The J-15 fighter jet is believed to be the shot in the arm that the naval force of China has been eying at for some time now. The country's first aircraft-based jet though had to make use of Russian engines in order for it to be light enough for short takeoffs. Not anymore.
China is reportedly planning to replace Russia-made AL-31F engines being used in the J-15 jets and install WS-10H turbofan engine which is made indigenously. South China Morning Post reports that the new engine has the thurst and lifespan to put it at par with the outgoing engine. And now, it is reportedly ready to be produced in bulk to be equipped in the fighter jets.
The J-15 is being billed as the mainstay of the Chinese naval force as it looks to carry out patrol duties in international waters. Some estimates say that as many as 130 carrier-based aircrafts would be required by 2030 with the J-15 shoring up the numbers. There are currently 30 of these fighter jets in active service.
Apart from this, the J-20 and FC-31 fighter jets too are being developed to add more muscle to Chinese military. Premier Xi Jinping has underlined the need for a modern military force that is lethal as well as technologically advanced. Manufacturing at home has already meant lower costs for the country as well as opened up the potential to be a major arms supplier - especially to African countries.