China's J-20 stealth fighters put into service
Central News Agency
Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) China's most advanced Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter has been officially commissioned into service, the country's defense ministry has recently confirmed for the first time, making China the second nation in the world, after the United States, to have an operational fifth-generation fighter jets.
China's Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian (吳謙) also told a press conference on Sept. 28 that flight tests of J-20s were being conducted as scheduled.
In an interview with China's CCTV, Yin Zhou (尹卓), a People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy rear admiral, said that the commissioning of the J-20 into service with the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) meant that the stereotyped model is currently in initial production.
After the PLAAF receives the fighter jets, the air force needs to have its new generation of pilots trained in flight testing of the aircraft and to assure proper operation of specific systems with reference to applicable flight and maintenance manual, Yin said, adding that only when the work is up to the standards in the manual will China begin mass production.
Yin said there were about 10 J-20s serving in the PLAAF and China could build hundreds of the fighter jets based on its military needs, economic situation and production capability.
Given that the entry of the J-20 into the PLAAF would provide China with a variety of previously unavailable air combat options, Yin said it's likely that the combat aircraft could be deployed to areas in desperate needs to address potential conflicts, particularly in China's east coast area and South China Sea.
The J-20 is the fifth-generation fighter aircraft developed by China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. It was previously reported that initial production began in 2016 and a number of the planes were delivered to the PLAAF in December that year.
(By Ozzy Yin and Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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