Can you identify this aircraft?

I always thought I knew my airplanes, but I’ve searched through everything known to be in the Chinese inventory, and I cannot identify this one.

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 7.14.58 AM

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 7.14.09 AM

This is a PLAF (Chinese) air base, just across the river from Sinuiju, North Korea.


  1. I cant tell from the pic, but if there are fairings coming off the forward fuselage it could be a J10. It looks like there are shadows from something akin to fairings.

  2. Looks almost like a MiG-21 Fishbed, but that’s so outdated that even the PLAAF won’t use it.

    The KPA, on the other hand, loves the MiG-21 Fishbed.

  3. I thought it was a J-10 too. But in comparison with the MiG-21 next to it, it’s just too small. Also, what I thought looked like Canard wings on the front of the fighter are absent from the lower picture; they’re just the shadows cast by open canopies.

  4. I’m not sure if the a/c on the right in the top photo are J-7s. The trail edge of the wings are swepted back and clipped. Mig-21/J-7 has a flat trail edge delta shape wings and are “un-clipped”. Maybe it is just another variant.

    The a/c on the right in the bottom photo are Mig-21/J-7s IMHO.

    I see the lack of canards now. This mystery a/c has to close to ~35ft in length.

  5. Yah, I missed the size differential.. J-10, J-7 and MiG 21 are all roughly the same length if I remember right (someone correct me if I’m not, please). Rules that out.

    While I’m typing it occurs to me that something that small may be a trainer… T-2 and T-45s are about 40′ long and those were the smallest jets we had in our inventory that I can think of (in my experience, anyways, and that was pretty small, now that I think of it).

    Anyone have a copy of Jane’s that lists Chinese trainers?

  6. I believe the aircraft on the right are not J-7s (MiG-21s), but rather J-8s, which are similar in shape (complete with delta-type wing), but substantially larger. I believe that the aircraft marked as “unidentified” are J-7s of some type, which are still in use with reserve or training elements of the PLAAF.

  7. The hard surface looks to be about 200ft wide when measured with Google Maps. This would make the larger a/c much larger than ~51ft (J-7/MiG-21 size) and more likely closer to ~70ft (J-8 size). The smaller a/c on the left would have to be around ~50ft in length. So I’m wrong with my guess that the smaller a/c are ~34ft and the bottom photo’s a/c on the right are J-7/MiG-21s. The larger a/c would have to be something close to the J-8. But they’re definitely not J-9s or J-10s due to the tail flats.


  8. Also, if you look farther down the strip on the latlong above, you’ll see four (4) JJ-6 (MiG-19 Farmer) trainers. The size seems to fit compared to the suspected J-7s and J-8s. These JJ-6s have been retired for combat duty but are still in service for training. It’s weird that these trainers are so close to NKorea. I wonder…

  9. Thinking OOTB, maybe these are not manned aircraft at all – instead, maybe unmanned missiles or drones . . .

  10. So the Chinese have fighter planes ostensibly for “training” poised right next to North Korean territory. I hope the North Korean intelligence gatherers who no doubt pore over this blog send this information to their higher-ups so they will have even more evidence that they should not trust PRC designs on the DPRK.

  11. The Dutch Scramble website order of battle (orbat) for the PLAAF at Dandong Airfield shows that the unit stationed there was under a transition circa 2008 from the J-8E to the J-7E fighter jet.

    The smaller fighter in your views above is apparently a third-generation version of the J-7 called the J-7E (1995), incorporating a new “double-delta” wing design among other improvements. A newer and similar J-7G has apparently been produced as well (2002).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *