Chinese Media Officially Unveils J-15 Flying Shark Carrier-Based Fighter Jet

Chinese state media released on 25 April the first official close-up
pictures of the J-15, which is expected to become the first
carrier-based multirole fighter for the People’s Liberation Army Navy
(PLAN).
The pictures, which showed folding wings, a shortened
tailcone and strengthened landing gear, were released a day after
Chinese defence web sites posted images of the aircraft outside an
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) facility in Shenyang. The
images are the first showing the J-15, nicknamed the ‘Flying Shark’, in
standard PLAN grey.
Analysts believe that Shenyang Aircraft
Corporation, an AVIC subsidiary, obtained a prototype of the
Russian-made Sukhoi Su-33 from Ukraine in 2001 and used it to design the
J-15, reportedly improving the avionics and guidance systems. The J-15
is believed to have carried out its first test flight in mid-2009.
The
release of images comes amid unconfirmed reports that another defence
manufacturer may have test-flown China’s first vertical/short take-off
and landing (VSTOL) prototype aircraft – reportedly also based on an
Su-33 – earlier in April.
Although China’s Ministry of National
Defence has yet to confirm the news, reports claim the J-18 Hong Ying
(Red Eagle) also has foldable wings and will be carrier based.