Shenyang J-8 Finback
The Shenyang J-8 (Jian-8; NATO reporting name: Finback; Chinese: 歼-8) is a high-speed, high-altitude Chinese-built single-seat interceptor fighter aircraft.
The effort to develop an all-weather interceptor began in full in 1964 and this produced the first Chinese-designed and built jet fighter to combat new, high altitude threats such as the B-58 Hustler bomber, F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber and Lockheed U-2 spy plane. In 1964 the People's Liberation Army Air Force requested an aircraft from Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and the 601 Institute to develop a fighter/interceptor to counter bombers and spy planes as the, then, newly introduced Chengdu J-7 (a reverse engineered MiG-21F-13) was incapable of doing so. The prototype took its maiden flight in 1969. Despite the early mid to late 1960s origins of the J-8, due to political turmoils such as the Cultural Revolution, the J-8 was not produced until 1979 and entered service in 1980. Its basic configuration resembles an enlargement of the delta-wing of the J-7, with two Liyang (LMC) Wopen-7A turbojet engines and a maximum speed of Mach 2.2. The twin engined J-8 competed with rival Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group's single, turbofan powered engine, canard-delta J-9 project and ultimately emerged as the victor largely due to the existing availability of the former's MiG-21 based powerplant and proven layout, while the J-9 project was cancelled in 1980 due to difficulty in creating a suitably powerful engine.
In order to house a large radar set, the design called for a solid nose and variable geometry side air intakes. However, the lack of familiarity with this type of intake meant the J-8 had to settle for a MiG-21 style nose intake. The solid nose J-8 was finally realized in the J-8II (Finback-B), which was based on the layout of the Soviet Sukhoi Su-15 Flagon-A fighter. The radar chosen for the J-8 was the Type 204 mono-pulse fire-control radar, a primitive ranging radar for daylight within-visual-range operations. The performance of the radar fell well short of the PLAAFs requirements as research into a more capable fire control radar and power source proved difficult and time-consuming. The aircraft was originally armed with cannons and seven hardpoints for missiles, bombs, rockets or fuel tanks. The original weapons layout of the J-8 was two 30 mm Type 30-1 cannons after initial problems with the 30 mm Type 30-II four-barrel Gatling gun. The J-8 was also planned to be armed with the experimental PL-4 medium ranged missile but technical issues and political upheavals prevented any indepth development and the project was cancelled in 1985 citing unsatisfactory performance. Therefore the PL-2 IR-homing short-range anti-aircraft missile (SRAAM) was used instead. Unguided bombs and rockets can also be carried on the J-8. And nowadays with the development of light-wight military nuclear weaponry, J-8II will now be able to carry the missiles with nuclear warheads.
Despite entering service relatively recently, it was comparable to many older Soviet fighter designs, with limited maneuverability. The original combat avionics package was soon replaced with an all-weather capability in aircraft designated J-8I (Finback-A). The J-8I (later redesignated as the J-8A) received a new gun sight, onboard computer, new cockpit design, and redesigned ejection escape system and oxygen supply system. The gun armament was also changed from two 30 mm cannons to a single 23 mm twin-barreled cannon and the PL-5 short ranged AAM was also equipped. The later J-8E featured improved electronic warfare systems. The unsatisfactory performance of the J-8I led to a very short production run of 20-50 aircraft and the J-8I has slowly began being phased out as early as the 1990s. A tactical reconnaissance variant of the J-8, known as the JZ-8 was developed in the mid 1980s to take advantage of the J-8s few favourable qualities, most notably its capability of reaching high speeds and altitudes to replace the Shenyang JZ-6 in the tactical reconnaissance role. Using an under-fuselage reconnaissance pod with a KA-112A long focal-length optical camera, the JZ-8 usually operates at heights ranging from 9,500~15,000m during reconnaissance missions. By 1982 work began to replace the unimpressive J-8I type with a new design known as the J-8II. The new 1982 requirements from the PLAAF demanded being capable of beyond visual range combat (BVR) with the use medium ranged missiles (MRAAM) and secondary ground attack capabilities. In terms of performance, the aircraft was expected to have better aerodynamic performance at medium to low altitudes and at transonic speeds.
The J-8 project was made possible largely due to the transfer of MiG-21 technology from the Soviet Union in 1961. However, this aircraft lacked the speed, range, altitude, and radar capability the PLAAF needed in an all-weather interceptor. The nascent Chinese jet aircraft industry was established mostly with Soviet assistance and Chinese designers followed Soviet design methodology for the J-8. A Soviet experimental aircraft known as the Ye-152 "Flipper" with similar configuration may have influenced the J-8 layout, as did the Sukhoi Su-15 'Flagon-A' airframe.
After the Chinese military delegation led by Field Marshal Peng Dehuai visited Soviet Union in the late 1950s, some believe[who?] China subsequently purchased the incomplete Soviet design of Ye-152 (E-12) fighter. Several Russian and Chinese sources[which?] do claim The J-8 was modeled upon the Soviet Ye-152A and several Russian authors[who?] claim the Ye-152A documentation was sold to China and used for the development of the J-8I, in fact the Chinese designer Wong Nanso said this in an interview regarding Soviet influence on Chinese aviation:
"We wouldn't have anything without hand-in-hand tutelage from the Soviets. Even the Dongfeng 107 (early Chinese supersonic fighter) design team included Soviet experts. Also regarding some aspects of the J-8 aerodynamic characteristics, we studied some results from Soviet design. Of course, "the abbot can open the door to the monastery, but spiritual achievement is up to the individual."
This seems to confirm what has been written in several Russian sources that do claim the Ye-152 documentation was sold to China. The hope of joint development or any Soviet help was lost when the relationship between the two countries soured during the Sino-Soviet Split.
There are currently over 300 J-8s of all types serving in the People's Liberation Army Air Force and People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force. The J-8 is expected to be superseded by modern J-10 and J-11 variants in the coming years.
 April 2001 incident
Main article: Hainan Island incident
On 1 April 2001, a Chinese J-8D fighter jet collided with a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft flying over disputed waters about 70 miles (110 km) south of China. The EP-3 crew was forced to make an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island; according to Chinese officials, the pilot of the J-8D, Wang Wei, ejected, but he was never found and is presumed dead. American reconnaissance crews had been intercepted many times before, in some instances the interceptors flew as close as ten meters away from the American surveillance aircraft. The crew of 24 Americans was eventually allowed to return home on 11 April. The American aircraft was not returned for another 3 months.
 J-8 (Finback-A) Series
The original J-8 fuselage design at the Beijing Military Museum
First flew on 5 July 1969. Initial day fighter variant, resembles an enlarged MiG-21. Equipped with 2 x WP-7A turbojet engines, SR-4 ranging radar 2 x Type 30-I 30mm cannon (200 rounds each), and 2 x PL-2 IR-guided AAMs. Limited production.
First flew in 24 April 1981. Improved all-weather version with SL-7A fire-control radar (40 km range), twin-barrel Type 23-III 23 mm cannon, & up to 4 AAMs (or rockets/bombs). Limited production.
Mid-life upgrade for J-8I.
Reconnaissance version of J-8 or J-8I.
First flew on 24 June 1990, fly-by-wire testbed aircraft.
 J-8II (Finback-B) Series
Shenyang J-8B at Datang Shan aviation museum
A Shenyang J-8II parked on an airfield
An old J-8I of the 24th air division
First flew on 12 June 1984. Improved J-8I prototype with redesigned nose/front section and fuselage. Replaced nose air inlet with solid nose and lateral air intakes, similar to those of the MiG-23 China indeed received several MiG-23s in the late 1970s from Egypt and the hinged ventral fin and lateral intakes shown reversed engineering of these MiG-23 features into the J-8II, in fact China followed a very similar development process to the Su-15 when from the Sukhoi T-5, the large T-58 (Su-15) was spawned, the MiG-23PD also has some similarities with the J-8II however the MiG-23PD is a single engined experimental fighter with direct lift engines, but the transformation of the MiG-21 into the MiG-23PD was mirrored in the J-8II. Equipped with Type 208 (SL-4A) monopulse radar (40 km range).
J-8II Batch 02 (J-8IIB)
First flew in November 1989, improved J-8II with SL-8A (Type 208?) PD radar (70 km range). Powered by 2 x WP-13AII turbojet engines. Armed with twin-barrel 23mm Type 23-III cannon (copy of GSh-23L) and up to 4 PL-5 or PL-8 AAMs (or rockets/bombs). No BVR capability.
Peace Pearl J-8 (J-8II)
During the Sino-US cooperation era, up to 50 J-8IIs were to be delivered to the US for upgrades and installation of AN/APG-66(v) radar and fire control system for US$500 million, under the Peace Pearl program. However, the project was canceled and only about 24 J-8II were produced. USAF Air Force Flight Test Center(6510 Squadron)took the task of test flight of modified J-8II.
First flew in 1988, fly-by-wire testbed and technology demonstrator.
First flew on 21 November 1990, modified J-8B with fixed refuelling probe and updated avionics such as TACAN navigation system.
Unveiled in Zhuhai Air Show 1996, export version of J-8B with Russian Phazotron Zhuk-8II PD radar (75 km range, and able to track up to ten airborne targets and attack two of them simultaneously), R-27R1 (AA-10) AAM and Kh-31P anti-radiation missile. The F-8IIM was to be powered by two, more powerful WP-13B turbojet engines. This aircraft is often mistakenly referred to as the "J-8IIM" with Kh-31A anti-ship missile (ASM) capability, but its radar lacked sea search mode for anti-shipping role. The F-8IIM Failed to attract any export customers and no domestic orders. Conversion from older airframe was reportedly much fewer than the 100 units of Zhuk-8II radar delivered, and the conversion might have only been an experimental program with none entering service.
The F-8IIM fighter will probably be equipped with Russia's or China's helmet sight and advanced PL-9 and P-73 missiles. Phazotron, a Russian firm, has signed contracts with China to provide 150-200 improved Zhuk radars mainly in support of China's new F-8II fighter, but also to equip the new Chengdu J-10 fighter. These radars have six times the data and signal processing power of the basic variant and greater detection range than the current 80KM. They can track while scanning on 24 targets, display up to 8 of them, and simultaneously provide fire-control solutions for 2-4 of them.
Upgraded J-8II with FBW system and 2 x WP-14 powerplants. Compared to the J-8II, the J-8C had a number of improvements including a new multi-mode pulse Doppler radar which was reportedly based on the Israeli Elta EL/M 2035 radar technology. The aircraft was also equipped with a digital fire-control system and a new ‘glass’ cockpit with multifunctional displays (MFD). The J-8C programme entered full scale development around 1991 and the aircraft first flew successfully in 1993. Development halted in favor of other version described below, but was used to test new radars such as Type 1471 (KLJ-1) and other avionics associated with FBW system. From this version on, electronic warfare pods such as BM/KG300G and KZ900, as well as navigational / targeting pods including Blue Sky navigation pod and FILAT become operational on J-8II.
First flew in December 1998, upgraded J-8II with new glass cockpit, WP-13B power plant, Type 1471 (KLJ-1) PD radar (75 km range) with look-down, shoot-down capability. Can use medium-range R-27 (AA-10), PL-11 AAMs, and YJ-91 anti-radiation ASMs.
First flew in 2000, J-8H with WP-13BII powerplant, in-flight refueling probe, and Type 1492 PD radar. Successfully test-fired PL-12/SD-10 AAM in 2004. It is reported that during 2006-2008, J-8II production suffered major setback due to engine problem.
An advanced modified variant of the J-8II tasked with the suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) mission was said to have been developed by the SAC in 2000s. The aircraft, reportedly designated J-8G, was said to be capable of carrying two indigenous YJ-91 anti-radiation missile and electronic warfare suite to attack enemy radar stations.
At Zhuhai Air Show 2006, a new variant "J-8IIM" was put on display with upgraded systems similar to the J-8H. The most significant improvement is the radar upgrade with a new Type 1471 domestic radar used by the J-8H. In comparison to F-8IIM's Russian Zhuk-8II radar, the Type 1471 radar has a number of performance enhancements:
Type 1471 radar has 75 km maximum range for targets with 3 square meters RCS, in comparison to Zhuk-8II's 70 km maximum range against target of 5 square meters RCS.
Additional ability to handle sea-borne targets that Zhuk-8II does not have. For sea targets with 50 square meters RCS, the max range is greater than 100/80 km for sea state 1/2.
Simultaneously tracking 10 targets and display 8 most threatening ones out of the 10 on displays, engaging 2 out the 8.
Air-to-Air modes: VS (Velocity Search), RWS (Recon./Search while Scan), TWS (Track While Scan), STT (Single Target Tracking), Air Combat Mode (ACM). AMTI, (aerial moving target indication) mode which is used to discover hovering helicopters can be added upon customer request, though this does not come as standard feature.
Air-to-Ground modes: Mapping (Real Beam Mapping RBM), Mapping Expansion/Freezing (EXP/FRZ), Doppler Beam Sharpening (DBS), Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI), Sea Single Target Tracking (SSTT), Air-to-Ground Ranging (AGR).
An improved beacon navigation (BCN) and weather (WX) capability.
A reconnaissance version of the J-8F with internal camera in the forward fuselage replacing the cannon.
Upgraded J-8 with JL-10A X-band radar. Export variant, F-8T, has WP-13B-II engines.
People's Republic of China
People's Liberation Army Air Force: 24 J-8, 60 J-8A, 108 J-8B, 36 J-8D, 12 J-8E, 24 J-8F, 48 J-8H, 24 JZ-8, 24 JZ-8F in service in 2010
People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force: 48 J-8I/J-8F/J-8B/J-8D in service in 2010
 Specifications (J-8II/J-8B)
Length: 21.52 m (70 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 9.34 m (30 ft 8 in)
Height: 5.41 m (17 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 42.2 m² (454 ft 3 in)
Empty weight: 9,820 kg (21,600 lb  )
Loaded weight: 13,850 kg (30,500 lbf)
Max takeoff weight: 17,800 kg (39,250 lbf)
Powerplant: 2 × WP-13A-II turbojets
Dry thrust: 42.7 kN (9,900 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 65.9 kN   (14,815 lbf) each
Never exceed speed: Mach 2.2 limited (2339 km/h/1262 knot)
Maximum speed: Greater than Mach > 2.4+ (est.)
Combat radius: 800km(No refueling)/1300km(One refueling)  ()
Service ceiling: 20,500 m (67,256 ft)
Rate of climb: 200 m/s 12,200 m/min (39,400 ft/min)
Thrust/weight: 0.65; 0.98 with afterburner
 Specifications (F-8 IIM) 
Length: 21.52 m (70 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 9.34 m (30 ft 8 in)
Height: 5.41 m (17 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 42.2 m² (454 ft 3 in)
Empty weight: 10,371 kg (22,864 lb)
Loaded weight: 15,288 kg (33,704 lbf)
Max takeoff weight: 18,879 kg (41,621 lbf)
Powerplant: 2 × WP-13B turbojets
Dry thrust: 47.1 kN (10,582 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 68.7 kN (15,432lbf) each
Never exceed speed: Mach 2.2 limited
Maximum speed: Greater than Mach > 2.4+ (est.)
Combat radius: 11,000m(36,080ft) with 5 min Combat : 540 NM(1000km) (M0.8 at 10,000m(32,800ft), incl 5 min combat (Air to ground) : 486 NM(900km))
Rate of climb: 13,440 m/min(M 0.9, alt : 1000m(3,280ft) (44,094 ft/min(M 0.9, alt : 1000m(3,280ft))
Wing loading: 447.4kg/m²(MAX T-O Weight) (91.63 lb/ft² (MAX T-O Weight))
Thrust/weight: 0.5; 0.91 with afterburner (MAX T-O Weight)