The Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) to acquire an “integral unit for photoelectric target acquisition that is stealth capable,” setting off speculation that the institute was developing a carrier-based version of China’s FC-31 stealth fighter jet.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is looking to procure stealth parts for China's aircraft carrier-based fighter jet manufacturer, Shenyang. The integral unit must be able to operate against naval targets and be capable of monitoring humidity, according to the RFP released Thursday.
The notice however did not specify how the stealth parts will be utilized, Global Times quoted Chinese military experts as saying Tuesday.
Multiple changes and upgrades are being made to the FC-31 allowing it to be used on an aircraft carrier, the state-owned newspaper reported. The FC-31 (J-31) is a twin-engine, mid-size fifth-generation jet fighter.
China's third aircraft carrier confirmed to be under construction by the Xinhua News Agency in November is widely expected to be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, and will use the stealth fighter jet, Wang Yunfei, a naval expert had predicted.
The PLA Navy is under pressure to speedily develop carrier battle groups as it seeks to counter US and Japanese naval strength in its quest to control the waters of the South China Sea and protect its man-made islands there.