China set to pick J-20 stealth jets for next generation carriers

China’s military is likely to pick the country’s first active stealth fighter, the J-20, for its next generation aircraft carriers, according to military sources and a recent report on state media.

The J-20, made by the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), appears to have a won a head-to-head contest with the FC-31, a fighter made by another company which is still undergoing testing.

A military insider quoted by the South China Morning Post said that the Central Military Commission, the People’s Liberation Army’s top decision-making body, now favoured adapting the J-20 for its new carriers.

“The Chengdu Aerospace Corporation will announce some new products, which will include a new version of their J-20. You can guess what type it will be,” the military insider, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said.

The FC-31 was independently developed by CAC’s sister company Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), which also produced the J-15 – the jets currently in use on the country’s only active aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

Both aerospace firms are subsidiaries of the state-owned giant Aviation Industry Corporation of China, which specialises in designing and developing military aircraft, and were set up to ensure benign competition between manufacturers.