Chinese military experts downplay capabilities of J-20 jet fighter “aircraft carrier killer”

J-20 being tested in spring 2015. Photo:

J-20 being tested in spring 2015. Photo:

The following is based on a translation from Chinese media:

China’s official media has provided information about the J-20 from well-known Chinese military experts who are also Chinese military insiders.

Regarding a Russian media report that China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet has obtained the capabilities as a “aircraft carrier killer” and will be commissioned by 2017, well-known Chinese military expert Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo told China’s official TV media CCTV in an interview that the Russian media report was merely speculation.

As no actual shooting practice has been carried out by any J-20 yet, we do not know what capabilities that type of fighter jet has; therefore, regarding it as an “aircraft carrier killer” is mere speculation.

According to Yin, the J-20 is now testing its electronic navigation system and flight control system, and has not done any test of its weapon system.

However, he said that the Russian judgement that the J-20 would probably be commissioned by 2017 was reasonable.

Yin said that, like the F-22, the J-20 has to carry all its weapons inside it to make it more stealthy. As a result there are limits to the length and diameter of the weapons it carries, which may affect the range of the weapons. However, the J-20’s priority is to grab air supremacy to enable non-stealthy attack aircraft with stronger attack capabilities to attack enemy targets. The J-20 needs not be assigned all the tasks of attack.

Another expert, Senior Colonel Du Wenlong, said that Russian media’s report on the J-20 being an “aircraft carrier killer” is perhaps not really close to the truth, but agreed that the J-20 will probably be commissioned by 2017.

Du said that it usually took 6 to 8 years to test a new aircraft. At present, quite a few J-20s are being tested and may finish the testing within the timeframe from 2011 to 2017.

He pointed out that if China faces threat from the air, a small number of J-20s may be commissioned in emergency and their functions will be gradually tested and perfected in the course of air battles.

Source: “Experts: J-20 sacrifices capabilities for being better stealthy and may be commissioned in 2017” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)



Categories: Defence & Aerospace

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