The Zhuhai Airshow showcased Chinese J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighter jets fitted with domestically produced engines, a significant milestone as Beijing pushes the capabilities of its J-20 aircraft in a bid to rival the USAF F-22.
During this week China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (aka Zhuhai Airshow), a major Chinese military airshow in which China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAAF) showcased advanced weapons and aircraft, Wang Wei, the Deputy Air Force commander of the People’s Liberation Army, issued a veiled challenge that if the US is not scared of China’s advanced weapons “let us meet in the sky.”
As reported by South China Morning Post, Wei referenced comments about China that US Air Force (USAF) Secretary Frank Kendall made in August. Kendall said during an interview with Defense News that the focus of the USAF should be to stay ahead of China’s military technological developments to continue to field the types of weapons that “scare China.”
“Recently a counterpart of mine who is from a major country claimed that he wants to scare China,” Wang said, in an apparent reference to Kendall’s remarks on Sep. 29, 2021.
“The Chinese Navy is capable and confident to ensure national security and defend integrity, as well as make a contribution to world peace,” Wang added said. “I can only say, if they are not scared, let us meet in the sky.”
Wang’s threatening remarks extended not just from his own branch, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), but also the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
According to American Military News, Wang’s posturing comes as US military forces have increasingly asserted their navigational rights in areas of the Pacific, even as China has sought to assert territorial claims throughout the region. China, in particular, has claimed a wide area of the South China Sea as its own, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands. China has also placed increasing pressure on the island of Taiwan, which governs itself as an independent nation but which China claims as its own territory.
Noteworthy the Zhuhai Airshow showcased Chinese J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighter jets fitted with domestically produced engines, a significant milestone as Beijing pushes the capabilities of its J-20 aircraft in a bid to rival the USAF F-22.
As reported by the CNN, the pair of twin-engine J-20s that put on a show for crowds at China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in the southern city of Zhuhai on Sep. 28, 2021 were equipped with the WS-10 engine. The WS-10 was developed by the PLAAF to replace Russian engines that were in early versions of the J-20.
In June, the state-run Global Times tabloid said a unit of the J-20s equipped with the domestically developed engines had been activated in the country’s northeast region, with China Central Television showing images of the planes flying in an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party.
Citing an anonymous military expert, the report said that “more PLA units based in different locations across the country are expected to get more J-20s, significantly enhancing the PLA Air Force’s capability of safeguarding the motherland’s sovereignty, airspace and development interests.”
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 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.