has showcased its advanced J-20 stealth fighters in public for the first time, less than a week after starting massive drills amid tensions over the US military
presence in Asia
Two twin-engine Chengdu J-20s performed a low-level flypast over a gasping crowd, including dignitaries and hundreds of spectators and industry executives, at the 11th Chinese air show in the southern city of Zhuhai Tuesday.
The brand new secretive jets streaked and screamed on the sky at the show’s opening ceremony for nearly a minute, letting out deafening roar that set off car alarms in the exhibition’s parking lot.
The aircraft, the potent symbols of China’s aspirations towards military might, are considered as an answer to the F-22 stealth warplanes that will be soon deployed in the Pacific by the US and its ally Japan.
“The J-20 aircraft is China’s own new generation stealth fighter, developed to meet the needs of the future battleground,” Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said last week.
The aircraft, he said, will further enhance the overall combat capability of the Chinese air force, “which would help the army’s sacred mission of maintaining the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”
The biennial exhibition, held some 56 kilometers west of Hong Kong, shows off China’s newest military hardware and is regarded as the country’s largest meeting of aircraft makers and buyers, showcasing Beijing’s military clout.
Back in 2014, the exhibition debuted China’s J-31 warplanes, another domestically-built radar-evading fighter jet.
Two J-20 stealth fighters perform at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, on November 1, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
On Thursday, China held a day-long military exercises in the vicinity of disputed islands in the South China Sea.
China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea which is also partially contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam as well as the Philippines.
The drills began less than a week after a US guided-missile destroyer sailed through the waters close to the Paracel Islands, over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.