FC-31 stealth fighter approaches Chinese air force

Developed by the Shenyang company, the 5th generation FC-31 Gyrfalcon fighter has experienced many adventures since its first flight in October 2012. Originally designed as a response to the American F-35, this 16,8 m long fighter for 12 meters of wingspan is much more compact than the imposing J-20 longer by 3 meters, and above all heavier by more than 7 tons at takeoff at 32 tons, while the FC-31 aimed at 25 tons, placing the aircraft in the Rafale and F-35 category. But where the J-20 met a expectation of the Chinese air forces, the FC-31 was initially only intended for export, the Beijing armies being very satisfied with the J-10, J-11, J-15 and J-16 and 4th generation to modernize alongside the J-20. In addition, the performance of the prototypes initially presented by Shenyang quickly turned out to be lower than expected, and in 2014, the manufacturer undertook to redesign its device in depth.

The new design was first presented in 2015 at the Dubai AirShow, with a redesigned wing, tail and air intakes, but the first shots of the new prototype in flight only began to circulate 2019 on Chinese social networks, showing in particular the addition of WS-13E engines, derived from the Russian engine Klimov RD-93 which initially powered the device (as well as the Mig-29 and the JF-17) and offering a thrust of 10 KN 15% higher than the 85 KN of the original RD-93. The on-board electronics were also extensively modernized, with a gauss cockpit, a new generation helmet sight and a new IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track). This new design seems to have convinced the Chinese naval forces, who announced, in a way that could not be more confused it is true, that the aircraft had been selected in its on-board naval version to operate alongside the J-15 on its Type 003 aircraft carriers and later with catapults.

In its new version, the FC31 saw its air entrances, wing and tailplane redesigned, and received new WS-13E engines 15% more powerful than the original RD-93s.

The rest of this article is for subscribers only

Full-access articles are available in the “ Free Items“. Subscribers have access to the full Analyses, OSINT and Synthesis articles. Articles in the Archives (more than 2 years old) are reserved for Premium subscribers.

From €6,50 per month – No time commitment.

Related posts