|J-17 Su-34 Like Fighter Jet|
China is in advanced development of the bomber / strike variant of the FLANKER family, namely the Su-34 NATO designated FULLBACK. China watchers have seen the FLANKER series copied in the form of the J-11 and J-15. While details are sketchy, it is believed from internet sources that the variant is being modeled on the Russian Su-34 FULLBACK.
This suggest extreme range and payload, with an emphasis on strike. Whether China goes for a low-level strike focus like the Su-32/34 is open to debate, and it seems more likely that China will prefer a high altitude profile and emphasize on striking within the 3rd Island chain, and potentially beyond. This could mean that the specialized inlets of the Su-34 may not be patterned, nor the side-by-side seating arrangement.
From a geo-strategic point of view, a Su-34 class heavy striker could bring Australian targets within easy reach. Given the re-positioning of the US military in the region, and a closer partnership and basing with Australia, the J-17 appears a good tool for China. Ironically, this represents a reversal of capabilities, with Australia previously fielding the F-111, and able to strike China comfortably, but now without any long-range strike aircraft, while the J-17 will give China the capability that Australia has now lost.