Beijing’s fifth-generation stealth jets displayed a dazzling fifteen-minute performance earlier this week at Airshow China 2018. The jets wowed more than 20,000 spectators by performing combat maneuvers in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, said People’s Daily Online.
The J-20 stealth jets were first unveiled to the public at Airshow China 2016.
Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the J-20s sported a new camouflage look for improved stealth capability.
The J-20’s longer flight demo this year shows that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force is now confident that China has mastered fifth-generation flight technology, Wei said.
Yang Wei, the jet’s chief designer, said the plane’s superior “flight performance is quite obvious.” He also said the full capability of the stealth fighters would only be known during a war.
— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) November 7, 2018
Wei made the comments at a press conference hosted by his employer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the manufacturer of the J-20.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 6, 2018
People’s Daily Online also said some of the stealth jets were outfitted with a new engine and thrust vectoring control nozzle during the airshow. That allowed the planes to make advanced air combat maneuvers, including the J-turn, the Cobra, and the Falling Like A Leaf moves.
“In the past, the engine was a well-known weakness of Chinese fighter jets, since we relied heavily on imports, but the J-10B proves that China can build first-class, thrust-vectoring engines to power our advanced fighters,” a People’s Liberation Army Air Force lieutenant colonel told the Global Times, adding that this new engine technology could give China an advantage in close-combat dogfights.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) November 6, 2018
Zhou Chenming, a military expert in Beijing, told the South China Morning Post that the “J-10 is finally able to show its real fighting capability after being equipped with the new engines.”
Another Chinese military expert, Song Zhongping, told the Global Times that the engine would likely result in the development of the next iteration of the J-20 stealth fighter, called the J-20A.
It seems that China’s fifth-generation stealth capabilities could be on par with the US. This threat will certainly not going unanswered by the West. China is preparing for war with new stealth technology, as a trade war between both countries is spiraling out of control. When trade stops, that is when a hot conflict could develop over the South China Sea.