▲ The new PLA aircraft carrier will take the stealth fighter “evidence” FC-31 to appear on the Wuhan cement aircraft carrier
Recently, photos of the Type 003 aircraft carrier under construction in China showed that after the catapult groove on the deck, new news came out of the PLA aircraft carrier project. The FC-31, the second stealth fighter developed by China, appeared on the Wuhan cement aircraft carrier model, confirming the speculation that China’s future aircraft carriers may be equipped with stealth fighters.
Wuhan Cement Aircraft Carrier is a 1:1 land-based aircraft carrier model building, which is mainly used to test the operation process and compatibility of the aircraft on the aircraft carrier’s deck.
Recent photos show that a new fighter model appeared on the Wuhan Cement Aircraft Carrier. Its size is significantly smaller than the nearby J-15 and Zhi-18 models, and its dual-engine, dual-tilted tail and other features are similar to the FC-31 stealth fighter developed by Shenyang Aircraft Industry Group.
At the same time, the photo also shows that the ship island (the superstructure of the aircraft carrier) on the cement aircraft carrier model has been updated, which is likely to represent the Type 003 aircraft carrier under construction.
The FC-31 is the second stealth fighter developed by China after the J-20. But unlike the heavy-duty J-20 produced by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, Shen Fei’s FC-31 is a medium-sized aircraft with overall performance inferior to the J-20. It has not been adopted by the People’s Liberation Army so far. It is still a technology research and development project. It is not named after “J”.
However, it may not be as easy to develop a carrier-based aircraft along the FC-31 to change the well-established Air Force fighter jet of the J-20 into a naval carrier-based aircraft. The FC-31 is also comparable in size to the US carrier-based aircraft F/A-18, and slightly larger than the F-35B, and even has one more engine than the latter, which shows that it is quite suitable for aircraft carrier operations.
In addition, the current carrier fighter J-15 of the People’s Liberation Army was also produced by Shen Fei. Shen Fei should have more experience in developing carrier-based aircraft than Cheng Fei. Therefore, whether China should choose the J-20 or the FC-31 as the stealth carrier-based aircraft is a hotly debated issue.
The US military news website The War Zone pointed out that the latest photos are strong evidence that China is at least seriously considering the development of the FC-31 into a naval stealth carrier-based aircraft.
According to the article, unconfirmed news shows that FC-31 may use turbofan-19 (WS-19) engine, with a maximum take-off weight of about 30 tons, which is of the same level as the US military’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. “The aircraft is basically certain. It is tailor-made for catapult takeoff on a new aircraft carrier. The 003 aircraft carrier is equipped with an electromagnetic catapult system, which is different from the ski jump takeoff of the two Chinese aircraft carriers already in service.”
Chinese military expert Fu Qianshao told the Global Times that the aircraft carrier simulation platform on the FC-31 explained that the development of a new carrier-based aircraft uses the improved FC-31 as an option, and may even be the first choice.
Fu Qianshao believes that the FC-31 on board does not mean that it will replace the J-15; FC-31, a medium-sized fourth-generation aircraft, and the heavy-duty third-generation J-15, will be used together for a long time in the future, which is better. Combination method.
“The U.S. Navy currently adopts a collocation model. The difference is that the two U.S. carrier-based aircraft are both medium-sized carrier-based fighters, one stealth and the other non-stealth. Therefore, if we are a heavy-duty carrier-based fighter and a medium-sized carrier-based stealth The combination of fighter jets can completely compete with the most advanced aircraft carrier combat group in the world.”
Editor in charge: Lian Zhaofeng