More imagery has been released through the Chinese media showing the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark, a “Flanker” derivative intended for service aboard China's first aircraft carrier. The new material includes video of the fighter taking off.
The J-15 is a Chinese development of the Sukhoi Su-33, a prototype of which (T-10K-3) was purchased from Ukraine in 2001. China had earlier attempted to buy Su-33s from Russia, but negotiations ended amid controversy over Shenyang's unlicensed copying of the land-based Su-27 to produce the J-11B.
Unsurprisingly, the J-15 has features similar to those of the Su-33, including folding wings and a shortened tail sting to allow greater rotation angles. However, the J-15 has Chinese avionics based on those developed for the J-11B, and some aerodynamic refinements. Power for the initial batch of aircraft at least, is the Russian-supplied AL-31, although the indigenous WS-10 may be used in later aircraft.
The first J-15 prototype is believed to have flown on Aug. 31, 2009, and photos of the aircraft began to emerge in May 2010. The first ski-jump takeoff tests were undertaken at a dummy deck in Xian the same month, and a further dummy deck installation has been constructed at Huludao.
Meanwhile, the People´s Liberation Army Navy is completing the refurbishment of the ski jump-equipped carrier “Varyag,” which was acquired from Ukraine in 1998 and towed to China in 2001/2. The vessel has been undergoing a major refit and refurbishment at Dalian since 2005, and is expected to begin sea trials this summer. The name “Shi Lang” has been associated with the vessel.