Shenyang J-8A

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Shenyang J-8A




The original J-8 was already outdated when it began flight testing due to its avionics and equipment not meeting the current requirements. As a result, in February 1978, the designers at the newly established design bureau in Shenyang initiated an upgrade program. Initially known as the J-8 I and later redesignated as J-8A, the upgraded interceptor had several notable differences compared to the original aircraft. Firstly, it featured the installation of an SR-4 (Type 204) fire control radar, which was the first domestically developed aircraft radar, replacing the inadequate radar rangefinder. Secondly, the original crew escape system was replaced with a new Type 2 ejection seat and a two-piece canopy that had a fixed windshield and an aft-hinged portion, similar to the J-7 II. Lastly, the armament was enhanced by replacing the Type 30-1 cannons with a Type 30-2 cannon. However, the development of the Type 30-2 cannon was canceled, and instead, the Type 23-3A (GSh-23L) double-barreled cannons (200 rpg) were integrated, along with the capability to carry four PL-4 AAMs (which was later canceled).

The State Certification Commission officially approved the planned changes on March 2, 1980, despite the fact that both the radar and the missile were not yet ready for service. Ground tests for the first prototype J-8A began in May 1980. Unfortunately, on June 25, the program faced a significant setback when the prototype was lost during its initial engine run. A burst in the hydraulic line caused a massive fire in the engine bay, resulting in the complete destruction of the aircraft. This incident led to a major overhaul of the hydraulic system in subsequent J-8s, causing a one-year delay in the program.

Lu Mindong piloted the second prototype’s maiden flight on April 24, 1981, followed by the third prototype in October. In July 1983, another J-8A airframe successfully completed static tests.

The test programme, which lasted for three and a half years, concluded in November 1984. Subsequently, on July 27th, 1985, the J-8A received approval for production. Unfortunately, the PL-4 AAM, originally intended for use, did not meet the required standards and was eventually canceled. As a result, the production fighters had to rely on PL-2B or PL-5 AAMs instead. Additionally, for strike missions, pods with 57mm or 90mm FFARs could be equipped. Regrettably, the performance of the fighter fell short of the prevailing global standards, leading to the termination of J-8A production in 1987, after approximately 100 units had been manufactured.

It is likely that the aircraft served with the 15th and 16th regiment until 1990, when the type was upgraded to J-8E standards, and was replaced by more capable aircraft from 2002-2007.

There are a few J-8A aircraft around China, namely, the J-8A “201127” located at the Shanghai Aerospace Enthusiasts Center. (as of 2014)

Technical Data


Crew - 1

Length - 19.25 (Without Pitot)

Height - 5.41 m

Wingspan - 9.344 m

Empty Weight - 9,332 kg

Gross Weight - 13,752 kg

Max Takeoff Weight - 16,095 kg

Powerplant - 2 x WP-7B Turbojet Engines (38.7 kN Dry, 59.8 kN Wet)

Max Speed - 1,296.4 km/h (at sea level)

Rate of Climb - 200 m/s

Range - 1,580 km

Service Ceiling - 21,000 m


1 x 30-2 30mm Cannon (Planned but Canceled)

2 x 23-3A Double Barrel 23mm Cannon (200 RPG)

4 x PL-2B AAMs

4 x PL-5B AAMs

4 x PL-4 AAMs(Planned but Canceled)

4 x HF-7D Rocket Pods

4 x HF-25 Rocket Pods

1 x 800 Litre Drop Tank

2 x 480 Litre Drop Tank


Type 204 Radar

Ballistic Computer









(Book)China’s Navy Ships and Aircraft of the People’s Republic of China, 1955 - 2021 (Page B-9)

(Book) Encyclopedia of Chinese Aircraft, vol.3 (Page 95 - 98)

(Book) Chinese Aircraft China’s Aviation Industry Since 1951. - Page 77 - 78



Shenyang J-8I
Shenyang F-8IIM


I would love to see it in game a wonderful J-8 to be added

Long MiG-21

Long MiG-21


If existing PLA aircraft line gets a split, this can form a part of the heavy fighter line

Is really ugly but would be nice ingame.

Maybe the proposed armaments could be optional upgrades? It’d be nice to have them. +1 either way.

Heh, funny lookin boi
I don’t even have this Tech tree unlocked, but I would willingly grind it just for this ugly thing lmao

Would be 10.7 BR before Chengdu J-7E

we don’t need more modern aircrafts, we need two mig21mf welded together.
Would 100% grind this

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