Shenyang FC-31 / J-31 Fighter Demonstrator


Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
More like 'powers that be '---. The 'powers that be' will only let you go so far---. You may flaunt your product at your own peril and the chinese are very smart people---.
I think there is a definite need for a 5 gen carrier ready fighter, and even though this project has been "idling" its still a mature design in the sense that it is ready for the next step.....
 

Viktor Jav

Senior Member
Registered Member
Can anyone tell me why did it take this long to develop this fighter, when the J20 was started at around the same time, and it is now in service where as this is nowhere near complete?
Because the F-31 is a private venture by SAC and has not receive any government funding. At this point of time it seems that the PLAAF has little interest in a second stealth fighter and is focused on bringing the J-20 to full capacity first before embarking on any other projects. Regardless of whatever rumors that are floating around that the PLAN is looking at the F-31 as a carrier fighter.
And from SAC pov it is pointless to aggressively pursue a project that has insofar received little to no government interest, and if the government actually does in the future it will very likely order CAC to assist SAC in the project with their experience with the J-20 which will save SAC a boatload of cash. As of now the company can still rely on the Sino-Flankers production line to generate profit.
So SAC is most likely keeping the project on a life support, funneling in just enough cash to keep the project alive in hopes that Beijing with have an interest in it but not enough as to become a major expense.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Can anyone tell me why did it take this long to develop this fighter, when the J20 was started at around the same time, and it is now in service where as this is nowhere near complete?

Since development DID NOT start at the same time with CAC's development. The FC-31 - indeed at a private venture - was started only after SAC had lost the PLAAF's RfP for a heavy weight fighter, that later became the J-20. As such it is surely delayed if you only count maiden flight to service entry since there was most likely not the same amount of resources allocated as to the J-20.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
Because the F-31 is a private venture by SAC and has not receive any government funding. At this point of time it seems that the PLAAF has little interest in a second stealth fighter and is focused on bringing the J-20 to full capacity first before embarking on any other projects. Regardless of whatever rumors that are floating around that the PLAN is looking at the F-31 as a carrier fighter.
And from SAC pov it is pointless to aggressively pursue a project that has insofar received little to no government interest, and if the government actually does in the future it will very likely order CAC to assist SAC in the project with their experience with the J-20 which will save SAC a boatload of cash. As of now the company can still rely on the Sino-Flankers production line to generate profit.
So SAC is most likely keeping the project on a life support, funneling in just enough cash to keep the project alive in hopes that Beijing with have an interest in it but not enough as to become a major expense.
I think it's more than hope.

I reckon there is an eventual requirement for at least 400 J-31, which is sufficient to justify the upfront R&D costs and a separate logistical system.

From an industrial base perspective, the Chinese Air Force would want to sustain competing design institutes (SAC versus CAC).
And if SAC already has a head start with flying prototypes, they're almost certain to get the contract.
 

Gatekeeper

Captain
Registered Member
Thanks guys. Much appreciated for all your answers.

However. If my understanding of this is correct. And if this is a "private" project by SAC. One has got to ask why? It's a dead horse. As no one is going to buy it. PLAAF is not going to buy it. PLAN is not going to buy it. And I doubt China would want this to be exported. So this project is going nowhere.

Wouldn't they be better off concentrate their resources elsewhere?
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
Thanks guys. Much appreciated for all your answers.

However. If my understanding of this is correct. And if this is a "private" project by SAC. One has got to ask why? It's a dead horse. As no one is going to buy it. PLAAF is not going to buy it. PLAN is not going to buy it. And I doubt China would want this to be exported. So this project is going nowhere.

Wouldn't they be better off concentrate their resources elsewhere?
Word on the street is that the FC-31 program has been axed but SAC is developing an FC-31-derived carrier-based fighter. They likely painted the 2.0 prototype so that they could fly it at airshows to attract potential export customers.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Word on the street is that the FC-31 program has been axed but SAC is developing an FC-31-derived carrier-based fighter. They likely painted the 2.0 prototype so that they could fly it at airshows to attract potential export customers.

I won't call it "the FC-31 program has been axed" but it has moved on ... sounds a bit more positive! ;)
 

Gatekeeper

Captain
Registered Member
I won't call it "the FC-31 program has been axed" but it has moved on ... sounds a bit more positive! ;)
So, it is now "moved on" to becoming a carrier plane? But does the PLAN know this. Lol? It looks like this is a project looking for an objective?? Shouldn't it be the other way round?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the plane. I'm questioning the wisdom of continuing with the project when it is pretty much dead, or at least on life support.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
So, it is now "moved on" to becoming a carrier plane? But does the PLAN know this. Lol? It looks like this is a project looking for an objective?? Shouldn't it be the other way round?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the plane. I'm questioning the wisdom of continuing with the project when it is pretty much dead, or at least on life support.
Not sure, if you missed it, but AVIC itself posted this:

J-35 AVIC announcement.jpg

... and soon thereafter AVIC/SAC confirmed to have a new fighter under was.

I know, this is probably all too premature to be sure, but IMO it looks much more like a "go ahead" than "the project ... is pretty much dead"!
 

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