Warplanes: March 1, 2005


The latest version of Chinas J-8 fighter-bomber, the J-8H, has entered service earlier than expected. The J-8H has a new radar (allowing it to use longer range air-to-air missiles), more powerful engines and electronics enabling it to deliver smart bombs. The J-8 is a Chinese redesign of the old Russian MiG-21, and is equipped with two engines. The J-8H is another example of how China is taking older aircraft, and making them quite lethal by equipping them with more powerful electronics. The U.S. Air Force has long advocated the use of long range, radar guided, air-to-air missiles. The drawback with this is that it now becomes possible to turn a relatively slow and unmaneuverable aircraft like the J-8 into an F-22 killer by giving it good radar and long range missiles. 


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