China flaunted its J-20 stealth fighters during the centenary celebrations of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1. A total of 15 J-20 ‘Mighty Dragons’ soared through the Beijing skies in a formation.
This marked the largest number of China’s most advanced warplanes exhibited in front of the general public in a single event.
The J-20s, five in each of the three V-shaped formations, flew past Tiananmen Square as part of aerial performances to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the CPC, as reported by the Global Times.
While the size of the PLA stealth fighter fleet is not yet known, the Chinese military is likely to receive more J-20s and other advanced warplanes in the future, experts said.
Meanwhile, a prototype of China’s FC-31 stealth jet was put on public display at an expo park. Experts see this as an indication that the development of this jet has reached a milestone and has entered the next stage.
Shenyang Aircraft Corp’s (SAC) Aviation Expo Park recently welcomed an FC-31 aircraft as its newest exhibit.
This attracted visitors from all around the country to come and see the aircraft closely on June 29, which marked the 70th founding anniversary of SAC, the maker of FC-31 and the “cradle” of China’s fighter planes, Xinhua News Agency reported.
According to reports, visitors were even allowed to touch the aircraft. The FC-31 on display is a genuine one, KNEWS, a media outlet affiliated with Shanghai Media Group, reported on the same day.
KNEWS noted that owing to its outstanding craftsmanship and the use of advanced composite materials, the FC-31 has high stealth capability and can be detected by hostile radars only when it is in the range of 50 km. The same radars are capable of detecting a non-stealth jet more than 100 km away.
The FC-31 put on display may not be the same aircraft, which performed during the Zhuhai Airshow 2014. Observers noted a difference in the design of the tail. This is probably a redesigned 2.0 version that made an appearance at the 2018 airshow, Global Times reported.
“The SAC Aviation Expo Park is a center for the popularization of aviation knowledge and records the history of China’s fighter jet development”, Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of the Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times.
Wang also added that the park previously exhibited relatively older aircraft, and the display of the FC-31, an advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, could indicate that the warplane’s development has reached a milestone and entered the next stage.
Foreign media outlets had circulated a photo of the full-sized model of the FC-31 that was spotted on a full-size mock aircraft carrier in early June. This was purportedly done to test the country’s carrier development.
According to Wang, as China’s aircraft carriers will require a stealth jet, the FC-31 can be a good candidate after it receives the necessary improvements and modifications required to perform vessel-based missions.
According to media reports, China’s independently developed medium-sized, fifth-generation multi-role fighter jet, FC-31, can compete against other countries’ warplanes of the same class, especially the US stealth duo — F-35 and F-22 Raptor.
Initially called J-31, the FIC-31 made its first appearance in 2012. However, the aircraft was kept out of the limelight throughout the last decade, with experts believing the PLA Air Force and Navy weren’t particularly interested in the design and its reportedly weak engines, according to Popular Mechanics.
Written by Kashish Tandon