The first clear images of the new Shenyang J-15D electronic attack aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) have appeared online. The heavily reworked Chinese development of the Flanker family is also understood to carry the designation J-17. Meanwhile, some enthusiasts have dubbed it the ‘Chinese-Growler’, on account of a suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) role presumed analogous to that of the US Navy’s EA-18G Growler.
Indeed, the ‘Chinese-Growler’ name is not too far-fetched, since the aircraft apparently follows a similar development path to the EA-18G, which was evolved from the two-seat F/A-18F. The J-15D is based on the dual-seat J-15S trainer, which first flew on November 3, 2012, and also incorporates technologies from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s J-16D – itself an electronic warfare variant of the twin-seat Shenyang J-16 strike fighter.
According to reliable sources, a first J-15D testbed was first flown back in October 2016 and this latest aircraft is the first true prototype.
Characteristic features of the J-15D include two huge electronic warfare pods on the wingtips that likely contain either electronic support measures (ESM) or electronic intelligence (ELINT) equipment.
Based on the latest reports, development of the J-15S has meanwhile been abandoned and the project merged with the J-15D to create a true multi-role J-17 carrier variant. Andreas Rupprecht
September 2018The September issue sees the AFM team reflect on a busy month, with Farnborough International Airshow hot on the heels of the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT). Publication of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy was just one of the talking points at the shows and we investigate the new, next-generation fighter concept – the Tempest. We also caught up with one of the stars of RIAT – the Rafale Solo Display.
Dr Andreas Zeitler was at Hatzerim Air Base to witness the Israeli Air Force’s impressive graduation ceremony – a rare chance to get a glimpse of the air arm in action – while coverage of this year’s centenary celebrations in Poland turns its attention to the naval aviation arm, a relatively little-known element of that country’s military. The US Marine Corps is intent on improving its KC-130 fleet, as Joe Copalman discovers, and we also look at the specialist close air support work of No 4 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Other units under the spotlight include the Italian Army’s 5° Reggimento Aviazione dell’Esercito ‘Rigel’, which flies the powerful AH-129 Mangusta, iconic UH-205A ‘Huey’ and the all-new UH-90A, and we look back at highpoints in the history of 1 Squadron of the Belgian Air Component, which celebrated 100 years of operations last year. The once mighty fleet of Be-12 amphibians operated by the Russian naval air arm has dwindled to just a handful. Alexander Mladenov provides an overview of the last survivors.
Regular features include Exercise Reports from Thracian Eagle in Bulgaria and Sky Avenger in the Czech Republic – both featuring US Air National Guard fighters – plus the first instalment of a Force Report on the Republic of China Air Force. Our regular columnist Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE reflects on the airborne early warning mission, and you’ll find the latest attrition and military aviation news from around the world.