Chinese ambitions may be to give its carrier air wing an air-to-surface role from the outset, at least if what appears to be a mock-up of a naval Flanker is to be taken at face value.
Numerous images of an intriguing facility claimed to be at the Wuhan ship design institute have appeared on the internet in the past few days. The images show a building on which an aircraft carrier’s main superstructure is being fabricated, along with a large roof area that could be used to practise aircraft and helicopter deck handling.
The images show a Z-8 helicopter and a Flanker of some description. Whether both are mock-ups has yet to be determined.
The Flanker appears to be fitted with two large air-to-surface missile models – one under the port and starboard inboard wing stations. The dummy weapon may be part of the YJ-8 family, conceivably the YJ-83 anti-ship missile, though the quality of the imagery so far doesn’t provide conclusive identification.
Picture Credits CJDBY.net via China Air and Naval Power