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FC-31 now favorite for next Chinese Navy Carrier fighter

Geo

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covert_shores

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Per the article, the model was seen on the carrier mock-up. So the inference is that the PLAN is planning to adopt it.
 

Archibald

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A naval J-20 would have needed a beast of a carrier aircraft to support it in any significant numbers. A naval FC-31 sounds more "reasonable". Difference between the two is like NATF and JAST...
 

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A naval FC-31 was always more likely, the J-20 is a beast of an aircraft, and, although it would fit, wouldn't make much sense, from an operational, and technical standpoint. I remember reading articles back in 2017/2018 that the PLAN was having some troubles with their J-15s, and such troubles would recur with the J-20, and, I would even say, such operational problems would be amplified.
 

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A naval J-20 would have needed a beast of a carrier aircraft to support it in any significant numbers. A naval FC-31 sounds more "reasonable". Difference between the two is like NATF and JAST...

I think it was the right idea to go for the naval JF-31 over the J-20. It will be interesting to see how the PLAN modify the JF-31 for carrier operations.
 

helmutkohl

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A naval FC-31 was always more likely, the J-20 is a beast of an aircraft, and, although it would fit, wouldn't make much sense, from an operational, and technical standpoint. I remember reading articles back in 2017/2018 that the PLAN was having some troubles with their J-15s, and such troubles would recur with the J-20, and, I would even say, such operational problems would be amplified.
on a related note, I've felt the same way with the yak-141 and mig-29K over the Su-33. The latter being maybe a bit too big for that size of carrier
 

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on a related note, I've felt the same way with the yak-141 and mig-29K over the Su-33. The latter being maybe a bit too big for that size of carrier

Yes, the MiG-29K would likely have been a better solution, and also given MiG the basis for a more competitive mid-weight export fighter (they hung onto the insufficient vanilla Fulcrum airframe far too long). I doubt this would have contained Sukhoi's meteoric rise, but maybe it would have provided MiG with enough clout to get the Skat UCAV project underway and thus carve out a niche for itself alongside its rival. Who knows, with the basic airframe more mature, perhaps it could have won the Indian MMRCA competition. Instead, MiG has pretty much faded into oblivion :(
 

Anduriel

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on a related note, I've felt the same way with the yak-141 and mig-29K over the Su-33. The latter being maybe a bit too big for that size of carrier
Only in length.
Su-33 wings and stabilizer fold much closer to the fuselage, so with folded wings Su-33 IIRC even narrower than MiG-29K.
 

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It's always been known this was being developed for the Navy. That's why even the prototype had a nose gear designed for CATOBAR use.


Pardon, but which prototype had a "nose gear designed for CATOBAR use"?? So far none had the launch/catapult bar!

Not the V2 ....

1623217431598.png

... and also not V1:

1623217546177.png
 

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Why wouldn't they ditch the FC-31 and just design a new naval fighter?
Given the amount of structural changes, re-stressing for CATOBAR and using maritime-environment compatible materials that would make far more sense. Whatever the end result will be, it will not be a stock FC-31.
 

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Trident

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Pardon, but which prototype had a "nose gear designed for CATOBAR use"?? So far none had the launch/catapult bar!

I think Sundog is referring to the fact that it is configured with a rear mounted tension brace which lends itself particularly well to transmitting catapult loads into the centre fuselage.
 

Blitzo

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Why wouldn't they ditch the FC-31 and just design a new naval fighter?
Given the amount of structural changes, re-stressing for CATOBAR and using maritime-environment compatible materials that would make far more sense. Whatever the end result will be, it will not be a stock FC-31.

Probably because a 5th gen carrierborne fighter would end up being quite similar to what an FC-31 derivative would look like in the first place.

More importantly, they've already had years of flight testing of the land based FC-31 airframes that would likely help to expedite the overall development and testing phase of the carrierborne fighter compared to starting off fully from scratch.

There's a rather successful family of carrierborne fighters that the USN has been using for decades (and will also be using into the foreseeable future) that was derived from a land based demonstrator aircraft that was not originally intended for carrierborne application either, after all. Why would a similar developmental path be unreasonable or suboptimal here either?


It's always been known this was being developed for the Navy. That's why even the prototype had a nose gear designed for CATOBAR use.

Tbh that's not accurate.
The nose gear certianly looked sturdier than J-20's nose gear, but it didn't have catapult launch bar or hold back bar attachment point if it was designed to be a carrierborne fighter from the outset.

Instead, what happened was that FC-31 was developed as a demonstrator program -- likely designed with some capacity to be derived as a carrierborne fighter if wanted -- however the aircraft itself from the start was not carrier compatible.
Then, the PLAN held a tender for a 5th gen carrierborne fighter, and SAC submitted a derivative of FC-31 (not FC-31 itself), and was chosen.

Think about the relationship between YF-17 and F/A-18. It's somewhat similar.


See https://www.navalnews.com/naval-new...th-fighter-for-chinese-navy-aircraft-carrier/

I think that a lot of people may be disappointed that it's not the J-20, but the decision probably makes good sense. There's no credible export market for a carrier borne FC-31 so must be PLAN.

Just FYI, "FC-31 now favourite for Chinese Navy Carrier fighter" is a bit tenuous.

More accurate would be "new photo confirms long held expectations for Chinese carrierborne 5th gen being FC-31 derived".
 

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