A drawing by a Chinese artist of a J-20 shooting down a Japanese F-2 fighter. (Internet photo)
The J-20, China's fifth-generation stealth fighter, is able to penetrate US air defense systems, according to a report from Russia's Military Analysis.
The report said that the stealth technology used by the J-20 is very similar to that used by the American F-22A. Its stealth capability is far better than the F-35 and even the Russian-built PAK FA fighter, it said. Considered a fighter-bomber similar to the US F-111 of the Cold War ear, the J-20's range would enable it to reach the Pacific second island chain of the Philippines and Guam. With mid-air refueling it could be extended further.
The J-20 already boasts better aerodynamic performance than the F-35, F-18A and F-18E/F currently used by the various branches of the US armed forces. The report said that between 400 and 500 J-20 aircraft will be produced to replace the Su-27SK and Su-33MKK currently deployed by the PLA Air Force.
While predicting the J-20 will enter service between 2017 and 2019, the report also stated some weaknesses and limitations of China's first stealth fighter, namely the fact that Russia has refused to export advanced jet engines to China, creating a major headache for the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation which developed the fighter.