J-21 fighter jet before first flight. J-21 completed first flight on 31 Oct 2012.
Since August 2013 China’s fourth-generation stealth fighter, the J-31 “Falcon Hawk”, has carried out more than three sets of trial flights at a rapidly increasing frequency. America’s fourth-generation equivalent has achieved huge market penetration, and analysts believe that the excellent performance of the J-31 will make it a strong competitor in this market.
Although similar to the fourth-generation stealth fighter, the J-31′s overall aerodynamic design and stealth appearance is not so identical with J-20, which has a higher degree of exposure. Military enthusiasts prefer to compare the relation of J-31 and J-20 with that of the U.S. Air Force F-22 and F-35. J-31 and F-35 use the same DSI inlet (non-boundary layer separated lane supersonic inlet) design, the difference is, F-35 uses a single engine to provide power, but J-31 is designed with double engines. In addition, some models of F-35 support the short distance/vertical landing; J-31 cannot do this for the time being.
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Earlier reports indicate that the J-31 is equipped with twin Russian RD-93 engines – news that has been confirmed by Russia’s MiG Aircraft Corporation. The “Fierce Dragon” light fighter developed jointly by China and Pakistan is also equipped with this model of engine. Judged against the specifications of fourth-generation aircraft, the RD-93 engine seems somewhat old, but during prototype testing the use of a stable engine with mature technology is the safest approach. Sources point out that once in service, the J-31 will hopefully carry our self-developed WS-13 engine, which has significantly improved performance in comparison with the RD-93.