China has deemed its J-20A stealth jet worthy of a public unveiling.
Spectators were awed on Tuesday as “Mighty Dragon” pilots showed off their skills at this year’s Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province. Aviation journalist Andreas Rupprecht analyzed the aircraft, which resembles an American F-22 Raptor, and said it was “a giant leap for the PLAAF [People’s Liberation Army Air Force]” in terms of capability and technological advancements.
“If the PLAAF follows now the usual procedures, a first unit equipped with these LRIP J-20As of the current interim standard will enter service within the PLAAF at around the year’s end or early 2017; much earlier than expected,” Mr. Rupprecht wrote Tuesday for The Aviationist.
Some of the “Mighty Dragon’s” specifications and milestones include:
- The J-20 is a fifth generation stealth aircraft developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group.
- Experts surmise the J-20 is equipped with equipped with IRST (Infra-Red Search and Tracking), AESA radar.
- J-20s have completed testing with new PL-15 long-range Air-to-Air Missiles (AAM).
- J-20’s have completed testing with new PL-10 short-range AAM.
The Aviationist said that it is still “too early to judge” whether China’s J-20 will be able to match the stealth capabilities and avionics of U.S. F-22s, Raptors, and the F-35 Lightning II. The magazine was inclined to think not, due to the J-20’s current “nozzle, open chaff-and-flare boxes and other details.”
“It is a huge step even if it might be well below the F-22’s capabilities,” the author added.