China's fifth generation stealthy J - 20 ready for war: Defence analysts

China's fifth generation stealthy J - 20 ready for war: Defence analysts

BEIJING - China’s stealthy J-20 fighter aircraft are “ready for combat at any time,” according to Yang Wei, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The aircraft was first commissioned with the People's Liberation Army last fall, making it perhaps the first non-Russian and non-US aircraft to fly with stealth capabilities.

The aircraft, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the F-22 Raptor, is "on par with the fifth-generation jets from both the US and Russia," Yang told the People's Daily. The researcher, who is also the lead J-20 designer, expressed hopes that the jet would faithfully execute any missions with which it is tasked.

One of the biggest struggles for the J-20 has been its engine, which uses a fourth-generation WS-10G engine modeled after Russia's AL-31, the engines that power all Sukhoi Su-27s and Su-27 derivatives.

Chinese developers have been hard at work on a WS-15 engine, which has greater capability than the WS-10, and is comparable to the Pratt & Whitney F119 engine that powers F-22 Raptors.

The F-35 and F-22 have the ability to fly at supersonic speeds without turning on their afterburners, while the WS-10 engine in use in the J-10, J-11 and J-20 aircraft must flip on afterburners to hit comparable speeds.

Afterburners make planes easier to detect and track, military aviation experts say.