Chinese stealth fighter still can’t match US F-35

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-12 1:03:02

The company that developed China's J-31 stealth fighter has denied its jet could take down the US F-35 Joint Strike fighter, but admitted challenging the latter has always been its goal.

The denial came after Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) president Lin Zuoming said in an interview with China Central Television on Sunday that "[our model] should be able to take [the opponent model] down when it takes to the sky."

Lin added that he is "fully confident" the company's chief designer has taken "the opponent model" into consideration when the J-31 was designed.

An anonymous source with AVIC told the Global Times that there was some kind of misunderstanding and that Lin was merely stating the goal of the J-31.

The J-31 fighter's chief designer, Sun Cong, said in the same interview that the assumed potential opponent of J-31 was F-35.

While boasting better performance than its US counterpart in some aspects, Sun admitted that the J-31 has some flaws, but said "basically the model has met our expectations."

Lin also expressed the company's desire to change the global warplane market paradigm, which the US claims to dominate since it unveiled F-35 fighter in 2007. "The world should be balanced. Good products cannot be owned by one group," Lin said.

The J-31 is the second domestically manufactured stealth fighter. Compared with the J-20 stealth fighter, the J-31 is a smaller twin-engine version.

The highly-anticipated fighter jet began to draw greater public attention after it made its debut in November at an aviation and aerospace exhibit in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.

"Both the J-31 and J-20 are products of China's move to develop stealth fighters … It is unrealistic for the two models to surpass their US counterparts in a short period of time," Wang Yanan, the deputy chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times.

Wang added that the US, which is the forerunner in stealth fighter development, has also experienced challenges in its stealth fighter development program and the F-35 still faced problems, including engine problems.

Posted in: Military

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