The interesting photo in this post shows a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 fighter jet wearing a new silver-gray scheme which according to Chinese sources is able to give the aircraft a certain stealth capability.
“Brigade commander Jiang Jiaji, the first pilot to win the PLA’s Golden Helmet competition three times, told CCTV at the exercise that the silver-gray painting covering the J-16 is a kind of cloaking coating that gives the warplane a certain stealth capability, making it nearly invisible to the naked eye and electromagnetic devices,” China’s state owned Global Times reported in January.
A claim confirmed by Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, who told the Global Times “that the aerodynamic design of the J-16 stresses maneuverability rather than stealth, but the coating can make it more difficult to detect.
“The stealth coating can reduce detection of the J-16 by radar. The jet’s camouflaged coloring makes the aircraft blend into the sky and sea, so that the enemy will only recognize it at close range, giving it a huge advantage in combat,” Fu said.
Tall claims or facts, you decide.
The J-16 is a reverse-engineered J-11BS and is an indigenous fighter-bomber equivalent to the Su-30MKK. As told by Andreas Rupprecht and Tom Cooper in their book Modern Chinese Warplanes, the J-16 reportedly performed its maiden flight in October 2011, but the first sample of the aircraft (with serial number 1601) was only spotted in September 2012. In contrast to the J-11BS it features twin-wheel nose gear, refueling probe and the taller vertical fins of the Su-30MKK (albeit with the standard ‘clipped’ fin tips).
Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most-read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
This first appeared in Aviation Geek Club here.
Photo credit: People’s Liberation Army Air Force /Chinese Military.