Future Chinese aircraft carriers to feature J-20, J-31 stealth fighters

Global Times
Huang Panyue

China's future straight-deck aircraft carriers with the electromagnetic launcher system will carry fifth-generation jet fighters like J-20 and J-31, Chinese experts said on Wednesday, following reports that Chinese first home-grown aircraft carrier is close to completing a mooring test.

The first domestically-built aircraft carrier will soon take the sea test, according to Military Time, a China Central Television military program on Saturday.

Since the warship, widely known as the Type 001A, like the country's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, uses an upward ski jump-style deck, the Chinese J-15 fighters will be the top option for its carrier-based aircraft, the report said.

J-15 fighters, nicknamed the Flying Shark, took off and landed on the Liaoning for the first time in 2012, and more than 20 of these jets have trained on it.

The J-20 and J-31 will surely be installed on future Chinese aircraft carriers with the catapult system, to protect the carriers, Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Equipment Research Center, told the Military Time.

Yin predicted the J-15 fighters on the Type 001A will be around 40, about the same as that for Liaoning ship.

Song Zhongping, a TV commentator and military expert, told the Global Times that "It is more likely that J-15 fighters and improved versions will be on board together with stealth fighters such as the J-20 and J-31, as they will be playing different roles."

However, Song pointed out that since the J-20 and J-31 are primarily designed for the air force, adapting them as navy fighters will entail some costs. "The J-20 will be more expensive to modify than the J-31."

The sea test for the Type-001A could be conducted as early as the beginning of next year, Zhang Ye, a research fellow at the People's Liberation Army Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times.


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