Model fighter jet on display in Dubai

Updated: 2015-11-10 08:01

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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A model of China's latest stealth fighter is on display at the Dubai Airshow 2015, with its State-owned maker hoping for lucrative contracts for the aircraft from wealthy buyers in the Middle East.

Among the exhibits presented by Aviation Industry Corp of China at the show, which opened on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates, the J-31 Gyrfalcon fifth-generation fighter is the biggest star, and some foreign nations have expressed interest, the company said on Monday.

It's the first time the aircraft has been part of an overseas show, indicating that China's military aviation industry is reaching out from its traditional market and stepping into the high-end suppliers' club, AVIC said.

 Model fighter jet on display in Dubai

A model of the J-31 Gyrfalcon fifth-generation stealth fighter on display at the Dubai Airshow 2015 in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. Cui Xinyu / Xinhua

About 1,100 exhibitors from more than 60 countries are at the biennial event, the biggest of its kind in the Middle East. Oil-rich nations in the region have been big buyers of foreign weapons for many years and are now major targets for Chinese arms makers whose products continue to move up in capability and value, analysts said.

Lin Peng, the J-31's chief designer, told reporters at a news conference in Dubai on Sunday that the twin-engine, multipurpose combat jet features high survivability, a low radar signature, supreme electronic countermeasures, strong information capacity and provides outstanding situational awareness and beyond-visual-range combat capability.

The aircraft has a large weapon bay and several external hard-points that are capable of carrying Chinese or foreign-made air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons, Lin said.

The J-31 made its first flight in October 2012, becoming the country's second fifth-generation fighter prototype. Its predecessor, the J-20, made its first flight in 2011.

During the past three years, the aircraft has undergone a number of flight tests and some design changes. Specifications show the J-31 has a maximum takeoff weight of 25 metric tons, a combat range of 1,200 kilometers and a top speed of Mach 1.8, or 2,205 km/h. It can carry eight tons of weapons and can serve for 30 years.

Currently, the only fifth-generation fighter jet available in the market is the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, but the United States will only sell it to its allies.

Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said the J-31's potential buyers in the Middle East will be those who have deep pockets for military spending, a genuine need for an advanced fighter and confidence in its capabilities.

(China Daily 11/10/2015 page5)