July 13, 2024

Shenyang Unveils New J-31B Stealth Fighter

Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) has unveiled its latest marvel, the J-31B “Gyrfalcon,” in a recently released video. This new model represents a significant evolution from its predecessor, the FC-31, transitioning from a medium to a heavy fighter, with enhanced stealth capabilities and weapon systems.

J-31

Photo Source: https://www.wsj.com/

Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) has unveiled its latest marvel, the J-31B “Gyrfalcon,” in a recently released video. This new model represents a significant evolution from its predecessor, the FC-31, transitioning from a medium to a heavy fighter, with enhanced stealth capabilities and weapon systems.

The J-31B is notably larger than the original FC-31. It has side weapon bays that each accommodate two combat missiles. Consequently, this design elevates the J-31B’s payload capacity, rivaling heavy fighters. Moreover, the aircraft can carry at least four PL-12 medium-range air-to-air missiles in its combined side and main weapon bays. Additionally, it can be outfitted with ground or anti-ship weapons for multi-role versatility.

A striking feature of the J-31B is its “single-door” side weapon bay design, mirroring the J-20 heavy stealth fighter. This design minimizes radar detection by closing the bay door after missile deployment, enhancing both stealth and aerodynamic performance. In contrast, the F-22’s “double-door” design indicates a different approach to stealth and air combat tactics.

Initially developed as the FC-31 for potential export, the J-31B underscores China’s advancements in stealth technology. Thus, China now joins the United States as the only nations with two fifth-generation stealth fighters. Furthermore, the J-31B’s carrier-based design extends the operational reach of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Photo Source: bulgarianmilitary.com

The original FC-31, first shown in 2012, has six external hardpoints and a payload capacity of 8,000 kg. Klimov RD-93 turbofan engines power it, providing a combat radius of about 1,200 km and speeds up to Mach 1.8. Future J-31B models will likely feature the Guizhou WS-19 turbofan engine, further improving performance and stealth.

With its stealth coating and versatile capabilities, the J-31B can handle various missions, including air superiority, reconnaissance, anti-ship attacks, and air-to-ground strikes. As development continues, the J-31B could become central to China’s air power. Notably, nations like Pakistan have already shown interest in its export potential.

The J-31B’s advancements highlight China’s commitment to expanding its aerial capabilities. Consequently, this sets the stage for the J-31B to join the ranks of the world’s premier fighter aircraft.

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