BEIJING—Avic’s preliminary development of technology for a short-takeoff-vertical-landing (Stovl) fighter, discussed by state media this week, probably means that the Chinese military has some interest in operating such an aircraft but does not necessarily mean it has a concrete plan to do so. While the military may have decided, uncharacteristically, to signal its deployment plans more than a decade in advance, it is more likely that well-resourced Avic units have speculatively ...

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