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The pair of twin-engine J-20s that put on a show for the crowds at Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai on Tuesday were equipped with the WS-10 engine. The WS-10 was developed by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to replace Russian engines that featured in early versions of the J-20.

In June, the official Global Times tabloid said a unit of the J-20s equipped with nationally-developed engines had been activated in the northeastern region of the country, with China’s Central Television showing footage of the planes flying during the event. an event commemorating the 100th anniversary. of the Communist Party.

But Tuesday marked the first time the homemade jets were revealed to the Chinese public and overseas spectators.

Long touted as China’s response to the US F-22 – considered the world’s first stealth fighter – and the F-35, analysts say the J-20 is intended to fulfill two main roles: combat air -air and ground attack.
A 2017 report from the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said the WS-10 engines would give the J-20 low supercraft capability, meaning they could fly at supersonic speeds for extended periods of time. .

In its June report, Global Times said the use of domestic engines showed that “the J-20 is becoming more and more technically mature.”

“More PLA units based in different parts of the country are expected to receive more J-20s, greatly improving the ability of the PLA air force to protect sovereignty, airspace and development interests of the homeland, “the report said, citing an anonymous military expert.

However, US officials have long said the J-20 cannot compete with US stealth fighters.

In 2016, General David Goldfein, then Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, said the technology of the J-20 was more like that of the F-117A, the first stealth jets introduced by the states. United in 1983 and withdrawn in 2008.

CNN’s Shawn Deng contributed to this report.


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