China's fighter jets to get upgraded

Updated 2018-03-21 09:24:01

J-20's advanced versions to help China seize air superiority in Asia-Pacific: specialist

After China's latest J-20 stealth fighter was commissioned, the country will continue to explore new fighter jets that meet national needs and create more surprises, the fighter's chief designer said Tuesday.

China will continue to support efforts to further prepare the fighter for combat, develop more versions of the fighter and explore new fighter jets, Yang Wei, a National People's Congress (NPC) deputy and chief designer of the J-20, told the press on the sidelines of the NPC annual meeting.[Special Coverage]

"There will be more surprises in future fighter jets, which will be more mechanized, information-equipped and smarter," Yang said.

The surprises include progress on the research of China's next generation of stealth fighters, which is expected to make China no longer a follower, but a leader in the development of stealth fighters, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The J-20 series is also expected to undergo renovation, such as a high thrust engine and new electronic equipment and radars, Song said.

The advanced series could help China seize air superiority in the Asia-Pacific region and safeguard national security when facing containment from the US, Japan, Australia and India, he added.

The J-20 is China's fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet. It was first showcased in public on a fly-by at the Zhuhai air show in November 2016, and after it was delivered to the People's Liberation Army Air Force in March 2017, it joined the military parade at the Zhurihe military training base in July 2017.

According to air force spokesperson Shen Jinke in February, air force combat troops had armed the J-20.

China's J-20 jets have several unique designs and capabilities, such as the canard configuration design that provides them greater stealth while maintaining maneuverability and its supersonic speed, Yang said. "The design allows the J-20 to fly further and with greater bomb load," he added.

The J-20 is also capable of situation awareness, information warfare and cooperative combat, which shows that China's aviation industry has progressed from a "follower" to a "leader," he said.

The fighter is also a product of military-civilian integration, as its carbon fibers and metamaterials are produced by private companies, Yang said.

Carbon fibers not only provide the fighter with greater stealth, but can also reduce the aircraft's weight to allow more weapons for greater attack power, Song said.

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