China's Latest in 5th Generation Fighters - Shenyang J-31
China has unveiled yet another 5th Generation Fighter Jet – Shenyang J-31, just after 19 months of unveiling the first stealth fighter, Chengdu J-20. The J-31 performed a short test flight on October 31st lasting only 11 minutes with 2 Shenyang J-11 flying as its escort.
China is known to be the third country to adopt the stealth fighter technology, with USA and Russia, and the second country to carry out two test flights of the stealth fighter jets.
The J31, according to Global Times of China, is a middle sized fighter jet which looks similar to the previous J 20 but is supposedly cheaper. At the time of the test flight, the engines were equipped with Russian middle sized thrust engines but will have the Chinese W31 installed in it later on.
By looking at the pictures of J-20 and J-31, one can easily understand that the J31 is smaller in size compared to the J20. It is said to have the capability of operating in aircraft carriers. The cockpit in the J-31 is placed much nearer to the nose of the aircraft whereas the cockpit in the J-20 is way further.
Not much details have been given out but one thing’s for sure that the J31 isn’t a substitute of J20 instead would act as its complement similar to US’s F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
Whenever we think of a product made in China, we all have that thought in our mind that it’s probably copied from an original design. In fact, China has been implementing the ‘copy’ technique for military purposes too. The fighter’s design lacks innovation and looks totally like the US’s F-22 Raptor or the F-35 Lightning II. Just because the design has been copied it doesn’t mean that the fighter isn’t powerful enough in combat when compared to the US. We’ll just find that out that in actual combat – but let’s hope that never happens.
In this year alone, China will be spending more than $100 billion for defence purposes while the US will be spending over $700 billion. One of the main reasons for such a high increase in military spending for China is due to the test drive of the first aircraft carrier, missiles that will have the capability to shoot down satellites and of course, the stealth fighter program.
The US took around 9 years to come up with the second stealth fighter, the F-35 Lightning II and China took only 19 months, less than 2 years to come up with the second version. Just shows how serious the Chinese military is.
Like the new design of the J-31? Let us know your thoughts on this new release!