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China’s J-16 multi-role fighter jet will now have a silver-grey paint coating that can provide a kind of cloaking capability. The fighter jet is now confirmed to be able to carry all types of air-to-surface weapons in precision strikes, China Central Television (CCTV) reported. The J-16 used during the exercise carried out in January had a silver-gray painting cover which acts as a kind of cloaking coating that gives the warplane a certain stealth capability, making it nearly invisible to the naked eye and electromagnetic devices, Brigade Commander Jiang Jiaji was quoted saying.
The J-16 is a twin-engine, twin-seat multi-role fighter jet that is also capable of air-to-air combat. According to defenseworld.net, the J-16 is reportedly capable of carrying at least eight tons of weapons.
The aerodynamic design of the J-16 stresses maneuverability rather than stealth, but the coating can make it more difficult to detect, according to the Global Times. The camouflaged coloring makes the aircraft blend into the sky and sea, so that the enemy will only recognize it at close range, giving it a huge advantage in combat.
The J-16 can use a wide array of air-to-ground missiles, bombs and anti-ship missiles, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert said. He added that the multi-role fighter jet can launch multiple waves of attack before it runs out of ammunition.
Although the J-20 is China’s more advanced fighter jet, the PLA Air Force still needs the J-16 as the two types of fighter jets can complement each other, analysts noted.
The J-20 can use its stealth capability to destroy hostile anti-air installations and win aerial superiority first but it cannot carry as many weapons as the J-16, because the J-20 hides its weapons in smaller weapon bays to ensure stealth capability, Fu said. The J-16 can follow up a J-20 attack and clean away surface targets with its missiles and bombs, Fu said.