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Thursday, November 3, 2016

J-20 stealth fighter, Y-20 transport plane show China's advances in technology

J-20 stealth fighter makes public debut

The 11th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition -- or Airshow China – got underway on Tuesday in the southern city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province. The event runs until November 6th. One of the highlights this year is the public debut of J-20 stealth fighter.
The latest J-20 stealth fighter jet during a demonstration flight at Air Show China in Zhuhai city, South China's Guangdong province, on Nov 1, 2016. The J-20 stealth fighter jet is said to be the third stealth fighter jet in the world to be used after the United States' F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

China's new-generation military transport aircraft, the Y-20, sits on the tarmac in preparation for the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition 2016, which opens Tuesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province. Photo: Cui Meng/GT
China's new-generation military transport aircraft, the Y-20, sits on the tarmac in preparation for the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition 2016, which opens Tuesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Industry professionals and the public get a chance to see China's latest development in military and civil aircraft technology at a much-anticipated air show on Tuesday in South China.

A number of civilian aircraft and military jets, including the J-20 stealth fighter plane, will be showcased for the first time during the six-day China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition 2016, or Airshow China, in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province.

The exhibit's organizer, Zhuhai Airshow Co. Ltd, said this year's air show features over 700 domestic and foreign exhibitors from 42 countries and regions. Foreign exhibitors include those from Russia, Ukraine, France, Czech Republic and the US, and it's the first time an Austrian delegation will attend the show.

The air show has attracted eight out of 12 major Chinese national military companies (except those in the shipbuilding and nuclear industry), including the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

AVIC president Tan Ruisong told a press conference Monday that this year's exhibit marks Airshow China's 20th anniversary, so AVIC will unveil a series of "20s," including the heavy-load transport aircraft Y-20 and the J-20 stealth fighter. Probably the biggest draw at this year's air show, the J-20 will put on a flight exhibition.

Song Zongping, a Beijing-based military expert who served in the Second Artillery Corps of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) (now called the Rocket Force), told the Global Times on Monday, "Normally, a product series contains at least three to four products. We have seen the Y-20 and J-20, and in the future, we will also have the Z-20 utility helicopter and perhaps the H-20 strategic stealth bomber, although they are very unlikely to appear in this year's air show."

Previous reports said the J-20 is China's domestically built fifth-generation fighter jet, which represents the most advanced technology and combat capability of Chinese fighter jets. Currently, only the US (F-22 and F-35), China (J-20 and J-31) and Russia (T-50) have fifth generation stealth fighter jets.

The J-20's debut in Zhuhai will showcase Chinese Air Force technological strength, which has quickly been advancing, Song said.

"The J-20 will be handed to Chinese Air Force very soon," Zhang Xinguo, AVIC vice president, said at Monday's press conference..

Zhang stressed that "our research and development on the fifth generation fighter jet is based on China's strategic and defense needs," so the J-20 is very different from the US' F-22 and F-35. "Our country's strategic purpose is to defend our territory and maintain peace rather than a global strategy, and we don't require global deployment."

Zhang said "if other countries have similar strategic needs as we have, then I believe they will come to us [to purchase the J-20]."

Chinese drones

The CH-5, a China-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drone, which is a new CASC product, will also make its first public appearance. The past few years have seen the quick development of China's UAVs, Song said, "not only from State-run military companies but civilian ones as well, who also joined in the research and development."

In the past, only the US had the capability to use UAVs for targeted strikes on its enemies, but because Chinese UAVs have been exported, many countries also have this capability.

Shi Wen, the CH-5's chief engineer, told the Global Times that "the CH series UAVs are very popular in countries involved in the "One Belt and One Road" initiative. "Countries facing conflicts such as Syria and Iraq have already been using Chinese UAVs to strike terrorist strongholds," Song said.

Dozens of military and civilian UAVs will also be displayed at the air show.

Zhuhai Airshow Co. Ltd stressed that the fast developing UAV market is a result of "civilian-military integration and the peaceful use of military-industrial technology."

As the highlight of Airshow China, military aircraft from China and abroad will perform.

This year, five exhibition flight teams from China, Russia, Pakistan and the UK will perform. Russia sent two teams, and this will be the first time that the British Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team, dubbed the Red Arrows, will perform in Zhuhai.

Newspaper headline: Latest aircraft debut at air show


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