I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the progress of the J-20 project, because it is the most interesting project going on, but it’s a good time to catch up on the aircraft that are actually been procured by the Chinese air force.
Most recently, huitong’s website listed what appears to be a new PLANAF regiment of J-11B. I was expecting J-11B production to stop with works well under the way for J-15 and J-16 project, but it looks like SAC will produce a few more J-11B/S to complete the 5 PLAAF regiment/brigade and 3 PLANAF regiments. At the same time, we’ve seen the appearance of Serial Number 108 of J-15’s first batch, which would indicate that we have at least 9 (100 to 108) J-15s already painted in PLANAF colors. Since we have yet to see any J-15s from this batch practice takeoff/landing on CV-16, I would imagine they have yet to be delivered. At the same time, we saw J-16s with serial number 1612 and 1613 at SAC from earlier this year. If the prototypes are number 160x, then it would appear 161x may be the first batch of J-16s delivered to PLAAF. If that’s the case, then somewhere around 1 dozen J-15s will probably be delivered to PLANAF while a small number of J-16s will be delivered to PLAAF this year. Going forward, these two projects along with J-15S (and possibly some J-11BS) should carry the load of production at SAC.
Also, a lot of us were surprised earlier this year when J-10s started showing up at the 124th brigade of PLAAF. That was the 10th PLAAF regiment/brigade (also with FTTC and 44th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 24th, 9th, 15th & 12th division) along with one PLANAF regiment. Since J-10B production has already started, the remaining J-10A production from the 7th batch should be going to this brigade. I have already seen Factory serial number 120 on one J-10B in the past month, which would indicate that we should see the first J-10B regiment get most if not all of its aircraft this year. It would not surprise me if the first ones have already been delivered. This first batch of J-10B will be using AL-31FN series 3 engines, which have increased thrust and reliability over the earlier AL-31FNs.
Outside of these 2, I have not seen any new JH-7A unit this year, which could mean the production for it has stopped. It would be replaced by JH-7B and J-16 in service. There is also no sign at the current time that PLAAF will be inducting JF-17 into service, but that may change when they have the domestic engine option available.