J-20, Y-20 train to­gether

Proves com­bat-readi­ness of air­craft: ex­perts

Global Times - Weekend - - NATION - By Zhang Hui and Guo Yuan­dan

China an­nounced Fri­day that its lat­est J-20 stealth fighter and large trans­port air­craft Y-20 have flown in for­ma­tion, which mil­i­tary ex­perts say shows the air­craft are com­bat-ready.

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) Air Force’s new state-of-the-art weapons have de­vel­oped sig­nif­i­cantly in the past five years. China’s J-20 and Y-20 have be­gun train­ing to­gether, and many pi­lots are able to fly other new types of fight­ers, Shen Jinke, spokesman of the PLA Air Force, said Fri­day ahead of 68th an­niver­sary of the PLA Air Force on Satur­day.

Shen called on the 400,000 Air Force troops to “stay true to the mis­sion” taken up by the Com­mu­nist Party of China 95 years ago, res­o­lutely safe­guard the core, bear in mind the mis­sion of the new era and im­prove their abil­ity to win the war, ac­cord­ing to the Air Force’s Weibo ac­count.

“The for­ma­tion flights of the J-20 and Y-20 mean that their de­signs have been fi­nal­ized, are ready for mass pro­duc­tion and are com­bat­ready,” Song Zhong­ping, a Phoenix TV com­men­ta­tor and mil­i­tary ex­pert, told the Global Times Fri­day.

Train­ing in for­ma­tion is the air­crafts’ sec­ond phase, with the first be­ing stand­alone flights, Xu Guangyu, a se­nior ad­viser of the China Arms Con­trol and Dis­ar­ma­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, told the Global Times Fri­day.

The J-20, a stealth fighter jet in­de­pen­dently de­vel­oped by China, was of­fi­cially com­mis­sioned on Septem­ber 28. The air­craft is the coun­try’s fourth-gen­er­a­tion medium-to-lon­grange fighter jet, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

The Y-20, which made its maiden flight in July 2016, has a max­i­mum take­off weight of 200 tons, and is ideal for trans­port­ing cargo and per­son­nel over long dis­tances in di­verse weather con­di­tions, Xin­hua re­ported.

Many pi­lots are able to fly new types of fight­ers, which means a few units of the PLA Air Force have mul­ti­ple fight­ers and pi­lots who can fly dif­fer­ent types of fight­ers. Pre­vi­ously, Chi­nese fighter pi­lots could only fly a sin­gle type, Zhang Jingt­ing, deputy direc­tor of the Chi­nese Flight Test Es­tab­lish­ment, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

“The abil­ity to fly dif­fer­ent types of fight­ers could ben­e­fit the de­vel­op­ment and op­er­a­tional per­for­mance of weapons,” Zhang said.

Shen said that the PLA Air Force has ex­panded its range. The Air Force has bro­ken through The First Is­land Chain, and flown over sev­eral straits and into the western Pa­cific. And China has has­tened con­struc­tion of an air de­fense anti-mis­sile sys­tem to face the new air threats and changes in com­bat mode.

China’s com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity has greatly im­proved in the past five years with the ad­di­tion of new types of air­craft, such as re­fu­el­ing planes and alarm-jam­ming ones, Xu told the Global Times.

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