27 December 2016 Current Affairs: China has successfully tested the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter jet J-31 (now renamed the FC-31 Gyrfalcon). The newest version of twin-engine FC-31 took to the air for the first time recently. It is considered as China’s answer to the US F-35, the world’s most technically advanced fighter.
The newest FC-31 has better stealth capabilities, improved electronic equipment and a larger payload capacity than the previous version which debuted in October 2012 It is manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC).
FC-31 has a maximum take-off weight of 28 metric tons, flight radius of 1,250 km, and top speed of Mach 1.8 (i.e. 1.8 times the speed of sound).
It can easily carry 8 tons of weapons, hold six missiles in its internal weapons bay, plus another six under its wings. It also has been equipped with an electro-optical targeting system and helmet-mounted display. Some analysts say the FC-31 bears a close resemblance to the US’s F-35.
China by introducing this fighter jet is trying to end the West’s monopoly on the world’s most advanced warplanes especially 5th generation fighter jet. When completed, the FC-31 will become the China’s second 5th-generation fighter after the J-20, which was put on its first public performance at the Zhuhai Air Show in November 2016.