China Displays Missiles on J-20 Fighters for the First Time

Analysts said the flights of China's J-20 stealth fighters at the Zhuhai air show would have been more impressive if the planes had been using Chinese rather than Russian-built engines

Analysts said the flights of China's J-20 stealth fighters at the Zhuhai air show would have been more impressive if the planes had been using Chinese rather than Russian-built engines

During one flypast, pilots opened the aircraft's missile bay, revealing four missiles, in addition to two additional missiles mounted on the underside of the plane. Carrying weapons internally avoids both these issues and gives stealth aircraft like the J-20 and the US-built F-22 and F-35 an advantage in air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.

China has shown the missiles in its advanced J-20 stealth fighter jet to the public for the first time at its largest airshow, the Global Times newspaper reported on Monday.

A J-20 fighter of the Chinese air force shows its load of long-range missiles at Airshow China in Zhuhai on Sunday. On the sides of the aircraft are a pair of lethal PL-10 short-to-intermediate-range air-to-air missiles that could prove useful in a dogfight, as well as engagements on the edge of visual range.

The People's Liberation Army Air Force intends to expand its presence into space as part of its plan to become a world-class force, a senior officer said on Sunday.

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In a post on the PLA's English-language website earlier this year, Chinese military expert Song Zongping said the J-20 will "engage with rivals in the future who dare to provoke China in the air".

It's not clear how many such airplanes the Chinese Air Force now has, but speculation is that there are over 20 in service. The aircraft was expected to receive a new engine, but it remains unreliable in testing, indicating that for now, the pride of the Chinese air force continues to depend on Russian Federation for its engine technology.

While China has touted various achievements in the J-20 programme, it has also seen setbacks, particularly with respect to the lack of a reliable indigenous engine. Over 150 domestic and foreign aircraft have participated in the biggest airshow of China. "But now, their monopoly in this region has been broken by China's J-20".

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