Wednesday, March 13, 2013

China’s second stealth J-31 may be a carrier fighter

It appears that China may indeed be working to turn its second stealth fighter, the J-31, into an aircraft carrier-borne fighter.

The chief designer of the J-31 (as well as China’s current carrier fighter, the Shenyang J-15), apparently told China’s Xinhua news agency that he hopes an improved version of the J-31 will be able to operate from carriers.

As we’ve pointed out before, this wouldn’t be too surprising. The J-31 is smaller than China’s other stealth fighter, the Chengdu J-20, meaning that it would be easier to fit on a crowded carrier. The plane also strongly resembles the U.S. Navy’ next-generation carrier fighter, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (click here to read more about that resemblance). Finally, it’s got two wheels on its nose landing gear, a feature that is exclusive to U.S. naval fighters due to the increased stresses of carrier landings.

The J-31 was unveiled last September and will likely compliment the J-20. It may be a multirole fighter designed to attack both air and ground targets in the same way the F-35 is meant to. The J-20′s large size has caused many to speculate that it is meant to be a stealthy interceptor similar to the Soviet Union’s legendary MiG-25 Foxbat. It would use its enormous engines to speed out and shoot down incoming fleets of attack planes. It may also be a stealth bomb truck designed to, again, speed out while evading enemy radars and attack ships and bases with bombs and cruise missiles carried in its large weapons bays — kind of like a 21st century version of the F-111 Aardvark.

Meanwhile, China’s first carrier the Liaoning (the refurbished Soviet carrier Varyag) recently moved from the Dalian shipyard where it was equipped with new engines, weapons, electronics, and living spaces to its new homeport Dazhu Shan near Qing Dao. China is said to be building two to three brand new carriers that may be based on the Varyag. These ships will reportedly enter service sometime between 2015 and 2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Copyright 2012-2013 — Asian Defence News. All Rights Reserved