Friday, September 27, 2013

J-31 stealth fighter designed for export, says PLA admiral

The J-31, China's second prototype fifth-generation stealth fighter, designed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, will be produced for the export market instead of for China's air force and navy, according to Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong of the PLA Navy in a People's Daily report.
While the Washington-based Strategy Page said the J-31 has the potential to become a future carrier-based stealth fighter for the PLA Navy, Zhang said it is unlikely the plane will serve aboard Chinese aircraft carriers. Unlike the J-20 designed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, the J-31 was never a development program intended for the Chinese military, Zhang said.
Like the FC-1/JF-17 Xiaolong or Thunder multirole fighter designed jointly by China and Pakistan, the J-31 will be most likely be a model intended for export to China's allies and strategic partners, which may include countries like North Korea and Iran. Chinese fighters are a much cheaper alternative to US fighters for developing countries, even those which are able to buy military hardware from the United States.
A model of the J-31 was first displayed at the Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province last November, where it was described as a fighter to open China's overseas market. It was called the "Advanced Fighter Concept," according to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The model was displayed again at the opening of the Beijing
international Aviation Exposition on Sept. 25, under the new name of "China Concept Fighter." Sources from AVIC told People's Daily however that the "China Concept Fighter" is not the J-31.

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