Tuesday, July 27, 2021

After J-20, China Moves One Step Closer To Operationalize Its Second Stealth Fighter Jet

The fifth-generation FC-31 is China’s second stealth fighter jet after the J-20. The carrier-based aircraft had cleared a crucial test ahead of its public display at the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation’s (SAC) Aviation Expo Park.

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The prototype of the FC-31 was on public display at its manufacturer’s aviation expo park in late June. Located in Shenyang, SAC Expo Park serves as a knowledge hub for aviation enthusiasts.

The FC-31 stealth aircraft is a fifth-generation, multi-role, twin-engine stealth fighter demonstrator, as reported earlier by the Eurasian Times.

The aircraft has completed static testing that is “crucial for examining the aircraft’s structural integrity under extreme conditions,” according to Global Times.

This is critical to stealth fighter’s development as it simulates the forces and the load the aircraft would bear when it flies and maneuvers, a Chinese military expert told the state-owned daily.

During static testing, extreme pressure is applied to all parts of the aircraft to help developers gather a large amount of data, which are very valuable in future development, according to China Central Television (CCTV).

“The public display of the FC-31 static test demonstrator is an indication that it has accomplished its intended mission. With the static testing done, the FC-31 project can continue further tests and modifications”, Song said.

A TV grab of an FC-31 fighter, which was put on display at the SAC Aviation Expo Park in China’s Liaoning Province.

Initially called J-31, the FC-31 has a larger operational range and payload capacity in comparison with the US F-35 stealth fighter, as The EurAsian Times reported.

According to American experts, there is a striking similarity between the airframe of China’s FC-31 and the US F-35 jet. Also, China has faced allegations of copying, stealing, and replicating designs of weapon systems from its adversaries.

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However, China believes that the development of the stealth jets such as the FC-31 definitely provides the nation a greater power projection at the regional and global levels.

Manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, an affiliate of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China’s twin-engine stealth fighter’s design was first revealed at Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai.

Chengdu J-20 - Wikipedia
Chengdu J-20 – Wikipedia

“The FC-31 would be a good candidate after receiving the necessary improvements and modifications to suit the needs of vessel-based operations,” editor-in-chief of the Aerospace Knowledge magazine, Wang Ya’nan was quoted as saying.

The FC-31 stealth fighter has undergone many changes in the past years, and an even newer version of the aircraft based on previous test results and modifications could make its test flight soon, according to Song.

Written Kanika Sachdeva

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