China aiming Turkey as the potential export customer of the FC-31: report

A model of an FC-31 fighter jet is displayed at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: Yang Sheng/GT

Turkey is considering purchasing China’s FC-31 to fulfill shortfall of fighter jet, as Turkey seems determined to retain the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, Weihutang, a military column affiliated with China Central Television, reported on Monday.

Potential international buyers’ attention on the FC-31 is a good thing, and China should push for such opportunities to export the warplane, Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the FC-31 is a fifth generation medium-sized twin-engine multirole stealth fighter jet intended for export. The FC-31 is a F-35 copycat mostly developed by intellectual property theft by China. A large-scale cyber attack was orchestrated by Chinese state sponsor hacker to steal most of the F-35 secret expect the Pratt-Whitney engine technology that powers the F-35B STOVL aircraft.

It made its public debut flight at Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, but relatively little was heard of it after that. Analysts said it is being upgraded and could serve as China’s next generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet in the future.

“The Chinese stealth fighter jet has not yet entered mass production or military service. This means it is still being improved. In a year or two, it will likely be built with many more new and advanced technologies,” Xu said.

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The FC-31 is a fourth generation medium-sized stealth fighter jet originally intended for export. Chinese military experts said that the PLA procurement notice suggests the FC-31 is no longer export-oriented, and is destined for domestic military service.

The FC-31 made its public debut flight at Airshow China 2014in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, but went relatively quiet after that.

Multiple changes and upgrades are being made to the FC-31 allowing it to be used on an aircraft carrier, the insider said.

The China central television news can be ruled out as propaganda as the TAI TF-X (Turkish Fighter – Experimental) is set to combine the best of a stealth air-superiority fighter, with additional ground attack capabilities and an impressive array of sensors, cutting-edge radar, networked drone control and hypersonic missile capacity.

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