J-15 Carrier Multirole Fighter thread


Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
J-15 is PLAN's main fighter whether people like it or not. There's no foreseeable replacement and even if J-35 or even J-20 carrier variant/s are near completion, it's unlikely the J-15 will be completely abandoned. PLAN has built up a fair bit of experience with the J-15 now. 003 is only going to improve on the J-15's abilities. An electronic warfare version of the J-15 exists at least in prototype and the line can be further improved with an MLU ala J-11BG.

An AESA J-15 carrying next generation missiles flying with full fuel and weapons load off a CATOBAR carrier is going to be quite a beast. Combine it with J-35 or J-20 flying in front. PLAN needs a missile truck with excellent range. Now if only it could supercruise, they'd have the perfect carrier fighter to complement 5th gens.
I'm going to give you a LIKE for your first sentence! If I could, I would give you 10, I'd give you another 10 for, "003 is only going to improve on the J-15's abilities"!

well stated, it then is a bit of a mystery why we aren't seeing more J-15s in production? lack of aircrew is most certainly not the reason? hopefully at some point someone will actually "fill in the blanks" for us, but I do expect to see a healthy number of J-15's on Chinese carriers for the foreseeable future, just as the USN will continue to support and fly the Super Hornet!
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
I'm going to give you a LIKE for your first sentence! If I could, I would give you 10, I'd give you another 10 for, "003 is only going to improve on the J-15's abilities"!

well stated, it then is a bit of a mystery why we aren't seeing more J-15s in production? lack of aircrew is most certainly not the reason? hopefully at some point someone will actually "fill in the blanks" for us, but I do expect to see a healthy number of J-15's on Chinese carriers for the foreseeable future, just as the USN will continue to support and fly the Super Hornet!
Honestly my guess is production was paused due to program timing. Consider these things:

1. PLAN only had one working carrier in service and would only have one for many years. The second carrier is based off the Varyag as well but with further modification on top of 001's. These modifications were made based on the lessons learned from both sea ops and operating the J-15. So at most PLAN will have two operable carriers for at least a decade from 001 in service until 003 in service. This is quite a long time for a fighter development to stay static. Having only two carriers with fighters custom "designed" for them, there isn't much point building a whole bunch when you will need to upgrade those fighters soon and while you're upgrading them you would also be tailoring them to the 003 and future carriers.

2. There seemed to be some problems with the flight control. You don't want to build a hundred fighters with a known problem without resolving it first.

3. J-11B receiving upgrades while J-15 seems to also desperately need a modernisation. It came out seemingly more lacking at least in the radar department despite PLAAF's fighters featuring higher end electronics during the same time period. This could be because more time and effort was required to make the fighter carrier capable and corrosion resistant.

I think these things point towards PLAN waiting for a "J-15G" which solves the FCS issue, receives comprehensive upgrades (also to network with future naval assets like AWACS and drones), is more tailored for 003 (landing + CATOBAR), and features WS-10H if it becomes ready. Even though WS-10 variants have proven remarkable reliability after nearly 10 years of service without issue and CAC is comfortable enough with it on their single engined baby, corrosion and operating it in a carrier environment is a totally different set of engineering challenges and who knows when the H variant will become reliable enough for PLAN to bet everything on. One oversight and the whole fleet will need engine replacements.

There are quite a few things it would be waiting for depending on how desperately PLAN needs them ready but the development timing will almost definitely align with 003. So we'll need to watch 003 to really know when to expect a new J-15.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
Maybe the reason question why we don't see more J-15s in production is because we don't have a god-like omnipotent access to the issue.

I feel there are a lot of things going on that we just don't see.

We should not overestimate social media's access to sensitive military developments. Its like the Type 075. We don't see it happening till it did. At some point, even early this year, there were people already doubting it may ever exist.

So the answer is, just keep tuning in to the forums and social media till something pops up.

As for the J-11BG's radar on the J-15, the radar would have to compensate for the sea environment and sea clutter. So additional development work has to be done. And then it would to be approved by the PLAN with its own certification process.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
There are quite a few things it would be waiting for depending on how desperately PLAN needs them ready but the development timing will almost definitely align with 003. So we'll need to watch 003 to really know when to expect a new J-15.
002 carrier will also need planes, so I'd venture to guess we'll see first new J15s within months from the commissioning of the carrier. And a gradual ramp up, so by the end of 2021 002 carrier will finally have a full combat roster of additional 24 J15s. At which point we may see catapult-using variant of J15 getting made in some small numbers, for the 003 carrier.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
How can J-15 be total rubbish if everything from J-11b and J-16 are not and PLAAF could not get enough of them in the past and continue with J-16 orders and SAC continue with modifications and upgrades. J-15 in overall capability (not counting carrier capable) is not behind J-11B for air to air at all. The only possible issue that still persists even today could be the FCS problem which resulted in at least two accidents. Of course if this hasn't been resolved and for some reason cannot possibly be resolved due to an inherent design flaw, then yes it is almost totally rubbish. However this is most unlikely since the original problems were probably more software bugs for canard control.

It'll be fun watching PLAN reveal the carrier fighter/s for 003. My money is that we'll see J-15 or J-15 based newer blocks for 002 and 003. The flanker is probably the best 4h gen airframe. Give it upgraded subsurface equipment, the latest weapons, and a good set of engines, it'll chew up any 4th gen fighter and possibly better if future radars and missiles take away VLO's specialty. J-15 therefore has the potential to be the best naval fighter for PLAN if it receives those back end upgrades and resolves any persisting FCS problems. Why give up on a perfectly decent fighter due to one flaw? It's like binning a Ferrari because you need to redesign the brakes and give it a new set of tires.

Of course all these upgrades and potential redesign or debugging is going to cost a lot of time and money. It could be decided that J-35 is good enough and almost ready as the only fighter for 003 and beyond. But they've had years to work on the J-15 modernised version so if they've been working on it, we should see it on the 003.
 
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snake65

Junior Member
VIP Professional
Or simply J15 is total rubbish and PLAN is not happy and looking for alternative

even the carrier trainer never materialised

There could be a under lying problem
It does not have to be total rubbish at all. Just being too big and heavy for medium sized STOBAR carrier is enough.
 

Intrepid

Captain
PLAN is happy. But PLAN also knows that the J-15 is just an interim solution. That's why not so many are built. It just needs to be enough to build a core of experienced flight instructors who are responsible for pilot training as soon as the first supercarriers go into service.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
It does not have to be total rubbish at all. Just being too big and heavy for medium sized STOBAR carrier is enough.
Basic design has good AoA pointability and low speed handling characteristics. That's very essential for a carrier fighter and makes a lot of difference for carrier take offs and landings. Much better to take a large fighter with high AoA at low speeds over a medium fighter that does not perform as well on that envelope.
 

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