The Shenyang J-31 “Falcon Eagle” to debut at Zhuhai airshow, China’s biggest commercial and defense air show, near Hong Kong.
The first prototype of Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle, China’s second stealth fighter jet, is going to be one of the highlights of China’s most important commercial and defense airshow held next week at Zhuhai, in the southern province of Guangdong, not far from Hong Kong.
The new aircraft, that performed its maiden flight on Oct 31, 2012, which is smaller than the J-20, from which it differs for the grey paint job and the presence of a colored emblem on the tails (in place of the typical red star) with the text 鹘鹰, Chinese for “Falcon Eagle”, embeds several features of the F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 Lightning II, respectively the current and future most advanced multi-role jets in the U.S. Air Force inventory: along with the distinctive lines of the Lockheed Martin’s stealth designs, the Chinese jet has a nose section which reminds that of the Joint Strike Fighter, same twin tails and trapezoidal wings.
Still, unlike the F-35, it is equipped with two engines (like the F-22, even though without Thrust Vectoring capability, at least, not yet).
The following footage shows the video of the J-31 practicing its demo flight at Zhuhai on Nov. 6. Pretty simple stuff (but let’s not forget it is just a prototype at its first public appearance). Noteworthy, the engines that currently equip the aircraft are a bit smoky: the Chinese jet may evade radars and one day equal F-22 and F-35s but for the moment they can be spotted from far away because of its engines pluming black smoke.
Top image credit: Alert5.com
Note that the smoky engines are a cunning device for operating invisibly in Chinese airspace.
If they had American style pollution burning engines, and left a train of carbon-free air behind them, they would be clearly visible at the head of a vector of comparatively clean air.
I don’t believe for a second that a Chinese clone could match all the effort and money that has gone into the American designs. This is not sports equipment they are copying like tennis rackets and bike wheels, this is a complex machine consisting of many thousands of parts across many areas of engineering. It’s not a copy of an F-35, that would be too generous. It’s more like a mockery.
The US got nothing to worry about then.