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PRC Navy Likely Testing Carrier-Based Stealth Fighters

  • Published
  • China Aerospace Studies Institute

Two probable prototype carrier-based FC-31 variants appeared at the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Carrier Aviation Test and Training Base at Huangdicun in early November 2021.  Satellite imagery shows the two aircraft parked on active runways, indicating they are operable prototypes rather than static mockups. The presence of these aircraft at the facility indicates the PLAN is actively pursuing development of a fifth-generation stealth fighter for its carrier program and has likely committed to an FC-31 variant for the role.  It also corroborates an unofficial handheld photo of a parked FC-31 that circulated online in December 2021 and was said to have been taken at the base, especially as the photo was accompanied by claims of a second FC-31 not pictured.  

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