China's New J-20 Aircraft Was Inspired by American FC-31, Design Chief Openly Admits

The J-20 'Mighty Dragon' stealth is the newest addition to the Chinese military. However, the stealth fighter jet is now in the eye of controversy over its design after the chief designer said that the carrier-based jet is influenced by the United States' FC-31.

The modified version of J-20 developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI) was inspired by American theories on jet development and air combat, the designer said.

China Airshow 2016
China unveils its J-20 stealth fighter. Reuters

CADI's chief designer Yang Wei said in an article published in the Chinese journal Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica that J-20 was a better match for American fighter jets.

Chengdu J-20 is a single-seat, all-weather, stealth, fifth-generation fighter aircraft designed as a superior fighter with precision strike capability. J-20 made its very first flight on January 11, 2011, and began the combat training phase in 2017.

As per reports, J-20 is the world's third operational fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft after America's F-22 and F-35.

The chief designer further said in the published article that the US military had been able to develop a carrier-based jet fighter and had put it into mass production in less than six years. As per him, if the current Chinese leadership will put FC-31 as the platform for the new carrier-based jet fighter, then it would take at least a decade before it will be completely ready.

"Amid great power competition and the commissioning of more and more fourth-generation fighter jets (or fifth generation under US classification, which includes China's J-20, US' F-22 and F-35), there have been extensive discussions on the changes in types of warfare, and the development of post-fourth generation fighter jets," writes Yang Wei.

China to unveil its J-20 stealth fighter at Zhuhai Air Show
A Chinese J-20 stealth fighter in flight in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Reuters

After Yang Wei's statement was quoted by several major publication houses, Chinese military observed that by openly stating that Wei learned from American ideas to build a stealth fighter jet to combat, he is only trying to state that the modified J-20 is far superior to the adapted FC-31, which was reportedly based on Soviet designs.

The military experts further revealed that China's latest J-20 could be developed into an electric warfare aircraft as well as a carrier-based variant. At the same time, a two-seat version of it is also under development. If China manages to make a two-seater J-20, then it would become the world's very first two-seat stealth fighter jet.