China has inducted its first stealth fighter into military service giving its air force a massive firepower boost, the state media has reported. Photographs have shown the J-20 deployed on the Tibetan plateau - close to India's border, the PLA's website has denied it.
Earlier thought to be ready only by 2019, the Chinese claim that the fifth-generation jet that made its debut at the Zuhai air show in southern China last November is on par with the US F-22 Raptor. It is also been billed as the answer to the F-35.
Deployed close to India's border?
In a brief newscast on the state broadcaster CCTV, the announcer said that the J-20 had ‘entered the service'.
All photographs: Screengrabs
According to reports, the J-20 has a wide fuselage, and a frameless canopy resembling that of the F-22 Raptor. One important design criterion for the J-20 describes high instability. The prototype is believed to be initially powered by WS-10 and / or the AL-31F engines.
Short and long-range air-to-air missiles
The aircraft features a glass cockpit, with two main large color liquid crystal displays situated side-by-side, three smaller auxiliary displays, and a wide-angle holographic HUD. The main weapon bay is capable of housing both short and long-range air-to-air missiles.
Radar-evading stealth fighter
More recent speculations refer to the J-20 as an air-to-air fighter with an emphasis on forward stealth, high-speed aerodynamics, range, and adequate agility.
China's state aerospace company AVIC manufactures the J-20, and is also working on a radar-evading stealth fighter called the FC-31, previously known as the J-31.