Beijing: China’s J-16 fighter jets introduced to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, Chinese military reported.
At least two new squadrons of J-16 fighter jets have been added or are in the process of converting to J-16 squadrons, Defense News reported Wednesday, citing images recently published by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense. With the additions, the PLAAF has at least three J-16 units in its arsenal: the 172nd, the 173rd and the 98th brigades, Defense News noted.
The J-16 is an indigenously built fighter modeled after Russia’s multi-role Su-30 Flanker fighter jet, which aviation experts consider to fare favorably against the US F-15 Strike Eagle. China’s air force and navy also operate the Su-30. The J-16 is more advanced that the J-11 (which is itself modeled on the closely related Su-27) in the sense that it is well-suited for ground strike missions as well as air-to-air combat.
J-16s entered the PLAAF in small numbers in 2015, Defense News notes, adding that wider introduction was postponed in order to better develop the electronically scanned array radar for the aircraft.