China has inducted J-20 stealth fighters in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), along with the Y-20 transport planes and H-6K bombers, which are already part of the country’s military aviation assets.
The twin-engine fighter, built by Chengdu Aerospace Corp. for the People’s Liberation Army’s air force, first flew in 2011 and made its public debut in November when the PLAAF showed off two of the aircraft at an airshow over coastal city Zhuhai.
With a reported top speed of 1,300 miles per hour and the ability to carry short- and long-range air-to-air missiles, the jet is often compared to the twin-engine F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp. for the U.S. Air Force.
But the J-20 is believed to be far less stealthy than the F-22.
The Y-20 planes, inducted last year, are essential for force projection as they can carry heavy loads of personnel and equipment, possibly China’s Type 99 series tanks and troop carriers over long distances.
The J-20 stealth fighters are designed to compete with other fifth generation fighter jets, such as the F-22 Raptor of the United States and the Russian PAK-FA.