China ramping up production of J15 fighter jet and HK6 bomber with cruise missiles

New photos that have appeared on Chinese aviation websites suggest that mass production of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 carrier-based multirole fighter is gathering pace.

Two new J-15 aircraft, numbered 104 and 105, are ready for delivery by SAC to the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF). The new additions take the total of known J-15 aircraft to 11, including prototypes.

Two new Shenyang J-15 aircraft, numbered 104 and 105, are ready for delivery by SAC to the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF). Source: via Chinese internet

At the same time testing continues with the J-15S, the twin-seat variant of the J-15. New photos show a bright yellow prototype conducting flight tests. The aircraft appears to be very close to production status.

[Strategy Page] The Chinese have a lot of experience stealing foreign technology, so the J-15 may well turn out to be at least as good as the Su-33. China openly boasts of the J-15 being the equivalent of the 30 ton American F-18E. That remains to be seen, and right now the 33 ton J-15 seems more like the earlier 23 ton F-18A.

China is expected to get some Russian SU35 jets late in 2014.

The increasingly modern PLAAF aircraft seemed to be the top concern of the Pentagon in a 2014 report. In 2013, for instance, the Pentagon report noted that, although China is fielding more and more 4th generation aircraft, “the force still consists mostly of older 2nd and 3rd generation aircraft, or upgraded variants of those aircraft.” By contrast, the report this year stated that although the PLAAF continues to operate 2nd and 3rd generation aircraft, it will likely become a majority 4th generation Air Force within the next several years.

The report also noted for the first time China’s efforts to procure Su-35 aircraft from Russia, along with its “advanced IRBIS-E passive electronically scanned array radar system.” If Beijing is successful in purchasing these aircraft, the Pentagon assesses that they will likely enter service between 2016 and 2018. As Peter Wood wrote in The Diplomat back in November, the Su-35 should significantly enhance China’s ability to project air power in the South China Sea.

China has developed the H-6K bomber variant with new turbofan engines for extended range. It is believed to be capable of carrying six LACMs. Modernizing the H-6 into a cruise missile carrier has given the PLA Air Force a long-range stand-off offensive capability with precision-guided munitions.

[Omega World News] In 2013, The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently received 15 Xian H-6K bombers with nuclear capabilities.

The H-6K can carry cruise missiles under its wings. The H6-K also maneuvers more deftly than the H-6 and requires a smaller crew to operate. H-6K reportedly has a combat radius of 3,500 km. It can carry weapons in the internal weapon bay and on four underwing pylons. The nuclear-capable Changjian-10 (long sword) CJ-10A cruise missiles it carries have a range of 1,500-2,000 km, effectively extending the bomber’s combat range to 4,000-5,000 km – long enough to reach Okinawa, Guam and even Hawaii from China’s mainland.

HK6 bomber

The Sukhoi SU-35 is described at wikipedia

China is also fielding Submarines with Nuclear missiles

China is expected to pass a military milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.

Chinese already has nuclear-powered submarines and hunter killer submarines.

China has fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas.

This also means that China will join Russia and the United States as a country with the strategic nuclear triad of strategic bombers, nuclear missile submarines and land based nuclear missiles.

SOURCE – IHS Janes 360, Strategy Page, The Diplomat, Omega World News