New Chinese stealth fighter spotted as Beijing seeks to challenge power of US Navy
A mock-up of the FC-31 that was 10 years in the making - ALAMY
China will deploy a new stealth fighter on its upcoming aircraft carrier to match the capabilities of the U.S. Navy.
A model of the stealth FC-31 gyrfalcon, similar to the US F-35, was positioned on a model of an aircraft carrier at a Chinese test site in Wuhan.
The aircraft has been in development for a decade, the first prototype flown in 2013, and would add to China's military might at sea.
It will likely be deployed with China's increasing military presence in the highly competitive South China Sea, where Britain's new HMS Queen Elizabeth will set sail on one of her maiden voyages.
China is building a third aircraft carrier called "003" and it could end up with six.
The appearance of the FC-31 there indicates that it will be used on future Chinese airlines.
The jet was parked next to uncovered J-15 and a Z-18 helicopter
Airplane models are lifted onto the fake carrier in Wuhan and moved as part of the testing process.
Earlier models of aircraft seen at the Wuhan site were later put into service on carriers. The FC-31 was captured in an undated photo that was shared on social media.
It was parked next to uncovered J-15 and a Z-18 helicopter.
These aircraft are already stationed on the two Chinese aircraft carriers Liaoning and Shandong.
The larger "003" could be put into service as early as 2025.
Shenyang Aircraft Corporation is developing the twin-engine FC-31.
Its use on aircraft carriers was expected by US military officials.
In a report to Congress last year on Chinese weapons, the Pentagon said, "The development of the smaller FC-31 for export or as a future naval fighter for the next class of aircraft carriers continues."
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