The FC-31, China’s second fifth-generation fighter jet, would indeed serve on aircraft carriers after the rollout later this year.
The information was revealed by Sun Cong, chief designer of the jet, at the press conference during the Zhuhai airshow.
“This year, people should be able to see good news on the next-generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet,” Sun was quoted by Global Times, a Chinese government-controlled tabloid.
The FC-31 did not perform at the airshow, but a scale model of the jet FC-31 was displayed near the entrance to the airshow’s exhibition hall.
Sun Chong was also a chief designer of the J-15 – a reverse-engineered Sukhoi Su-33 and China’s current main carrier-based fighter jet.
The FC-31 is a light fifth-generation fighter jet developed independently by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC). It first flew in 2012, but has never been officially introduced.
It was long-rumored that the Chinese Navy may choose the jet for its aircraft carriers, but that was never officially confirmed. The jet disappeared from the public for half-a-decade, before resurfacing in a leaked photo in 2020. In early 2021 SAC hinted that it is going to accelerate the development of the aircraft.