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Pakistan Sets Eyes on China’s New J-35 Fighter Jet

RedHulk

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Reports indicate China is set to show off a new fighter jet next year, though it will likely be a familiar sight to Chinese military watchers. Growing indicators point to a fighter jet, likely a revamped, combat-ready version of the FC-31 fighter plane, making an appearance in 2021.

One such indicator was brought to light by the aviation blog Alert 5, which highlighted a post by the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment on social media. The blog states:
According to Alert 5, CAE used the characters 新一代 to represent “new generation” fighter. “The aircraft could either be a new variant of an existing airframe or a total new design,” the blog says. “However, it is of note that if its a new design, it would have been written as 新型 in Mandarin.”

The “new fighter” rumor was also picked up by China’s nationalistic, often fiery Global Times site, which also referred to the CAE post. According to Global Times, the social media post was later deleted without explanation. A Chinese aviation expert interviewed by the site believes the fighter is designed to operate from China’s fleet of aircraft carriers.
The leading contender for the new fighter, currently referred to as “J-35,” is a production-ready version of Shenyang FC-31 technology demonstrator. Developed in China, the FC-31 (also known as the J-31) is considered a “fifth-generation” fighter built with stealth in mind and bears a strong resemblance to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In 2019, FlightGlobal reported the FC-31’s developers believed the jet was progressing well and the aircraft was, “destined to enter service with the People’s Liberation Army.”
The FC-31 was first unveiled in 2012 but never put into mass production. It’s not clear why though it likely has to do with China’s inability to make jet engines. The FC-31 was originally powered by Klimov RD-33 engines, the same engines that power Russia’s MiG-29 fighter jet. Although China has made great strides in manufacturing aircraft, it has struggled with designing high-performance afterburning turbofan engines, especially subfields such as metallurgy.
Russia prefers to sell entire fighter jets instead of individual jet engines, a policy that increases its profit. An inability to source Russian engines might have made mass production of the jet impossible. If the new jet is indeed a revamped FC-31, it could indicate China is confident it can reliably manufacture its own high-performance jet engines.
Experts believe that the J-35 will likely be a carrier aircraft to supplement and eventually replace the J-15 “Flying Shark” fighter. A large, heavy, twin-engine fighter, the J-15 traces its origins to the Soviet Su-33 carrier-based fighter. Unfortunately, the fighter’s weight— coupled with the need to launch the aircraft from the ski ramps—severely restricts the J-15’s range and ability to carry fuel and weapons.
Fighter jets are expensive to develop, and China will likely try to get its money’s worth by buying jets not only for carrier but also land-based use. Many major air forces use a combination of expensive, heavy, twin engine fighter jets supplemented by larger numbers of cheaper, lighter, multi-role fighter jets. The U.S. Air Force, for example, flies both the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Russia flies the Su-35 Flanker-E supplemented by the MiG-29/35. China flies a combination of the J-20 twin engine fighter supplemented by the J-10 “Vigorous Dragon.” The J-10, while a capable plane, is a fourth-generation fighter with a non-stealthy design. The J-35 could replace earlier J-10 fighters and eventually the entire J-10 fleet.

The U.S. Air Force is the only air force in the world that operates both a large and small fifth-generation stealth fighter. If the new jet is indeed the J-35 and China builds large numbers of them, it will create a Chinese air force to be reckoned with.

Air Force (PAF) has set its eyes on the new Chinese fighter aircraft in response to India’s purchase of French Rafale.
According to the reports, the cost of the fighter jet will be around $70 million. In comparison, the F-35 is valued at $79 million whereas the French Rafale fighter costs $77 million. To maintain balance of power in South Asia, Pakistan will have to buy stealth-capable J-35 multi-role fighter jets in response to India’s Rafale.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a33013449/china-new-fighter-jet/

https://propakistani.pk/2020/07/07/...eVK09VmMsYOH0kdikcWzgjPv2k5tsk31kZsLv8empsCmc
 

Bilal Khan (Quwa)

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...here's what'll happen next:

Someone (e.g., @ziaulislam ) will say, "nothing new, we knew this, old news, etc"

Then @Deino will say: "what the hell is this unreliable news outlet, J-35 is ONLY for domestic use, the export variant is FC-31. Stop sharing unreliable news sources..."

...and then:

9 YouTube videos.
 

Ultima Thule

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And we are working also on project AZM, if FC-31 or its modified version will induct into PAF then it will be a bonus for Pakistan but i don't think it will happen because it would kill project AZM prospect
 

Bilal Khan (Quwa)

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And we are working also on project AZM, if FC-31 or its modified version will induct into PAF then it will be a bonus for Pakistan but i don't think it will happen because it would kill project AZM prospect
IMO... I don't think the PAF AHQ was confident about designing AZM alone. I originally felt that designing the jet and using COTS inputs would've been possible, but even then, there are a lot of things we'd need to master first (e.g., flight control tech) before making serious progress in such a project.

Ultimately, the PAF was going to roll AZM into another fighter program, either from China or Turkey. I think the likelier outcome is China, and the one program available for that purpose is the FC-31. But while the two will be related, the FC-31 and J-35 are going to be distinct variants (the latter designed for naval ops, and likely costlier than FC-31 due to the necessary changes).

We should also bear in mind that the PAF wants the new fighter sooner than later. So, the only option that can qualify is the FC-31, since it is the furthest along.

Ideally, we would take on the FC-31, but separately, have a totally in-house combat aircraft program centered on developing flight control tech, composites, electronics, etc. So, while we induct the FC-31, we also build a R&D base to develop something new, like a strike UCAV, loyal wingman drones, EW/ECM decoys, etc.
 
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The Raven

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Realistically, there was no way the PAF could design and develop a fifth gen fighter from scratch. Project Azm, whatever it eventually turns out to be, was always going to heavily rely on a collaboration partner, most likely China given the precedent, and using the JF-17 programme philosophy, but the Turkish TFX as a potential outlier.

Whether that's a bespoke design suited for PAF's requirements or an existing design is yet to be seen. IMO, it's unlikely to be a bespoke design, like the JF-17, because I doubt either the PAF could fully fund Azm's development, nor would the Chinese partially fund a bespoke design for the PAF if there's little chance the PLAF would acquire it in large numbers, given that they already have two fifth gen designs. The JF-17 was an exception because it was a relatively simple design, I think the total development cost was something like USD 500m back in the late 1990s, split 50/50. That isn't going to be the case this time. That realistically only leaves the FC-31/J-35 updated to meet the PAF's needs.
 

koolio

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I think in the immediate short term basis Pakistan should acquire FC-31/J-35 to meet its needs, while project AZM will take a long time to fruition, Turkey would be a very ideal partner for a fifth Gen fighter plane.
 

Bilal Khan (Quwa)

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Realistically, there was no way the PAF could design and develop a fifth gen fighter from scratch. Project Azm, whatever it eventually turns out to be, was always going to heavily rely on a collaboration partner, most likely China given the precedent, and using the JF-17 programme philosophy, but the Turkish TFX as a potential outlier.

Whether that's a bespoke design suited for PAF's requirements or an existing design is yet to be seen. IMO, it's unlikely to be a bespoke design, like the JF-17, because I doubt either the PAF could fully fund Azm's development, nor would the Chinese partially fund a bespoke design for the PAF if there's little chance the PLAF would acquire it in large numbers, given that they already have two fifth gen designs. The JF-17 was an exception because it was a relatively simple design, I think the total development cost was something like USD 500m back in the late 1990s, split 50/50. That isn't going to be the case this time. That realistically only leaves the FC-31/J-35 updated to meet the PAF's needs.
Yep. I think the PLAN and J-35 has given the FC-31 the momentum it would need to reach fruition.

Moreover, there'll be some commonality (hopefully a lot) so that the PLA's economies-of-scale transfer over into cost-savings (which did not happen with the JF-17).

I think the PAF will take the FC-31 design as-is, i.e., with a Chinese AESA radar, Chinese EW/ECM, and Chinese AAMs. That will solve one-half of the equation right away.

Beyond that, it's an issue of negotiating a transfer-of-technology and, ideally, offset agreement to help our domestic industry build-up capacity. Ideally, we'd see the right mix of ToT, Chinese offsets, and joint-AVIC/PAC subsidiaries to manufacture the fighter 100% in Pakistan.
 

khanmubashir

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And we are working also on project AZM, if FC-31 or its modified version will induct into PAF then it will be a bonus for Pakistan but i don't think it will happen because it would kill project AZM prospect
Perhaps a small. Number of FC 31 as stop gap measure and also to study

with Chinese co-op in azm

We wouldn't be making all of subsystems many would be procured from outside nation most likely china perhaps derived from FC 31
 

Zarvan

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What is J 35 ???? China has J 31 and one new 5th Generation jet will appear next year. And Pakistan for sure will get one 5th Generation from China eventually but not happening before 5 years at least.
 
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RedHulk

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IMO... I don't think the PAF AHQ was confident about designing AZM alone. I originally felt that designing the jet and using COTS inputs would've been possible, but even then, there are a lot of things we'd need to master first (e.g., flight control tech) before making serious progress in such a project.

Ultimately, the PAF was going to roll AZM into another fighter program, either from China or Turkey. I think the likelier outcome is China, and the one program available for that purpose is the FC-31. But while the two will be related, the FC-31 and J-35 are going to be distinct variants (the latter designed for naval ops, and likely costlier than FC-31 due to the necessary changes).

We should also bear in mind that the PAF wants the new fighter sooner than later. So, the only option that can qualify is the FC-31, since it is the farthest along.

Ideally, we would take on the FC-31, but separately, have a totally in-house combat aircraft program centered on developing flight control tech, composites, electronics, etc. So, while we induct the FC-31, we also build a R&D base to develop something new, like a strike UCAV, loyal wingman drones, EW/ECM decoys, etc.
What if j35 is the project Azm? What if these customization are being done according to the input provided by PAF and TAF regarding j31/FC31? What if j35 is only meant for Pakistan. May be a different variant might be used by Chinese navy.
 

Rafi

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Ideally you would want to build in country, which would require many technical and technological investment.
 

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