cancellation in the early 1990s. The data collected during its course, however, proved invaluable and aided in the design and development of the Chengdu J-10 (detailed elsewhere on this site) which has since been adopted into formal service with the Chinese Air Force.

Origins of the J-13 lay in an early 1970s requirement for a successor to the Shenyang J-6 (detailed elsewhere on this site). The J-6 was nothing more than a locally-produced copy of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 "Farmer" single-seat jet-powered fighter but provided Chinese aero-industry with extensive experience in manufacture and maintenance of a complex system. Roughly 4,000 of the aircraft were built under the J-6 designation and the fleet saw service well into the new millennium. However, even by 1970s standards, its best days were quickly coming upon it for advances in fighter technology were leaving early-Cold War aircraft to the pages of aviation history.

The 601 Institute of Shenyang Aircraft was hard at work on developing a new aircraft to succeed the type.

This commitment led to several airframes and wing designs being brought forth and tested at length throughout the 1970s. The project advanced some in the middle part of the decade as the electronics and avionics fits were selected but the key detriment proved to be the required powerplant of which Chinese industry only held experience in producing Soviet copies. The WS-9 in question was based on the British Rolls-Royce "Spey" Mk 202 turbofan and this became the initial choice but problems dictated a shift to the WS-6 series turbofan for the interim. The Soviet Tumansky R-29 turbojet was then studied at length but simply could not provide the necessary power. Nevertheless, the Chinese copy of this engine, the WP-15, was to be featured in the new lightweight fighter for lack of better alternatives.

With ongoing development troubles of the engine and a waning interest in the long-gestating project, the aircraft fell by the wayside as more attention was paid to more promising designs. It was not until the middle part of the 1990s that the J-13 initiative was officially laid to rest. The Chengdu J-10 had earned its stripes as the latest Chinese Air Force entry and the J-13 fell to history as a result. Service introduction of this aircraft came in 2005 with some 400 having been built since (2016).

The finalized J-13 was to feature a slim fuselage with mid-set wing mainplanes. The mainplanes were given straight trailing edges and swept leading edges, meeting a short section of wing root at the fuselage sides. A twin side-mounted intake arrangement was to feed the single jet engine installation which exhausted through a single port under the tail. A single vertical tail fin was to sit on the aft-section of the fuselage coupled with low-mounted horizontal planes. The pilot sat aft of a very sharply-pointed nosecone assembly with a raised fuselage spine blocking his vision to the rear of the aircraft. All-modern electronics and avionics were to be fitted and a traditional tricycle undercarriage would be featured. It is assumed the fighter would have been outfitted with a internal cannon and hardpoints (including wingtip mounts) for air-to-air missiles.

Estimated specifications included a maximum speed of Mach 2.45, a combat radius of 2,3450 kilometers and a service ceiling up to 19,000 meters.


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: 1900mph
Lo: 950mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (1,880mph).

Graph average of 1425 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Shenyang J-13'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 (0)
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.

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