Pakistan in Talks with China to Acquire J-31 Stealth Fighters

By IndraStra Global News Team

Pakistan is currently in discussions to procure Chinese-built Shenyang FC-31 Gyrfalcon, also known as the J-31 mid-sized twinjet 5th-generation stealth fighter, a move that could potentially recalibrate the balance of air power within the region.

The J-31 bears striking similarities to the American F-35 and F-22 aircraft and, if acquired, may replace earlier versions of the American F-16 in Pakistan’s air fleet, according to sources within the defense and security establishments.

Recent statements attributed to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar indicate ongoing negotiations with China for the acquisition of the J-31 stealth fighter aircraft.

Babar highlighted that groundwork for this acquisition has been laid, signaling an imminent inclusion of these advanced fighters into the PAF’s arsenal.

Pakistan already operates various Chinese-manufactured aircraft, notably the JF-17 ‘Thunder,’ jointly manufactured in Pakistan and also adopted by Nigeria in 2021.

With approximately 150 JF-17s in its fleet and the acquisition of 25 J-10C ‘Vigorous Dragon’ fighters in 2022, Pakistan appears to strategically enhance its air capabilities, mirroring India’s procurement of 36 French-made Rafale fighter jets.

The prospect of integrating the J-31 into Pakistan’s air force could prove a significant boost for the nation, particularly as India presently lacks a stealth fighter.

While India is actively developing its indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), its induction is not anticipated before 2030.

Air Marshal Anil Chopra, Director-General of IAF’s Center for Air Power Studies (CAPS), emphasized that the J-31 remains in its developmental phase, distinct from China’s more established J-20 stealth aircraft, of which approximately 150 units have been produced.

He highlighted the J-31’s smaller size, primarily designed as a potential naval variant for operations from aircraft carriers.

Retired Air Marshal Diptendu Choudhury acknowledged past concerns with Chinese-made aircraft but noted China’s continuous development and deployment of such technology.

He pointed out that China’s persistence in refining its aviation capabilities not only challenges the US but also contributes to projecting superior Chinese aviation capabilities.

Regarding the potential impact on the regional power balance, Choudhury suggested that while the acquisition of the J-31 might not drastically alter the dynamics immediately, it would undoubtedly enhance the quality of Pakistan’s air power.

He emphasized the significance of newer generation jets and the importance of their ratio in defining air superiority.

Approximately 60-70% of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s fleet comprises 4th and 5th-generation fighters, similar to the trajectory India aims to pursue.

This emphasizes the need for the Indian Air Force to expedite its modernization efforts to maintain regional parity.

Reports tracing back to 2007 indicate that China acquired confidential information on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor, which reportedly aided in the development of the J-31 or FC-31 stealth aircraft.

Earlier versions closely resembled the F-35, but subsequent images reveal a more elongated structure reminiscent of the F-22, suggesting evolving design adaptations.


Reprinted with permission of IndraStra Global” (