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A viral video circulating on the x (formerly Twitter) has sparked discussion about the development of China’s J-35 stealth fighter jet. The video shows the J-35 taking off, with puffs of black smoke emanating from its engines.

The black smoke is likely a byproduct of the jet’s engine undergoing testing. The J-35 is believed to be powered by the Guizhou WS-19 engine, which is derived from the earlier WS-13 and ultimately based on the Russian Klimov RD-93 turbofan. During initial tests, particularly engine starts, incomplete combustion can lead to black smoke emissions. This is a normal occurrence and doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with the engine itself.

However, the presence of black smoke raises concerns about the J-35’s stealth capabilities. A key feature of stealth aircraft is minimizing their radar signature, and visible smoke plumes can easily compromise this advantage. Experts will be watching future test flights to see if the smoke issue is addressed as development progresses.

The J-35 is designed for carrier operations, potentially similar to the American F-35. While still in development, China is reportedly touting an export version, potentially named FC-31, for markets like Pakistan. Pakistan has expressed interest in replacing its aging F-16 fleet, and the FC-31 could be a contender.

Only time will tell how these questions are answered, but the J-35’s development is undoubtedly a topic of keen interest in the aviation and military communities.

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