Amid growing international criticism, China will allegedly reveal a new fighter jet in 2021, which will most likely be a familiar event to Chinese military watchers. Mounting evidence suggests a revamped fighter jet that is ready for combat based on the FC-31 fighter plane.
New stealth fighter
According to Popular Mechanics, Alert 5 discovered one such proof of the aircraft's existence and future reveal, highlighting the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment's (CAE) post on social media.
The post stated that the establishment's personnel traveled to Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute or known as 601 Institute and the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation's (CETC) 29th Research Institute amid the coronavirus pandemic to assist in the development of the aircraft.
Allegedly, CAE used Chinese characters to define the fighter plane as the new generation. The blog also says that the new model would either be a variant of an existing type or a brand-new model altogether.
Global Times site picked up the rumor of the new fighter jet and also referred to the post that CAE wrote. The website stated that the post was later deleted without warning. A Chinese aviation expert that it interviewed believes that the rumored fighter jet is set to operate for aircraft carriers in China's fleet.
Chinese air defense expert, Fu Qianshao, noted the Chinese Air Force might one day have the necessity for a medium-sized stealth fighter jet that would assist its heavier J-20 stealth fighter jet. Fu revealed the Chinese Navy needs immediate addition to its stealth fighter jet fleet amid the United States development of the F-35B and F-35C, as reported by Global Times.
However, the new fighter jet's active service potential would still take time as its initial flight next year would only be the beginning of around five years of testing to ensure its stability, safety, and useability. The expert noted that time could be shortened as the previous FC-31 model has been, for many years, tested as a technical demonstrator.
The development of the aircraft
Shenyang Institute released a statement that was said in December of last year; it began developing a new type of fighter jet with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Manufacturing Technology Institute from 2018.
On the other hand, the United States is developing three brand-new stealth aircraft, two of which are fighters, and one is a bomber.
However, Shenyang has not found a potential buyer for the new type of aircraft that looks similar to the US Air Force's F-22 but smaller.
While China may have a new fighter jet in the works, it currently has only a limited number of aircraft it operates on. In contrast, the Pentagon has hundreds of radar-evading planes at their disposal placed all around the world.
According to Forbes, the US Air Force, along with the Navy's help, is spending billions of dollars in developing new stealth fighters that would succeed the F-35 model.