China's J-20 fifth-gen fighter moves into series production

Huang Panyue
Although just a pair of J-20s were shown at last November's Airshow China, a recent CCTV report showed footage of five J-20s flying in formation. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)


The Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) J-20 ‘fifth-generation’ multirole fighter will soon enter series production and is on a path towards achieving full operational capability (FOC) with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), according to a 23 October report on China Central TV’s (CCTV) Channel 4, which is the military channel of the state-run broadcasting service.

The broadcast showed a group of five J-20s in formation, which is the largest number of the type seen flying simultaneously in any publicly viewed display.

The aircraft did make a brief ‘fly by’ appearance at last year’s Airshow China, held last November at Zhuhai in China’s Guangdong province, but there were only two aircraft in the flight display. Additionally, the aircraft were based at an aerodrome in nearby Foshan, so they never landed or were parked on the static display line at Zhuhai.

According to the CCTV report, the aircraft has entered what is referred to as “stable” mass production, which is interpreted as meaning there is now a fixed, regular production rate in order to create some minimal economies of scale. The production rate is expected to reach as much as three aircraft per month. Representatives of the company who spoke to CCTV reportedly said there should be more than 100 J-20s produced by the end of 2020.

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