Shenyang FC-31 / J-31 Fighter Demonstrator


Viktor Jav

Senior Member
Registered Member
Point 1
The number 400 comes from:
  1. The Chinese Air Force continuing with a fleet of 2000 combat aircraft, so 400 medium-weight stealth fighters is not unreasonable.
  2. If you look at geography, China has so many neighbours near its borders. eg. Taiwan is 200km away, Korea is only 350km away, Vietnam/India share a border etc. So a requirement for 400 lower-spec J-31 is not unreasonable.
  3. A 15 year production run at 24 aircraft per year. That is a large enough production run that unit costs and maintenance are reasonable, and can justify the upfront R&D costs. But if they were only producing 100 J-31s, it would be cheaper just to stick with additional J-20 instead.

Point 2
As for a carrier version, again, we're looking at low production numbers for a carrier variant. Call it a a maximum of 200 aircraft over the course of the next 15 years. Plus I imagine that maintenance of the J-20 stealth coatings is a nightmare due to the salt-water environment.

So I reckon there will still be a requirement for a *common enough* medium-weight stealth fighter with baked-in stealth materials between the Chinese Air Force and Chinese Navy.
Where are you getting the idea that the J-20's stealth coating is painted on and that the J-31 is getting "baked in stealth materials" ? These ideas runs counter with the notion that the J-31 can be lower spec enough to justify it's existence. At this point of time we have no idea what kind of stealth technology will be applied to the J-31. And seeing that the J-20 is the primary focus of the PLAAF, for it not to receive the best level of tech ridiculous at best. Chengdu has far more experience with stealth tech then SAC so how on earth would the latter stole a leap over the former ?
And where comes the idea that the PLAAF wants a 2000 combat aircraft, and even if they do. What would be the ratio of stealth aircraft vis a vis the rest of the very serviceable and capable 4.5 gen fighters that are still in existence ?
Even if we cite the low number of fighters for carrier ops, the J-20 with it's existing production line can still potentially come up with a lower price tag than the J-31 that has to create a new line entirely from scratch again.
And finally, wherein comes the claim of a 15 year production run if 24 units per year ?
Mind you, I am open to discussions on how the J-31 can possibly find it's way into the China's air force roster. But as of now we have literally no proof or evidence than the PLAAF or the PLAN is planning for anything of the sort, or for that matter even the potential price tag and production of the plane in general.
 

FangYuan

New Member
Registered Member
I think putting all hope on J-20 is a mistake. Even if the J-20 is a good fighter, China still needs an extra hidden card in case something unexpected happens. It's hard to understand with a defense budget of more than $ 200 billion, only one fifth-generation aircraft, the J-20, is in service. With its current economic and technological potential, China can simultaneously develop four different stealth aircraft, not just one J-20 and one sluggish J-31 project.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
I think putting all hope on J-20 is a mistake. Even if the J-20 is a good fighter, China still needs an extra hidden card in case something unexpected happens. It's hard to understand with a defense budget of more than $ 200 billion, only one fifth-generation aircraft, the J-20, is in service. With its current economic and technological potential, China can simultaneously develop four different stealth aircraft, not just one J-20 and one sluggish J-31 project.
It's easy to think this way but if you think a bit further, what exactly is restricting the J-20 so much that a J-31 is necessary? And how will a J-31 be covering the gaps left to be filled as an extra hidden card? J-31 will have less range and payload than J-20. Maybe if you make the point from an economic perspective it may make sense but will completing the development of yet another 5th gen fighter be sensible? Even if costs can be kept down?

My point is, whatever extra offensive and useful ability the J-31 can be built to perform, the J-20 can be modified to do the same job if not do it better. PLAAF could commission a separate J-20 model that is purpose built for that role. Both fighters are designed for air-superiority, limited anti-surface role, and interception. It's not like the J-31 has any inherent designed advantages over J-20.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
I think putting all hope on J-20 is a mistake. Even if the J-20 is a good fighter, China still needs an extra hidden card in case something unexpected happens. It's hard to understand with a defense budget of more than $ 200 billion, only one fifth-generation aircraft, the J-20, is in service. With its current economic and technological potential, China can simultaneously develop four different stealth aircraft, not just one J-20 and one sluggish J-31 project.
No it is not hard to understand, One running fifth generation type - aka the J-20 - is already more than many other countries can afford, an additional medium weight one also makes sense either as a carrierborne type or to complement the J-20 and then there is the H-20 ... that's well enough.

As such I'm sure the PLAAF is much wiser in making decisions than your wishful thinking only driven by "more or bigger is better".
Please grow up, we are not playing Quartet's game.
 

FangYuan

New Member
Registered Member
It's easy to think this way but if you think a bit further, what exactly is restricting the J-20 so much that a J-31 is necessary? And how will a J-31 be covering the gaps left to be filled as an extra hidden card? J-31 will have less range and payload than J-20. Maybe if you make the point from an economic perspective it may make sense but will completing the development of yet another 5th gen fighter be sensible? Even if costs can be kept down?

My point is, whatever extra offensive and useful ability the J-31 can be built to perform, the J-20 can be modified to do the same job if not do it better. PLAAF could commission a separate J-20 model that is purpose built for that role. Both fighters are designed for air-superiority, limited anti-surface role, and interception. It's not like the J-31 has any inherent designed advantages over J-20.
It is reasonable to develop many different types of stealth aircraft. You have more choices and are not passive because there are more hidden cards to choose from. Maybe J 31 is much inferior to J 20 but even a trash can has its own effect. A cheap stealth aircraft like the J 31 is suitable for close-range aerial combat and, when necessary, can be used to shield J-20, as bait to lure enemy missiles.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
It is reasonable to develop many different types of stealth aircraft. You have more choices and are not passive because there are more hidden cards to choose from. Maybe J 31 is much inferior to J 20 but even a trash can has its own effect. A cheap stealth aircraft like the J 31 is suitable for close-range aerial combat and, when necessary, can be used to shield J-20, as bait to lure enemy missiles.
We will likely see the following additional stealth aircraft

J-31 medium-weight stealth fighter
H-20 bomber
GJ-11 recon aircraft
Plus further stealth UCAVs.

What other stealth aircraft would you suggest?
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
It's easy to think this way but if you think a bit further, what exactly is restricting the J-20 so much that a J-31 is necessary? And how will a J-31 be covering the gaps left to be filled as an extra hidden card? J-31 will have less range and payload than J-20. Maybe if you make the point from an economic perspective it may make sense but will completing the development of yet another 5th gen fighter be sensible? Even if costs can be kept down?

My point is, whatever extra offensive and useful ability the J-31 can be built to perform, the J-20 can be modified to do the same job if not do it better. PLAAF could commission a separate J-20 model that is purpose built for that role. Both fighters are designed for air-superiority, limited anti-surface role, and interception. It's not like the J-31 has any inherent designed advantages over J-20.
If the required production run of J-31s is small, then yes, it just makes more sense to use more J-20.

But if you're the requirement is for a decent production run of J-31 (such as 400+), it should make economic sense for a new programme
 

FangYuan

New Member
Registered Member
We will likely see the following additional stealth aircraft

J-31 medium-weight stealth fighter
H-20 bomber
GJ-11 recon aircraft
Plus further stealth UCAVs.

What other stealth aircraft would you suggest?

1. Stealth aircraft only has one engine similar to the F-35
2. Stealth aircraft dominate in the air similar to the Su-57 (but more advanced)
3. Stealth aircraft can operate at extremely low or extremely high altitudes.
4. Stealth aircraft with extremely high speed, specialized for reconnaissance and interception
5. Stealth aircraft with Forward-swept wing, operating at short runways
6. Subsonic speed stealth aircraft for transport and bombing
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
1. Stealth aircraft only has one engine similar to the F-35
2. Stealth aircraft dominate in the air similar to the Su-57 (but more advanced)
3. Stealth aircraft can operate at extremely low or extremely high altitudes.
4. Stealth aircraft with extremely high speed, specialized for reconnaissance and interception
5. Stealth aircraft with Forward-swept wing, operating at short runways
6. Subsonic speed stealth aircraft for transport and bombing

Forget that fan-boy wish list. I beg you again to THINK before posting. We are not a fan boy forum and as such take this as a warning.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
1. Stealth aircraft only has one engine similar to the F-35
2. Stealth aircraft dominate in the air similar to the Su-57 (but more advanced)
3. Stealth aircraft can operate at extremely low or extremely high altitudes.
4. Stealth aircraft with extremely high speed, specialized for reconnaissance and interception
5. Stealth aircraft with Forward-swept wing, operating at short runways
6. Subsonic speed stealth aircraft for transport and bombing
How many do you actually expect to produce of each aircraft?
And what do you expect the R&D cost and production cost of each aircraft type?
 

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