The hypothesis of a Chinese J-35 naval fighter derived from the FC-31 becomes clearer

Just a year ago, Chinese authorities hinted that their future aircraft carriers equipped with catapults would implement a naval version of the J-20 fighter which equips the country's air force. However, several Chinese aviation industry experts doubted this statement, and claimed that it would be a derivative version of the Shenyang FC-31 stealth fighter that would arm these ships. Over the month, several redundant information have come to give substance to these suspicions, even giving it a name, the J-35.

There is very little information available on the subject, and for good reason, as China is not particularly keen on making it a media topic, at least for the moment. One can only extrapolate information from the two FC-31 prototypes, one of which took part in the Dubai Airshow in 2015. Thus, unlike the J-20, the J-35 would be an average fighter, with a maximum takeoff weight of the 25 to 28 ton class, where the J-20, in its land base operated version, exceeds 36 tons. The J-35 would therefore operate in the same category as the French Rafale or the American F35C, allowing more aircraft to be used from the limited space of a hangar and a door flight deck. -planes. Like the French aircraft, it is based on a twin-engine architecture, more robust in maritime overflight, but like the American aircraft, it was designed for optimized stealth, although it will probably not achieve that of the Lighting II.

The twin-engine configuration of the FC-31 / J-35 is an undeniable asset in the conduct of naval airborne operations, as the relief areas in the event of an engine problem can be relatively rare in the middle of the ocean.

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