China unveils J-11BH with WS-10 engines from southern theater

China CCTV’s “Military Channel” reported on February 8, Beijing time, the flight training footage of the PLA Navy Air Force, and the much-watched J-11BH fighter jet appeared.

According to the report, a brigade of the PLA’s naval aviation force in the southern theater continuously launched flight training in the South China Sea for air combat, attack and defense, and low-altitude assault courses, laying a solid foundation for the force to perform combat readiness training tasks.

The protagonist of the mission is the J-11BH fighter aircraft, which is the naval model of the J-11B, a deeply localized version of the Chinese J-11 fighter aircraft, adopting Chinese domestic avionics and weapon systems, glass cockpit, changing Chinese domestic Doppler radar, and using more advanced telemetry control system.

In 2014, a J-11BH fighter jet did a beautiful “barrel roll” in the process of intercepting a U.S. P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft.

It is worth noting that the J-11BH fighter on this mission is slightly different from the previous ones, its tail nozzle is distinctly silvery-white, apparently having been replaced with Chinese domestic WS-10 (Taihang) engines.

This is the first high-profile appearance of the WS-10 version of the J-11BH fighter. In the past, like the J-11B, the J-11BH was shown with Russian-made AL-31 engines. In fact, even the single-engine J-10C fighter started to change to WS-10 engine in 2021, and the dual-engine J-11BH has been expected to gradually change to Chinese national engines.

Just in terms of the J-11 fighter platform, leaving aside the J-16 fighter that used the Chinese domestic engine from the beginning and the early part of the trial version of J-11B, around 2015, the mass changeover of WS-10 engines appeared on the two-seat version of J-11BS. In recent years, more and more J-11Bs have also started to be equipped with Chinese engines.

At present, only the J-15 “flying shark” is still using Russian engines. According to some media analysis, it is believed that with the gradual maturity of the J-15T, this “Chinese fighter Russian heart” transition phenomenon will soon become a thing of the past.

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