The J-31, China's second fifth-generation stealth fighter designed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, is capable of outperforming all US fourth-generation fighters in aerial combat, according to a US fighter pilot cited in our sister newspaper Want Daily.
With its appearance similar to the US F-22 and F-35 fighters, the J-31 was developed based on US technology stolen by Chinese spies, the pilot claimed. He gave his view that all US fourth-generation fighters including the AV-8, F-15 and F/A-18 would be unable to go head to head against the J-31 in a dogfight.
The plane will be the perfect fighter for the People's Liberation Army to carry out anti-access and area-denial strategies in the Western Pacific, he said.
The Chinese fighter will also present a challenge to the F-35 in the overseas export market, the pilot predicted. It may not be as advanced as the F-35, but it is much cheaper than its US counterpart.
Putting the J-31 on display during the Zhuhai Airshow may signal that China is trying to attract attention from potential buyers, the pilot said. It will certainly be more popular among developing nations, he added.
The key weakness of the J-31 and J-20 is that China is still unable to design sufficiently powerful and reliable engines for them, however. Until now, China has depended on purchasing engines from Russia.
New designs of Chinese aircraft are now replacing this dependency, though they are still kept secret, the pilot said. What the United States should worry about regarding the J-31 is quantity rather than quality, he added. Though the US has better trained pilots, it will still find it difficult to face a swarm of J-31s, he said.