Development of the J-15 began in the year 2001, as China acquired the Su-33 prototype, T-10K-3, from Ukraine. The aircraft was analyzed extensively and was used as the basis for the J-15.
The first time information about the J-15 came to public was in 2010 through Col. Igor Korotchenko of the Russian Defense Ministry. He stated that the J-15 is a Su-33 "clone" and not a stealthy fighter resulting from the J-XX program, as it was thought before and he also said that the J-15 will be unable to achieve the same performance characteristics of the Su-33. In 2009 China failed with purchasing Russian Su-33, but negotations had already collapsed in 2006 as Russia had discovered that China is developing a Su-27SK variant called Shenyang J-11B, being a direct violation of intellectual property agreements.
The first flight of the J-15 took place on 31st August 2009. It is powered by two Shenyang WS-10 engines with a power of 126 kN each. The first pictures of the aircraft´s first flight were unveiled in July 2010, showing that the J-15 has the same airframe design as the Su-33 but with different avionics and electronics. It is expected that the J-15 will be operated on the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
According to China Signpost the J-15 will outperform all Western fighters aerodynamically and kinematically, but with the exception of the American F-22 Raptor.