J-20 jets, China’s most advanced stealth fighter jets powered by domestic engines, made their debut at the opening ceremony of the China Airshow 2021 in the host city Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province on Tuesday.Photo: Cui Meng/GT
The maker of the J-20, China’s most advanced stealth fighter jet, revealed that it recently broke records in terms of aircraft delivery due to high demand, with experts saying on Sunday that the J-20 has entered a mass production phase after it solved the last missing piece of the puzzle, the domestically developed WS-10 engine.
Since the start of the fourth quarter, Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group Co Ltd under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China has been facing challenging research and development, production and delivery missions, as multiple users were waiting to receive delivery of many aircraft, the company said in a statement released over the weekend on its social media account.
In this period, the company completed several key test flight missions, and indexes related to aircraft delivery have broken record highs, the statement said.
Out of nine photos attached to the statement, seven depict test flights of the J-20, one shows a test flight of the J-10, and one shows the work of staff members.
This could be an indication that the production of the J-20 is being ramped up, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force displayed J-20s equipped with domestically developed engines at Airshow China 2021.
The switch to domestically made WS-10 engines from imported ones has made mass production possible, Fu said, noting that other systems on the J-20, including the avionics system, radar system and weapons systems, were already domestically developed.
Now that there is no limitation caused by the import of engines, and the homemade WS-10 engine has been tested on other aircraft like the J-10, J-11 and J-16, the J-20 is in a position to start mass production, Fu said.
Responding to an inquiry from the Global Times concerning the production capacity of the J-20 at a press conference at Airshow China in late September, Wang Haitao, deputy designer of the aircraft, said that China’s aviation industry can satisfy any level of demand from the PLA Air Force.
It is good to see the industry is busy, because this means the J-20 has started entering service in large numbers, Fu said.
“In a short time, we will be able to see J-20s operated by all eastern, southern, western, northern and central theater commands, and become the main force to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial airspace security,” Fu predicted.
For the next step, the J-20 will continue to evolve, for example, by switching to use more advanced engines, Fu said