The People’s Liberation Army announced last week that their J-20 fighter aircraft has begun operational service. This is significant as apparently it is their first fifth-generation fighter. While the aircraft’s performance looks spectacular in airshow demonstrations it is unclear how ‘stealthy’ it really is.
Watch a pair of Chinese J-20’s in Action
The forward-mounted canards, poorly shielded engines and underside vertical stabilizers all limit the amount that its radar cross section — which determines how visible the aircraft is to a radar — can be reduced,” Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, has written.
Even so, the apparent arrival of an operational J-20 highlights China’s growing role as a military power.
“What they’ve been able to do in such a rapid period of time without any R&D … I understand there might be some differences as far as in the software and the weaponry and this and that,” Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, asked during a hearing in 2015. “But they’re making leaps, which are uncommon, at the behest of us, and we know this, I understand, but we’re not taking any actions against them.” – DefenseTech
This announcement was expected as China had demonstrated the J-20 at the Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province last November. Promoted as a counter to the US F-22 and F-35 the J-20 does appear to be a capable aircraft with a reported top speed of about 1300 miles per hour.
The number of J-20’s actually produced is unknown but it is clear the Chinese are somehow gaining advanced technologies at a rapid pace. Wonder how that is happening?
Featured image of China’s J-20 fighter jet during the opening of Airshow China in Zhuhai by Alert5 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
This article is courtesy of Fighter Sweep.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to join SOFREP now for just $0.50/week.