China’s “Flying Shark,” the J-15 aircraft carrier-based fighter jet, has just improved its survivability in severe oceanic environments.
According to a report in the Global Times, the latest batch of Shenyang J-15s is getting new, green priming paint instead of the previous yellow one.
Reports speculate it is a new anti-corrosion material that can enhance the aircraft’s capabilities, the report said.
A J-15, which is under assembly at the Shenyang Aircraft Company under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), can be seen covered in green priming paint in a set of photos released by the company on its website, the report said.
Previous J-15 fighter jets used yellow priming paint, according to multiple reports, the report said.
The color change in the priming paint likely indicates that it features a new type of anti-corrosion material, Weihutang, a column on military affairs affiliated with China Central Television, reported on Tuesday.
Aircraft carrier-based aircraft usually have stronger wear and tear properties compared to land-based aircraft due to extended exposure to sea water, salt haze, muggy weather and exhaust gas, and the priming paint is a key material that can protect the aircraft’s structure from being corroded and damaged, Weihutang reported.
This will contribute to an increase in the J-15’s usage, lower maintenance costs and greater lifespan, the report said.
The Chinese Navy received the Shandong, its second aircraft carrier, in December 2019 and a third one is reportedly being built, so China needs more J-15s to fulfill this potential, analysts said.
Production of the J-15 — also called Flanker-X2 by NATO — is not being significantly delayed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times.
The new priming paint shows that the J-15 is becoming more powerful, as it is being improved to boost the aircraft carriers’ overall capability, the expert said.