As president-elect Trump plays Boeing and Lockheed off against each other, China flexed its military muscles once again – after sending its aircraft carrier Liaoning into the western Pacific – by testing the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter, state media reported on Monday, as it tries to end the West’s monopoly on the world’s most advanced warplanes.
As The South China Morning Post reports, the newest version of the J-31, now renamed the FC-31 Gyrfalcon, took to the air for the first time on Friday, the China Daily reported.
The so-called “fifth-generation” twin engine jet is China’s answer to the US F-35, the world’s most technically advanced fighter.
The new FC-31 has “better stealth capabilities, improved electronic equipment and a larger payload capacity” than the previous version which debuted in October 2012, the newspaper said, quoting aviation expert Wu Peixin.
“Changes were made to the airframe, wings and vertical tails which make it leaner, lighter and more manoeuvrable,” Wu told the paper.
The jet is manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corp, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corp of China.
The manufacturer has said that the FC-31 will “put an end to some nations’ monopolies on the fifth-generation fighter jet”, the China Daily reported.