On Tuesday, military-hardware enthusiasts in China got a first glimpse of the country’s new “stealth” fighter jet at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, in southern Guangdong province.
This was the first time China has unveiled such an aircraft while it was still in the development stage, CNN reports.
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China based the new twin-engined Shenyang FC-31 fighter on its ongoing J-31 Falcon Eagle program.
But just how “stealthy” the jet will be is impossible to tell without knowing how it was built, says Reuben F. Johnson, correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.
He told CNN that the aerodynamics could have been better designed as the fighter “bleeds” energy when it goes into a turn and is quick to lose altitude.
Add a couple of weapons and prep it for a mission and the FC-31’s weight will make it perform even worse, Johnson says.
But the unveiling could have been a show of strength from China’s People’s Liberation Army, as the event coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Beijing for the APEC summit.
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