New variants of Chinese stealth fighters break cover

Two seated Chengdu J-20

Two new variants of China’s stealth fighters have broken cover in the past three days, including China’s next carrier-based fighter, hinted at during a recent air show.

Photos and videos taken outside the Chengdu Aircraft factory in its namesake city on Tuesday showed a two-seat J-20 stealth fighter in overall primer, confirming persistent rumors such a variant was being developed by the company.

The photos and video, posted on Weibo and other social media portals, distinctly showed the aircraft’s tandem cockpit as it taxied toward the runway for take-off.

It’s not clear what role the back-seater would play, although a logical explanation would be that the rear seat would be occupied by a weapons system officer, or WSO, responsible for operating the J-20′s radar and weapons.

It has also been suggested the two-seat J-20, whose exact designation is as yet unknown, would be a manned-unmanned teaming mothership, controlling China’s version of a loyal wingman or other unmanned combat aerial vehicle or UCAV.

Another possible use for a J-20 WSO is the primary sensor operator coordinating other networked, manned assets. Chinese aviation industry officials have said in the past they saw a potential use of the J-20 as a stealth airborne early warning aircraft, using multiple J-20s as a sensor net.

New carrier-borne fighter

In addition, photos surfaced earlier today of what appears to be China’s stealthy carrier-borne fighter taking to the air for the first time. As previously reported, industry officials said during the recent Zhuhai air show the new carrier-borne stealth fighter would make its first flight in 2021.

Image
The FC-31

The photos also confirm the aircraft, whose exact designation is also unknown and is also left in primer, is a development of the redesigned Shenyang FC-31 stealth fighter that has also been called the J-31 in some quarters and was previously suggested as an export design.

The photos, taken while the aircraft was in flight, show the catapult launch bar on the nose landing gear and what appears to be hinges on the wings that allow them to be folded, a typical feature of carrier-based aircraft to allow the limited space on the flight deck and hangars to be maximized.

The new type will likely equip the Type 003 carrier being built at a shipyard in the coastal megacity of Shanghai, which, unlike China’s two existing carriers, will be fitted with catapults that will allow it to shorten the aircraft launch cycle, as well as enable it to operate larger and heavier aircraft such as the Xi’an KJ-600 turboprop carrier-borne airborne early warning aircraft.

Satellite photos of the Jiangnan-Changxing shipyard where the Type 003 carrier is being built suggest the Type 003 will be equipped with three catapults and will be roughly the same size as the U.S. Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class carriers.

Source: Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

We need your help.

The cost of maintaining a community news site like China News is always increasing.

While access to content will always be free, we would appreciate if you could donate any amount, no matter how small, to keep us operating.

This is completely optional and won’t affect your ability to read any of our articles.

Thank you.

Make a monthly donation

We need your help.

The cost of maintaining a community news site like China News is always increasing.

While access to content will always be free, we would appreciate if you could donate any amount, no matter how small, to keep us operating.

This is completely optional and won’t affect your ability to read any of our articles.

Thank you.

Make a yearly donation

We need your help.

The cost of maintaining a community news site like China News is always increasing.

While access to content will always be free, we would appreciate if you could donate any amount, no matter how small, to keep us operating.

This is completely optional and won’t affect your ability to read any of our articles.

Thank you.

Choose an amount

$1.00
$2.00
$5.00
$1.00
$2.00
$5.00
$1.00
$2.00
$5.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly


Categories: Defence & Aerospace

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: