Indian media has shown unrest by claiming that Pakistan is planning to purchase the FC-31 also known as J-31, a 4th generation stealth fighter aircraft from China. This acquisition is likely to boost Pakistan’s defense capability.
The FC-31 is being developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The modern avionics and weapon systems will enable Pakistan to diminish some of the advantages of 5th generation fighter jets such as Lockheed Martin F-35 and Sukhoi PAK FA T-50. Since, it is coming from China; cost structure is likely to be affordable for operators of the aircraft.
Pakistan’s Minister of Defense Production, Rana Tanveer Hussain stated that the matter was being discussed with Chinese officials at high level. Pakistan Air Force is likely to buy 30 to 40 units of the Shenyang FC-31 fighter jets.
The most likely acquisition of all new hi-tech fighter jet will give long range stealth capability to Pakistan Air Force. China has aggressive plans to export the FC-31 and several countries are interested in the aircraft which is believed to be comparable to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
The FC-31 which is at times mentioned as the J-31 uses the same Russian Klimov RD-93 engines which are being used for the JF-17 Thunder. This commonality particularly interests the PAF.
Pakistani minister also revealed that Pakistan was also interested in Chinese attack helicopter the Z-10.
For better deterrence, Pakistan is bound to invest in the latest military equipment in presence of imminent threat from India – the neighbor country which is spending heavy money on its defense.
General characteristics of the J-31 are expected as follows:
Crew: one (pilot)
Length: 16.9 m (55 ft 5 in)
Wingspan: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
Height: 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 40 m2 (430 sq ft)
Gross weight: 17,600 kg (38,801 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × RD-93 afterburning Turbofans, 84 kN (19,000 lbf) thrust each
Powerplant: 2 × WS-13A afterburning Turbofans, 100 kN (22,000 lbf) thrust each
Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
Combat range: 1,250 km (777 mi; 675 nmi)
Ferry range: 4,000 km (2,485 mi; 2,160 nmi)