Brief history
Excavations have shown that the Homo Erectus lived in China about one million years ago. Airplane relevant history however started at 12 March 1912 when the almost 400 years of Qing Dynasty came to an end and a provisional government of the Republic of China was established in Nanjing. Effectively the country became ever more in the hands of Warlords, which was countered by the establishment of a Soviet assisted Communist Party of China (CPC). From 1925 the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) seized control from the warlords in the South and Central China and from 1927 also ousted the Communist Party from this region. From 1934 the CPC started the Long March soon under the command of Mao Zedong.

Although the two parties were at the same side fighting the Japanese invasion between 1931 and 1945, the CPC continued to force the Nationalists further south after the Sino-Japanese war had ended. In 1949 the remaining KMT forces under the command of Chiang Kai-Shek fled to Taiwan and the People's Republic of China was proclaimed on 1 October 1949 with Taiwan and some outlying islands of Fujian being regarded as rebellious provinces still to be conquered.

Flying in the newborn Peoples Republic received a kick-start in 1951 in the Korean War with the Soviet Union delivering fighter and bomber aircraft including over 1000 MiG-15. Continued deliveries stopped abruptly in 1960. In this period production of aircraft came into full swing with about 780 J-5s (MiG-17) and over 3000 J-6s (MiG-19 versions) to name a few. Mid 60s "indigenous" designed aircraft like the J-7 (MiG-21 version), J-8 and Q-5 (MiG-19 derivative) saw the first light of day.

One of the achievements of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1970) was that not only the armed forces lost all people with any education, but also that aircraft quality levels dropped to sub-zero standards and production of aircraft became out of the question. It lasted until the mid '80s until more advanced versions of existing aircraft types started to appear.

Photo: Scramble

The armed forces are in the midst of a massive modernization in which old airplanes are discarded in favour of modern ones on the basis of quality instead of quantity. In 1982 John Andrade in his book "Militair 1982" estimated the number of active aircraft at about 4750. Current estimates come close to 3200 that is also shown in the number of divisions that reduced from 50 in the heydays to about 32 nowadays. Major reductions were announced in 1982 and 1998 and also in 2004 further reductions were announced.

The turn of the century saw a major replacement program where obsolete front-line aircraft were replaced by new generation derivatives like new J-7, J-8 and Q-5 versions. Also some Su-27/Su-30 aircraft were introduced. Only a few years later, by 2010, nearly all old generation fighters have gone and many Air Force and Navy regiments now fly modern fighters like J-10, JH-7A and J-11 derivatives, with new versions to come. In a suppprise move early January a new 5th Generation Fighter J-20 made its first flight. The bomber force is a decade away from flying the H-5 and is now flying modern H-6 aircraft, although the airframe is stll based on the vintage Tu-16.

A Rapid Deployment Force is visible as many fighters now have in-flight tanking capability and starting 2014 the availability of Il-78 tanker aircraft complementing H-6 tanker versoins. Also, modern warfare practices were introduced relatively recently with the introduction of several special equipped Y8s for AEW&C, AWACS, ELINT missions to name a few and the Il-76 AWACS. Also, dedicated helicopters for the CSAR missions were not seen before.

The last element of the armed forces where old aircraft could be enjoyed is surrendering to modern times. Training has been modernized with the JJ-7/Q-5J replacing old JJ-6 aircraft with the operational regiments and the JL-8 having replaced the JJ-5 with the training regiments. Only initial training is still done by the very vintage CJ-6 aircraft, although at the 2010 show at Zhuhai the first CJ-7 replacement aircraft was first shown to the public with an expected order book of about 300 aircraft. The army has seen a massive expansion with Mi-17 and Z-9 helicopters and with earlier attack helicopters already replaced by dedicated WZ10 and Z-19 helicopters. To complete the modernization picture of course the air force is also introducing UAV flying. This is outside the scope of this website however.

Armed Forces Organization
The armed forces of the People's Republic of China (PRC) are composed of the People's Liberation Army, the Chinese People's Armed Police Force and the militia. The Central Military Commission (CMC) of the PRC directs and assumes unified command of the nation's armed forces. The active components of the PLA are the country's standing army, consisting of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Second Artillery Force, whose main task is to conduct operations of defence, and assist in maintaining social order.

Through the General Staff Headquarters, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department and the General Armaments Department, the CMC exercises operational command over the whole PLA and leadership for the development of the PLA. For day-to-day operation seven Military Regions, "da junqu" (Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu) exercise direct leadership over the Army units under their command. In time of war, or any large scale military exercise, all aspect of operation will be control by a CMC WarZone HQ. The WarZone HQ will command all assets, as it seems fit, including elements from a different MRs.

Photo: Scramble

In 1958 the number of Military Regions was at its maximum at 13, but forces-reductions enabled the reduction of command centres with seven Military Regions until February 2016, when the PLAAF underwent another major re-organization, with seven Military Regions transformed into five Theatre Commands.

Full details have yet to be clarified.

Source Scramble

People's Liberation Army - Air Force

Brief history
The Air Force of the PLA was established on November 11, 1949. Until February 2016 it consisted of air command in each of the seven Military Regions of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. February 2016 these were changed into five Theatre Commands, Northern, Western, Southern, Eastern and Central Command.

In the Theatre Commands the air force is controlled by separate Air Corps. This also includes the 15th Air Corps that also doubles as the new Rapid Deployment Force. Whether this Corps reports to a single Theatre Command is questionable however.

Photo: Scramble

Each Air Corps (or directly the Theatre Commands) directs Air Divisions.

Each Air division basically consists of three Flying Regiments (feixung tuan) starting at 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiment with the 1st Air Division until 148th, 149th and 150th Regiment with the 50th Air Division. Many don't exist anymore however. Also a Division can also included additional independent Regiments.

In 2012 a major rorganization took place whre 4 Military Regions saw the appearance of 'Bases' where up to four Brigades reported two, all flying from different Air Bases. Also in 2012 dedicated Independent Regiments operating specialized roles were taken into the regular Divisions scheme. Flight training is done using CJ-6 and JL-8 aircraft in dedicated Flying Academies. High performance jet training was performed in dedicated Military Region Training Bases, but also these units were coverted to Regimnents and Brigades in 2012. Also each fighter unit has about four dual seaters.

The system above can be traced to the serial system used. Not included in the system is that each Regiment normally consists of three Flying Squadrons (feixing dadui) (or four within a Brigade), that consist of three Flights each (feixing zhongdui) and a Maritime squadron (jiwu Dadui). A bomber Flight usually consists of three aircraft, whereas a Fighter/Attack flight usually consists of four aircraft.

The PLA forces stationed in Hong Kong and Macao are under the direct leadership of the CMC. The PLA Hong Kong Garrison is mainly composed of ground, naval and air units. The PLA Macao Garrison is mainly composed of a ground force, with some naval and air force personnel on its staff.

Photo: Scramble

In 2017 the effects of the new reorganization that was initiated in 2016 with the introduction of Theatre Commands and developed with many Regiments turning into Brigades was in full swing, with only bits of information slowly becoming visible.

The shown OrBat therefore is a mix of known changes and old organization, although at the same time we try to present all information that is currently publicly available! Updates are welcome though!

People's Liberation Army - Aviation

Brief history
The PLA was established on August 1, 1927, and consisted of land forces only in its early days. In 1988 the Army Aviation Corps was established with the transfer of Air Force helicopters. With the ever increasing number of flying equipment in 2012 up to six out of the ten Aviation Regiments was converted into a Brigade. Also One Training Brigade is operational.

A Brigade nowadays consist of a mix of troop transport, ground attack and scout helicopters. Each role within the Brigade is performed by a dedicated Squadron, with up to six Squadrons within a Brigade. Army Aviation Brigades report to a Group Army.

Early 2017 major force reductions were announced that also included a reorganisation of the remaining Group Armies. Every Group Army without a Aviation Regiment or Brigade was eliminated and all others were renumbered.

Photo: Scramble

People's Liberation Army - Naval Aviation

Brief history
The People's Liberation Army - Naval Aviation (PLANAF) was officially established on 6 September 1952 although initial activities started already on April 23, 1949. Up to mid January 2018 it was organized into three Fleets, called Beihai, Donghai and Nanhai Fleets which are better known in English documents as North Sea Fleet, East Sea Fleet and South Sea Fleet. With the major PLA reorganizations that had started in 2017, mid January this was changed into Northern Theater Command Navy Aviation (北部战区海军航空兵), Eastern Theater Command Navy Aviation (东部战区海军航空兵), Southern Theater Command Navy Aviation (南部战区海军航空兵).

Within these Theatre Commands the Naval Aviation elements are composed of a grand total of ten Air Divisions (1st up to 10th). Each Division consists of up to three Regiments with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiment with the 1st Division up to the 28th, 29th and 30th Regiment with the 10th Division. Before 2012 the Independent Air Regiments operating special roles got subordinated to regular Divisions. The serials batches however were not changed.

As of 2017, in line with the reorganization of the Air Force and the Army, also the Navy units got transformed into Brigades. At the same time many aircraft exchanged their-five digit serial/code for an individual two-digit code.

By mid-2023, the PLA the majority of ground based PLAN fighter, bomber, radar, air defense, and airfield units were transferred to the PLA Air Force (PLAAF). In total, the PLA transferred at least three fighter brigades, two bomber regiments, three radar brigades, three air defense brigades, and numerous airfield stations.

23 September 2012 the Naval Aviation Force started a new chapter when Aircraft Carrier Liaoning/16 was introduced., followed by Shandong/17 with the third, enlarged, more powerful and catapult equipped Fujian/18 expected to be transferred in 2023.

Aircraft assigned to a carrier are operated within a Brigade, with 10th Brigade operating from the Liaoning carrier and 11th Brigade operating from the Shandong carrier.

Helicopters assigned to the Type 075 amphibious assault ship are allocated to dedicated Brigades, with 11th Brigade operating on the Hainan/31, 13th Brigade operating on Guangxi/32 and 15th Brigade operating from Anhui/33 ship by 2023. A fourth type 075 ship was under construction by 2023.

Photo: Scramble

Chinese type designations since 1949

Brief history
Since 1948 three aircraft designation systems have been used in China.

The first series was used until 1964 and included a code name that identified the manufacturer or design bureau, followed by a three digit number with the first digit indicating the main mission and the last two digits indicating the sequence number for new types and versions. In this period the Air Force used its own system with the final two digits of the year of authorization as type number, when necessary added by "A", "B" etcetera for additional types.

Photo: Scramble

In 1964 a new system was introduced using a sequence number added to the name indicating the role of the aircraft, which most often is abbreviated to single letters. Until 1987 new versions of the same aircraft type had "I", "II", "III" added to the aircraft name. After that year the western style was copied and letters "A", "B" and up were introduced. Aircraft types with different versions have an additional letter added after the initial letter.

In line with translated designations painted on many different aircraft, up to 2018 the Scramble Standard did not use a dash between the riole designation and the digit(s). In English text the Chinese prefer to call their aircraft the English way so "Chuji Jiaolianji (CJ)" becomes "Basic Trainer (BT)". As a result export aircraft are called by their English names and domestically used aircraft are called by their Chinese names. Sometimes private ventures of military aircraft that (initially) doesn't attract the interest of the Chinese military might obtain an English name like FC-1, FBC-1 and FTC-2000. Aircraft that are imported keep their original names. As a result confusion is rising with the Flanker of which the imported single-seaters are called Su-27SK while the license build copies are called J-11. From above it can be concluded that J-2 was never allocated to any MiG-15 version.

In the listing below an effort has been made to present all Chinese build military aircraft types since 1949 that are included in the above mentioned designation system including the civil derivative designations when known. The second column presents the designations in Chinese. When they don't show on the screen it is advised to install Chinese fonts in your browser. As first information on new types hardly originates from official sources, generally known version designations tend to change after a period of time!

Photo: Scramble

Chuji Jiaolianji - CJ (Basic Trainer - BT or Primary Trainer - PT) / HongZhuan (Red Craftsman)
type first flight number build remarks

CJ-5 & 6 versions
CJ-5 初教5 11jul54 379 License build Yak-18. Initial designation HongZhuan 501 (501).
CJ-6 初教6 27aug58 5 proto + ... Improved CJ-5 with nosewheel and retractable undercarriage and aluminum alloy structure. Initial designation HongZhuan 502 (502).(Zhouzhou Housai 6)
CJ-6A /  BT-6 / PT-6 初教6甲6 1965 1800+ (prod) Redesigned CJ-6 with more powerful engine (either Zhouzhou Housai 6A, J1A or J2A). 
CJ-6B 初教6乙 1964 10 Armed version of CJ-6A.
CJ-7/L-7 初教7 nov14 1 proto Unsuccessful piston engined successor of the CJ-6.

Hongzhaji - H (Bomber - B) / FeiLong (Flying Dragon)
type first flight number build remarks

Hongdu H-5 versions
H-5 轰5 25jun62 several 100s Based on IL-28.
H-5A 轰5甲     Longer range version. Not build.
H-5-2152 轰5-2152     Special version for nuclear missions.
H-5B 轰5乙     Naval version with 2 torpedo positions.
H-5 Ying (Eagle) 轰5 "鹰"   1 Fire-control testbed for YJ8 anti-ship missile delivery. The glazed nose is replaced by a pointed radar nose.

Xi'an (XAC) H-6 versions
H-6 轰6 27sep59 2 Chinese assembled Tu-16 (2 more SovAF Tu-16's also delivered). Initial designation FeiLong 201 (201).
H-6A 轰6甲 24dec66 ~120 (all versions) Reverse engineered Tu-16.
H-6B 轰6乙     Reconnaissance version.
H-6C 轰6丙 1980   Improved H-6A version with modernized ECM systems.
H-6D 轰6丁 29aug81 14 Naval version to carry two YJ61 anti ship missiles under wing. As B-6D to Iraq.
H-6E 轰6E 1994   H-6A modification dedicated for nuclear missions. No nose cannon.
H-6I 轰6I 5jan75 1 Modified long range H-6A with four Spey engines. Project shelved after 23 flights/25 flight hours.
H-6F 轰6F 1994   Modified H-6A with improved navigation equipment (small chin radar)
H-6G 轰6G ~2003 30 Naval H-6 version with four underwing pylons for ASM missiles replacing H-6D.
H-6H 轰6H dec98 85 Improved H-6D with two YJ63 Land-Attack Cruise Missile carriage, large chin radar and no external guns.
Some H-6Hs were converted from H-6D airframes.
H-6 "Carrier" 轰6&靶机运载母机 1970   H-6A conversion for carrying two "Target-6" ("6") drones.
H-6J 轰6J 2014? 1 proto + 4 (prod) Naval version of H-6K with six hardpoints for YJ-12 AShM missiles and with big ECM pods on wingtips. Earlier known as H-6KH.
H-6K 轰6K 05jan07 2 proto + 80 (prod) Further modernized H-6 version for PLAAF with six underwing pylons, redesigned solid nose with modernized cockpit lay-out and improved, high bypass ratio engines.
H-6KG 轰6KG     Improved/modified H-6K including addition of ECM pods on wingtips
H-6L 轰6L 2019   Believed to be the designation for H-6G with YJ-12 missiles.
H-6M 轰6M   2 proto + 21 Modified H-6F with large chin radar and four underwing hardpoints
H-6N 轰6N 2017 1 proto + 4 (prod) H-6K derivative for (large) ASBM carriage with inflight refueling capabilities.
Type 226 226发动机空中试车台   1 Flying engine testbed on H-6 airframe.

Hongzhaji Dian - HD (Bomber Electronic)
type first flight number build remarks
HD-5 轰电5     Electronic warfare / ELINT version of H-5. Converted from HZ5?
HD-6I 轰电6I 1990   Electronic warfare / ELINT version of H-6A.
HD-6II 轰电6II 1996   Upgraded HD-6I.
HD-6III 轰电6III     Upgraded HD-6II.

Hongzhaji Jiaolianji - HJ (Bomber Trainer)
type first flight number build remarks
HJ-5 轰教5 12dec70   Trainer with glazed nose replaced by second cockpit. Many (all?) are converted H-5's
HJ-5 轰教5   1 Modified HJ-5 used for ejection seat trials

Hongzhaji You - HU (Bomber Oil)
type first flight number build remarks
HU-6 轰6油   18 Air Force version for aerial refueling with solid nose housing the weather radar. (also known as H-6U)
H-6DU 轰6丁油   6 Naval H-6D converted for refueling role, (also known as HU-6D)

Hongzhaji Zhenchaji - HZ (Reconnaissance Bomber)
type first flight number build remarks
HZ-5 轰侦5 1970's   Reconnaissance/surveillance version of H-5.

Jianjiji Hongzhaji - JH (Fighter Bomber China - FBC)
type first flight number build remarks
JH-7 / FBC-1
"Flying Leopard"
歼轰7 14dec88 6 proto's 52 production Fighter/Bomber produced by Xi'an (XAC) to two Navy regiments until 2004.
JH-7A /
歼轰7A 1jul02 5 protos + 180 Improved version with single peace windshield, two ventral fins and thicker wing with 6 instead of 4 hard points.
Deliveries started 2004 to the Navy and Air Force.
JH-7A2 歼轰7A2     Converted JH-7A with internal improvements to the weapons system first noted in 2019.
JH-7B 歼轰7B 2012 (?) 2 protos Further improved JH-7A. Series production not started in favour of J-16

Jianjiji - J (Fighter - F) / DongFeng (Eastern Wind)
type first flight number build remarks

J-5 versions
J-5 歼5 19jul56 767 Imported MiG-17 and also licence build MiG-17F, including 15 MiG-17F knock down kits and ten build from Russian parts. Initial designation DongFeng 101 (东风101). Initially also known as Zhong 101 and type 56. Total 767 includes all Cinese build J-5 and J-5A.
J-5A 歼5甲 1964   MiG-17PM derivative.
J-5C       drone conversion of J-5.

J-6 versions
J-6 versions 歼6 1961-1986 3000 MiG-19S/P/PM derivatives.
DongFeng 102 东风102 /
23sep59 1 J6 proto based on MiG-19PF and MiG-19SF
Build by Shenyang. Also known as Type 59.
J-6A 歼6甲 17dec58   MiG-19P derivative by Shenyang. Limited all-weather version.
Initial designation DongFeng 103 (东风103). Also known as Type 59A.
From 1974 examples were modified to cater PL-2/K-13 missile launches.
J-6B 歼6乙 24feb59   MiG-19PM derivative by Nanchang. All-weather version.
Initial designation DongFeng 105 (东风105). Also known as Type 59B.
Saw very limited service due to low quality.
J-6 / F-6 歼6 1961   Revised production model based on MiG-19S nose (no radar) and armament and MiG-19P tail (two intakes).
Optionally with inboard or outboard hardpoints on wing.
J-6C 歼6C     Late J-6 version (MiG-19S/P) with drag chute in tail.
Believed to be non-official designation.
J-6I 歼6丙 / 歼6I 1966   High-altitude day interceptor, with radar on engine-inlet splitter plate.
Increased wing chord and no cannons.
J-6II 歼6Ⅱ 25mar69   Improved J-6I version with two 30mm cannons but no guns.
J-6III 歼6Ⅲ 05aug69   Improved J-6II version with three 30mm cannons and movable intake centerbody.
J-6IV 歼6IV 1970 7 Unsuccessful all-weather J6III version by Shenyang with two wing-root mounted cannons.
J-6IIIC       Unsuccessful all-weather J6III version by Guizhou.
J-6Xin       J-6IV and J-6IIIC after rebuild to airworthy condition.
J-6W   2006 ~200 Drone conversion for deep penetration bombing missions.

Dong Feng projects
DongFeng 104(1) 东风104 (1)   0 Shenyang project cancelled in 1958.
DongFeng 107 东风107   0 Shenyang project cancelled in 1958. High-speed fighter.
DongFeng 113 东风113   0 Harbin project cancelled 1958, Single-engine, high-speed fighter.

Chengdu (CAC) J-7 versions (MiG-21F-13 derivatives)
J7 歼7 17jan66 12 License build MiG-21F-13. Prototypes only. Also known as Type 62. Build by Shenyang that also assembled 25 MiG-21F-13 kits.
J-7I / F-7A 歼7I jun76 188 Production version of J-7 with unsatisfactory quality. Canopy opens forward. Small numbers exported as F-7A. Build until 1981
J-7II / F-7B 歼7Ⅱ / 歼7B 30dec78 475 Improved J-7I version with improved engine, larger drop-tanks and rear-hinged canopy.
Build between 1979-1986 at CAC (375) and Guizhou (about 100).
F-7BS       Simplified F-7B for Sri Lanka.
J-7IIA 歼7ⅡA mar84   Improved J-7II with communication antenna on top of fin and pitot-tube re-located from beneath engine inlet to above-right position.
J-7IIH/J-7H 歼7ⅡH/歼7H mar85 221 Improved J-7II able to fire two PL8 missiles instead of PL5.
Build between 1986-1993
J-7IIK/J-7K 歼7ⅡK/歼7K 1990 59 Upgraded J-7II with new avionics.
歼7M "空中卫士" 31aug83   Much improved J-7IIA, westernized avionics in export version. used by Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.
F-7MG (1)     1 Modernized F-7M. CAC demonstrator. Straight wing.
F-7PG (1) 歼7PG 9jun88 1 Modernized F-7M. CAC demonstrator. Straight wing.
F-7P "Airbolt" 歼7P
    Improved F-7M version for Pakistan.
F-7MP "Airbolt" 歼7MP 1988 140 Modernized (engine, cockpit, avionics) F-7P for Pakistan.
J-7 target 歼7靶     Drone conversions of the J-7II.

Chengdu/Guizhou J-7 versions (MiG-21MF derivatives)
J-7C 歼7C 26apr84 17 Reverse engineered Egyptian AF MiG-21MF with WS13 engine. Previously called J-7III (歼7Ⅲ).
Build between 1988-1996
J-7D 歼7D 1994 32 Improved J-7C version (engine, radar, cockpit). Previously called J7IIIA.
Build until 1999.

Chengdu (CAC) J-7E versions (third generation J-7)
J-7E 歼7E may90 205 Third generation J-7 based on J-7II airframe with double-delta wing. Previously called J-7IV (歼7IV).
In production until 2002.
J-7EB 歼7EB   24 Modified J-7E used by "1st August" / "Ba Yi" demonstration team until 2005.
J-7EH 歼7EH   34 J-7E version used by Navy.
J-7FS 歼7FS 8jun98 1 Technology demonstrator with J-7E proto airframe (in itself former F-7M proto) and chin type engine inlet.
F-7MG (2) 歼7MG   5+ CAC demonstrator for J-7E export. Double delta wing.
F-7PG (2) 歼7PG   51 F-7MG version for Pakistan, with (a.o.) single-peace windshield.
Delivered between 2000 and 2003.
J-7G 歼7G June 2002 80+ Domestic version based on F-7PG succeeding J7E production.
J-7GB 歼7GB dec04 12 Modified, unarmed J-7G ersion used by "1st August" / "Ba Yi" demonstration team between 2005 and 2009.
J-7L 歼7L     J-7E updated with many J-7G features, especially the fire control radar.
F-7BG   2006 12 Export J-7G for Bangladesh
F-7NG   2006 12 Export J-7G for Nigeria in 2006.
F-7NM   2008 6 Export J-7G for Namibia.
F-7BGI   2012 12 Improved F-7BG for Bangladesh

J-8 "Finback" versions
J-8 歼8 5jul69 80 Day-fighter by Shenyang (SAC) with pitot type engine inlet. Production started only in 1980. Forward opening cockpit.
J-8A 歼8A 24apr81 3 proto's + ~100 All-weather fighter (J8 upgrade) with ranging radar (and aft opening cockpit). Previously called J-8I (歼8I).
J-8ACT 歼8ACT   1 Based on J-8I. ACT: Active Control Technology.
J-8E 歼8E     Converted J-8As with new fire control radar and avionics. Long unpainted engine exhaust.
J-8B "Finback" versions
J-8B 歼8B-01 12jun84   Improved J-8A with lateral engine inlets (early designation J-8II - 歼8Ⅱ).
J-8B block 2 歼8B-02     Improved J-8B (fire control radar, cockpit, avionics). Early designation J-8IIB.
J-8IIACT 歼8ⅡACT 1988 1 Canard equipped fly-by-wire testbed based on J-8B. Also known as BW-2.
F-8IIM   1996 1 J-8B with improved Russian avionics, fire control radar and fly-by-wire.
J-8C 歼8C 1992 protos only J-8B with improved fire control, in-flight refueling and WP-13B engines. Two wing fences. Also known as J-8III.
J-8D 歼8ⅡD 21nov90 ~30 J-8B block-2 with air-refueling probe. Also designated J-8IIA (歼8IIA).
J-8DF 歼8ⅡDF     J-8D converted to J8F standard.
J-8DH 歼8ⅡDH     J-8D converted to J8H standard.
J-8F 歼8F 2000   J-8C with further improved fire control, twin wing fences and glass cockpit for FLAAF and PLANAF. Also designated J8IIF (歼8IIF). 100 radars were ordered in Russia.
J-8G 歼8G jun01 1 Modified J8H with two YJ-91 anti-radiation missiles for SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) role.
J8H 歼8H ~1997 ~70 Improved J-8D with new radar and WP-13B engines.
In service since 2002, Total includes upgraded J-8BHs/J-8DHs.

Other fighter types
J9 (1) 歼9   0 Cancelled. 1960/70's single engined development by Chengdu of the J-8.
FC-1 "Xialon" (Fierce Dragon)  JF-17 25aug03 6 proto's + prod (100+) Multi-role fighter by Chengdu (CAC) and Pakistan flying with Pakistan and Myanmar..
Major aerodynamic improvements after starting proto 3 (f/f 28apr06).
Final assambly of production aircraft in Pakistan (PAC) 
FC-1B  JF-17B 27apr17 1 proto Twin seat, trainer version of FC-1/JF-17
J-10 (1) 歼10   0 Cancelled. 1960's fighter
J-10 "Vigorous Dragon" 歼10 1996 17 Multi-role fighter by Chengdu (CAC) operational since 2003 as J-10A. Also known as "Project 10" ("10号工程").
J-10A 歼10A 28jun02 200+ (prod. incl J10A derivatives) Production version of J-10 with aerodynamic and systems improvement, 300 planned.
J-10AH 歼10AH 2010 16 Naval version of J-10A.
J-10AY 歼10AY 2010 9 Single-seat J-10 for demo team 1st August.
J-10B 歼10B 2010 4 protos + 54 Further improved J-10 single seat version.
J-10C 歼10C 2014 1 proto + 75 (prod) Further improved and more powerful J-10B single seater.
J-10S 歼10S 26dec03 >50 (prod) Two-seat trainer version of J-10A.
J-10SH 歼10SH 2010 8 Naval version of the twin-seat J-10S.
J-10SY 歼10SY 2009 3 Two-seat J-10 for demo team 1st August.
J-11 (1) 歼11   4 Cancelled. 1960's lightweight fighter.
J-11 歼11 dec98 105 (J11/J11A) Locally (Shenyang/SAC ) assembled Su-27SK.
J-11A 歼11A   105 (J11/J11A) J-11s with 60-70% Chinese made content.
J-11B 歼11B 2003 3  proto + prod Chinese derivative of J-11A including WS-10A engines. In service since January 2008. Upgrades are known as J-11BG.
J-11C 歼11C   0 Designation initially used for J-15.
J-11D 歼11D 20apr15 4  proto Improved version of J-11B with new engine and new AESA radar and improvements introduced with the J-16.
J-11BH 歼11BH   (prod) Navalised J-11B operational in two Regiments. Upgrades are known as J-11BGH.
J-11BS 歼11BS 2007 2 proto + (prod) Dual seat derivative of the J-11B.
J-11BSH 歼11BSH 2012 58 (prod) Navalised J-11BS.
J-12 (1) Air Li Xiangyang 歼12
26dec69 6 proto's Lightweight STOL fighter. Cancelled in 1978.
J-13 歼13   0 Cancelled. 1980's lightweight fighter.
J-15 歼15 2010 6 protos + 50 Navalised J-11 with canards and tailhook for carrier operations.
J-15S 歼15S 3nov12 1 proto Dual seat J-15.
J-15D 歼15D 25 October 2016 1 proto Dual seat J-15 version for Electronic Warfare. Maybe called J-17.
J-15T(?) 歼15T(?) jul16 1 proto CATOBAR (catapult takeoff capable) version (Unofficial designation)
J-16 歼16 17oct11 4 protos + >100 (prod) Ground attack version based on J11BS.
J-16D 歼16D 18dec15 1 proto + 9 (prod) Electronic Attack version of J-16 family. Unofficial designation
J-20/J-20(II) 歼20 11jan11 7 protos + 160 (prod) Next Generation twin-engine heavy fighter produced by Chengdu for PLAAF and PLAN. 7th proto (ff 19sep17) is first with WS-10 engines. Aircraft in operational service are also known as J-20 (II) for Status II.
J-20A 歼20A jun23 2 protos J-20 with WS-15 engines and aerodynamic refinements
J-20S 歼20S 5nov21 2 protos Dual seat J-20



2 proto's

Twin-engine light-weight fighter produced by Shenyang, with roll-out September 2012 as Project 310. Second proto with major refinements.
J-35 歼35 29oct21 1 proto Third version of FC-31, destined for PLAN shipborne operations

Jianjiji Jiaolianji - JJ (Fighter Trainer - FT)
type first flight number build remarks
JJ-1   26jul58 1 1 Proto only. Initial designation HongZhuan 503 (红专-503).
JJ-2       =MiG-15UTI (western invented designation?).
JJ-4       Based on MiG-17U (western invented designation?).
JJ-5 /  FT-5 歼教5 8may66 974 J-5A trainer derivative.
JJ-6 /  FT-6 歼教6   634 J-6 trainer derivative.
Note: No trainer version of MiG-19 was ever build.
BW1   1988/89 1 Fly-by-wire testbed derived from JJ-6. "Bian Wen"="Stabilization".

Guizhou JJ-7 versions
JJ-7 /  FT-7 歼教7 5jul85   MiG-21U equivalent.
JJ-7A /  FT-7A   nov90 >20 Improved JJ-7 with 61 cm stretched fuselage, internal gun and head-up display.
FT-7P/N       Improved JJ-7A for Pakistan resp. Iran.
FT-7PG   mar02 6 Small batch for Pakistan compatible with F-7PG.
FT-7BG   2006 4 Small batch for Bangladesh compatible with F-7BG.
FT-7NG     2 planned Export version for Nigeria in June 2006.

Jianjiji Zhenchaji - JZ (Reconnaissance Fighter)
type first flight number build remarks
JZ-5 歼侦5      
JZ-6 歼侦6 1jul71 ~100 MiG-19R equivalent tactical reconnaissance version.
J-8R       Modified J-8A with external centreline mounted reconnaissance pod.also known as JZ-8.
J-8FR 歼8T   (prod) Modified J-8F for tactical reconnaissance first noted in 2007 with reconnaissance pod semi burried in fuselage. Also known as JZ-8F and JC-8F.


KJ - Kong Jiang / Kong Zhong Yu Jing Ji (AWACS / AEW aircraft)
type first flight number build remarks
KJ-1 空警1   1 proto Initial AEW design based on Tu-4/B-29.
KJ-4 空警4     Light observation aircraft for army.
KJ-200/Y-8W (GX5) 空警200/运8W (高新5) 14jan05 1 proto + 6 AEW&C version of Y-8, with New High fuselage and radar beam on top of fuselage. Also known as New High 5.
Y-t8F-200 airframe was used as testbed (first flight 8 November 2001. 
KJ-200A (GX5) 空警200A (高新5)   4 (prod) Improved KJ200 with AEW radar in nose dome.
KJ-200H (GX5) 空警200 (高新5)   1 proto + 6 Naval version of KJ-200.
KJ-500 (GX10) 空警500 (高新9) 2013 1 proto + 10 (prod) AEW&C version of Y-8 with fixed radome on top of fuselage housing three AESA radar beams.
KJ-500H (GX10) 空警500H (高新9) 2015 10 (prod) Naval version of KJ-500.
T0518     1 testbed Testbed/prototype version for the ZDK-03. In 2013 converted to KJ-500 testbed.
ZDK-03/Y-8P ZDK-03/Y-8P   4 AWACS version Y-8 with rotodome on fuselage for export Pakistan.
KJ-2000 空警2000 11nov03 2 proto  + 4 AWACS version of Il-76MD
Y-7 AWACS     1 testbed E-2 Hawkeye look-alike AWACS version of the Y-7.
First reported in development in 2005. First noted mid 2011.


Lian - L (Primary Trainer - K)
type first flight number build remarks

Hongdu JL8 versions
K-8   21nov90   Export designation. K stands for Mountain range Karakorum.
exports to Egypt (120 K-8E), Ghana (4), Kenya (?), Myanmar (12), Namibia (4), Pakistan (K-8P), Sri Lanka (6), Sudan (12), Tanzania, Venezuela (12), Zambia (8), Zimbabwe (12)
JL-8 教练8 dec94 >400 (prod) Production version for domestic use.
K-8V IFSTA   25jun97 1 Fly-by-wire test version of JL-8 (Inflight Stability Test Aircraft).
K-8E     80+40 Export version for Egypt.and licence build in Egypt.
JL-9 /
 FTC-2000 Shanying (export)
教练9 13dec03 2 proto + 50 (prod) Modernized and rebuild of JJ-7A by Guizhou with lateral engine intakes (Shanying=Mountain Eagle).
JL-9A 教练9A   2 proto JL-9 with small refinements.
JL-9G 教练9G 2009 2 proto + 26 (prod) Naval version of the JL-9 with improved aerodynamics for low speed flying including modifed wing, deletion of ventral fins and modified engine intake. Initially a tailhook was tested that was deleted in production version
JL-9GA 教练9GA 12may20   Improved carrier borne version of JL-9G with wingtip split-ailerons included and drag chute excluded.
JL-9H 教练9H 2010 28 Naval version of the JL-9.
JL-9J 教练9J 2011 1 proto Carrier capable JL-9 (temporarily converted JL-9A proto #2).
JL-10 教练10 1jul13 1 proto + prod Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) by Hongdu. Development from L-15 (tested on proto #6). For PLAAF. Also designated "JL-10I/JL-10 01 status"
JL-10A 教练10A   >10 (prod) Improved JL-10 with fire control radar in nose. Also designated "JL-10II/JL-10 02 status"  and "JL-10III/JL-10 03 status" JL-10III is based on L-15AW
JL-10H 教练10H 2017 12 Naval version of JL-10.
L-15 练15 13mar06 6 proto + prod Export designation for JL-10 from Hongdu. Yak-130 look-alike. For export only (L-15Z/Zambia)
L-15B 练15B  21dec17 1 proto Light ground attack fighter.with PESA radar.
L-15AW 练15AW     Improved L-15B


Qiangjiji - Q (Attack - A) / XionYing (Mighty Eagle)
type first flight number build remarks

Q-5 versions
Q-5 "Fantan" 强5 4jun65   Initial production version by Nanchang (later renamed Hongdu) broadly based on MiG-19 with lateral engine inlets. Initially called XionYing 302 (雄鹰302).
Q-5A 强5甲 1aug70   Special version for nuclear missions.
Q-5I 强5I     Improved Q-5 version with two more hardpoints and deleted weapons bay.
Q-5IA       Improved Q-5I version with two more hardpoints.
Q-5II 强5II     Q-5IA with Radar Warning Receiver.
Q-5B 强5乙 sep70   Naval Q-5 version with re-shaped nose for Doppler radar and provisions for two torpedoes.
A-5C   7sep82   Westernized Q-5I (Pakistan, Bangladesh). Also known as Q-5III.
Q-5K 强5K sep91 1 proto Q-5II upgrade with French electronics.
Q-5M / A-5M 强5M 31aug88 1 proto Q-5II upgrade with Italian electronics and more powerful engine.
A-5MI 强5M   1 proto Modernised A-5M demonstrator.
Q-5D / A-5D 强5D     Modernized all-weather attack version with improved navigation systems and fire control. Green camo c/s.
Q-5E/F 强5E/F late 90's   Improved Q-5II with Q-5K/M experience included
Q-5E for FLIR/Laser Targeting carriage with Q-5F for 2 500kg bomb carriage.
Q-5J 强5J 28feb05 1 proto + prod Modified Q-5D, resulting in a two-seat trainer version.
Q-5L 强5L 2010   Modified Q-5C/D for improved targeting and bombing and with inproved range due to a conformal fuel tank and two drop tanks.
Q-6 强6   0 Swing-wing fighter-bomber project initiated in 1976, rougly based on the MiG-23. Cancelled in 1979.


Shuishangji Hongzha - SH (Maritime Bomber)
type first flight number build remarks
SH-5 水轰5 3apr76 3 proto + 4 4-engined amphibian using Y-8 wing.
SH-5B 水轰5B   1 Fire fighting SH-5 derivative.

Qiangjiji Dian - QD (Attack Electronic))
type first flight number build remarks
QD-5 强电5     Electronic warfare / ELINT version of Q-5.


Xiangji - X (Glider)
type first flight number build remarks
X-5A       no details known.
X-7       Jian Fan. Two-seat basic training glider by Chengdu Sailplane Factory
X-9       Jian Fan. Two-seat training glider by Chengdu Sailplane Factory
X-10       Qian Jin. Shenyang Sailplane Works
X-11       nBy Shenyang Sailplane Works.

Wing In Ground Effect - XTW
type first flight number build remarks
XTW-5   1999 2

About 20m long Ekranoplan used by Border Patrol based on RFB X-114 design.
Design by China Ship Scientific Research Centre (CSSRC)


Yunshuji - Y (Transport) / Heping (Peace)
type first flight number build remarks

Y-5 versions
Y-5 "Fong Shou" 运5 23dec57 728 (incl. civil) Copy of An-2, also written as "运五".
total produced by 320 Airplane manufactory (Nanchang Aircraft Comp).
Y-5B (1) 运5乙 /
1958 229 Y-5 agriculture version, suited for hot weather ops.
Y-5 Aerobus   1958 2 VIP version for the Air Force.
Y-5D 运5丁 1958 116 Bomber trainer, delivered from 1962.
Y-5A 运5甲 1959 114 11 pax for CAAC.
Y-5C 运5丙 /
1964 7 Amphibian Y-5 for navy (1 copy from USSR, 6 Chinese clones), in 1972 converted back to Y-5. Also known as Qing-5.
Y-5 运5 may70 221 (incl. civil) Continued production by Redstar Company (Shijiazhuang Aircraft).
Beijing-5 北京5     Drone version of first generation Y-5s (?).
Y-5B (2) 运5B 30dec87 1+ Restructured Y-5.
28mar95 Y5 with wingtip flaps
Y-5 "Para" 运5军用跳伞型 28mar95   Y5 with wingtip vanes, for military parachuting operations, including GPS installation.
Y-5N 运5N     Advanced version of Y-5B.
Y-5B(K) 运5B(K)     Y5B passenger version for international certification.
Y-5B(D) 运5B(D)    (prod) Improved version of Y-5B, which replaced it on the production line from the third badge.
Y-5B(C) 运5B(C)      
Y-5B(N) 运5B(N)     Agriculture version.
Y-5 "Trainer" 运5航校训练型     Y5 for Aviation School Training.
Y-6     0 Il-14 copy. Also known as Heping 401 (和平401).

Xi'an (XAC) Y-7 versions
Y-7 运7 25dec70 1? Reverse engineered An-24. Certified april 1984.
Y-7-100 运7-100   85 all -100 versions Y-7 with western avionics, winglets. 85 Y-7-100 versions (100C/-100C1/100C2) build until 1992.
Y-7-100J 运7-100J     Navigation trainer based on Y-7-100.
Y-7D 运7D   1 EW modification of Y-7-100, first noted in 2022
Y-7H 运7H 1989   Y-7-100 development with tail loading ramp and additional APU on port side and no winglets ("Hao"="Cargo").
As a result an An-26 look-alike. Initially called Y-14.
Y-7H-500 运7H-500   2 Civil version of the Y-7H.
Y-7-H   late '90s   Special Y-7 version for bomber crew training based on civil Y-7-100C2.
Y-7-200A 运7-200A 1993   Advanced westernised version of the Y-7-100 with PW127C engines and 1 meter longer fuselage.
Certified 5 May 1998.
Y-7-200B 运7-200B 28nov90   Advanced version of the Y-7-100 with longer fuselage for more cargo.
Y-7 (long Range) 运-7长航程 25dec99   Long -range Y-7 with external fuel tanks on wing.
Y-7G 运7G     Military version of MA60.
MA60 新舟60 12mar00   "Modern Ark 60". Redesigned Y-7-200A with sharper nose, western electronics and PW127J engines. For civil market.
MA60H 新舟60H 2016 1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft for China Coast Guard.
MA600 新舟600 9oct08   "Modern Ark 600". Further development of MA60. For civil market.
MA600F 新舟600F 24oct12   Cargo version of MA600 with righthand side cargo door.
HYJ-7 轰运教7     Bomber trainer version of Y-7 first noted in 2008. Also known as Y-7LH.

Shaanxi (SAC) Y-8 versions
Y-8 运8 25dec75 100+ (all over) (prod) Reverse engineered An-12 with unpressurised cargo bay. Initial a/c builld in Xi'an, second proto build from Xi'an kit in Hanzhong.(subtype 08) 
Y-8A 运8A nov85   Dedicated Sikorsky S70 carrier.
Y-8B 运8B nov85   Passenger version.
Y-8C 运8C 17dec90   Y-8 with pressurized cargo bay. (subtype 18)
Y-8CA 运8CA   1 testbed Y-8C used to test the J10 radar.
Y-8CB(1) 运8CB aug99 1 testbed Flying radar testbed (now) with J-11 radar nose and new six-bladed propeller. Converted from Y-8CA.
Also known as RETA-Radar, Electronic Test Aircraft.
Y-8CH 运8CH   4 Navalized version of standard Y-8C.
Y-8D 运8D oct87   Export version.
Y-8DI 运8DI     Re-equiped export version.
Y-8DII 运8DII     Improved export version, with western electronics.
Y-8E 运8E     Reconnaissance UAV carrier.
Y-8H 运8H   4 Air survey version.
Y-8Q(1) 运8Q     Military version without the tail turret. Replaced the standard Y-8 from the sixth batch.
Y-8X 运8X 13dec84 4 Maritime Patrol version for Navy (X=Xun).
Y-8J 运8J 26sep98 4 AEW version for Navy with a Sky Master search radar in a big nose radome.
Converted from Navy Y-8X aircraft. (J=Jian).
6 Sky Master radars were imported.
Y-8CB(2) (GX1) 运8CB (高新1) 2005 6 Electronic Warfare version for Air Force with canoe shaped radar under fuselage and antenna's fitted to loading ramp.
Replacement for HD-5.
Also known as "New High 1".
Y-8JB/Y-8(DZ)  (GX2) 运8JB (高新2) 26aug03 4 ELINT version for Air Force with extended radar under nose and large SATCOM antena on fuselage.
Also known as "New High 2".
Y-8G (GX4) 运8G (高新4) 2005 10 ECM version with large antennas on both sides of forward fuselage.
Also known as "New High 4".
Y-8T (GX3) 运8T (高新1) 2005 6 Command & Control version with big satcom antenna on roof. In service by 2006.
Also known as "New High 3"
Y-8Q (GX6) 运8Q (高新6)  2012 2 proto + 15 (prod) ASW version of Y-8 with search radar, MAD-boom and bomb bays.
Also known as "New High 6" Also called KQ-200.
Y-8XZ  (GX7) 运8XZ (高新7) 2007 2 Psychological Operations version with flat horizontal antennas on the aft fuselage.
Also known as "New High 7"
Y-8ZZ   运8XZ  2019   ELINT version, replacing Y-8CB (2)
Y-8F-100 运8F100     Civilian version of basic Y-8.
Y-8F-200 运8F200     Civilian version of pressurized Y-8C.
Y-8F-200W   9+ 2012 Export version
Y-8F-400 运8F400 25aug01   Civilian version based on Y-8F-200 with improved avionics and 3-man crew instead of 5.
Y-8F-600 运8F600     Shelved civilian version of Y-8 with PW150B engines, APU and improved avionics and two man cockpit.
Y-9 运9   1 proto + 40 (prod) Military version of the Y-8F-600 with WJ-6C engines anounced in September 2005. Earlier known as Y8-X.
Y-8JZ (GX8) 运8JB (高新8) 2012 1 proto + 10 ELINT version of Y-9.
Also known as "New High 8" Earlier known as Y-9JB and Y-9JZ.
Y-9G (GX11) 运9G (高新11) 2014 1 proto + 4 (prod) ECM version of Y-9
Also known as "New High 11"
Y-9XZ (GX9) 运9XZ (高新10) 2014 1 proto + 1 Psychological Operations version based on Y-9 fuselage with flat horizontal antennas on the aft fuselage.
Also known as "New High 10"
Y-9Z (GX12) 运9Z (高新12) 2017 1 proto + 1 Electronic warfare (ELINT?) version of Y-9. Initially known as Y-9DZ.
Also known as "New High 12". In service by 2022.
Y-9LG (GX13) 运9LG (高新13) 2017 1 proto ECM version using Balanced Beam radar housing. Believed to be in PLAAF service in 2023
Y-9Q (GX15) 运9Q (高新15) 2020 4 proto Improved version of Y-8Q. Also known as KQ-200A
Y-9T (GX14) 运9T (高新14) 2020 1 proto Submarine communications relay version of Y-9
Also known as "New High 14".
Y-9? (GX16) 运9? (高新16) 2022 1 proto Improved AWACS version based onKJ-500A.
Y-10 运10 26sep80 1 proto 4-engined airliner (B707 look alike).

HAIC Y11 & 12 versions
Y-11 运11 30dec75 41 2-engined small transport.
Y-11B 运11B dec90 2 protos Modified Y-11.
Y-12 运12 14jul82 (prod) 2 turbo-engined Y-11 upgrade.
Y-12I 运12I   2 PT-6A-11 engined version.
Y-12II 运12II     Advanced version.with more powerful PT-6A-27 engines.
Y-12III / Y-12C 运12III 运12C    4 Aerial survey version with WJ9 engines.
Y-12IV 运12IV 30aug93   Enlarged version of the Y-12II with improved wing including extended wintips. FAA certified. Three bladed props.
Y-12D 运12D    16 Y-12IV development for PLAAF parajumping. Four bladed props
Y-12? 运12?   1 Improved aerial survey version with Y-12D upgrades. Official designation tbd.
Y-12E 运12E 7dec00   PT6A-135A reengined version of the Y-12IV.
Y-12F 运12F 19dec10   Lenghtenth and modernised high takeoff weight version of the Y-12E.
Y-12G 运12G     Proposed cargo version of Y-12F.
Y-13 运13   0 Not build.
Y-14 运14   0 Not build. Became Y-7H.
Y-16 运16   0 Not build. Boeing 737-400 copy.
Y-19 运19   0 Rumoured future local version of An-178 (Two engined medium transport)


运20 26jan13 5 proto's + 20 (prod) Four-engined (D-30KP2) turbofan high wing large transport aircraft by XAC with payload of 50-55 tonnes. 
Y-20B 运20B? 21nov20 proto Y-20A with WS-13 engines
YY-20 运20U   1 proto + 2 (prod) Tanker version of Y-20. Earlier unofficially known as Y-20U
Y-30 运30   0 SAC project for 35-40 tonnes payload, turboprop powered cargoplane, shown at Zhuhai 2014.


Zhishengji - Z (VTOL) / Xuanfeng (Whirlwind)
type first flight number build remarks
Z-5 直5 14dec59 545 Mi-4 license build by Harbin. Initially called Xuanfeng 25 (旋风25).
Z-5 "mil" 直5军用突击型     Armed version with gun pod under belly.
Z-5 "Saloon" 直5     VIP/Passenger version with square windows.
Z-5 直5     Mi-4Skh look alike for chemical spraying.
Z-5 testbed 直5 1979 1 Testbed re-enined with PT6T-6 "Twin Pack".
Z-6 直6 15dec69 15 Mi-8 look-alike based on Z-5 and build by Harbin, production moved to Changzhou in 1970.
Only prototypes and pre-production. Project stopped in 1977
Z-7 直7 -- 2 At 90% prototype completion the project was stopped on 28 June 1979 with only static tests partially performed.

Z-8 versions
Z-8 直8 11dec85 12 (prod) Reverse engineered SA321Ja for Navy. Origionally 7 ordered (including three protos and static airframe.
Z-8A 直8A 2001 8+1 proto Initial Army version.
Z-8B 直8B 2011 84 Improved Z-8A for Army. Sponsoons removed.
Z-8C 直8C 2020 9+ Assault version of Z-8 used by PLAN Marine Corps.
Z-8F 直8F 4aug04 proto Civil Z-8 derivative with PT6B-67A engines. Civil derivative includes AC313 (Z-8F-100).
Z-8J 直8J 2007 14 CSAR version of Z-8 for PLANAF.
Z-8JH 直8JH 2007 4 SAR version of Z-8 for PLANAF.
Z-8K 直8K 2007 24 Rescue version of Z-8 for PLAAF.
Z-8KA 直8KA 2007 12 Combat troop transport version for PLAAF.
Z-8KH 直8KH 2009 4 Z-8 dedicated for Hong Kong Garrison.
Z-8S 直8S 25dec04 2 Naval SAR version based on Z-8E with improved avionics, hoist, searchlight and FLIR.
Z-8WJS 直8WJS 2009 8 Z-8 version for WuJing (=Armed Police) Senlin (=Forest). Also called Z-8WJ.
Z-8AWJS 直8AWJS 2014 10 Development of Z8WJS for the Forest Armed Police based on AC313 airframe.
Z-8NWJ 直8NWJ     Z-8AWJS verdion for the Armed Police
Z-8G 直8高 2014 >72 (prod) Z-18 development for high altitude troop transport for Army. Earlier known as Z-18A.
Z-8GWJ 直8GWJ     Z-8G version for the Armed Police. 
Z-8CJ 直8CJ 2017 8+ Naval training version of the Z-8.
Z-8L 直8L宽 2017 proto (prod) Z-8 development with extra wide fuselage and fuel in large sponsoons along cabin. Civil derivative includes AC313A (f/f 17 May 2022)
Z-8LJ 直8LJ宽 2023 proto Naval version of Z-8C. 

Z-9 versions
Z-9 直9 1981 (prod) Locally assembled AS365N1 by Harbin. 
Civil derivatives include H410, H425, AC312
Z-9A 直9A   20 AS365N2 equivalent. Also known as Z-9A-100.
Z-9A "ECM" 直9A电子干扰型     Electronic countermeasures version for the PLA.
Z-9A "Scout" 直9A侦察校射型     Artillery reconnaissance version for the PLA.
Z-9A "Command" 直9A通信指挥型   1 Signal communications and command post version for the PLA.
Z-9B 直9B 16jan92 12 PLAAF version used in HongKong.
Z-9C 直9C   24 Naval version of Z-9, equipped with nose radar and torpedos for shipforne operations
Z-9CJ 直9CJ   20 Downgraded Z-9C for training
Z-9EC 直9EC     Export version of Z-9C.
Z-9D 直9D   2 proto + >8 (prod)

Naval anti-ship version of Z-9C.

Z-9DF 直9DF   2 (prod) Naval Anti Submarine Warfare version of Z-9D.
Z-9S 直9S   5 (prod) Naval SAR helicopter with winch and EO turret
Z-9W 直9W 1989 (prod) Armed version of utility Z-9(W: Wuzhuang: Weapon equipped).
Z-9WA 直9WA 2004 (prod) Improved Z-9W with higher power engine, improved stub wing and improved body armour. Earlier known as Z-9G
Z-9WE 直9WE 2007 ~4 Export version of Z-9WZ
Z-9WZ 直9WZ 2007 (prod) Z-9WA with H425 enhancements and improved fire control system. Earlier known as Z-9WE
Z-9Z 直9Z 24dec04 (prod) Reconnaisance version of Z-9A.
Z-9ZH 直9ZH   2 Z-9Z version for Hong Kong.
Z-10 直10 29apr03 8 protos Tandem seat attack helicopter build by CHAIC developed by 602 Institute, CHAIC and HAIG, based on a design by Kamov with further refinements by Eurocopter and Agusta. This initial Z-10 version was powered by PT6C-76C engine.
Z-10A 直10A 2009 3 proto + > 84 Production version of Z-10 powered by WZ-9 engine and with reduced weight.
Z-10H 直10H   36 Improved Z-10 version for Army
Z-10K 直10K 2015 1 proto + 18 Improved Z-10 version for Air Force
Z-10ME 直10ME 2018 1 demo Export version of Z-10.
Z-11 直11 dec94 >50 (prod) License production of AS350B by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corp. and used as trainer within PLA.
Civil derivatives include AC301 and AC311.
Z-11J   2007 prod Export version of Z-11.
Z-11J? 直11J? 2005 proto Police version of Z-11.
Z-11W 直11W 27dec04 proto Armed version of Z-11.
Z-11WB 直11WB 28sep15 proto Improved armed version of Z-11
Z-11MB2, Z-11ME2 直11MB2,
dec94 40+ (prod) French Arriel 2B1A engine powered versions.
HC120     prod License production of EADS EC120 by HAMC. License agreement signed 11 June 2004.
Z-15 直15 04dec09 1 proto 6-tonnes helicopter build bij Harbin in cooperation with Aerospatiale (as EC175). Expected PLAAF service entry: 2015. Chinese civil derivatives include AC352.
Z-18 直18 2013 4 (prod) Modernised naval version of Z-8/AC313 with enlarged cabin and improved, more powerful WZ6G engine used for transport duties.
Z-18F 直18F feb14 2 proto + 4 (prod) ASW version of Z-8 for PLANAF
Z-18FA 直18FA 2022 1 (prod) Improved version of Z-18F with domestic WZ-6C engines
Z-18J 直18J 2009 2 Z-18 equipped with AESA radar for shipborne AEW role.
Z-18JA 直18JA   2 Improved version of Z-18J with domestic WZ-6C engines
Z-19 直19 may10 1 proto + prod (108+) Light weight attack/scout helicopter produced by Hongdu.
Z-19E   18may17 1 proto Export version of Z-19.
Z-20 直20 23dec13 3 protos + 12 (prod) 10 Tonnes MTOW helicopter by HAIG (Harbin).
Z-20F 直20F 2018 1 proto Shipborne naval ASW version of Z-20.
Z-20J 直20J 2018 2 proto Shipborne naval transport and assault version of Z-20.
Z-20K 直20K 2021 prod SAR/CSAR version of the Z-20 for the air force 


Chinese serial system

Brief history
The serial system is fairly straight forward and serials can be divided nowadays into the following categories:

Newly produced aircraft flying before delivery can be seen with a two-digit serial or even up to 5 digit. The system is consistent for each manufacturer and mostly indicate the production sequence number that might be added to the aircraft tye (like "20" for the J-20) or batch number (like "7" for batch 7 within the J-10 production. Aircraft of the Air Academies all have the aircraft specific number as a large two- or three digit number on the fuselage or tail. In order to obtain the full five digit serial (see below) the specific regiment digits are added.

The three-digit serials are reserved for aircraft on test. Aircraft used by the test center CFTE at Xi'an-Yanliang can be seen using this serial range, but also product development aircraft from factories like XAC and SAC use this range.

Starting the reorganizations of the Flying Academies in 2012 aircraft flying within the Academies use a four digit serial in the "axbx" pattern, where "a" indicates the Flying Academy (between "1" and "4") and "b" indicates the Regiment. Most Flying Academy aircraft are recognisable as the have their individual code "xx" in big numarals painted on the fuselage or tail. 6xbx series is used by the 15th Airborne Corps with "b" indicating the Regiment. Until 2017 als special other units like HQ Regiments used this serial series. The 9aax number is used by the Navy, see below.

Allocations after 2011
Starting April 2012 in four Military Regions many Regiments were transformed into Brigades that got subordinated to 'Bases' that consisted of Brigades. This compares to Divisions that have a maximum of three Regiments. As a consequence, two different systems are used by the Air Force: The Divisions use the axxax pattern in which the "aa" gives the Division number by subtracting 11, "xxx" is subdivided into three groups 001-050, 051-100 and 101-150, indicating the three Regiments within the Division. The serials of Brigade aircraft use an "aaxax"pattern, with "aaa" being the Brigade number plus 611. (so 70x1x being a 90th Brigade aircraft). Compared to pre 2012 serials the Military Region Training Bases have been incorporated in the regular Division and Brigade scheme.

In 2017 reorganization was completed when the Military Regions disappeared and all military got subordinated to five Theatre Commands. At the same time more Regiments were transferred to Brigades with the five digit serial based on division number +11 changing into a five digit serial based on the Brigade number + 611. In addition many Military Region HQ flights/Regiments were converted into Transport & SAR Brigades for each Theatre Command with a serial pattern 5bxcx with the "b" indicating the Theatre Command, the "c" indicating the aircraft type and "xx" the indiviual aircraft code.

Many transport aircraft have a civilian-looking registration in the B-4xxx range.

The 8xxxx series is used by the Navy and the Army, see below. The five digit 9xxxx series was used by th eArmy until it changed into a six digit system in 2017.

Allocations between 2005 and 2012
Up to 2012 the four digit serials were dedicated to special regiments. The "5xax" pattern was used by the Air Force for reconnaissance regiments, and the "6xax" pattern as used for the 15th Airborne Corps and MR HQ transport units, where "a" identified the regiment and xx is a unique number within the regiment. In earlier days (before 2005) "3aax" and "4aax" could be found for Air Force reconnaissance regiments. Up to 2012 the regular Regimens were subordinated to Divisions. The five-digit serials followed the "abxax" pattern in which the "a"s indicate thed Division number. Divisions that were identified by a number (transport, fighter and attack divisions) had a serial range with the first and fourth digit equal to the Division number plus eleven, thereby correcting some mismatches in the pre-2005 system. Up to 2005, when the fighters still had red and blue painted serials the second digit indicated the regiment within the Division, starting with a "0" for the first regiment, effectively reserving 100 srials for each regiment. With the change of colour to yellow, the maximum number of codes reduced to 50 for each regiment. The second, third and last digit are used together, with 001 up to 049 for the first regiment, 050 up to 099 for the second regiment and 100 up to 150 for the third regiment within the Division. Lead-in trainers within the fighter regiments usually take the first couple or last couple within the range. As an example JJ7A 50533 belonged to the second regiment (code 053) within the 53-11=42nd Division, being the 125th Regiment.

Also the Military Region Training Bases and some special Regiments used to be within this scheme using the 6xaxa range. Basic training was done in Divisions with serials in the 7xxxx range.

Below is a cross reference list of the serial ranges for 2005-2012. Division numbers that were not used are omitted.

Serial range Air Div.
1bx2x 1st
1bx3x 2nd
1bx4x 3rd
1bx5x 4th
1bx6x 5th
1bx7x 6th
1bx8x 7th
1bx9x 8th
Serial range Air Div.
2bx0x 9th
2bx1x 10th
2bx2x 11th
2bx3x 12th
2bx4x 13th
2bx5x 14th
2bx6x 15th
2bx9x 18th
Serial range Air Div.
3bx0x 19th
3bx1x 20th
3bx2x 21st
3bx3x 22nd
3bx4x 23rd
3bx5x 24th
3bx7x 26th
3bx8x 27th*
3bx9x 28th
Serial range Air Div.
4bx0x 29th
4bx1x 30th
4bx4x 33rd
4bx5x 34th
4bx7x 36th
4bx8x 37th
Serial range Air Div.
5bx3x 42nd
5bx5x 44th
6bx1x Shenyang MR TB
6bx2x Beijing MR TB
6bx3x Lanzhou MR TB
6bx4x Jinan MR TB
6bx5x Nanjing MR TB
6bx6x Guangzhou MR TB
6bx7x Chengdu MR TB
6bx8x FTTC
6bx9x SMTU
Serial range Air Div.
7bx1x 1st FA
7bx2x 2nd FA
7bx3x 3rd FA
7bx4x 4th FA
7bx5x 5th FA
7bx6x 6th FA
7bx7x 7th FA
7bx8x 13th FA
7bx9x NTS

FA: Flying Acadamy
FTTC: Flight Test & Training Center
MR TB: Military Region Training Base.
NTS: Navigator Training School
SMTU: Special Missiles Testing Unit

The 8xxxx and 9xxxx series were used by the Navy and the Army, see below.

The old allocations (pre-2005)
In the early days a four digit serial system was used in the axax format with aa identifying the Division. This changed into a five -digit system that was unchanged until 2005. Before mid 2005 the serial allocation was as listed below.

Serial range Air Div.
1bx2x 1st
1bx3x 2nd
1bx4x 3rd
1bx5x 4th
1bx6x 5th
1bx7x 6th
1bx8x 7th
1bx9x 8th
1bx0x 9th
Serial range Air Div.
2bx1x 20th
2bx2x 21st
2bx3x 22nd
2bx4x 23rd
2bx5x 24th
2bx6x 25th
2bx7x 26th
2bx8x 27th
2bx9x 28th
2bx0x 29th
Serial range Air Div.
3bx1x 10th
3bx2x 11th
3bx3x 12th
3bx4x 13th
3bx5x 14th
3bx6x 15th
3bx7x 16th
3bx8x 17th
3bx9x 18th
3bx0x 19th
Serial range Air Div.
4bx1x 40th
4bx2x 41st
4bx3x 42nd
4bx4x 43rd
4bx5x 44th
4bx6x 45th
4bx7x 46th
4bx8x 47th
4bx9x 48th
4bx0x 49th
Serial range Air Div.
5bx1x 30th
5bx2x 31st
5bx3x 32nd
5bx4x 33rd
5bx5x 34th
5bx6x 35th
5bx7x 36th
5bx8x 37th
5bx9x 38th
5bx0x 39th
Serial range Air Div.
6bx1x 1st FA
6bx2x 2nd FA
6bx3x 3rd FA
6bx4x 4th FA
6bx5x 5th FA
6bx6x 6th FA
6xx7b 7th FA
6xx8b 8th FA
7bx6x FTTC
7bx7x 12th FA
7bx8x 13th FA
7bx9x NTS
7bx0x 50th

Naval Air Force
In 2017 also the Navy reorganized and many Regiments were converted into Brigades. Unfortunately, like all naval forces around the world the China Navy likes tradition and as a result hardly any serial was changed to reflect the new command structure. As a result also in our overview the Regiment is mentioned often, as it directly relates to the serial.

The Naval serial system is an extension of the Air Force system where the five digit serial starts with a 8, which is used in a 8bxcx format, where the "b" indicated the regiment and the c the Division. Origionally the Navy also featured many Independent Regiments. These were recognizable for their four-digit serials with th eformat 9xxb, where "b" showed the Regiment number and "xx" the individual aircaft number. Although independent Regiments are gone, the serial system is still used.

With the arrival of aircraft carriers the Navy started to use a three digit serial for all flying assets on the Liaoning carrier, with the first digit indicating the aircraft/helicopter type and the final two the individual aircraft number. In 2019, just before the second carrier got operational J-15s were noted with also the first digit deleted, leaving a two-digit serial painted on the aircraft.

Army Aviation
Until 2017 the serial system was also based on a five-digit number, preceded by "LH" for LuJun HangKongBing (Army Aviation). The second digit indicated the Brigade or Regiment the helicopter was flying with.

Allocations until 2017
The serial versus brigade alocation until 2017 is presented in the table below:

Serial range Brigade (beyond 2017)
LH90cxx Army Aviation Training Regiment
LH91cxx 1st Army Aviation Brigade
LH92cxx 2nd Army Aviation Brigade
LH93cxx 3rd Army Aviation Brigade
LH94cxx 4th Army Aviation Brigade
LH95cxx 5th Army Aviation Brigade
LH96cxx 6th Army Aviation Brigade
LH97cxx 7th Army Aviation Brigade
LH98cxx 8th Army Aviation Brigade
LH99cxx 9th Army Aviation Brigade
LH910cxx 10th Army Aviation Brigade

Allocations after 2017
In 2017 the number of Brigades had expanded that much that the system was changed at th esame time the OrBat was reorganised. The result was a six-digit serial, with the second/third digit indicating the Brigade. Unfortunately the last two digits are nowadays allocated in a more-or-less random order.

The number versus Regiment alocation until 2017 is presented in the table:

Theatre Command Brigade Serial series Pre-2017 serial series
  Army Aviation Training Regiment LH90bcxx LH90cxx
Eastern TC 71st Army Aviation Brigade LH991cxx -
  72nd Army Aviation Brigade LH992cxx LH95cxx
  73rd Army Aviation Brigade LH993cxx LH910cxx
Southern TC 74th Army Aviation Brigade LH981cxx LH96cxx
  121st Air Assault Brigade LH982cxx LH912cxx
Western TC Xinjiang Army Aviation Brigade LH911cxx -
  Xizang Army Aviation Brigade LH921cxx -
  76th Army Aviation Brigade LH971cxx LH93cxx
  77th Army Aviation Brigade LH972cxx LH92cxx
Northern TC 78th Army Aviation Brigade LH961cxx LH99cxx
  79th Army Aviation Brigade LH962cxx LH99cxx
  80th Army Aviation Brigade LH963cxx LH97cxx
Central TC 81st Army Aviation Brigade LH951cxx LH94cxx
  82nd Army Aviation Brigade LH952cxx LH98cxx
  161st Air Assault Brigade (75 GA) LH953cxx LH91cxx

The "c" digit is an indication for the helicopter or aircraft type.

Helicopter type code allocations

Code c
Aircraft type
0 Transports
1 Alouette, Z-10
2 S70C-2, Z-20
3 SA342L
4 Z-11
5 Z-19
7 Mi-17/Mi-171
8 Mi-8, Z-8
9 Z-9 (and Z-19 until 2017)


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