New Delhi: China has tested its most advanced stealth fighter aircraft in the midst of shimmering tensions with the United States over Taiwan and South China Sea.
The fifth-generation FC-31 Gyrfalcon is poised to end the Western monopoly on advanced warplanes, media reports said.
The twin-engine jet is being knighted as the Chinese version of the US F-35, which is considered world's most advanced fighter.
The FC-31 Gyrfalcon took to the air for the first time on Friday.
According to China Daily, the FC-31 has "better stealth capabilities, improved electronic equipment and a larger payload capacity".
"Changes were made to the airframe, wings and vertical tails which make it leaner, lighter and more manoeuvrable," the daily quoted an expert as saying.
The jet is manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corp. and is expected to sell for around $70 million, the report said.
The manufacturer said the new aircraft will "put an end to some nations' monopolies on fifth-generation fighter jet".
The test comes days after China sent its sole aircraft carrier the Liaoning into the western Pacific to conduct drills there for the first time.
China has been aggressively moving to develop its domestic weapons industry.
It is also apparently trying to play a more assertive role in the region in line with its "One China" policy.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington have escalated following president-elect Donald Trump's phone conversation with his Taiwanese counterpart.
Recently, the Liaoning aircraft carrier carried out a large-scale exercise in the Bohai Sea, its first drills with live ammunition, in a show of strength.
The exercises involved dozens of ships and aircraft in the carrier group and testing of air defence missiles.
In response, the US military said it would keep challenging China’s “assertive, aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea”.