Comparing the Russian Su-33 and Chinese J-15 fighters: Which one’s better?


Published on: Oct 23, 2018 @ 15:42 – The National Interest magazine compared the fourth generation Su-33 Russian fighters and the Chinese J-15 analogue.

According to Charlie Gao’s article in The National Interest, the Chinese J-15 fighter is an “undeveloped version” of Su-33. The Chinese built their fighters based on the Russian prototype T-10K, which had to be significantly refurbished.

The main disadvantage of the J-15 fighter is “the obsolete WS-10 engines,” says Charlie Gao, noting that engine construction remains a major problem for the Asian country, “since it can not produce quality engines to be used in the aerospace industry […]”.

It is also worth noting that the J-15’s excessive weight and take-off mechanism severely limits its ability to operate efficiently, also carrying less arms and fuel. These characteristics are due to the initial structure of the Soviet-designed Liaoning aircraft carrier in the Chinese Navy’s service.

For Charlie Gao, however, the Chinese jet presents some advantages, such as its cabin and the ergonomic shape of the aircraft.

In relation to the Russian fighter Su-33, the expert says that the aircraft needs to undergo some modernization, raising its potential, especially in relation to the use of precision guided munitions and navigation technologies.

“In general, the Su-33 fighter is probably superior to the J-15 fighter, especially in aspects related to engine power and reliability, while the J-15 is a more modern aircraft with a new ergonomic design,” concluded Gao.

However, the Chinese Navy’s J-15 multipurpose fighter is now capable of taking nightly landings and landings, The Global Times reported.

Chinese Navy’s J-15

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The Chinese Navy, quoted by local media, described the new hunting competence as a “landmark” and “significant advance” in the country’s overall attack and defense capabilities.

Military analyst Song Zhongping explained that take-off and landing maneuvers on aircraft carriers are difficult and dangerous even during the day, since the deck of these ships is much smaller than the runway of an airport. In addition, the conditions of the sea and the climate can make the task even more difficult.

“During night fighting, aircraft carriers tend to reduce their illumination, making take-off and landing a much more challenging task for pilots,” Zhongping said.

According to the expert, military conflicts do not occur only during the day, so “it is very important to consider the night operations in the preparations for a possible war.”

The ability of combat aircraft to take off and land in any weather conditions at any time is an important indication that the aircraft carrier has developed full combat capabilities, the Chinese analyst said.

The J-15 took five years to evolve from test flights to pilot training for daytime and finally night flights. Compared with other countries that own aircraft carriers and practiced the technique for decades, China needed very little time, Zhongping said.

In addition to the nightly maneuvers, J-15 pilots have recently performed exercises with various missiles.

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