Military Aviation

First J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighters delivered to PLAAF front-line unit

9th Brigade at Wuhu has received its first two to four J-20 fighter aircraft

Exactly eight years and one day after its first flight, the first operational People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF, China Air Force) front line unit, 9th Brigade at Wuhu has received its first two to four J-20 fighter aircraft, although local observations indicate that the unit received its first J-20s already in October 2018.

According to Scramble Magazine Facebook Page, the local Su-30MKKs are now being replaced with the “Mighty Dragon”. The serial batch to look for will be in the 62x0x range.

After its first flight in 2011, with the CAC factory (Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, nowadays part of the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group) at Chengdu, flight envelope expansion tests were performed by CFTE (China Flight Test Establishment) at Xi’an Yanliang, followed by weapons integration testing at Dingxin, by which time the aircraft were slightly modified. Next, Initial Operations Concepts trials were performed by the Flight Test & Training Base at Cangzhou, which also included flight demonstrations during e.g. Zhuhai airshow.

Reports coming from Chengdu suggest we can expect news on further developments with the J-20 soon.

The Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon is a single-seat, twinjet, all-weather, fifth-generation fighter aircraft developed by China’s Chengdu Aerospace Corporation for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The J-20 is designed as a fighter with precision strike capability; it descends from the J-XX program of the 1990s.

The J-20 made its maiden flight on Jan. 11, 2011, and was officially revealed at the 2016 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition. The aircraft was in military service by March 2017, with the aircraft officially entering combat training phase in September 2017.

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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