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Military aviation expert Andreas Rupprecht, also known as Rupprecht Deino, has stirred the pot with his recent comments on China’s enigmatic FC-31 fighter jet. He suggests that the 5th generation aircraft, once touted as a potential competitor to the F-35, might be taking a surprising turn.

According to Deino, the FC-31’s future production might be closely tied to the J-35, a carrier-based variant under development for the Chinese Navy. He believes the FC-31 was always intended as a land-based export version, potentially benefiting from advancements seen in the J-35 but lacking carrier-specific features like folding wings and catapult compatibility.

This theory throws an interesting light on the FC-31’s future. While Pakistan has expressed interest in acquiring the jet, the Chinese Air Force seems content with its existing J-20 fleet. If Deino’s analysis holds true, the FC-31 might become primarily an export product, leveraging China’s growing fighter jet capabilities on the international market.

However, Deino doesn’t stop there. He further hypothesizes that the J-35 itself might eventually be adapted for the Air Force, similar to how the F-18 evolved into land-based variants. This raises questions about potential overlap between the two programs and China’s long-term fighter jet strategy.

While Deino’s comments are based on his expertise and observations, they remain speculative. Official confirmation from China is needed to truly understand the future of the FC-31 and its relationship with the J-35 program. Nevertheless, his insights highlight the dynamic nature of China’s military aviation development and the complexities involved in analyzing its future direction.

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