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China shows concept of tailless future fighter jet

China displayed a concept model of a future stealth fighter jet at Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai on 6 November 2022. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The Chinese aviation industry has revealed a concept of the country's next-generation fighter jet.

A video released on 31 January in the WeChat video channel of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) showed three twin-engined aircraft in flight. The aircraft appeared to resemble the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-20 fifth-generation, multirole fighter aircraft but without tailfins or the frontal canard.

The diamond-delta wing of the concept aircraft also appeared similar to the wings of the J-20 but slightly larger. Citing experts, the state-owned newspaper, Global Times , speculated that the concept aircraft is China's next-generation fighter jet.

The CGI imagery shown in the video appears to be connected to a model of a tailless, next-generation fighter displayed at Airshow China 2022 held at Zhuhai in November.

They also appear linked to images that appeared on Chinese social media in January 2023 showing what appears to be tailless combat aircraft in a computer-simulated flight. These photographs, which appear to have been taken in a research and development lab, also show a dome simulator in the background with the AVIC logo. The aircraft shown in these images appears to be more similar to the model shown during Airshow China 2022.

Collectively, these images suggest that China is focusing on a tailless configuration for its sixth-generation fighter aircraft. Satellite imagery in October 2021 has also recorded a tailless aircraft at the CAC factory airfield. Janes has earlier assessed that this aircraft has a length of 15 m and a wingspan of approximately 12 m. The wingspan is close in dimension to the J-20.

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