Linglong concept art drawn by an internet user. (Internet photo)
The Chengdu J-20, China's first stealth fighter, may be modified into a carrier-based fighter for the PLA Navy with the new name of Linglong, the nationalistic tabloid Global Times said on July 27.
After the J-15 fighter completed landing and take-off exercises from the deck of the aircraft carrier Liaoning, the PLA Navy reportedly felt this third-generation fighter would be unable to compete with US stealth fighters such as the F-35 and that the J-20, still in development, may become the model for the country's first stealth carrier-based fighter.
A source within the Chinese aviation industry said the J-20 may be modified into a carrier-based fighter with swept-forward wings like the Russian-built Su-47. If this suggestion is accepted by the PLA, the Linglong will probably become the first carrier-based fighter with such a design.
Getting a little ahead of itself, Global Times said the Linglong is definitely the first challenger to US naval aviation since 1944.