At 10:30 am on Wednesday this week, China’s second fifth generation fighter plane, the J-31, flew for the first time. The Jinling Evening News from Nanjing in Jiangsu province today proudly displays the new fighter on its front page, and proclaims that China is now the only country after the US to have two fifth generation fighters in testing at the same time. It notes also that the J-31 might be combined with the J-15, China’s other fifth generation fighter, to serve as carrier-based aircraft.
The J-31, described as a medium size ‘stealth’ fighter with the codename Falcon Eagle (鹘鹰), was built by Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (沈阳飞机工业集团). According to reports, the maiden test flight on Wednesday went off without a hitch. From pictures that have been published so far, the Jinling Evening News notes, the J-31 seems to be a single-seat, two-engine conventional fighter plane.
The newspaper states very clearly that “there is no way that the design [of the J-31] was in any way copied” from a foreign plane. The report says that any claims which have been made in this regard from abroad – the paper mentions a report from Wired magazine on October 31 that included allegations that J-31′s design was based on blueprints stolen from the servers of at least six US aerospace subcontractors in 2009 – are groundless.
For more details on the new plane and related military issues, see links and sources below.