China to break West's monopoly with its latest advanced fighter jet
Beijing [China], Dec. 27 (ANI): The latest version of China's fifth generation FC-31 Gyrfalcon stealth fighter jet conducted its maiden flight in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, and is being seen as an attempt to end the West's monopoly over the world's most advanced warplanes.
Previously known as the J-31, the twin engine, radar evading aircraft is still under development by Shenyang Aircraft Corp, part of the Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC), reports the China Daily.
The first test flight of the FC-31's second prototype took place on Friday morning at Shenyang Aircraft Corp, four years after the first prototype was tested and become the country's second fifth-generation fighter jet following the J-20, which conducted its first flight in January 2011.
Deliveries of the J-20 to the People's Liberation Army Air Force have started. Fifth-generation fighters are the most advanced available.
The new FC-31 seems to have better stealth capabilities, improved electronic equipment and a larger payload capacity, said Wu Peixin, an aviation industry observer in Beijing.
Fu Qianshao, an aircraft expert with the PLA Air Force, said that the new FC-31 has state-of-the-art instruments such as its electro-optical targeting system and helmet-mounted display and sight system.
Peixin said that AVIC wants to use the FC-31 to capture market share at home and abroad, but the company is making a big push to attract foreign buyers with its medium-sized stealth combat planes.
"I believe the aircraft will have bright prospects in the market. Based on my experience and knowledge, I presume its price will be around USD 70 million, about half that of the United States' Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II," he said.
Li Yuhai, deputy general manager of AVIC, has previously said AVIC plans to use the FC-31 to "put an end to some nations' monopolies on the fifth-generation fighter jet" and this plane "is able to compete with any other aircraft of its kind".
The only fifth-generation fighter jet currently available in the market is the US' F-35 Lightning II, but the US sells it only to allies.
Specifications supplied by AVIC show the FC-31 has a maximum takeoff weight of 28 metric tons, a flight radius of 1,250 kilometers and a top speed of Mach 1.8, or 1.8 times the speed of sound. It can carry 8 tons of weapons. The plane can hold six missiles in its internal weapons bay and another six under its wings, according to the company. (ANI)