Expert: China’s J-20 stealth fighter close to batch production

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Yao Jianing
2016-01-08 18:19

The J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2101 is pained with yellow color.

BEIJING, January 8 (ChinaMil) -- A picture of another fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter independently developed by China was recently uploaded to the Internet. The picture showed that the J-20 fighter is painted with yellow color and its fuselage number is 2101 instead of the “201X” numbering method for the previous J-20 fighters.

Song Xinzhi, a Chinese military expert on air force equipment, said in a media interview that the J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2101 represents a brand-new production batch, namely the J-20 fighter is close to batch production stage, and its yellow painting also implies that its stealth performance has possibly passed the test.

The Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that the new J-20 fighter looks like the previous prototype models in shape except the fuselage numbering method, indicating that the appearance of the new prototype J-20 fighter is very close to that of the final-version J-20 fighters, and the J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2101 may possibly mean that the J-20 fighter is now in a transition period from test flight stage to batch production stage.

Some military enthusiasts also guessed that the J-20 fighter painted with yellow color means that the time for J-20 fighter to enter service for the Chinese PLA Air Force will come soon.

Song Xinzhi held that these assumptions are reasonable, but more accurately, it should be a brand-new production batch.

The change of J-20 fighter fuselage’s numbering method means that the development of J-20 fighter has entered a new stage, but it is necessary to wait and see so as to confirm whether the J-20 fighter has entered the batch production stage or not, Song Xinzhi analyzed.

Based on the present situation, the J-20 fighter should be very close to enter the batch production stage, Song Xinzhi estimated.

The pictures and video clips of other types of military aircraft painted with yellow color were once shown by media in the past.

For example, several J-10 fighters painted with yellow color in a test flight field in southwest China were seen to carry out test flights in July 2012. A J-15 carrier-borne fighter painted with yellow color successfully completed a landing test on the aircraft carrier Liaoning on November 23, 2012. And the heavy-duty transport aircraft Y-20 developed by China, with its fuselage painted with yellow and green colors, its wings and ventral with yellow color, and its nose and tail with green color, successfully completed its first flight on January 26, 2013.

Song Xinzhi pointed out that the yellow color is the color of fighter’s anti-rust coating, and generally, only fighter models entering batch production stage are painted with the yellow coating.

But the fighters in service will be painted with the colors required by relevant troops, for example, silver grey color, and in addition, the fuselage number for fighters in service consists of five digits rather than the four-digit number for the existing J-20 fighters, Song Xinzhi explained.

Song Xinzhi introduced that if the first digit of a U.S. aircraft fuselage number is “X”, it means that the type of aircraft is a test model rather than a stereotyped model, if the first digit is “Y”, it represents that the model is at the prototype stage, for example, the previous fighter numbers of YF-22 and YF-23 represent the fourth-generation fighters’ candidate models of aircraft manufacturers to compete for the orders from the U.S. Air Force.

Although the Chinese military does not adopt the “X” and “Y” method, its fighter painted with yellow anti-rust coating can basically prove that the fighter model has entered the “Y” stage of the U.S., namely the prototype model’s test stage has been completed and batch production stage is going on, said Song Xinzhi.

But it is too early to say that the fighter model will soon enter service for the PLA Air Force, Song Xinzhi continued.

The J-20 fighter with fuselage number 2101 is possibly used for testing J-20 fighter’s electronic devices or the fighter’s performances, but it is apparent that it is not used for testing its stealth performance, Song Xinzhi analyzed.

The new J-20 fighter’s yellow coating implies that the fighter’s stealth design has passed the test, and it is not necessary for the fighter to be pained with stealth coating at the current test stage, Song Xinzhi concluded.

The author is Qiu Yue, reporter from the People’s Daily Online. The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of the China Military Online website.

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