China’s multi-role fighter jet the J-16 is now covered by a cloaking coating that can provide near stealth capability and the jet is now confirmed to be able to carry all types of air-to-surface weapons in precision strikes, China’s State broadcaster revealed on Monday.
An aviation brigade under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted day and night mock battle exercises with J-16s, reported China Central Television (CCTV).
“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
Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, 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, Fu said. 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.
Jiang also revealed that all types of Chinese air-to-surface weapons currently in service with the PLA can be installed on the J-16.
This means the J-16 can use a wide collection of air-to-ground missiles, bombs and anti-ship missiles, Fu said, noting that the multi-role fighter jet can carry several tons of munitions and launch multiple waves of attack before it runs out of ammunition.
The J-16 is reportedly capable of carrying at least eight tons of weapons.
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).