China has put the J-11BH fighter jet into service, which 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 This is a huge step forward for the Chinese military
More than 200 J-11B fighters are believed to be in service with China’s fleets, which make the J-11 backbone of China’s naval fleet. Nearly 40% of the J-11 belongs to the Chinese navy, this aircraft is capable of carrying ECM pod and large missile payload.
When it entered service around 2008, the J-11B was the most capable fighter, and its high combat performance greatly reduced China’s interest in purchasing heavy fighters from Russia.
At the same time, China is planning a successor to the J-11B, the J-11D, which will use the 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 the construction of the new composite airframe.
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 attack an 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, so it is also considered one of the most capable 4.5th generation fighter 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, used to neutralize support aircraft such as refueling aircraft, early warning aircraft
The J11-BH can use the long-range PL-15 and also the PL-XX will be based on the integration of modern AESA radars providing a detection range against large enemy aircraft estimated at 400km. AESA radars are difficult to jam, combined with new cockpit displays, navigation systems and data links, these upgrades have effectively revolutionized the J-11B’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.