CHINA / MILITARY
China's FC-31 stealth fighter on public display, 'indicates development milestone'
Published: Jun 30, 2021 09:46 PM
An FC-31 stealth fighter jet is on display at Shenyang Aircraft Corp's Aviation Expo Park in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province in June. Photo: Screenshot from KNEWS

An FC-31 stealth fighter jet is on display at Shenyang Aircraft Corp's Aviation Expo Park in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province in June. Photo: Screenshot from KNEWS


A prototype of China's FC-31 stealth fighter jet has reportedly gone on public display at its maker's expo park, an indication that the aircraft's development has reached a milestone and entered the next stage, experts said on Wednesday.

An FC-31 aircraft very recently arrived at the Shenyang Aircraft Corp's (SAC) Aviation Expo Park as the park's latest exhibit, attracting many visitors from across the country to come and see the aircraft at close range on Tuesday, the 70th founding anniversary of SAC, the maker of the FC-31 and the cradle of China's fighter planes, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Visitors were even allowed to touch the plane, the Xinhua report shows.

The FC-31 on display is a genuine one, KNEWS, a media outlet affiliated with Shanghai Media Group, reported on the same day.

With the use of advanced composite materials and the outstanding craftsmanship, the FC-31 has a high stealth capability, and hostile radars could only detect it when it comes within 50 kilometers, the KNEWS report said, noting that by comparison, the same radars could detect a non-stealth aircraft more than 100 kilometers away.

Media footage shows that, while the FC-31 on display bears the number "31001," the serial number of the first FC-31 demonstrator that performed at the Zhuhai Airshow 2014, it is probably not the same aircraft. The design of the tail is different and represents a redesigned "2.0" version that was displayed at the Zhuhai Airshow 2018 as a model, observers said.

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 on Wednesday.

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, Wang said.

In early June, foreign media outlets posted a photo showing a full-size model of the FC-31 that was spotted on a full-size mock aircraft carrier, allegedly used to evaluate the country's carrier development

Since China's aircraft carriers would eventually need a type of stealth fighter jet, the FC-31 would be a good candidate after receiving any necessary improvements and modifications to suit the needs of vessel-based operations, Wang said.

As China's fully independently developed, medium-sized twin-engine fifth-generation multi-role fighter jet, the FC-31 can rival other countries' warplanes of the same class, media reports said.


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