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16 octobre 2015 5 16 /10 /octobre /2015 07:35
Le J-31 chinois en lice pour l’exportation ?


14.10.2015 par Info-Aviation
 

Le groupe chinois AVIC a officiellement dévoilé les spécifications de son avion de combat furtif J-31. Cette annonce ouvre implicitement la voie aux contrats d’exportation bien que les travaux de conception ne soient pas encore terminés (source : China Daily).

 

L’avion est développé par Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (filiale d’AVIC) depuis 2010 pour la supériorité aérienne et l’attaque au sol en réponse au F-35 américain. Il a effectué son premier vol le 31 octobre 2012.

Le J-31 sera capable d’effectuer des vols à une altitude de 16.000 mètres, atteindre une vitesse de 2.200 km/h et emporter jusqu’à 8 tonnes de munitions. Son rayon d’action s’étend à 1.200 km, et la durée de vie s’établit à 30 ans.

À titre de comparaison, la version modernisée du MiG-29 vole jusqu’à 2.500 km/h et transporte 4,5 tonnes d’armes, tandis que son rayon d’action est de 1.000 kilomètres. Le F-16 américain peut transporter jusqu’à 7,7 tonnes de charge utile, sa vitesse maximale atteint 2.300 km/h et son rayon d’action s’établit à 600 kilomètres. Mais il s’agit d’avions commercialisés depuis les années 80.

Début 2015, l’hebdomadaire allemand Der Spiegel citant des données fournies par Edward Snowden a rapporté que la Chine aurait volé des informations concernant la construction du chasseur américain de cinquième génération F-35 pour les utiliser dans la conception de son avion J-31.

Le F-35 peut emporter 6,8 tonnes d’armements, vole à 18.500 mètres d’altitude à une vitesse de 1.930 km/h (Mach 1,6+).

 

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9 octobre 2015 5 09 /10 /octobre /2015 16:35
Leading Aircraft Manufacturer Poised to Export New Fighter Jet

 

Oct. 09, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Zhao Lei China Daily; published Oct. 09, 2015)



BEIJING --- China's leading aircraft manufacturer is on the verge of exporting its fifth-generation fighter jet, according to industry sources. Aviation Industry Corp of China disclosed the technical specifications of the J-31 Gyrfalcon at an aviation expo even though the plane was still being tested, the sources said.

During the four-day Aviation Expo China 2015, a biennial event held in Beijing in mid-September, AVIC also displayed a large-scale model of the J-31.

Expo visitors were surprised that the State-owned defense contractor was willing to declassify the J-31's specifications, as it had never previously released such information on military air-craft until they entered mass-production and were ready for export.

Analysts said the decision indicates that the corporation wants potential foreign buyers to learn about the plane's capabilities as soon as possible so that it can secure contracts when the jet becomes operational.

A source close to AVIC who declined to be named said publication of the aircraft's specifications was aimed at impressing potential buyers. "The earlier the buyers know about the J-31's capabilities, the higher chance AVIC has of taking up a good share of the fifth-generation aircraft market," he told China Daily.

"Once the company receives buyers' payments, it can use these to sustain the production line and continue to upgrade the aircraft to win more customers."

AVIC executives have never concealed their intentions for the J-31 project. Li Yuhai, deputy general manager of AVIC, told reporters in November, "Since the start of the J-31's development, we have planned to use the plane to end some foreign nations' dominance of the fifth-generation fighter jet. One of its variants will be specifically designed for export."

Li was speaking on the sidelines of the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition held in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

Chen Hu, a military expert with the People's Liberation Army, said exporting the J-31 would be a milestone for China's aviation industry because the plane would give AVIC a significant boost in competition with Western defense giants.

Xu Bangnian, a professor at the PLA Air Force Command Institute, said he expected international demand for the plane as it appeared to be the only choice for developing countries wanting an affordable fifth-generation stealth aircraft.

The only fifth-generation fighter jet available on the market is the United States' Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, but the US will only sell it to its allies.

The J-31's maiden flight in October 2012 caused a surprise globally, as few people expected China to develop another fifth-generation fighter jet following the J-20 stealth aircraft, which made its first flight in January 2011. During the past three years, the J-31 has undergone several test flights and some changes have been made to its design.

The AVIC specifications show that it has a maximum takeoff weight of 25 metric tons and is designed to be in service for up to 30 years.

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9 octobre 2015 5 09 /10 /octobre /2015 12:35
L'AVIC s'apprête à exporter son nouvel avion de chasse

 

09-10-2015 Par : Lisa -  French.china.org.cn

 

Le premier fabricant d'avions de Chine est sur le point d'exporter son avion de combat de cinquième génération, selon des sources de l'industrie. Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) a dévoilé les spécifications techniques de son J-31 Gyrfalcon lors d'un salon de l'aviation, bien que l'avion soit encore en phase de test, selon les sources.

 

Au cours de l'Aviation Expo China 2015 de quatre jours, un événement biennal organisé à Beijing à la mi-septembre, le groupe AVIC a également présenté un modèle à grande échelle du J-31.

 

Selon les analystes, cette décision montre que la société veut que les acheteurs étrangers potentiels soient conscients des capacités de l'avion dès que possible, afin que des contrats puissent être signés dès que l'appareil sera opérationnel.

 

Une source proche d'AVIC, qui a préféré garder l'anonymat, a déclaré que la publication des spécifications de l'appareil était destinée à impressionner les acheteurs potentiels.

 

« Une fois que la société reçoit les paiements des acheteurs, elle pourra les utiliser pour maintenir la ligne de production et continuer d'améliorer l'avion et gagner ainsi plus de clients », a déclaré la source.

 

Les dirigeants de l'AVIC n'ont jamais caché leurs ambitions pour le J-31.

 

Li Yuhai, directeur général adjoint de l'AVIC, a déclaré aux journalistes en novembre que « depuis le début du développement du J-31, nous avons prévu d'utiliser cet avion pour mettre fin à la domination des avions de combat de cinquième génération de certains pays étrangers. Une de ses versions sera spécifiquement conçue pour l'exportation ».

 

Chen Hu, expert militaire de l'Armée populaire de Libération, a déclaré que l'exportation du J-31 serait une étape importante pour l'industrie de l'aviation chinoise, parce que cet avion donnerait un coup de pouce significatif à l'AVIC pour sa compétitivité avec les géants occidentaux de la défense.

 

Xu Bangnian, professeur à l'Institut du commandement des forces aériennes de l'APL, a déclaré qu'il attendait une forte demande internationale pour cet avion, car il semblait être le seul choix pour les pays en développement qui souhaitent un avion furtif de cinquième génération abordable.

 

Le seul chasseur de cinquième génération disponible sur le marché est le Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II développé par les Etats-Unis, mais le pays ne le vend qu'à ses alliés.

 

Le vol inaugural du J-31 en octobre 2012 a causé la surprise à l'échelle internationale. Peu de gens pensaient la Chine capable de développer un autre avion de combat de cinquième génération après le chasseur furtif J-20, qui a effectué son premier vol en janvier 2011. Au cours des trois dernières années, le J-31 a effectué plusieurs vols d'essai et quelques modifications ont été apportées à son design.

 

Les spécifications de l'AVIC montrent qu'il a un poids maximum au décollage de 25 tonnes et qu'il est conçu pour voler un maximum de 30 ans.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 12:35
Warplanes: The J-31 Mystery Deepens

 

September 30, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Recently someone in China anonymously posted performance data for the new Chinese J-31 fighter. This was in the form of a sales brochure (for trade shows) that had not been distributed to the public. So far the manufacturer has been vague about J-31 performance data. This despite the fact that the J-31 has been showing up at Chinese weapons shows. But so far this promotion has been all about looking at the impressive appearance of the J-31, not crunching any numbers.

 

It gets more interesting when you realize that the recently posted data ascribes better engine performance than actual engines the Chinese have in service or access to. There were also descriptions of J-31 electronics that sounded more like a Chinese wish list than anything the Chinese have or are known to be developing. Many in the industry see this as some kind of desperate publicity stunt.  Efforts to sell the J-31 have not been very successful so far.

 

In late 2014 China quietly approached some potential customers about interest in buying its 18 ton J-31 stealth fighter. For export customers the J-31 would be called the FC-31 and it was understood that this version would not have all the best stuff the J-31 has. Pakistan expressed some interest, but then Pakistan is the largest export customer for Chinese weapons. Pakistan apparently thought it best to wait a bit because it was unclear how ready the J-31 was for active service. Since 2012 China has been testing the J-31 “Falcon Eagle” (from an inscription on the tail). While it looks like the American F-22, it’s also smaller than China’s other stealth fighter (the 35 ton J-20, which has been around longer). The J-31 was built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (which makes the J-11, the illegal Chinese copy of the Russian Su-27). The J-31 has some characteristics of the F-35 as well and appears to be something of an “F-35” to the earlier J-20s effort to match the American F-22. The J-31 flew for the first time in October 2012 and at that point there were at least two prototypes. The designer has talked of the J-31 being able to operate off an aircraft carrier (like the U.S. F-35 and the Chinese J-15, a J-11 variant).

 

One advantage the J-31 is that it has two engines, compared to one for the 31 ton F-35. In theory this means the J-31 could carry more weapons, but this is less crucial with all the guided weapons available. Moreover the J-31 is seen using Chinese engines, which are less powerful and reliable, even when two are used, compared to the single engine in the F-35C.

 

The J-31 is further evidence that China is determined to develop its own high tech military gear. While China is eager to develop advanced military technology locally, it recognizes that this takes time and more effort than nations new to this expect. Thus, China is trying to avoid the mistakes Russia made in this area. That means having competing designs and developing necessary supporting industries as part of that. All this takes a lot of time and involves lots of little (and some major) failures. The Chinese are doing it right and are willing to wait until they get military tech that is truly world class.

 

At this point the J-31 is scheduled to be ready for service in 2019 and have ground attack as well as air-to-air capabilities.

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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 11:35
J-20 J-31 F-22 F-35.jpg

J-20 J-31 F-22 F-35.jpg

 

14.09.2015 sputniknews.com

 

L'équipement électronique du chasseur fonctionne aussi bien que celui du F-35 américain, indique Defense World.

 

La Chine a entamé les exercices du septième et dernier prototype du chasseur Chengdu J-20, rapporte Defense World, se référant à l'édition chinoise Duowei News. "Si les exercices se déroulent avec succès, la production d'un petit nombre de J-20 pour la Force aérienne chinoise pourra commencer", indique l'édition. D'après la source, l'équipement électronique de ce chasseur fonctionne aussi bien que celui du F-35 américain. Le Chengdu J-20, souvent nommé Black Eagle ("l'aigle noir", ndlr), est un avion de chasse furtif de 5ème génération. Des experts militaires remarquent de forte ressemblances avec le prototype de chasseur russe Mikoyan Project 1.44/1.42 et les chasseurs américains de 5ème génération F-22 et F-35. Quant aux désavantages, les experts notent le manque de puissance de son système propulsif pour effectuer des vols à vitesse supersonique, l’imperfection de son radar ainsi que de la technologie "Stealth", permettant de réduire sa signature radar. En outre, la Chine a l'intention d'élaborer un nouveau chasseur de 5ème génération, le J-31.

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15 novembre 2014 6 15 /11 /novembre /2014 12:35
China’s FC-31 Stealth Fighter Makes Statement at Zhuhai Air Show

 

November 14, 2014 by Mike Hoffman  - defensetech.org

 

China unveiled its version of the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — the Shenyang FC-31 — at the biennial Zhuhai Air Show in a surprise to the rest of the world’s aviation community.

 

The military aviation display comes ahead of President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the APEC summit. It also comes right before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had planned to visit U.S. allies in the Pacific. Hagel has since delayed that trip.

 

Many have speculated that China’s display of the FC-31 was meant as a show of force as the U.S. makes strides on its own F-35 program.

 

Rarely do the Chinese display an aircraft ahead of the completion of its development, which caused the ground swell when the FC-31 made headlines at the Chinese air show. Plenty of cameras from across the globe were pointed into the sky as foreign military leaders got their first up close look at the aircraft.

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14 novembre 2014 5 14 /11 /novembre /2014 12:35
J-31 au salon China Air Show

J-31 au salon China Air Show

 

13 novembre 2014 par Pierre Sparaco - Aerobuzz.fr

 

A l’occasion de l’édition 2014 du salon China Air Show qui se déroule cette semaine à Zhuhai, la Chine a démontré qu’elle n’était pas seulement en passe de devenir le plus grand marché aéronautique, mais qu’elle avait aussi l’intention dans être un acteur de premier plan.

 

Un avion de combat furtif qui se compare au F-22 américain, le J-31, un cargo militaire qui rappelle le C-17, le Y-20, l’annonce d’un long-courrier à développer en association avec l’industrie russe, toujours de grandes ambitions spatiales : la Chine est résolument entrée dans la cour des grands et suscite ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler des commentaires en sens divers.

 

Suite de l’article

Y-20

Y-20

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13 novembre 2014 4 13 /11 /novembre /2014 12:35
Premières images claires du J-31 chinois en 2012 (Photo: Tixue.net)

Premières images claires du J-31 chinois en 2012 (Photo: Tixue.net)

 

12 novembre 2014 par Jacques N. Godbout - 45eNord.ca

 

Au moment où le président des États-Unis Barack Obama est à Pékin pour le sommet Asie-Pacifique, la Chine a dévoilé son nouvel avion de chasse furtif, qui pourrait bien concurrencer le F-35 américain, lors du salon aéronautique de Zhuhai qui se tient du 11 au 16 novembre.

 

Le Président Xi Jinping veut renforcer les forces armées de Chine, les entreprises chinoises de défense et l’armée de l’air de l’Armée populaire de libération.

 

La Chine espère que les J-31 avions furtifs très attendus, développé par l’AVIC (l’Aviation Industry Corp of China ), premier fabricant d’avions du pays, fers concurrence avec le matériel de fabrication américaine sur les marchés d’exportation.

 

Le J-31 a effectué une démonstration, mais n’a pas été exposé ensuite au salon aéronautique où on ne pouvait voir qu’une maquette du nouveau chasseur chinois.

 

Un porte-parole de l’AVIC, Fu Mingyao, a cependant déclaré que l’entreprise m’entend pas commencer à faire la promotion de l’appareil maintenant, mais deux autres démonstrations du J-31 sont toutefois prévues pendant le salon.

 

«Les experts prédisent que le J-31 fera des incursions rapides dans le marché international à l’avenir, et saura sans doute voler la vedette au F-35», avait écrit le Quotidien du Peuple, organe du parti communiste chinois, en août dernier, ajoutant que l’avion serait particulièrement intéressant pour les pays qui sont exclus des exportations d’armes américaines.

 

Le J-31 est d’environ la même taille que le F-35.

 

Le chasseur furtif chinois de 5e génération destiné à l’exportation, sera équipé d’un propulseur russe RD-93, a pour sa part annoncé au salon aéronautique Sergueï Kornev, chef de la délégation de l’Agence russe d’exportation d’armements (Rosoboronexport), cité par l’agence officielle russe Ria Novosti.

 

«On estime que le J-31, équipé de propulseur russe RD-93 et destiné à l’exportation, est capable de concurrencer l’avion américain de cinquième génération F-35 sur les marchés régionaux», a indiqué le responsable russe.

 

«Le programme es ambitieux, mais tout à fait réaliste, surtout si l’on tient compte du coût élevé du F-35 et de certains problèmes lors de sa mise au point», a estimé Sergueï Kornev.

 

La Chine a jusqu’à maintenant mis au point deux chasseurs de cinquième génération, le J-20 et le J-31, capables, selon lui, de rivaliser avec le F-35 américain et le T-50 russe.

 

Les avions furtifs devraient en outre permettre à la force aérienne de la Chine, une armée de l’air principalement territoriale actuellement, de développer la capacité à réaliser des deux opérations offensives et défensives.

 

L’avion furtif, disent les analystes, permettra ainsi à la Chine de mieux projeter sa force dans les mers de Chine orientale et de Chine du Sud.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter (Falcon Hawk)

Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter (Falcon Hawk)

September 5, 2013: Strategy Page

 

For over a year now China has been testing a second stealth fighter design. This one is called the J-31 “Falcon Eagle” (from an inscription on the tail), and while it looks like the American F-22, it’s also smaller than China’s other stealth fighter (the J-20, which has been around longer). The J-31 was built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (which makes the J-11, the illegal Chinese copy of the Russian Su-27). The J-31 has some characteristics of the F-35 as well and appears to be something of an “F-35” to the earlier J-20s effort to match the American F-22. It’s also possible that the F-31 is a competing (with the J-20) design that is hustling to grab sales the J-20 thought it had all locked up. The J-31 flew for the first time last October and there are at least two prototypes and the designer has talked of the J-31 being able to operate off an aircraft carrier (like the U.S. F-35 and the J-15, a J-11 variant).  One advantage the J-31 has is two engines, compared to one for the F-35. This means the J-31 could carry more weapons, but this is less crucial with all the guided weapons available.

 

The J-31 is further evidence that China is determined to develop its own high tech military gear. While China is eager to develop advanced military technology locally, it recognizes that this takes time and more effort than nations new to this expect. Thus China is trying to avoid the mistakes Russia made in this area. That means having competing designs and developing necessary supporting industries is part of that. All this takes a lot of time and involves lots of little (and some major) failures. The Chinese are doing it right and are willing to wait until they get military tech that is truly world class.

 

 

Both Chinese Stealth Designs Move Forward

The other stealth fighter, the J-20, was made by CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Company), which also produced the JF-17 and J-10. The J-20 made its first flight in 2011 and many more since then. There are at least two original J-20 prototypes and late last year a new prototype appeared that had several modifications and is estimated to have a max weight of 36 tons. While the J-20 looks like the American F-22 when viewed head on, it's overall shape, weight, and engine power is closer to the American F-15C. In other words, it's about 20 meters (62 feet) long, with a wing span of 13.3 meters (42 feet). J-20 has about the same wing area as the F-15C, which is about 25 percent less than the F-22 (which is a few percent larger than the F-15 in terms of length and wingspan). Worse, for the J-20, is the fact that its engine power is about the same as the F-15C, while the F-22 has 65 percent more power. With the afterburner turned on, the J-20 has more power than the F-15C and nearly as much as the F-22. But because the afterburner consumes so much fuel, you can't use more than a few minutes at a time. The new J-20 model appears to be able to supercruise, joining the F-22, Eurofighter and the Gripen as aircraft that can supercruise (go faster than the speed of sound without using the afterburner).

 

The J-20 has some stealthiness when it's coming at you head on. But from any other aspect, the J-20 will light up the radar screen. For this reason the J-20 is seen as a developmental aircraft, not the prototype of a new model headed for mass production. As such, it is only the fifth stealth fighter to fly, the others being the U.S. F-22 and F-35, plus the Russian T-50. The older U.S. F-117 was actually a light bomber and the B-2 was obviously a heavy bomber. Based on recent Chinese warplane development projects (J-11 in particular), the J-20 has a long development road ahead of it and will likely change size and shape before it reaches the production design. The J-31 may be an insurance policy, in case the J-20 effort goes off the rails in a big way.

 

While the shape of the J-20 confers a degree of stealthiness (invisibility to radar), even more electronic invisibility comes from special materials covering the aircraft. It's not known how far along the Chinese are in creating, or stealing, these materials, or the needed engines. China would most likely use the J-20 singly, or in small groups, to seek out and attack American carriers. To make this possible F-22 class engines are needed and that is still in development. Over the last few years China has admitted it has been developing the WS-15 engine (since the 1990s), a more powerful beast well suited for the J-20. No date was given as to when the WS-15 would be available for use or whether it would have the same vectoring (ability to move the hot jet exhaust in different directions in order to make the fighter more maneuverable) the F-22 uses.

 

For the J-20 to be a superior fighter, it would need electronics (including radars and defense systems) on a par with the F-35 and F-22. So far, the Chinese have not caught up with stuff used by current American fighters. But the gap is being closed, faster than it was during the Cold War when the Russians were creating, or stealing, their way to military tech equivalence with the West. The Russians never made it but the Chinese believe they can succeed.

 

Work on the J-20 began in the late 1990s, and the Chinese knew that it could be 25 years or more before they had a competitive stealth fighter-bomber. The J-20 is being tested in central China. The twin engine J-20 appears to be about the same weight class as the 30 ton F-15C. The F-35A is a 31 ton, single engine fighter, while the twin-engine F-22 is slightly larger at 38 tons. The Russian T-50 weighed in at 37 tons.

 

China is also developing other support technologies, like the AESA radar, highly efficient cockpit, stealth, and software to tie everything together. Developing, or even copying, this tech is not easy. But the Chinese already know that, having decades of experience adapting stolen technology to their needs. Thus it appears that China is planning on having the J-20, in some form, ready for service by the end of the decade. The key factor is their ability to develop or steal the needed technology by then. The J-20 appears to be a fighter-bomber, as this kind of aircraft would be most useful dealing with the U.S. Navy and key targets in Taiwan or Japan. In any event, the J-20 is an attempt to develop some kind of 5th generation aircraft, complete with stealth.

 

 

The only other competitor in this area is Russia, where fifth generation fighter developments were halted when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. Actually, all development work on new fighters, by everyone, slowed down in the 1990s. But work on the F-22, F-35, Eurofighter, and Rafale continued, and those aircraft became, in roughly that order, the most advanced fighter aircraft available today. MiG resumed work on the I.42 in the 1990s, but had to stop after a few years because of a lack of money. Sukhoi has never stopped working on its T-50, funded by much higher sales of its Su-27/30 fighters. This fifth generation may come to be called the "last generation," after they are replaced by the second generation of pilotless combat aircraft (counting armed Predators and the like as the first).

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30 août 2013 5 30 /08 /août /2013 16:35
China’s J-31 Stealth Fighter Begins Flight Tests

Chinese media report that the Shenyang J-31 “stealth” fighter, now dubbed “Falcon Hawk,” began intensive flight trials this month, and claim it will outperform and out-sell Lockheed’s F-35 on the world market. (file photo)

 

Aug 30, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: People's Daily Online; published Aug 29, 2013)

 

Intensive Flight-Tests for China's J-31 Fighter; May Challenge US for Market Share

 

Since August China's fourth-generation stealth fighter, the J-31 "Falcon Hawk", has carried out more than three sets of trial flights at a rapidly increasing frequency. America's fourth-generation equivalent has achieved huge market penetration, and analysts believe that the excellent performance of the J-31 will make it a strong competitor in this market.

 

J-31 performance compares favorably with F-35

 

Although similar to the fourth-generation stealth fighter, the J-31's overall aerodynamic design and stealth appearance is not so identical with J-20, which has a higher degree of exposure. Military enthusiasts prefer to compare the relation of J-31 and J-20 with that of the U.S. Air Force F-22 and F-35. J-31 and F-35 use the same DSI inlet (non-boundary layer separated lane supersonic inlet) design, the difference is, F-35 uses a single engine to provide power, but J-31 is designed with double engines. In addition, some models of F-35 support the short distance/vertical landing; J-31 cannot do this for the time being.

 

Earlier reports indicate that the J-31 is equipped with twin Russian RD-93 engines - news that has been confirmed by Russia's MiG Aircraft Corporation. The "Fierce Dragon" light fighter developed jointly by China and Pakistan is also equipped with this model of engine. Judged against the specifications of fourth-generation aircraft, the RD-93 engine seems somewhat old, but during prototype testing the use of a stable engine with mature technology is the safest approach. Sources point out that once in service, the J-31 will hopefully carry our self-developed WS-13 engine, which has significantly improved performance in comparison with the RD-93.

 

China's Air Force test pilot expert Xu Yongling points out that the J-31's stealth aerodynamic design, stealth engine design and stealth coating design have all reached internationally advanced standards in stealth technology. He also pointed out that the J-31 possesses both stealth capability and a considerable payload level. In addition, Xu Yongling says that China has its own considerations in the development of fourth-generation aircraft, taking account not only of the need for stealth, but also of its performance in air-to-ground and air-to-air combat, and the relevant weapons requirements. This means that in payload, the J-31 will prevail over the F-35.

 

Domestic fourth-generation aircraft target the export market

 

A landmark in international military aviation history, the fourth-generation stealth aircraft will not only have a great impact on combat strategy, but also exercise a tremendous influence on geopolitics, especially on international relations and the geo-strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific region. The stealth fighter has gone beyond a simple weapons platform; its presence is now an indication of the balances and the strategic considerations at play among different countries. It could be said that the high-tech weapon systems represented by stealth fighters are becoming a new variable in the Sino-US strategic game.

 

Experts predict that the J-31 will make rapid inroads in the international market in the future, and will undoubtedly steal the limelight from the F-35. China's fourth-generation aircraft will become a new option for those countries which have not yet made the decision to purchase the F-35. In particular for those countries which are excluded from access to U.S. arms exports, China's fourth generation aircraft will certainly be attractive. The J-31, with its main target as the export market, represents a serious threat to U.S. arms manufacturers.

 

J-31 can be part of an aircraft carrier's payload

 

Earlier this year, the chief architect of the J-31 fighter Sun Cong revealed that the improved version of the J-31 is expected to become China's next generation of carrier-based aircraft.

 

Analysts believe that the J-31 fighter can act as a carrier-borne aircraft. One of the important factors affecting this question is the configuration of the landing gear. The front landing gear of the J-31 is designed with double wheels (the J-20, which is twice the weight, only has single front wheel), while the back landing gear adopts a dogleg structure – both these features provide strong supporting capacity and excellent shock resistance. Considering that a carrier-borne aircraft requires the ability to withstand a greater impact when landing on an aircraft carrier than when landing on land, the J-31 seems designed to meet the requirements of a carrier-borne landing.

 

In addition, it has recently been reported that if the J-31 is deployed on the aircraft carrier, it may combine in light-weight battle formations with the early-service J-15.

 

 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Although the above Chinese claims about the J-31’s performance have little credibility, at least at this early stage in its development, they are interesting for what they reveal about Chinese perceptions of the aircraft and its competition.

As for claims that the J-31 will “make rapid inroads in the international market,” and that it will “undoubtedly steal the limelight from the F-35,” they show that Chinese writers make up in creativity what they lack in realism.)

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