China is developing a new fighter jet for aircraft carriers to replace its J-15s after a series of mechanical failures and crashes, as it tries to build up a blue-water navy that can operate globally, military experts and sources said.
The J-15 was based on a prototype of the fourth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-33 twin-engined air superiority fighter, a design that is more than 30 years old. It was developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, a unit of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
With a maximum take-off weight of 33 tonnes, the aircraft is the heaviest active carrier-based fighter jet in the world, used on China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
China needs to develop the new fighter jet as it plans to create at least four aircraft carrier groups to fulfil its global navy ambitions and defend its growing overseas interests, Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said.
“In order to improve the combat effectiveness of the Chinese aircraft carrier strike groups, it is necessary to develop a new carrier-based fighter,” Li said, adding that the FC-31 stealth fighter could be used as a model to replace the J-15. (end of excerpt)
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