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China Navy to deploy J-35 fighter jets on its aircraft carrier Liaoning.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Global Times on February 19, 2024, China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is on the verge of completing a significant upgrade, with recent reports revealing the presence of a stealth fighter jet mockup, identified as the J-35, on its deck.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Chinese PLA Navy's aircraft carrier Liaoning. (Picture source: China MoD)

This development indicates that China's advanced carrier-based fighter jet will not only be deployed on the new, catapult-equipped Fujian carrier but also on the ramp-assisted Liaoning and Shandong carriers.

This move indicates a strategic endeavor by China to close the technological and operational gap between its naval aviation capabilities and those of the leading naval powers, particularly the United States.

Despite the extensive work, external modifications to the Liaoning appear minimal. The focus of the upgrade has been on internal enhancements, including support for new aircraft types and advancements in command and control systems.

This extensive maintenance period, surpassing the typical duration, suggests a comprehensive upgrade beyond regular upkeep. The testing of both the J-35 and the J-15 models on the Liaoning's deck highlights a strategic diversification in the carrier's aircraft lineup.

 The J-35 is poised to take on roles requiring air superiority and deep penetration into enemy defenses, while the J-15 continues to serve as a crucial component for anti-ship and attack missions due to its large payload capacity.

Technical data of the J-35 Stealth Fighter

The J-35 stealth fighter features a design for a single pilot and measures 17.3 meters in length. Its dimensions, including an 11.5-meter wingspan and a height of 4.8 meters, are optimized for both aerodynamic efficiency and compatibility with aircraft carriers. The aircraft has a wing area of 50 square meters, enhancing its lift capabilities and maneuverability.

It has a maximum takeoff weight of 28,000 kg and is propelled by two WS-13 afterburning turbofan engines. Each engine delivers a dry thrust of 56.75 kN, which increases to 87.2 kN with afterburner, allowing the aircraft to achieve speeds up to Mach 1.8 at high altitudes and Mach 1.14 at sea level.

The J-35's operational range is 1,200 km on internal fuel, which extends to 1,900 km with in-flight refueling, offering considerable versatility in mission planning. It can operate at altitudes up to 16,000 meters, facilitating engagements above most ground-based defense systems.

Equipped with six external hardpoints and an internal weapons bay, the J-35 has the capacity to carry up to 8,000 kilograms of munitions. Its payload includes an assortment of medium-range air-to-air missiles, supersonic air-to-ground missiles, and bombs.

The aircraft's advanced avionics suite encompasses the KLJ-7A AESA radar, a distributed aperture system for situational awareness, and an electro-optical targeting system, enhancing its combat effectiveness.

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