PLA advanced stealth fighter transforms air force capability

Global Times
Zhang Tao

China's air force has marked a great upgrade in its ability to confront threats and even respond first, aviation experts said, as the country's latest stealth jet fighter, the J-20, has joined combat regiments of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

With the US frequently sending stealth fighters near China, and Japan, South Korea and India importing and developing such jets, China's air force has urgently needed to improve its capability of confronting the stealth threat, Wang Mingzhi, a professor with the PLA Air Force Command Academy, People's Daily reported on Sunday.

"The J-20 has changed the situation where non-stealth fighter jets had to confront stealth fighter jets," said Wang, adding the move shows the air force's support for maintaining China's air security.

The development accelerates the strategic transformation of China's air force as both defensive and offensive, Wang noted.

In a statement released on the official Weibo account of the PLA Air Force on February 9, air force spokesperson Shen Jinke said the J-20, China's most advanced stealth fighter jet, has now joined combat troops of the air force.

Wang said that China, with out supports from other Western countries, has overcome great difficulties in developing the J-20, which will improve the air force's strategic combat capability in the air.

Meanwhile, a recent video from the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation attached to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) showed a factory where the company's fourth-generation fighter the FC-31 is being built, Weihutang, a column affiliated with China Central Television (CCTV), reported on Sunday.

FC-31 is still under development and is expected to be attached to the PLA navy, CCTV reported.

The FC-31 utilizes mature technologies and follows advances made during the construction of the J-15. The FC-31 will cost less to make which could lower the cost of building a carrier battle group, Song Zongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The AVIC's "FC-31 is still hoping for orders from the navy, and is targeting the international market," Song noted.


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