China Unveils Rival Sixth-Gen Fighter Concept
China has introduced a stealthy sixth-generation combat aircraft model believed to rival the US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter.
The futuristic military plane concept was displayed during an airshow and aerospace trade expo in Guangdong province.
Zhuhai Air Show 🇨🇳
6th Gen Fighter Aircraft Concept
PLAAF Loves Tailless Jet Design pic.twitter.com/hyTPqZlHGT
— David Wang (@Nickatgreat1220) November 6, 2022
It is unclear if the tailless fighter-like airframe spotted at a Chinese jet production facility in 2021 was the same as the one displayed during the Zhuhai Airshow earlier this month.
The aircraft design previously appeared in publicly available Chinese aviation white papers.
China’s aerospace industry is known to be working on a sixth-generation combat jet that is faster and more advanced than other existing military aircraft.
Earlier this year, US Air Combat Command chief Mark Kelly revealed that Beijing is already “on track” to producing a sixth-generation fighter.
Overall it fits nicely to what we know and expect, China's 6th generation fighter will be most likely be a tailless flying wing design like several other 6th gen fighter concepts under study in other countries too. pic.twitter.com/v7OaNAKoyU
— @Rupprecht_A (@RupprechtDeino) October 31, 2021
The sixth-generation combat aircraft model recently featured has a tailless design similar to the US Air Force’s NGAD.
The design enhances the fighter’s low observability to dodge many radar types.
It also reportedly offers improved efficiency due to reduced drag and sustained high-speed flight and cruising.
However, the absence of a vertical tail could make the aircraft more unstable, affecting its maneuverability.
During a September air, space, and cyber conference in DC, Kelly disclosed that the US might have two versions of the NGAD to accommodate long-range missions in the Indo-Pacific and short-range operations in Europe.
But the official also explained that China’s sixth-generation fighter concept appeared similar to the American idea.
Because of that, Kelly reiterated the need for the US Air Force to produce and field the NGAD fighter “at least a month before our competitors.”