If we believe a report lately, then Pakistan is going to buy J-31 from China. China unveiled the fifth-generation fighter featuring two-engine recently during the Zhuhai airshow. Not just one or two, but up 30 to 40 Shenyang F-31 fighters are what Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is planning to acquire from one of its reliable allied in the world China. India isn’t expected to see their stealth fighters most likely in the next decade and with Pakistan holding their J-31 talks with China, it’s really going to vex India at some point in the near future
There are some European and Asian nations, who face US export restrictions or can’t meet the expense of the Lockheed Martin F-35. J-31 on the other hand will be a cheaper stealth fighter accessible to such countries that too within their budget. The development time-frame for this fighter has been fixed to 2016-2017. If China succeeds to manufacture these 5th-gen stealth fighters for Pakistan, then it will surely forge ahead a lot of challenges for India, who is on the other hand has told Russia it cannot wait longer for stealth fighters. Russia has been delaying the export of FGFA for years and still there is time that has put India in waiting list till 2024-2025.
This is really a matter of concern for India as their neighboring country if the deal with China gets cleared, is going to have their own stealth fighter in just a year or two. Yet, It’s no secret that since long time back Pakistan has been creating threats for India, which has pushed these two nations on the edge of war so many times in a couple of years, and with stealth being fallen in PAF’s inventory, definitely it’s going to be a red-flag situation for India.
The J-31 is a twin-rudder mid-weight and twin-engine jet with the distinctive configuration only found in 5th generation fighters like Sukhoi T-50. J-31 involves certain features found in stealth like two-piece canopy and forward swept intake cowls with diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) bumps.
The J-31 is a smaller yet more agile fighter as compared to Chengdu J-20 that looks like a twin engine F-35C. This may be due to the fact that it might be used as a 5th-gen carrier based jet. Another feature includes the twin forward wheels which their counterpart the F-35C has to. Other features include two internal weapons bays for carrying two or three medium or long range missiles, ASM’s, and bombs, two heavy hardpoints and one light hardpoint on each wing though it lacks the capacity that F-35 has of mounting gunnery/jamming pod. Also it uses stealth coatings nothing matching like F-35’s baked-in fiber-mat stealth. The flattering fuselage of the fighter makes it fuel-efficient and adds to its pace by decreasing the drag. This leads to more air-superiority.
The following is the specifications of Shenyang J-31:
- Crew: one (pilot)
- Height: 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
- Length: 16.9 m (55 ft 5 in)
- Wingspan: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
- Gross weight: 17,600 kg (38,801 lb)
- Wing area: 40 m2 (430 sq ft)
- Powerplant: 2 × RD-93 afterburning Turbofans, 84 kN (19,000 lbf) thrust each
- Powerplant: 2 × WS-13A afterburning Turbofans, 100 kN (22,000 lbf) thrust each
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
- Ferry range: 4,000 km (2,485 mi; 2,160 nmi)
- Combat range: 1,250 km (777 mi; 675 nmi)
- Thrust/weight: ~1