According to China Television (CCTV), combat aircraft units, under the command of the Chinese Air Force, in the Western theater (area bordering India), have begun J-16 multirole fighters to enter into service. Western Theater Command, which is specifically responsible for security in the border areas with India, where the tense situation broke out in June 2020.
The increase of J-16 fighters is said to be to counterbalance the Rafale fighters that India has just received from France. The multi-role fighter J-16 developed by China will become the main Chinese fighter model that can be used to deter the enemy.
The Shenyang J-16 multi-role fighter was developed by China based on the J-11BS platform with some modifications to the Su-30MK standard. This multi-role fighter is expected to become the backbone of the Chinese Air Force (PLAAF) in the future with a production volume of no less than a few hundred.
Although considered a copy of the Su-30MK2 when there are many similarities from shape to tactical characteristics, the PLAAF confidently asserts that its multi-role fighter possesses many more outstanding features than the Su-30MK.
In the late 1990s, Russia agreed to sell the Su-27 production line to China to develop into the J-11. Then, in the early 2000s, China imported Su-30MKK fighters from Russia. Seizing the opportunity, Beijing once again dissected a new Russian fighter line to produce a domestic version.
From the experience of copying the Su-27 and Su-30MKK, Chinese engineers completed a project to develop a domestic two-seat fighter aircraft called the J-16.