Posted: August 3, 2020 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carrier-based fighter, China, FC-31, J-20, Yang Wei
As the race to find the best platform for a modified fighter hots up, designer wins critics’ support by selling the American angle
PLA Navy ‘should choose a reliable platform that has a long combat range and potential for development … and the best choice is the J-20,’ expert says
Published: 10:00pm, 2 Aug, 2020
The chief designer of the J-20 said the plane was a better match for US fighters.
The chief designer of the J-20 said the plane was a better match for US fighters. Photo: Xinhua
As tensions between Beijing and Washington continue to rise, China’s military aircraft designers are racing to develop a next-generation fighter jet for use on the nation’s aircraft carriers capable of competing with their American rivals.
The two contenders are Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), which is working on a modified version of its J-20, and Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute, which is adapting its FC-31.
While both aircraft have been in development for many years, CADI’s chief designer, Yang Wei, said recently the J-20 was a better match for US fighters.
The aircraft was inspired by American theories on air combat and jet development, he said in a recent article published in the Chinese journal Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica.
Military observers said that by openly stating he had learned from American ideas, Yang was trying to promote the modified J-20 as a superior option to the adapted FC-31, which is based on much older, Soviet, designs.
The designer also said in the article that the US military had been able to develop a carrier-based jet fighter and put it into mass production in less than six years.
“If the [Chinese] leadership decides to use the FC-31 as the platform for the new carrier-based fighter, it would be at least 10 years before it was ready for full deployment, by which time the Americans would be even further ahead,” said a person with links to the military, who asked not to be named.
Yang said in the article, which was widely shared on military news websites, it was essential that the next-generation fighter had a long combat range, enhanced stealth capabilities and a bigger weapon load.
Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said Yang wanted to prove the J-20 was not only a fifth-generation fighter, but could be a platform for “advanced induction reaction devices and other new technologies” capable of targeting the shortcomings of its American rival, the F-22 Raptor.
Fifth-generation fighters feature stealth technology, supersonic cruising speeds, super manoeuvrability and highly integrated avionics.
Zhou said that in the past, China’s aircraft designers had been heavily influenced by Russian thinking and because of that focused almost exclusively on the fighting capabilities of their jets. But Yang, he said, stressed the need to consider other factors as well.
“Because of the Russian influence, Chinese designers ignored things like avionics systems and weapons,” Zhou said. “Russia’s MiG-29, for instance, had no chance of competing with its American counterpart, the all-weather multirole F-16.”
China’s FC-31 is up to 12 tonnes lighter than the J-20. Photo: Weibo
One possible disadvantage of the J-20 as a carrier-based fighter is that it is much heavier than the FC-31. China’s newest aircraft carriers will be fitted with an electromagnetic catapult launch system, which although reducing take-off times comes with a weight restriction.
With a maximum weight of 25 tonnes, the FC-31 is up to 12 tonnes lighter than the J-20 and about three metres (10 feet) shorter.
The FC-31 was developed to match the United States’ F-35, which was built by Lockheed Martin and the platform for the carrier-based F-35B and F-35C.
Despite that comparison, Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Tong said the FC-31 was no match for the F-35 in terms of manoeuvrability or firepower.
“Based on China’s current technology and production capacity, the PLA Navy should choose a reliable platform that has a long combat range and potential for development. And the best choice for that is the J-20,” he said.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: J-20 carrier-based fighter ‘influenced by US ideas’
Source: SCMP “China’s J-20 carrier-based jet fighter influenced by US – not Soviet – thinking, designer says”
Note: This is SCMP’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Posted: July 1, 2020 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carrier-born fighter, China, FC-31, J-31, stealth fighter
While technically "new," the jet is likely something we’ve seen before.
JOHANNES EISELEGetty Images
- Numerous indicators suggest a new Chinese fighter jet will fly for the first time in 2021.
- The jet could well be a production version of the J-31 technology demonstrator.
- The jet will likely operate from land and China’s new fleet of aircraft carriers.
Reports indicate China is set to show off a new fighter jet next year, though it will likely be a familiar sight to Chinese military watchers. Growing indicators point to a fighter jet, likely a revamped, combat-ready version of the FC-31 fighter plane, making an appearance in 2021.
One such indicator was brought to light by the aviation blog Alert 5, which highlighted a post by the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment on social media. The blog states:
According to Alert 5, CAE used the characters 新一代 to represent “new generation” fighter. “The aircraft could either be a new variant of an existing airframe or a total new design,” the blog says. “However, it is of note that if its a new design, it would have been written as 新型 in Mandarin.”
China’s two first generation carriers, Liaoning and Shandong, are equipped with ski ramps instead of catapults. The country’s first second-generation carrier, tentatively named 003, is expected to feature catapults. The J-35 is probably optimized for 003 and will likely never fly from Liaoning and Shandong. Experts believe China will ultimately build and operate anywhere from four to six carriers.
Fighter jets are expensive to develop, and China will likely try to get its money’s worth by buying jets not only for carrier but also land-based use. Many major air forces use a combination of expensive, heavy, twin engine fighter jets supplemented by larger numbers of cheaper, lighter, multi-role fighter jets. The U.S. Air Force, for example, flies both the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Russia flies the Su-35 Flanker-E supplemented by the MiG-29/35. China flies a combination of the J-20 twin engine fighter supplemented by the J-10 “Vigorous Dragon.” The J-10, while a capable plane, is a fourth-generation fighter with a non-stealthy design. The J-35 could replace earlier J-10 fighters and eventually the entire J-10 fleet.
The U.S. Air Force is the only air force in the world that operates both a large and small fifth-generation stealth fighter. If the new jet is indeed the J-35 and China builds large numbers of them, it will create a Chinese air force to be reckoned with.
Source: Popular Mechanics “Reports Say China Has a New Jet Fighter in the Works. Here’s What We Know”
Note: This is Popular Mechanics’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Posted: June 9, 2020 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: China, FC-31, J-31, stealth fighter
June News 2020 Navy Naval Maritime Defense Industry
Posted On Monday, 08 June 2020 14:29
Photos of the Shenyang J-31 twin-engine fifth-generation fighter jet, have been frequently released on Chinese social media since May, leading to considerable speculation that the aircraft could be set to enter service in the PLA sometime this year. Now painted in a silver-grey coating, its development is making smooth progress, experts said on Monday.
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Shenyang J-31 twin-engine fifth-generation fighter jet (Picture source: Chinese Internet)
After China’s FC-31 stealth fighter jet appeared in the most recent pilot recruitment video for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, speculations increased that the aircraft could become China’s next-generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet.
According to the website of the PLA Navy’s pilot recruitment program, pilot cadets will study five years before graduation. In these five years, the FC-31, which is still under development, could complete the necessary upgrades and join the PLA Navy.
China reportedly plans to develop a carrier-capable variant of its J-20 fifth-generation stealth fighter and/or a carrier-capable variant of its FC-31 fifth-generation stealth fighter to complement or succeed the J-15 on catapult-equipped Chinese carriers.
About the FC-31:
The FC-31 is a single-seat, twin-engine multi-role fighter jet catering to the demands of future battlefield environments. It is 17.3 meters long and has a wingspan of 11.5 meters, according to an info flyer by its maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in 2018.
The Shenyang FC-31 provides extraordinary manoeuvrability, stealth features, and an internal weapons bay, besides superior avionics and sensors providing enhanced situational awareness, improved radar tracking and targeting capabilities and integrated electronic-warfare systems.
The FC-31 is being manufactured by Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, an affiliate of Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
The development of the FC-31 goes on, and modifications are likely to be made based on test flights, including the installation of new engines and other devices.
Source: Navy Reconition “Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter to possibly enter service in the PLA Navy”
Note: This is Navy Recognition’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Posted: May 26, 2020 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: China, FC-31, stealth fighter
By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/25 18:18:16
A Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter has its test flight ahead of the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, Nov 10, 2014. File photo: Xinhua
New photos of a prototype FC-31, China’s second type of stealth fighter jet, have been appearing frequently on Chinese social media since May, years after disappearing from the public eye. Now painted in a silver gray coating, its development is making smooth progress, experts said on Monday.
A new set of photos of what seems to be an FC-31 fighter jet on a test flight was posted on Sina Weibo on Saturday. This is not the first time the aircraft has made an appearance recently, as some photos were also posted by another Sina Weibo user on May 18, Shanghai-based news outlet eastday.com reported.
Unlike photos taken in previous years, the FC-31 prototype in the new photos is painted with silver gray coating, eastday.com said. It seems to be an upgraded version with modifications made to its aerodynamic design just like the prototype that made its maiden flight in 2016, instead of the original version that made its public debut at Airshow China in 2014.
The authenticity of the photos, including the time and location they were taken, cannot be verified.
The photos soon sparked heated discussions among military enthusiasts, as they were reposted on forums on military affairs and overseas social media like Twitter.
Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, told the Global Times that the new painting could be a sign that the FC-31 was testing its stealth capability and low-observability against the naked eye.
Fu said that while the photos could not show exactly how much progress had been made, the aircraft is confirmed to be conducting new test flights and making significant steps.
Based on the results of the test flights, improved prototypes could be made, Fu said.
Military observers have long speculated that the made-for-export FC-31 could be put into domestic military service. Some claimed an upgraded FC-31 could serve as China’s next-generation carrier-based fighter jet.
The Chinese Air Force, Navy and foreign clients could all be interested in this advanced stealth fighter jet, Fu said, noting that the FC-31 will likely continue its development and be equipped with new engines and devices in the future.
The FC-31 is a single-seat, twin-engine multi-role fighter jet catering to the demands of future battlefield environments. It is 17.3 meters long and has a wingspan of 11.5 meters, according to an info flyer by its maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in 2018.
Source: Global Times “China’s FC-31 stealth fighter jet making new progress, photos show”
Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Posted: August 31, 2019 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carrier-borne fighter, China, F-35, FC-31, J-20
SCMP’s article “China’s navy ‘set to pick J-20 stealth jets for its next generation carriers’” on August 27 says that China has chosen J-20 instead of FC-31 as its carrier-borne stealth fighter.
There must be good reason for such a choice as to defend China’s trade lifelines on the ocean, J-20 will have longer-range and be better armed than F-35. J-20 is much heavier than F-35 so that it can carry better radar to detect and track F-35s before being detected by F-35 and be equipped with longer-range air-to-air missiles to hit F-35s before they can hit back. However, as China has not built any carriers with powerful catapult to help J-20 take off, it certainly is not in a position to make the choice; therefore, such a choice is but speculation.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3024584/chinas-navy-set-pick-j-20-stealth-jets-its-next-generation.
Posted: July 11, 2019 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: China, FC-31, PLAAF, PLAN, stealth jet
By ZHAO LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-09 07:13
A Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet takes off during a demonstration flight ahead of the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2014, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, on Nov 10, 2014. [Photo by SONG FAN/FOR CHINA DAILY]
Military aircraft in development will be able to carry out air, land, sea attacks
China’s development of the FC-31, the country’s second stealth fighter jet, is proceeding smoothly and on schedule, according to its chief designer.
Sun Cong, president of the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment under Aviation Industry Corporation of China, said at a news conference on Thursday in Shenyang, Liaoning province, that people should be patient and wait for good news from the project.
“You will see its latest developments in due course, in the near future,” said Sun, who is also the chief researcher at AVIC’s Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute.
Sun’s comments indicated that China has never wavered in its attempts to develop and build a second series of stealth combat aircraft after the J-20 entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in 2017.
His remarks are likely to reassure anyone concerned about the fate of FC-31 because of its virtual disappearance from public view over the past two years.
The twin-engine, radar-evading fighter jet was unveiled in October 2012 when a prototype made its maiden flight, becoming China’s second 5th-generation fighter jet, following the J-20.
The FC-31 has a high survivability rate, a low radar signature, advanced electronic countermeasures, strong information gathering and handling capacity, outstanding situational awareness and beyond-visual-range combat capability.
In addition to air combat, it can also carry out strikes against land and sea targets, according to its designers.
The aircraft has a large weapons bay and can carry multiple external missiles.
According to AVIC specifications, the FC-31 has a maximum takeoff weight of 25 metric tons, a combat range of 1,200 kilometers and a top speed of Mach 1.8, or 2,205 kilometers per hour. It can carry 8 tons of weapons and has a designed life span of up to 30 years.
The FC-31 will enter service in the PLA as the Shenyang institute and Shenyang Aircraft Corp’s latest major accomplishment, following the J-15 carrier-based fighter jet and the half-century-old J-8 series fighter jet.
Last week in Shenyang, AVIC marked the 50th anniversary of the J-8’s maiden flight, as well as the 10th anniversary of J-15’s first flight.
The J-8 was China’s first domestically developed combat plane capable of executing high-altitude, high-speed operations, and the series has several variants still in service with the PLA Air Force and PLA Navy. The J-15 is the spearhead of the Navy’s carrier battle group and has taken part in many long-distance combat exercises over open seas.
Source: China Daily “New stealth jet project moving ahead on pace”
Note: This is China Daily’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Posted: June 22, 2019 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: China, FC-31, Paris Airshow, stealth fighter
07:02 AM, June 20, 2019
China displayed a scale-model of its FC-31 stealth fighter jet at the Paris Airshow 2019 with different contours than that of its current prototype triggering speculation that the jet had been upgraded with new features.
“The displayed model shows noteworthy changes in design that could significantly improve its capabilities,” pro-government Global Times noted. The area behind the cockpit and the areas where the two engines are housed are now bulkier and the aerodynamic design has been optimized to further reduce wind resistance, the report noted.
These changes could mean the aircraft has been made more agile and is capable of carrying more fuel, which will give it a larger operational range; it might also carry additional electronic devices for communication or satellite links, the paper said quoting an industry expert.
The upgraded FC-31 might even feature a pair of new engines. The engine nozzles on the FC-31 model displayed in Paris are very different in structure and shape than the ones previously used suggesting more powerful engines.
Despite several years in the making, the J-31 (FC-31 is the designation for the export version), is nowhere near services entry. The first prototype/tech demonstrator flew in 2012. A second prototype with upgrades to its wings, inclusion of IRST sensor and a single piece canopy was shown at the 2014 Zhuhai airshow and its first flight happened only in December 2016.
At that time, it was believed that the design had been frozen and that the aircraft would begin the process of testing its various weapons, communication and stealth features.
Speculation of project delays was rife when the jet did not put up a flying display at the 2018 Zhuhai Air show. However, with new-look mock-up at the ongoing Paris event, possibility of the project skipping timelines of prototype testing and certification cannot be discounted.
Source: defenseworld.net “China Displays ‘Upgraded’ FC-31 Stealth Jet Model at Paris Airshow 2019”
Note: This is defenseworld.net’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Posted: April 20, 2019 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carrier-based stealth fighter, China, FC-31, turbofan
April 2019 10:44
Chinese designers and engineers teamed up to study, develop and test a new turbofan engine for the Chinese carrier-based stealth fighter jets, the Shenyang FC-31 fighters.
“The engine could be related to China’s medium-sized twin-engine stealth aircraft FC-31, which could become China’s next-generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet,” Wei Dongxu, a military expert told Global Times.
The team from Gas Turbine Research Institute working on the project, under the state-owned Aero Engine Corporation of China, will receive a provincial award during China’s Youth Day on May 4, according to a statement released by the government of Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on its WeChat account on April 15.
It took the development team one year to design the engine. The prototype of the engine underwent testing in six months. The engine is one of several major aero engine projects of the country, the statement said.
“Advanced turbofan engines are difficult to develop, especially the manufacturing of fan blades, which must be built to resist very high temperatures and pressure,” Wei added. Although, still according to Wei, the new engine must still undergo a considerable amount of testing under different situations, before it is confirmed reliable and therefore can enter mass production.
Source: Navy Cognition “China to develop new engine for carrier-based stealth fighter jets”
Note: This is Navy Recognition’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Posted: December 24, 2018 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: China, FC-31, H-20, JL-3 SLBM, KJ-500, military modernization, Type 001 carrier, Type 055 destroyer, Type 095
•Several key pieces that could significantly improve the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army are expected to be completed or delivered next year
•Aircraft carriers, strategic stealth bombers and nuclear submarines are among the equipment being developed and tested
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 12:33pm
China has been investing heavily in its military modernisation, with one of the focuses on the research and development of next-generation weapons and equipment.
There have been advances in recent years, and several key pieces that may significantly improve the PLA’s capabilities are expected to be completed or delivered to the forces in the next year.
Second aircraft carrier
China’s Type 001 aircraft carrier. Photo from SCMP’s report
China’s Type 001A carrier – its first domestically built carrier – has undergone three sea trials in 2018. It is likely to enter service sometime next year.
In comparison, China’s first carrier, Liaoning, had its first sea trial in 2011 and was commissioned in 2012.
Based on Liaoning, a 55,000-tonne Soviet Kuznetsov-class vessel, the Type 001A has made some significant modifications including upgrading the radar system, integrating the command bridge and, in particular, redesigning the aircraft hangar to make it capable to carry 32 J-15 fighter jets instead of 26. The ship is still conventionally powered with a ski-jump take-off.
According to the PLA Navy’s naming rules, the new vessel be named after a Chinese province when commissioned. In the case of Liaoning, the former Varyag was renamed after the province where it was retrofitted.
First Type 055 destroyer
China’s Type 055 destroyer. Photo from SCMP’s report
In 2019, the Chinese navy is also expected to receive its first 055 destroyers, which have been on sea trials since August.
This 12,000-tonne guided-missile warship, which exceeds the usual size of “destroyer”, will serve as the primary escort to the aircraft carrier in its strike group.
Type 055 is said to be the world’s second most powerful destroyer, after the US Navy’s DDG-1000, or Zumwalt class, and is the largest and strongest in Asia.
Three 055s were launched in 2018 and four more are being built, as the navy is quickly increasing its blue water capability.
JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile
China reportedly carried out the first JL-3 test flight in late November from a modified Type 032 submarine platform near the northeast city of Dalian on the Bohai Sea, the Washington Free Beacon cited a US intelligence source as saying.
China’s next-generation JL-3 “great wave” is expected to be able to carry 10 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), each containing multiple nuclear warheads.
The JL-3, which uses solid fuel, is believed to be the submarine-launched version of the road-mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which entered service in the first half of 2018.
Having a range of at least 12,000km (7,500 miles) means the submarine-launched ballistic missile could reach anywhere in the US even from underwater near the China coast.
Once fully developed, the JL-3 will be comparable to the US Trident II D-5 and new Russian Bulava SLBMs. It will be loaded onto the future Type 096 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).
Type 095 nuclear submarine
China’s Type 095 nuclear submarine Photo from
Type 095 nuclear attack submarines (SSN) will be the underwater escorts for the PLA Navy carrier strike groups. A total of eight are expected to be built.
The PLA hinted that construction probably began on the first of the nuclear-powered Type 095s in 2017.
The US Department of Defence reports said that with better acoustic features and noise reduction technologies, Type 095 would be much quieter than its predecessor, Type 093B, which is notoriously noisy while in operation. It also has a new air-independent propulsion (AIP) system that can sustain an underwater missions for months. It has also greater weapons capacity.
FC-31 ship-borne fighters and KJ-600 early warning aircraft
The fifth-generation stealth fighter FC-31 “gyrfalcon” made its maiden flight in 2012. It has since been tested and modified and is expected to be finalised in the next year or two.
The FC-31 are smaller than the heavyweight air superiority fighter J-20. Some analysts said this twin-engine mid-size jet might replace the current J-15 to become the next fighter option aboard the aircraft carriers.
Meanwhile, there is still a lack of ship-based fixed-wing aircraft to provide electronic early warning and reconnaissance for the Chinese carriers. It is predicted that China’s next-generation early warning and reconnaissance aircraft KJ-600 is likely to take its first flight soon.
With large active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, this aircraft is designed for the PLA Navy’s future electromagnetic catapult-launch carriers.
Image of possible China’s H-20 strategic stealth bomber. Photo from SCMP’s report
China has confirmed that its new strategic stealth bomber is called H-20. In August, state TV said there had been “significant progress” in its development.
The H-20 will join the J-20 fighters, Y-20 airlifters and Z-20 helicopters in the PLA Air Force’s “20” series of new aircraft. Many observers believe the “20” means they would be in service around the year 2020.
Although few details have been disclosed, H-20 is believed to be a huge leap forward from the H-6K, the Chinese air force’s only current long-range nuclear-capable strategic bomber, which is based on the Soviet Tu-16 from 1950s.
In a promotion video by the developer Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation, a demonstration of a flying wing-shaped aircraft covered by a veil is considered to be a prototype H-20, which means it has a similar design to the US B-2 “Spirit” stealth bomber, with built-in fuselage and no tail.
Source: SCMP “After heavy investment, China’s next generation of weapons and military equipment nears readiness”
Note: This is SCMP’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Posted: July 7, 2018 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carrier-based fighter jet, China, FC-31, J-15, J-20, J-31
Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report yesterday that according to various foreign media’s analyses, China is developing a new carrier-based fighter jet to replace J-15 that the Liaoning uses.
According to SCMP’s report on July 5 Lieutenant General Zhang Honghe, deputy head of the PLA Air Force, told SCMP that China is developing a “new carrier-based fighter to replace the J-15” but no details have been given.
Chinese military expert Li Jie believes that FC-31, the second type of stealth fighter jet China is developing, is the right stealth fighter jet to replace J-15. It is smaller and lighter with weapons hidden inside.
However, there have always been various different opinions. Some speculate that a carrier-based version of J-20 will be developed for China’s future fleets of aircraft carrier. J-20 is more powerful than FC-31 (J-31) to deal with US F-35 and F-22. It will enable China’s carrier fleets to be a real blue sea navy.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “China developing new type of carrier-based fighter jet? Expert: J-31 will hopefully replace J-15” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese, full text of which can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2018-07/12430514.html