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.

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


  1. Chris says:

    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. Conway Eastwood says:

    Looks almost like a MiG-21 Fishbed, but that’s so outdated that even the PLAAF won’t use it.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

    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. OverclockedBoo says:

    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. Chris says:

    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. Jared says:

    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. kushibo says:

    If they are older aircraft which would no longer be in use, could this be a sort of boneyard of some kind?

  8. OverclockedBoo says:

    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.


  9. OverclockedBoo says:

    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…

  10. Greg Jones says:

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

  11. kushibo says:

    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.

  12. Pops says:

    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).

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