How Dangerous is the Chinese Navy’s Fighter Aircraft, J-11BH?

How Dangerous is the Chinese Navy's New Fighter Aircraft, J-11BH?

China has put the J-11BH fighter jet into service. It is a fully modernized version of the J-11B with an advanced sensor equivalent to the fifth generation.

Although air units have deployed the J-11 BG fighter jet, a modernized version of the J-11B fighter jet, in recent years, the launch of the J-11BH variant for the navy is a huge step forward for the Chinese military.

China’s naval fleet is believed to have over 200 J-11B fighters, which are the main aircraft used. The Chinese navy owns almost 40% of these fighters, which can carry ECM pods and large missile payloads.

The J-11B fighter was introduced in 2008 and is considered the most capable fighter. This high combat performance reduced China’s need to purchase heavy fighters from Russia.

At the same time, China is planning a successor to the J-11B, the J-11D, which will use a more composite airframe, AESA radar and advanced avionics that will make the J-11 very capable and could become the most advanced non-stealth heavy fighter in the world.

Although production of the new aircraft began in 2018, plans for a successor to the J-11D are said to have been canceled or delayed despite reaching the advanced prototype stage. Instead, China seems to have decided to focus on modernizing the J-11B fleet with avionics and sensors comparable to the J-11D without investing in constructing the new composite airframe.

How Dangerous is the Chinese Navy's New Fighter Aircraft, J-11BH?

The Chinese side said that the J-11B squadron equipped with original AL-31 engines from Russia will also gradually be phased out. Instead, J-11 will use the domestic WS-10 engine as part of the modernization effort.

The above images of the J-11BH show that the improved J-11 fighter jet carries the PL-10 short-range air-to-air missile like the J-20, which is considered the most capable missile for attacking a target at very limited angles.

The aircraft can also be armed with long-range missiles such as the PL-15, which has an estimated range of 200-300km and uses AESA radar for guidance. Thus, it is also considered one of the most capable 4.5th-generation fighters in the world.

The J-11B is also speculated to be able to use the much larger and longer-range PL-XX missile. Some experts believe that the PL-XX has a range of more than 500km, the longest in the world, and is used to neutralize support aircraft such as refueling aircraft and early warning aircraft.

The J11-BH can use the long-range PL-15, and the PL-XX will be based on integrating modern AESA radars, providing a detection range against large enemy aircraft estimated at 400km.

AESA radars are difficult to jam, and combined with new cockpit displays, navigation systems and data links, these upgrades have effectively revolutionized the J-11 B’s capabilities.

With the J-11B being a relatively new fighter, the Chinese military can eliminate aircraft based on the same Flanker family of heavy airframe designs as the J-11A, Su-30MKK, and Su-30MK2.