Bindiya Thomas
04:06 PM, November 17, 2014
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Chinese J-31 To Impact F-35 Sales?
Chinese J-31 To Impact F-35 Sales?
China unveiled its new J-31 stealth fighter jet at the Zhuhai Air Show last week as an alternative to the very expensive Lockheed Martin F-35 jet. 
 
The J-31 conducted a demonstration flight at the show with a mock-up also on display. According to local media reports, the Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic), the country's top aircraft maker, plans to compete with foreign aircraft in the export market. 
 
China is likely to target countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America where it has previously made jet sales. 
 
The aircraft will be particularly attractive to countries that are cut off from US arms exports.
 
"Experts predict that the J-31 will make rapid inroads in the international market in the future, and will undoubtedly steal the limelight from the F-35," the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily reported on its website in August 2013.
 
The Chinese aircraft is designed to look like a stealth fighter aircraft in the class of the American Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
 
According to CNN, it is also the second, but smaller, stealth-type design to be developed by China. The FC-31's "Big Brother," the Chengdu J-20, first flew in January 2011 but has been shrouded in secrecy ever since.
 
It is unclear how much the J-31 might cost or what its communications systems have to offer since the aircraft is more or less modeled against the F-35 which boasts advanced electronic warfare and radar evading capabilities. 
 
The fighter aircraft will be powered by the Russian-made RD-93 engine. 
 
Rosoboronexport’s Air Force Equipment Export Department Head, Sergey Kornev, said,"J-31 with the Russian engine RD-93 is considered to be an export program, able to compete with the American F-35 fifth generation aircraft on the regional markets."
 
"The program is ambitious, but very real, especially considering the high cost of F-35 and some problems with its development," Kornev added.
 
However, an AVIC spokesman declined to comment on any orders for the aircraft.
"We were told not to do any promotion for the plane," spokesman Fu Mingyao said. He did not elaborate.
 
There are slated to be at least two more J-31 demonstrations at the show, AVIC officials said.
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