In June, China announced that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will soon be inducting the country’s first indigenously manufactured stealth fighter aircraft, the J-20.
The fighter jet, though fully ready for combat, has not been publically displayed till now, but all of its will change at the soon to be held Zhuhai Air Show.
Reports on Monday state that the Chinese will be unveiling the stealth fighter – the second in the world after USAF’s F-22 Raptor – before the public.
The country’s state aerospace company Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) – the parent company of Chengdu Aerospace Corporation and the maker of the fighter – confirmed the news adding that the J-20 will thrust China into direct competition with US and help raise Beijing’s power dynamic in Asia.
The J-20 is a fifth-generation fighter jet capable of evading the radar and carrying long-range missiles. The first flight of the fighter took place in 2011. By 2015, China had made eight of them.
Once inducted, J-20 will make China’s air force the second strongest in the world – a commendable achievement given that China was almost nowhere around 20 years ago.
The J-20 is not the only stealth fighter for China. It is also making an advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter in J-31, which looks like a copy of US stealth fighter F-35.
What is significant is that China is looking at using the fighter to project its military strength across Asia, particularly the South China Sea and India.
While China is rapidly developing new weapons and modernising its existing ones to counter strategic threats in the region.
China’s biggest threat is US and its allies in East Asia. Emerging threats include the countries involved in the South China Sea against Beijing.
But even as China continues to build its weapons arsenal steadily at home, India is forced to look outside to fill up its depleting fleet because of the slow progress of its indigenous aircraft development programme.