07:45 GMT23 September 2020
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    The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLA) will soon receive a substantial improvement in its aerial combat and transportation capabilities, according to military observers.

    The fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter and the Y-20 heavy-lifting transport plane are about to enter the initial production stage, the observers said.

    Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said the newest J-20 prototype must be tested to inspect technical changes designers made to it based on test results from earlier prototypes.

    “Once the tests are carried out successfully, small-scale production will begin and the PLA Air Force will become the world's second user of a fifth-generation stealth fighter (following the United States Air Force),” China Daily reported Wang as saying.

    He expects that the first of the J-20s will be delivered to the military around 2017.

    China carried out the maiden flight of the J-20 in January 2011 and has produced 10 prototypes, including the 2101, since then. Before the 2101, all prototypes were layered with dark-colored paint that experts suggested had stealth capability.

    According to a military observer GaoZhuo in Shanghai, the Y-20 is needed badly by the PLA because it lacks “a fast and reliable platform” to project its power overseas.

    He said China will soon face a big challenge in Asia-Pacific airspace from the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II stealth warplanes to be deployed by the US and Japan, and this is why China is developing its advanced aircraft so quickly.


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    stealth aircraft, prototype, military, Chinese Chengdu J-20 fighter jet, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), China
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