China still wants the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter jet despite launching a new fighter jet last week.
As noted last week, China conducted the first test flight of the J-11D on April 29. The plane is an upgraded version of the J-11B fighter jets, which themselves are copies of the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27. Perhaps most notable of the J11-D’s upgrades is that it reportedly incorporates the J-16’s advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
As Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer have said of the AESA, “The AESA radar allows the J-16 to intercept enemy aircraft at longer ranges than either of its predecessors, and to attack multiple surface targets simultaneously. The AESA radar would also be datalinked to other Chinese platforms, including unmanned vehicles, to increase their situational awareness.”
As I mentioned in last week’s article, some analysts have been comparing the J-11D to Russia’s Su-35.
However, according to Want China Times, which cites an article in the Beijing-based Sina Military Network, China will still look to acquire Russia’s Su-35 even with the new J-11Ds.
“The Su-35 is necessary because it bridges the gap in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force prior to the introduction of China’s new fifth-generation fighter jets, the [Sina] report said, adding that without Su-35s China would need to figure out how it would go up against Japan’s F-35s and India’s Su-30MKI and T-50 aircraft,” Want China Times writes.