CHINA has unveiled its most advanced stealth fighter jet ever amid growing tensions with the US and President Donald Trump.
Months after unveiling its first fifth-generation J-20 fighter jet, China’s People’s Liberation Army announced that the advanced aircraft has entered service. The jet is meant to counter the US and its regional allies in a potential battle for air superiority. And the J-20 aircraft are so technologically advanced, they make Britain’s new US-built F35s look antique in comparison.
From The Express
The futuristic Chinese aircraft have longer range, more internal fuel capacity and a larger weapons capacity.
And this latest military addition is believed to be equipped with unique WS-15 turbo engines capable of reaching supersonic speeds.
The F-35’s top speed is 1199mph – The J-20s is a hefty 1,305mph.
However when fully operational the F-35 may offer significant advantage in terms of manoeuvrability as questions hang over the Chinese plane’s air-to-air capability.
The F-35B can also land vertically – meaning it can be used in many more theatres of operations.
Chinese plane-spotters first caught a glimpse of the J-20 in 2010, before the public got its first viewing of the craft at the Zhuhai airshow in November 2016.
Visitors were reportedly not permitted to view the aircraft on the ground, sparking speculation the aircraft was falling behind production schedule.
Now the fighter jets have reportedly joined the arsenal of the People’s Liberation Army’s airforce as part of a high-priority military revamp.
But only a few of the stealth fighters have entered service so far – with more planned by the end of the year.
The new addition comes after the Chinese PLA released a statement saying that war with the US is a “practical reality”.
Tensions have continued to escalate between the US and Beijing over North Korea and the South China Sea.
On Monday, Beijing announced its defence budget would increase by seven per cent, roughly a quarter of what Washington spends annually.
And defence sources close to the PLA reveal the unveiling of the J-20 was also meant as a warning to Japan and South Korea.
One source said: “It’s urgent for China to show off its achievements as soon as possible.”
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Next Big Future reports,
The J20 has radar-absorbent paint, a redesigned canopy, redesigned external features such as air intakes and wheel doors, and — most importantly — a new nose to accommodate an active electronically scanned radar (AESA). A gold standard among modern fighters, AESA radars create discrete “beams” of radio waves that allow detection without revealing the aircraft carrying it—a key requirement for stealth aircraft.
The fighter jet’s engines has proven a problem for China. The J-20 needs two powerful, high-performance engines to “supercruise” — aviation jargon for cruising above the speed of sound with a full load of weapons and fuel. China’s aviation industry has lagged far behind those of the West and Russia in the development of high-performance jet engines. Early J-20 models are flying with imported Russian AL-31FN engines, as its predecessor plane, the J-10, did, but production aircraft are expected to fly with domestically built Xian WS-15 engines offering 50 percent more thrust.
But what exactly is this plane for? A twin-engine aircraft with three internal weapons bays is capable of a range of missions. One potential use for the J-20 is as a long-range strike aircraft, capable of penetrating enemy air defense networks to launch missiles against high-value ground targets such as airfields, command and control bases, and other military installations.
Aviation analysts Mike Yeo and Chris Pocock believe that based on the emphasis on frontal-aspect low visibility the J-20 is meant to be a long-range interceptor. In that case, the J-20 would detect and shoot at enemy planes head-on from beyond visual range. Such a role would make the J-20’s less-effective stealth from the sides and rear less of an issue than if it was intended to be a penetrating strike jet that would travel deep into enemy territory and need to be stealthy from all angles.