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Column: Military MightPublished: February 25, 2008TOOLBAR

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Add CommentsHONG KONG, China, Based on the design of the Russian Sukhoi

Su-27SK fighter, China has come up with its own domestic version, the J-11B

multi-function fighter. Three J-11B prototypes have been manufactured since

2006. After their factory flight tests, they have been evaluated by the

People's Liberation Army Air Force 1st Fighter Division, based in Anshan in

China's northeast Liaoning province.

A Chinese military industry source has confirmed that pre-production of the

fighters will begin this year. "We will not need to assemble more Su-27SKs,

because it is old technology given from Russia," the source said.

The J-11B has undergone drastic changes from the original Russian design. A

source from the Chinese aerospace industry says that except for the

Russian-made engines, 90 percent of the major subsystems fitted on the

J-11B, including the radar and optical electronic systems, are made by

China. The Chinese aviation company AVIC 1 has already completed testing the

1474 serial radar system to be deployed in the J-11B. The fighter's weapons

will also integrate indigenous systems.

A Chinese pilot with more than 20 years of flight experience expressed his

high opinion of the Su-27 fighter, describing it as "very easy to fly."

However, as the source from the Chinese military industry points out, some

of the parts used on the Su-27SK have a very short lifespan, which has led

to a high rate of technical accidents. For instance, frequent problems with

the fighter's infrared search and track system have restricted its use in

the regular training of combat forces.

To investigate this issue, the author paid a special visit to the Ural

Optical and Mechanical Complex in Ekaterinburg, Russia. A Russian source

revealed that the company had signed two contracts with a Chinese company to

supply parts for an updated IRST system, the OLS-31E. Execution of the

contract, valued at US$1 million, began in 2007.

Research and development of the China-made IRST system to be fitted on the

J-11B fighters is already completed. The physical appearance of this new

IRST is very close to the original Russian OLS-31E, making it appear to be

an imitation edition of the Russian system with some upgrades. In fact, the

overall performance of the J-11B is now on a par with the Russian-edition


The J-11B's fire control radar system uses mechanical scanning, integrates

more functions and features a modular design. The fighter also features

substantial changes in the fire control system and the cockpit so the J-11B

will be able to fire China's indigenous PL-12 air-to-air missiles and a

whole series of other precision-guided weapons. The cockpit has three large

color multifunctional displays and two small color multifunctional displays.

In recent years, China's pace of development in airborne equipment has been

very fast. The design of its J-10B cockpit has been quite precocious; the

rear cockpit seems to have four multifunctional color displays and two small

multifunctional displays.

In addition, the J-11B will be fitted with China's indigenous strapdown

inertial navigation system, 3-axix data system, power supply system,

emergency power unit, brake system, hydraulic system, fuel system,

environment control system and molecular sieve oxygen generation systems.

The fact that China is producing a large proportion of the J-11B parts

domestically indicates that its demand for parts imported from Russia will

decline dramatically during the second phase of the fighter's production.

Also, some of the subsystems and equipment are compatible with those used in

the J-10A and J-10B fighters.

It is expected that the J-11B's flight control system will also be

manufactured in China. This was the leading reason why Russia could not

determine whether China would continue to produce Su-27SK fighters in the

next phase. In reality, the joint contract between Russia and China for the

Su-27SK/J-11 development has now been virtually abandoned by the Chinese

side without any consultation with Russia.

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no, they are a really improved unlicenced copy!

well poor russians.... is for that i agree the US policy to don't sell technology to anywone.

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