The Shenyang J-15, China's fourth-generation carrier-based fighter, is capable of defeating Lockheed Martin's F-35B fifth-generation stealth carrier-based fighter designed for the US Marine Corps and Royal Navy in a limited conflict, according to Cao Weidong, a Chinese military analyst, in an interview by the Hangzhou-based Qianjiang Evening News published on July 8.
Stating that the J-15 would be detected and shot down by the F-35B in a direct confrontation, Cao said the Chinese fighter has several advantages over its US counterpart. As the F-35B consumes more fuel than the J-15, it has a combat radius of only 500 kilometers while the latter has a radius of 1,000 kilometers, as the F-35B, with its vertical take-off capability, is heavier than the US Navy's F-35C.
Cao said the PLA carrier Liaoning would able be able to defeat a ship like the Royal Navy carrier Queen Elizabeth, christened last week and set to be commissioned in 2017, in limited conflict, as it has a better carrier-based fighter. Cao said, however, that it is hard to predict which side would actually win in a potential conflict between China and the UK because both carriers do not yet carry fixed-wing early warning aircraft.
Cao said that the J-15 can only carry seven tonnes of fuel and munitions when launched from the ski-jump flight deck of the Liaoning. He characterized this as the biggest weakness of the PLA Navy's carrier-based fighters. Cao said that the HMS Queen Elizabeth, with a ski-jump and an angled flight deck, can make preparations for the launch of six F-35Bs simultaneously, giving it an advantage over the Liaoning, and meaning that the F-35B would still be a tough adversary for the J-15.