China’s J-20 stealth fighter has made its public debut and with this the dragon has supposedly got its answer for US’ F-22 Raptor! The J-20 is a long-range radar-avoiding fighter jet that will add greatly to China’s ability to carry out both offensive and defensive operations. However, even as aviation enthusiasts gasp over J-20’s capabilities, analysts have said that it is a tad too early to comment to what extent the new Chinese fighter can match the radar-evading properties of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
Watch! China tests J-20- the rival to US Air force F-22
The fifth-generation fighter jet, which is equipped with air-to-air missiles, resembles the F-22 Raptor in terms of appearances. The F-22 Raptor is currently in service with the US military. China has already produced six prototypes of the J-20, according to a report released by the US Pentagon. The J-20 has been manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industries Group. The J-20 stealth fighter had its first test flight in 2011, but with the Zhuhai airshow flight, there is little doubt that China has showcased its growing sophistication in making next-generation military hardware.
Last week, Reuters reported a China Air force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying that the production of J-20 is progressing according to plan. Shen Jinke has said that the J-20 will assist the Chinese air force in “safeguarding sovereignty and national security”. The jet is expected to enter service “in the near future”.
Meanwhile, China is also working on another stealth jet programme – the J-31 – which is said to be its answer to America’s F-35 Lightning II. The J-31 first flew in 2012 and made its debut at Zhuhai in 2014. Currently, China is the only country apart from the US that has two concurrent stealth aircraft development programmes. The airplanes are expected to greatly help China take a more assertive stance on territorial disputes with neighbours in the East China and South China seas.