China hopes to snatch sales from US with J-31 4th-generation fighter jet

Contrivance behind frequent test flights: China’s development of export-oriented fourth-generation fighter makes the US and Russia nervous
Contrivance behind frequent test flights: China’s development of export-oriented fourth-generation fighter makes the US and Russia nervous

Huanqiu.com says in an article by its special military commentator Lei Ze, “In the afternoon of August 23, test flight of the J-31 ‘Gyrfalcon’ fourth-generation stealth fighter was carried out again.

Sources say that recently the fighter has been tested with unusually great frequency. The said the test flight followed those on August 8 and 18. Compared with only one test flight in July, the frequency of the J-31 test flights has significantly increased.”

The emergence of the J-31 fighter jet will make it difficult for the US to make money by exporting its F-35 fighters. Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily points out: At present, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and other countries have all purchased US F-35 fighter jets, but the occurrence of one fault and technical problem after another in the test flights of the F-35 has given rise to worries and even dissatisfaction among those countries.

The stealth fighter is a milestone in the world history of military aviation. It is of great strategic importance in the international relations and geopolitical strategic situation in the Asian-Pacific region. China’s development of stealth fighters has to some extent become an important phase of the Sino-US strategic game.

In December 2011, in order to counter the rapid development of the Chinese air force, Japan ordered 42 F-35As in spite of the high price of US$150 million per fighter. However, at the same time, the UK delayed its decision on purchase of the F-35s to 2015, while Italy reduced its purchase from 131 to 90. Canada said that it would order 60 F-35s, but no firm order has yet been placed.

Experts in the industry expect that when the J-20 and J-31 are launched on the international market, undoubtedly they will take away some market share from the F-35, as it will provide a new option for those countries who have not made a decision on purchase of the F-35. They will be especially attractive to those countries that the US is unwilling to export weapons to.

The Wall Street Journal said in its report on November 11, 2012 that China’s aviation industry was as advanced as Russia’s in many areas except jet engines. Increase of Chinese export of aircrafts will greatly injure Moscow’s interests.

Huanqiu.com says: “The US media finally exclaimed: ‘The test flights of the J-31 indicate China has finally become the only country other than the US that is developing two types of stealth fighters. This is a development of great significance. It may have profound repercussions on the export market of static aircraft and US troops.’”

What is more troublesome for the US is that once the J-31 has equivalent performance as the F-35, it no longer makes sense to purchase expensive F-35s. Undoubtedly, the emergence of China’s fourth-generation fighters represented by the J-31 will be the “Hiroshima nuclear explosion” in the world weapon market. It will dislocate the existing setup of international weapon trade, entirely change the division of labour in the world weapon industry and put an end to the US monopoly of high-end fighter market.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Frequent test flights of J-31: China develops 4th-generation fighters to snatch market from the US” by huanqiu.com special military commentator Lei Ze (excerpt and summary translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
 
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Categories: Defence & Aerospace

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Trackbacks

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