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China flies newest stealth fighter

by Mike Hoffman on November 1, 2012

Photos of China’s latest stealth fighter, the J-31, started appearing across aviation blogs in early October. Then reports surfaced that the J-31, built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, completed its first test flight Wednesday morning in northeastern China.

The J-31 executed the test flight escorted by a J-11 Chinese fighter if the photos from the event are to be believed. The Chinese government has yet to put out an official statement confirming the test. Chinese military officials have kept most details about their stealth aviation program tight lipped.

(Video after the jump)

J-31 photos indicate the fighter is significantly smaller than the J-20 — the other stealth fighter the Chinese unveiled. Aviation experts have speculated the J-31 could be used more so as an interceptor or a carrier-based aircraft. Thus, the J-20 would be used as a strike aircraft targeting ships and ground targets as it could hold more missiles.

The designs of the J-31, based on a survey of the leaked photos, indicate Chinese engineers have done their homework on the F-22 and F-35 built by Lockheed Martin. Chinese officials have said they did not steal any stealth designs from the U.S. but the similarities between the J-31 and the F-22 and F-35 are pretty telling.

The video posted below is a compilation of the photos of the J-31 that have leaked thus far. The film tries to give the impression that the plane is flying in slow motion, but that was just  some handy editing skills by the person who created the video.

(mobile users please kick here for the video)

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