China is flexing its newest addition to the country’s growing military fleet, a fourth generation J-31 fighter jet. According to the president of the Chinese company that was commissioned for the project, the J-31 jet can “take down” its American counterpart, the Lockheed Martin F-35.
In an interview with Chinese Central Television, Lin Zuoming, the president of the Aviation Industry Corp. of China, the company that developed the newest jet, is confident the Chinese-developed aircraft can outperform the American version.
“When it takes to the sky, it could definitely take down the F-35,” Lin said. “It’s a certainty.”
But Lin has his sights set on more than just outdoing the F-35. He wants to propel the Chinese company to be global supplier to governments to which the U.S. refuses to sell or those that can’t afford to buy a fleet of F-35 jets, which reportedly cost more than the Chinese models.
“The next-generation air forces that are unable to buy the F-35 have no way to build themselves up. We don’t believe the situation should be that way,” Lin said in the CCTV interview, according to Reuters. “The world should be balanced. Good things shouldn’t all be pushed to one party.”
The push to sell these jets overseas fits in line with the global role China has embraced in becoming a weapons supplier. China’s position as a military supplier is quickly growing, becoming the world’s fourth biggest supplier of major weapons in the last five years. According a report in China’s state-run Global Times, which cited statistics from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China was the major weapons supplier to 35 states in the past five years, most of which were low- or middle-income nations. The report found nearly 75 percent of China’s military exports went to three countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
“The progress in the military industry has been made due to the nation’s increase in investments in the field,” Shan Xiufa, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army said in the Global Times report. “Weapons produced by China are price competitive and the country is skillful in combining others’ technology.”