New Chinese stealth fighter spotted as Beijing seeks to challenge power of US Navy
China will deploy a new stealth fighter on its upcoming aircraft carrier as it seeks to rival the capabilities of the US Navy.
A model of the stealth FC-31 Gyrfalcon, which is similar to the US F-35, was spotted positioned on a mock-up of an aircraft carrier at a Chinese test site in Wuhan.
The plane has been in development for a decade, with the first prototype flown in 2013, and would increase China’s military power at sea.
It is likely to be deployed with China’s increasing military presence in the heavily contested South China Sea, where Britain’s new HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to sail in one of its maiden operational voyages.
China is building a third aircraft carrier known as “003” and may end up with six.
The appearance of the FC-31 there indicates it will be used on future Chinese carriers.
Models of aircraft are lifted on to the fake carrier in Wuhan and moved around as part of the testing process.
Previous plane models seen at the Wuhan site have later been brought into service on carriers. The FC-31 was captured in an undated photograph circulated on social media.