The Shenyang J-11 is based on the Soviet-Russian Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" air-superiority fighter series with some local modifications to suit Chinese air force requirements. As with other Russian-originated, Chinese-produced jets, the J-11 is therefore nothing short of a Chinese copy of the Russian product. The aircraft is produced locally under the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation banner and mimics the Russian design quite closely with most of the modifications being internal in nature. The J-11 enjoys a top speed of Mach 2.35 with a range out to 2,070 miles and a service ceiling of 62,500 feet. A rate-of-climb of 64,000 feet per minute is reported making her a capable fighter mount on par with other 4th Generation types currently in service. In all, some 120 J-11s are thought to be in service with the PLAAF with more believed on order (as many as 90 examples). Its presence will only likely grow in the near future as China expands is military capabilities in the region.
China became the first foreign, non-Soviet nation to be given rights to procure and operate the highly-touted Su-27 in 1992. Three years later, China entered into a joint agreement with Russia to obtain a local-production license for manufacture of the Su-27SK air superiority fighter - the agreement was for 200 aircraft. The following year, China received a joint production contract with the Sukhoi concern for indigenous construction of Su-27s via kit components supplied by the Russians while the Chinese beginning to rely more and more on their own internal production facilities. Within the Chinese inventory, the initial Su-27SK models were designated as the "J-11" to which NATO assigned the codename of "Flanker B+" to the type. The first J-11 was showcased in December of 1998 with serial production beginning two years later following technological delays.
While the J-11 signaled a major step forwards for the People's Liberation Army Air Force, it still relied heavily upon Russian-supplied components and munitions - in particular, the "smart" weapons associated with the latest types, the fire-control radar, powerplants and the all-important avionics. The Chinese Su-27SKs also inherently lacked the multirole capabilities that the PLAAF sought. Therefore, the PLAAF shored up their reliance on Sukhoi and the Russian partnership and chose instead to develop these high-end technologies indigenously. According to some sources (and in true Chinese fashion), this involved the Chinese reverse-engineering the available Russian technologies in their possession to benefit future local development to which the Russians, in protest, canceled their Su-27SK arrangement with the Chinese. Production of the original J-11s lasted up to about 95 to 100 aircraft based on reports. In one last-ditch attempt, Sukhoi marketed the improved multi-role Su-27SKM to the Chinese but failed to convince them otherwise.
The Chinese moved ahead in their attempt to develop a largely indigenous version of the Su-27, complete with dual-role capabilities to handle both air- and ground-based threats through indigenous facilities. The initial J-11 fighter models were only truly cleared to fire air-to-air missiles with some accuracy, with strike capabilities was a distant secondary role and this further limited to conventional drop bombs at that. Additionally, the revised local-production aircraft would be stocked with Chinese engines, avionics and weapon systems (including locally-designed PL-series missiles and guided bombs) as required of the type. Power for this new form was to be the Chinese copy of the Russian Lyulka Saturn AL-31F series turbofan engines with the hope being that one day these could be replaced by the indigenous Woshan WS-10A "Taihang" turbofan series of engines (29,101lbf with afterburning) of similar capabilities. The new aircraft became known under the Shenyang designation of "J-11B" and was first recognized in 2002.
The J-11 series maintains the appearance of the original Su-27 Flanker series to a tee. The cockpit is situated well-forward in the well-contoured nose behind a nosecone assembly housing the internal radar facilities. The wings are set well-aft of amidships and swept rearwards with straight wingtips. The fuselage is wide with air intakes along the bottom facing, aspirating the twin engine layout. The engines are well-spaced apart and further divided at the rear of the design by a small tail fairing "stinger" type protrusion. The empennage is conventional in nature, consisting of a pair of rear-swept vertical tail fins and applicable horizontal tail planes, also swept. The undercarriage is fully retractable and consists of two main legs and a nose landing gear leg.
To date, there are a handful of J-11 variants beginning with the initial J-11. J-11 signifies the Chinese-built, Russian-supplied Su-27SK air superiority models. The J-11A was improved with better radar avionics and a new Chinese-developed Helmet-Mounted Sight (HMS). The J-11B marked the Chinese departure from Russian reliance as these became the much-needed multirole variant that the PLAAF required. The J-11BS is a two-seat trainer derivative of the J-11B that incorporates a second instructor's cockpit in tandem with the student cockpit (at the expense of internal volume) though retains full combat-capability. The J-11BS is currently in development as of this writing with a prototype believed to have been lost in 2009. The J-11BH is believed to be a navalized form of the J-11B multirole mount and became first known in 2010. Now that the Chinese Navy is completing work an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier, the J-11BH will have found a home on the high seas.
One of the more distinct J-11 developments currently under consideration is the J-16 which is thought to be a highly "stealthified" mount incorporating the latest in Chinese technology as well as proven stealth characteristics. The J-16 is purported to have revised engine intake openings, possibly modified engine exhaust ports to reduce the aircraft's heat signature, vertical tail fins canted outwards of centerline and an internal weapons bay to reduce the radar cross section. Still other stealthy developments are thought to exist using the J-17, J-18 and J-19 designations.
Armament for the J-11 series involves the standard Russian-developed 1 x 30mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 internal cannon afforded 150 rounds of ammunition. For the air defense role, the J-11 can be outfitted with a variety of Chinese-engineered and Russian-inspired air-to-air homing missile systems including the PL-8, PL-9 and PL-12 as well as the Vympel R-27, R-73 and R-77 series. For the ground-attack role, the J-11 takes on rocket pods (unguided rockets) and conventional drop bombs including cluster types. With more advanced attack radars, the J-11 will finally be cleared for use with Chinese laser-guided munitions and other "smart" ordnance as available. The J-11 enjoys a healthy reach across ten external hardpoints including two wingtip mounts, four underwing, two near the air intakes and two underfuselage.
In late April of 2015 it was reported that a J-11D prototype had completed a maiden flight over the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation airfield. This airframe was noted with a portside in-flight refueling probe and was outfitted with systems developed for the J-16 fighter program.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 10
J-11 - Initial Production Forms; based on Russian Su-27SK.
J-11A - Upraded J-11 Production Models
J-11B - Indigenous Chinese Multirole Variant.
J-11BS - Two-Seat Trainer Variant; combat-capable platform.
J-11BH - Navalized Conversion Model of the J-11B production form; appearing in 2010.
J-16 - Upgraded J-11B; believed fitted with internal weapons bay; stealth features.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (1,553mph).
Graph average of 1,200 miles-per-hour.
Shenyang J-11 (Flanker B+) operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (255)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com 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 gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.