The People's Liberation Army Navy could soon have a new carrier-borne combat aircraft, named by observers as the J-35, according to a recruitment video published by the navy.
In the video, released on Monday evening, a young naval pilot from an aircraft carrier aviation unit is ordered to undertake a new, challenging task and walks toward what appears to be a stealth fighter jet.
Due to secrecy considerations, there is a blurriness to the presentation, but the stealth aircraft appears to have a typical aerodynamic design and a characteristic only used on carrier-based planes – folding wings. Its appearance is quite different from that of the J-15, a conventionally-shaped fighter jet currently deployed on Chinese aircraft carriers.
This is the first time the navy has hinted at a new carrier-borne fighter jet since the J-15 came into service a decade ago.
Song Zhongping, a military affairs commentator and retired officer from the PLA, said on Tuesday that judging by the aircraft's features seen in the video, the new jet is the J-35.
Military observers have long been speculating about the possible features of a new-generation carrier-borne combat plane.
Several pictures of a middle-sized stealth fighter jet circulating on Chinese weapons websites have reinforced assertions that the new plane is nearly ready for delivery.
The J-15, built by the AVIC Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, is regarded as the spearhead of China's carrier force.
Though the jet has strong capabilities comparable to those of Russia's Su-33 and the United States' F/A-18 Hornet, analysts have said it is not good enough to confront stealth aircraft, and therefore China needs to develop a new type to handle challenges from neighboring navies equipped with such jets.