China’s J-20 fifth-gen warplane is operational

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force has officially commissioned the J-20 into service as a long-range fighter/bomber, becoming the second country behind the United States to build and operate stealth fighter aircraft. The twin-engine plane is built by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation and is a single-seat aircraft designed for long-range fighter missions. It’s not yet known how many J-20s are in

The twin-engine plane is built by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation and is a single-seat aircraft designed for long-range fighter missions. It’s not yet known how many J-20s are in service or whether any of the planes have yet been assigned to squadrons.

One drawback: The lack of a Chinese-made jet engine for the plane.

The domestically produced WS-15 turbofan engine, which has been under development since the 1990s, has not yet entered serial production.

Analysts believe current J-20s are equipped with older Saturn AL-31 engines, which are made in Russia. Also, some reports suggest the J-20 is not yet capable of sustained supersonic flight like its U.S. counterpart, the Lockheed-Martin-built F-22 Raptor.

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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