China launched the global marketing of its FC-31 stealth fighter jet that costs about US$70 million, about half the price of the Lockheed Martin F-35, at Paris Air Show 2017.
"We expect that the plane's price will be around $70 million, about half that of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II from the US, which is the only fifth-generation fighter jet available on the market from the US, which only sells it to allies." Fu Qianshao, an aircraft expert with the PLA Air Force was quoted as saying by China Daily Tuesday.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has displayed a model of the FC-31 on display at the 52nd International Paris Air Show, held at at Paris-Le Bourget Airport.
China decided to tap the well-advanced countries’ military aircraft market with the domestically developed FC-31 stealth fighter jet, the plane's chief designer Lin Peng of AVIC's subsidiary Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute said.
“The FC-31 has received a lot of attention from potential foreign buyers.” he said Monday. This has been the first time the aircraft firm brought its latest stealth fighter jet to a Western air show and the second time for the FC-31 to be shown at a foreign exhibition. The first was at the 14th Dubai Airshow in the United Arab Emirates in November 2015.
"We will strive to use the fifth-generation combat plane to seize some share in the military aircraft market of developed nations," Lin said.
FC-31's appearance in Paris is intended to showoff China's capabilities in the research and development of advanced military aircraft.
The intention is to enable major buyers to know more about the plane so they can communicate "in-depth" with AVIC about the fighter jet,
Though the FC-31 is not yet in production, the firm believes that the external features of the plane is likely to generate interest that could lead to sales.
The air show is also a suitable occasion for the Chinese stealth fighter jet to compete with its counterparts, the designer added.
The FC-31 was unveiled in October 2012 as a twin-engine, radar-evading fighter jet. At that time, the first prototype had made its maiden flight, becoming the country's second fifth-generation fighter jet following the J-20, which made its first flight in January 2011. The People's Liberation Army Air Force has begun to receive deliveries of the J-20.
Lin said the FC-31 features high survivability, a low radar signature, supreme electronic countermeasures, high information capacity, situation awareness and beyond-visual-range combat capability.
The aircraft has a large weapon bay and several external hard points that are capable of carrying Chinese-or foreign-made air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons, he said.
Specifications from AVIC show the FC-31 has a maximum takeoff weight of 25 metric tons, a combat range of 1,200 km and a top speed of Mach 1.8, or 2,205 kilometers per hour. It can carry 8 metric tons of weapons and has a designed service life of up to 30 years.
Li Yuhai, deputy general manager of AVIC, said earlier that 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".