China’s J-20 stealth fighter may have started mass production

Russian sources report the start of J-20 mass production

Mass production of ready-to-fly J-20s, China’s first fifth-generation stealth fighter, may have started after the sixth prototype aircraft was flown on Dec. 19, according to the Moscow-based Military Parade.

The J-20 is likely to begin regular training flights before the end of this year, according to the report, and may enter service with the PLA Air Force in 2017. Frontline PLA units will be flying the fighters by no later than 2020, according to Russian defense news site Foreign Military Analyst.

Even US aviation site assesses the J-20 as an effective threat to US navy ships and a leap forward for Chinese fighter jet technology

This large delta-wing canard aircraft is an impressive leap forward for chinese fighter jet technology. It might still be inferior to US jets in a dogfight, especially given known problems with its engines.

The J-20 aircraft was designed as a missile-launcher against U.S. aircraft carriers. In any other role it would prove inferior to even Western 4th gen fighters and their far more advanced electronics and weapons systems, however, it will still be a military game changer by effectively threatening US navy ships.

The J-20 is currently powered by Russian-built AL-31F engines. China is developing domestic engine production capability but this will take many more years in spite of the large development budget.

SOURCES – Want China Times, Global Aviation Report, Military Parade, Foreign Military Analyst