J-20 stealth fighter in service for 2nd PLA ace force with home developed engines
Published: Jun 18, 2021 06:36 PM

China's J-20 stealth fighter jet displays its new coating of stealth material and flies over the exhibition hall at Airshow China 2018 on Tuesday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

China's J-20 stealth fighter jet displays its new coating of stealth material and flies over the exhibition hall at Airshow China 2018 on Tuesday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has equipped a second ace force with the country's most advanced fighter jet, the J-20, as the unit made its debut with the new warplanes in Northeast China on Friday.

Report footage shows that these J-20s are equipped with domestically developed engines, observers said.

The Military Development Vanguard Air Group, which originated from the Communist Party of China's (CPC) first ever aviation combat force and made glories in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53) and homeland air defense missions by shooting down 92 hostile aircraft, is now equipped with J-20 fighter jets, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Friday, citing a PLA Air Force spokesperson.

On Friday, the J-20s from the unit delivered an aerial performance together with other fighter jets including J-16s and J-10s during a PLA Air Force event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC at the former site of the old Northeast China Aviation School, CCTV reported.

"My unit is now flying the most advanced domestically developed warplanes, and we will practice hard to make the best of them, hone our confidence and determination to fight and win, and live up to the expectations by the Party and people," Shi Yunjia, a J-20 pilot, said in the report.

This is the second ace force in the PLA Air Force that has been equipped with the country's most advanced fighter jet. In October 2019, the service announced that the J-20 was commissioned into the Wang Hai Air Group, a heroic combat force that has downed 59 enemy aircraft and named after Wang Hai, a flying ace in the Korean War.

Advanced warplanes will be commissioned amongst more units in the PLA Air Force, as the service's development in the new era requires more heroic forces, Wang Mingzhi, a PLA Air Force military expert, was quoted as saying.

Heroic forces must be vanguards and they should also be handed the best aircraft, Wang said.

Observers pointed out that the J-20s featured in the report footages are seemingly equipped with domestically developed WS-10 engines.

This is not the first time the PLA Air Force has confirmed that a J-20 equipped with a domestically made engine has entered service. Back in January, the PLA Air Force released a video for its pilot recruitment program, and media outlets identified a J-20 that is equipped with domestically developed WS-10C engines instead of imported Russian engines.

More J-20s entering service with the PLA Air Force and their equipment of domestically developed engines indicate that the J-20 is becoming more and more technically mature and has started mass production, a military expert told the Global Times on Friday, requesting anonymity.

More PLA units based in different locations across the country are expected to get more J-20s, significantly enhancing the PLA Air Force's capability of safeguarding the motherland's sovereignty, airspace and development interests, the expert said.

The J-20 made its first test flight in 2011, its debut at Airshow China 2016 and entered military service in 2017.