China 'makes first test flight' of new stealth fighter jet
China's second stealth fighter has made its first test flight, state media reported on Thursday, in a boost to the country's air capabilities even though the plane is unlikely to be deployed for years.
The J-31, the second stealth plane to be unveiled by China in less than two years, flew for 11 minutes on Wednesday morning, the state-run Global Times reported, citing an eyewitness. Photos posted online by Chinese military enthusiasts appeared to show the black-painted combat plane in mid-flight. Images of the aircraft were first leaked online in September.
China's first stealth fighter, the J-20, was unveiled in early 2011 but is not expected to enter service until 2018. The country's first aircraft carrier entered service last month, with others capable of carrying aircraft expected to follow.
The J-31 appears to be more mobile than the J-20, with its landing gear suggesting it is designed to be launched from an aircraft carrier, military expert Andrei Chang told AFP.
He said the J-31 appeared similar to the latest "fifth" generation of US-designed stealth fighters, but with a less powerful engine and a lower proportion of sophisticated radar-blocking composite materials.
| So more like a 'four and a quarter' generation fighter...|
Posted by: tipper