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“41 Chinese J-11 Aircraft Downed by Thai JAS39 Gripen in Joint Exercise”

As recently reported by the defense portal, the Royal Thai Air Force's JAS39 Gripen fighter jets have demonstrated outstanding performance in long-range, or Beyond Visual Range (BVR), combat against China's Shenyang J-11 aircraft.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) JAS39 Gripen fighter jets have reportedly demonstrated exceptional performance against Chinese Shenyang J-11 aircraft (a variant of the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27) during the “Falcon Strike” joint air exercise in 2015.

 According to recent reports by the defense portal, the Gripen fighters exhibited superior long-range combat capabilities, specifically in Beyond Visual Range (BVR) engagements against the J-11s.

 The report highlighted that the Gripen fighters achieved an 88 percent success rate in BVR combat at distances of 30km or greater, underscoring the aircraft’s proficiency in long-range engagements.

 The exercise revealed various challenges faced by the Chinese J-11 fighters, with the RTAF losing nine Gripen jets compared to 41 Chinese J-11 aircraft.

 This performance underscores the Gripen’s combat capabilities and suggests a need for the Chinese Air Force to enhance its strategic aerial evasion tactics.

Shenyang J-11 China


Both the Thai and Chinese fighter jets were based at the RTAF Base in Korat.

Despite Thailand’s alliance with the United States in Southeast Asia, the country has faced challenges in its relationship with Washington since a military coup in 2014.

Since then, Thailand’s military-led leadership has strengthened ties with China, including arms purchases.

In August 2015, Thailand and China further solidified their relationship through the “Falcon Strike” joint air exercise.

 The latest edition of the exercise was held in Thailand over a 21-day period last year, featuring intensive training across various domains such as air support, ground attack, joint air defense, and large-scale troop deployment.

Analysts noted that Thailand’s integration of Western and Eastern air tactics has enhanced the effectiveness of the RTAF’s training program.

During the 2015 Falcon Strike exercise, the J-11 aircraft showed commendable performance in Within Visual Range (WVR) combat.

 In the initial two days, the J-11 successfully downed the Swedish-made Gripen jets 25 times in WVR combat, with only one of its own being shot down.

The Gripen utilized AIM-9 missiles, while the J-11 used locally produced PL-8 short-range air-to-air missiles.

Xian H-6
China’s J-11 with Xian H-6 bomber during aerial exercise over the South China Sea
Thailand’s Gripen with China’s Shenyang J-11 fighter aircraft.


However, the exercise shifted to BVR phase on the third day, with the Gripen equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles and the J-11 with PL-12 missiles.

 In this phase, the Gripen successfully downed 41 J-11 aircraft, with only nine losses, demonstrating a significant 88 percent success rate at distances beyond 30km and achieving several hits at distances exceeding 50km. — DSA