PLA Air Force displays three 'firsts' at Airshow China
Published: Nov 06, 2022 09:33 PM
A YU-20 aerial tanker rehearses for a flight performance in preparation for Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province on November 6, 2022. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

A YU-20 aerial tanker rehearses for a flight performance in preparation for Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province on November 6, 2022. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Two members in the 20-series aircraft - the J-20 stealth fighter jet and the YU-20 aerial tanker - will be displayed in the sky and on the ground at the highly anticipated Airshow China, which will be held from November 8 to 13 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, with the J-20 scheduled to display its first landing and flight to the public. 

The GJ-2 drone will also perform a flight demonstration for the first time, said Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, a spokesperson of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, on Sunday. 

The PLA Air Force will participate in the Airshow with 50 types of weapons and equipment for military training and preparation in the new era, according to Shen.

The J-20 landed in Zhuhai for the first time on Saturday for a rehearsal while the YU-20 also rehearsed a flight performance for the first time. As China's fifth-generation fighter jet, the J-20 that has been deployed in increasing numbers and flown farther and farther in recent years is playing an increasingly important role in military training and preparation in the new era.

As China's next-generation aerial refueling equipment, the YU-20 has conducted aerial refueling training with other fighter jets - the J-20, J-16 and J-10C - many times, enhancing the long-range maneuvering capability of the PLA Air Force aviation units.

The PLA Air Force's new combat forces will also be on display at the Airshow. The GJ-2 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which is a medium-altitude, long-endurance reconnaissance and combat integrated UAV system developed by China, will perform its first flight demonstration. It is an important weapon for border patrol and fighting terrorism. 

Other UAVs including the WZ-7, WZ-8, and WZ-10 are on static display on the ground. What else are the KJ-500 early warning aircraft and H-6K bombers, which have flown over the Bashi Channel, the Miyako Strait, the Tsushima Strait and the Taiwan Straits in recent years.

Military expert Wang Mingzhi told the Global Times on Sunday that the first landing of the J-20 at Zhuhai Airport is the most intuitive way to show the confidence of the PLA Air Force.

"It allows both professionals and ordinary spectators at the Airshow to observe the details of the J-20 aircraft, which is a perfect demonstration of the openness and confidence of the PLA Air Force by displaying the beauty of its fifth-generation fighter aircraft in an all-round way," Wang said. 

"The landing and takeoff of the J-20 at a civil airport also further demonstrates the aircraft's wide range of fast maneuvers and powerful comprehensive support capabilities," Wang said. 

As for the display of the PLA Air Force's new forces at the show, the expert said that unlike the static displays in the past, the PLA Air Force sent the GJ-2 drone to fly, which reflects the increasingly important role of UAVs in the equipment and systems of the Air Force.

"As a representative model, the GJ-2 UAV made its flight performance debut in Zhuhai, reflecting the integrity of the Air Force's equipment system and its confidence in the proficiency and safety of UAV control." 

As a new quality combat force, UAVs have played an important role in many local wars in recent years. In future wars, countermeasures against UAVs will also be an important issue. 

During this year's air show, a laser anti-drone system mounted on a vehicle is on static display, which Wang said showed that the PLA Air Force has a sufficient technical foundation and advanced capabilities to counter the UAV threat, as well as means to deal with new air security threats.