In a candid assessment, a senior US Air Force official challenges the prevailing fears surrounding China’s J-20 fighter jet against American fighters, shedding new light on the Asia-Pacific power debate.

In a recent statement at the 2023 Air & Space Forces Association’s annual symposium, General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, the head of Pacific Air Forces, provided a unique and insightful perspective on the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter jet.

Amid concerns about the burgeoning capabilities of the Chinese Air Force and the rapid production of the J-20, General Wilsbach shared his assessment that the J-20 is not a “dominating aircraft” compared to its American counterparts, the F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightnings.

Assessing the J-20 Threat

The J-20 stealth aircraft, China’s sole operational fifth-generation fighter, has long been perceived as a substantial threat to the United States and its allies. Reports from Chinese state media outlets have indicated increased production capacity, intensifying concerns.

However, General Wilsbach’s comments shed light on the capabilities of the J-20 in comparison to American aircraft.

Chengdu J-20
Chengdu J-20 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Wilsbach asserted that a significant portion of the J-20’s technology is derived from stolen US designs, a point that has been raised in the past. He emphasized that the capabilities of US aircraft, combined with those of allies and partners, create a formidable challenge for any potential adversary, including China.

The multinational coalition of partners regularly engages in training exercises tailored to high-threat scenarios, making it exceedingly challenging for Chinese aircraft to counter.

General Wilsbach’s remarks echo sentiments he expressed last year, where he characterized the J-20 as “okay” and not something to lose sleep over.