The Shenyang J-31 (F-60) is a fifth-generation, multi-role, twin-engine stealth fighter aircraft being manufactured for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, an affiliate of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). It is the second stealth fighter that China has indigenously developed after the J-20.
The J-31 fighter jet is intended to provide advanced defence capabilities in close-air support, aerial bombing and air interdiction operations. It can also perform suppression of enemy air defences and can be used as a carrier-based fighter on aircraft carriers. Initial operational capability of the aircraft is expected in 2020.
The J-31 prototype (31001) performed its maiden flight on 31 October 2012. A model of the aircraft was exhibited at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) held in Zhuhai in November 2012. The J-31 prototype made a test flight during the Zhuhai Air Show in November 2014.
Known as the FC-31 fourth-generation multi-purpose medium fighter, the export variant of the J-31 fighter was also displayed at the Zhuhai Air Show 2014. The FC-31’s airframe and control surfaces are similar to those of J-31 but will be outfitted with angled vertical stabilisers, two large internal payload bays and an estimated payload capacity of 2,268kg. It can also be attached with electro-optical and sensor system (EOSS) pod and infrared search-and-track sensors below the nose.
Electro-optical and sensor system (EOSS)
Electro-optical and sensor system (EOSS) pod and infrared search-and-track sensors below the nose shown on mockupA-Star’s EOTS-86 appears to be similar to the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) that equips the Lockheed Martin F-35. Source: Via Top81 web page
A-Star’s booth featured images of a Shenyang Aircraft Corporation J-31 fifth-generation export fighter to highlight two electro-optical systems, although it is not clear that A-Star’s systems will equip future developments of this fighter, revealed as the FC-31 at the November 2014 Zhuhai Air Show.
The EOTS-89 resembles the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) of the Lockheed Martin F-35, which combines Forward Looking Infrared and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) capabilities. The similarity includes the use of two tracking mirrors and a flat-facetted optical window, with bottom fuselage placement just aft the radar radome. Such a system was so placed on the large mock-up of the FC-31 seen in November 2014.
A-Star’s EORD-31 appears to be a conventional infrared search and tracking (IRST) system but with a faceted sensor dome; and the claimed ability to detect a F-22. (Via Top81 web page)
Shown placed on the front starboard side of the J-31 canopy, A-Star’s EORD-31 serves as an IRST, similar to the OLS-27 series used by the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter. However, instead of a spherical dome cover, the EORD-31 is flat and facetted. Chinese press reports claimed the system may be able to detect a Lockheed Martin F-22A at 110 km and a Boeing B-2 at 150 km.
A-Star’s EORD-31 IRST
A-Star’s EORD-31 IRST uses a unique faceted sensor dome. (Via Top81 web page)
J-31 aircraft design and features
The medium-sized Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter aircraft features diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) design with bumps and forward-swept inlet cowls. The airframe incorporates a pair of low-aspect ratio trapezoidal planform wings with titanium spars. Each wing has a sweep of 35° and the stealthy design offers reduced radar cross-section (RCS).
Diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) design
The chined fuselage of the J-31 incorporates a pair of tail planes. The rear edge of the fuselage is hinged with two vertical stabilisers. A rudder is installed on each stabiliser to control the aircraft’s movement. The aircraft is fitted with a tricycle landing gear. The nose landing gear consists of double wheels, while the main landing gear has a ‘dogleg’ structure.
The fighter jet has a length of 16.9m, height of about 4.8m, and a wing span of 11.5m. The empty weight is about 17t and the maximum take-off weight is 25t. The aircraft can carry out missions at medium and low-altitudes.
New Shenyang FC-31 fifth-generation export fighter
Airshow in China held in Zhuhai from 1-6 November 2016
Image: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.com
New FC-31 spotted flight testing: Here
Cockpit and avionics
The aircraft is operated by a single pilot. The cockpit is enclosed by a transparent, two-piece canopy to provide increased visibility for the pilot.
Likely to be the cockpit of the J-31 as it was shown in public The aircraft can be equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, including multifunctional displays, helmet-mounted sight, an electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), an attitude director indicator (ADI), and advanced sensors and communication systems.
Armament of Shenyang J-31
The Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter can be fitted with one internal cannon, two internal weapons bays in the fuselage and three payload hard-points on each of the two wings. Each internal weapons bay can accommodate up to two missiles.
China PL-10E AAM with anti-stealth capability: Here
- The PL-10E will be sold as a potential weapons upgrade for existing 4th-generation fighter fleets, or as part of a package with the Chengdu J-10B or Shenyang FC-31 fighter aircraft
- PL-10/PL-10E has a maximum range of 20 km
During the 11th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, or Zhuhai Air Show 2016, China unveiled the PL-10E, an export variant of the PL-10 5th-generation short-range imaging infrared (IIR) homing air-to-air missile (AAM), which itself intended to equip the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) 5th-generation stealth fighter aircraft.
The PL-10 SRAAM is produced by the Luoyang-based China Air-to-Air Guided Missile Research Institute (formerly the Luoyang Electro-Optics Technology Development Centre), a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) consortium, and the designer and manufacturer of all infrared (IR) homing variants in China’s PL (Pi Li/Thunderbolt) series AAMs.
Internal weapons bay can accommodate up to two missiles each bay
FC-31 features a single internal weapon bay inside its belly housing up to 6 AAMs including PL-10, PL-12 and PL-21. The aircraft is also thought to have a secondary surface attack capability where it can carry 50kg class SDBs internally such as LS-6/FT-7 satellite guided bomb and GB50 LGB, or the larger YJ-83K AshM and YJ-91 ARM externally under 6 hardpoints. An internal gun is thought to be installed as well but its exact location is still unknown. Source fullafterburner.weebly.com
PL-12/SD-10 active radar-homing MRAAM
The PL-12 is claimed to have an operational ceiling of at least 21 km, with a maximum effective range of 100 km and a minimum engagement range of 1,000 m. The missile has a 38+ g manoeuvering limit and, according to CATIC, it has been tested for a 100-hour captive ‘live flight’ life. According to Chinese claims, PL-12 is more capable than the American AIM-120 A/B, but slightly inferior than the AIM-120C. Source airforceworld.com
PL-12 (K/AKK-12?) was under development at LETRI/607 Institute since early 90s. The missile was expected to be in the same class as AIM-120A/B and its active seeker may have evolved from the earlier AMR-1 design (R-129? based on Russian 9B-1348 seeker & datalink for R-77). Its tailfins appear to have fin tips as well as the leading edges of the fin root cropped. These specially designed tailfins are believed to possess lower drag for greater speed and higher torque for better maneuverability. Two datalink antennas can be seen next to the nozzle for mid-course correction. Several dielectric strips are seen along the middle warhead section which house the radio proximity fuse. PL-12 completed its development test in December 2004 and was certified in 2005. Its export version is called SD-10 (SD-10A as the improved version) and was first revealed to the public during the 2002 Zhuhai Airshow. Currently it is in the service with J-8F, J-10, J-11B, J-15 and Su-30MK2. In addition SD-10A is being carried by JF-17 currently in service with PAF. Some specifications of SD-10: length 3,850mm, diameter 203mm, wing span 674mm, weight 180kg, max g-load 38g, max speed 4M, range 60-70km. Recently produced PL-12 is expected to feature an improved seeker with new digital processor and SINS. The improved PL-12 (PL-12A?) is thought to be comparable to American AIM-120C4. It was reported in November 2010 that PL-12 may feature an active/passive dual mode seeker in order to achieve greater ECCM capability and kill probability. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
PL-21 long-range active radar homing AAM
A new long-range active radar homing AAM has been under development which appears similar to British Meteor. It features an active radar seeker and an integrated ramjet/solid rocket motor with a single or twin belly air inlets. PL-21 also features 4 small stabilizing fins behind the active radar seeker, a characteristics of Russian R-27/AA-10. Two-way datalink antennas may be installed in the tail section for mid-course correction. The effective range of PL-21 is expected to be >150km. The missile could be carried by J-11D for long-range interception. It wasrumored that the first ground launch test took place in March 2010. PL-21 is expected to be carried by the new generation of stealth fighters including J-20 and FC-31. The latest rumor (March 2016) suggested that a PL-21 was test fired from a J-16. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
YJ-83KH – modification missiles YJ-83K with passive IR guidance system in the terminal phase of flight. This model can also be used under conditions of strong electronic interference. In contrast, the guidance system can confuse the help of IR decoy targets and smoke screens. Export versions of missiles YJ-83KH bears CM-802AKG and reportedly has a weight of 285 kg and a range of 230 km.
Users : Only PRC
Carrier : H-6G (Badger) – 4 pieces and JH-7 / 7A (Flounder) – 4 pieces
Guidance system : inertial system (autopilot) (guidance in the initial and middle stages of flight) + active radar homing head (guidance on the reflection of electromagnetic radiation homing head of goals) unknown type (guidance in the terminal phase of flight); A detachment of weapons from the carrier occurs at altitudes from 500 to 1 200 m. While in mid-flight missiles YJ-83K moves at a height of 20-30 meters, altitude of weapons in the terminal phase of flight is only 5-7 meters above the surface sea.
Drive : one turbofan engine type unknown
Warhead : aggressively-explosive weighing 165 kg
Length: about 5 m
Body Diameter: 360 mm
Fin span: 1.22 m
Starting weight: 715 kg
Max. speed: 1026 km / h
Range: 250 km
Kh-31/YJ-91 anti-radiation missile
Two Kh-31P ARMs were on display at a PLAAF airbase as part of the Su-30MKK’s weapon package. Up to 6 Kh-31Ps can be carried by an Su-30MKK as a Wild Weasel aircraft. It can also be carried by the naval Su-30MK2. This supersonic missile is distinguished by 4 ramjet engines attached to its body which give the missile a range of 70km and a speed of Mach 3. It features an L112E passive seeker (with three interchangeable modules to cover different frequency bands) and its weight is 600kg with a 87kg warhead. The domestic version of Kh-31P has been produced locally under a license as YJ-91 (KR-1/H/AKJ91?), which can be carried by JH-7A, J-8G even the new FC-31 and is compatible with the Chinese fire-control system. In addition, the anti-ship version (Kh-31A) was also acquired and is being carried by the naval Su-30MK2 while its domestic counterpart (YJ-91A?) could be carried by the naval JH-7A, J-10B as well as the J-15 onboard aircraft carrier Liaoning. The introduction of Kh-31/YJ-91 ARM has enabled PLAAF to fly SEAD missions against enemy long-range SAM defences. The anti-ship YJ-91A is expected to be surpassed by the bigger and heavier YJ-12. Source chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com
The Kh-31P high-speed medium-range “air-to-surface” guided missile with changeable passive radar homing heads is designed to engage radars operating within long- and medium-range air defence missile systems, as well as other ground- and sea-based radars of different purpose, in the corresponding frequency band.
The Kh-31P missile can be efficiently launched either independently or in salvo, in fair and adverse weather conditions, to engage radar targets of opportunity or previously disclosed ones.
The missile can be equipped with changeable homing heads operating in coresponding frequency bands used by modern continuous-wave and pulsed radars of surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems.
The missile’s radar homing head ensures:
– target search and lock-on in the autonomous mode, or by receiving target designation data from carrier’s sensors with the missile on the aircraft suspension station;
– target tracking and missile guidance command generation.
It has a high explosive/fragmentation type of warhead.
|Launch range envelope, km||15-110|
|Launch altitude envelope, m||100-15,000|
|Launch speed envelope, km/h (Mach number)||600-1,250|
|Max missile cruising speed, m/s||1,000|
|Warhead weight, kg||87|
|Missile launch weight, kg||about 600|
|Missile dimensions, m:|
*Note techincal data is of Kh-31P
New vs Old J-31
Three payload hard-points on each of the two wingsImage: errymath.blogspot.comImage: errymath.blogspot.com
J-31 fighter engines and performance
The aircraft is powered by two RD-93 afterburning turbofan engines developed by Russian company JSC Klimov. Each engine generates an afterburning thrust of 84kN. The propulsion system also features fixed stealthy nozzles.
RD-93 afterburning turbofan engine
RD-93 afterburning turbofan engines developed by Russian company JSC Klimov – an improved version of the RD33
The aircraft can fly at a speed of approximately 2,200km/h and will offer a maximum range of over 2,000km when fitted with external fuel tanks. The service ceiling of the aircraft is approximately 20,000m.
Naval variant J-31
Shenyang FC-31 may have carrier version: Here
Following the first flight of a second Shenyang FC-31 prototype, on December 23 last year, there are now discussions within the Chinese media that the improved aircraft might be slated for operations on the new Chinese carrier fleet. The aircraft has been named the “Gryfalcon.”
The second prototype is similarly configured to the model that was displayed at China’s Zhuhai Airshow last November. It features some common design elements to the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, such as cropped vertical stabilizers. It also has an Electro Optic Targeting Sight (EOTS) under the nose. In an interview on Chinese television, military analyst Chen Hu said that it is not surprising to see elements of the J-20 on the FC-31, since both jets are being developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AIVC).
Image: errymath.blogspot.comJF-17 Thunder with Shenyang J-31
Updated Mar 03, 2017