China announces sending stealth fighters to Taiwan Strait
China has not released a specific number of J-20 fighters in service.
An article in the Journal of Armament Science Technology said about 90 J-20s had already been shipped, adding that the Chinese military would need between 400 and 500 of them.
China’s Air Force announced that J-20 stealth fighters have been deployed over the Taiwan Strait as tensions rise.
“J-20 fighter jets, J-16 fighter jets, H-6K bombers and domestically produced Y-20 tankers flew over the strait.
Taiwan, strengthening our ability to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Colonel Shen Kim Khoa, air force spokesman. China, speaking during a press conference on 9/28.
This is the first time China has released information about the operation of J-20 stealth fighters in the Taiwan Strait.
Shen said that in addition to the Taiwan Strait, J-20 fighter jets are also operating in the East and South China Seas.
“The J-20 5th generation fighter is on duty in the eastern, western, southern, northern and central war zones, being used more and more and flying farther and farther away,” he said.
After its initial takeoff in 2021, the J-20 is seen by China as a symbol of its military’s modernization efforts.
With the J-20, China became the second country after the U.S. to operate a stealth fighter. The J-20’s design bears many similarities to the U.S. F-22.
China is developing a two-seat variant of the J-20, which will allow the fighter to perform more complex electronic warfare missions or involve drones.
In addition, China is developing new stealth fighters based on the FC-31 prototype, nicknamed the J-35 or J-XY.
Chinese fighters do not carry designations with the J prefix if they have not been commissioned by the military.
China has always regarded Taiwan as a province awaiting reunification and has said it is ready to use force if necessary.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait recently escalated as China stepped up military exercises in the region following a visit to the island by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August.
In a press conference on September 27, Shen also praised the Y-20 heavy transport, which carried anti-aircraft missiles for Serbia and participated in humanitarian aid to Pakistan and Tonga. The Y-20 transport uses a Chinese-developed WS-20 engine, rather than a Russian one.
The J-20 stealth fighter was developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation, a subsidiary of AVIC, in the 1990s.
The fourth J-20 line was installed in 2019 and began mass production a year later. Each line can produce one J-20 fighter per month.
The J-20 is said to be capable of precision strikes and operates in all weather conditions. The Chinese military has operated the J-20 since 2017.