China tests second fifth-generation fighter jet

China conducted the flight tests of the state-of-the-art fifth-generation fighter jet. Following the U.S., China has thus become the second country in the world that simultaneously develops two models of this type of aircraft. As in the case of another prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, the leak of information about the plane that has not been officially presented yet occurred during the exacerbation of Beijing's relations with neighbors.

The test flight, according to officially confirmed information, took place on October 30th. The flight of the J-31 fighter jet (journalists named the aircraft so  for its code - 31001) produced by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation lasted for about 10 minutes. The fighter was accompanied by its "younger relative," the J-11 BS, reports China Military News.

The first pictures of the state-of-the-art fighter appeared on the Internet in mid-September.  The J-31, also known as the F-60 and J-21, was photographed as it was being transported to a military airport.

According to reports, the J-31 uses the stealth technology, which makes it hardly noticeable to enemy's radar. Judging from the photos, the new aircraft is a medium type fighter. Its wingspan is about 10 meters. It is a single-seat aircraft equipped with two engines. According to the Chinese Military Review, the J-31 has RD-93 turbojet engines installed. The engines were designed by JSC Klimov (Russia).

Judging from the photos, the plane does not have the capabilities of short takeoff and vertical landing. The fighter, most likely, will be optimized to take off from the deck of the aircraft carrier "Shi Lang" (formerly the Varyag aircraft carrier).

The positioning of air intakes on the fuselage of the Chinese fighter makes it similar to the American F-35, experts note. In general, it is believed that the J-31 has been created in opposition to the F-22 Raptor. It should be noted that should the information about the tests of the latest fighter be confirmed, China will then become the second country in the world after the United States that has two types of fifth-generation fighters.

The first ground tests of the other model - J-20 - made headlines only eighteen months ago. Experts pointed out that the new aircraft was quite capable of competing with Russian aircraft-makers on the international market, as it would be significantly cheaper. The aircraft had a number of disadvantages too: insufficient engine power, inability to fly at supersonic speeds, as well as imperfections of the radar system and stealth technology. The fighter was rather an aircraft of the "4 +" generation.

Be that as it may, many experts agree that the pace, at which China develops its arms, is impressive. Interestingly, the information on the J-20 was unveiled during the period of aggravation of China's relations with the United States. This time, the first photos of the J-31 appeared during China's territorial dispute with Japan in the East China Sea. As experts suggest, it should serve a signal of the readiness of the Chinese armed forces to defend national interest.

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov