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China's Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter showcased; looks to narrow military gap with US

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:45 IST

China, on 1 October, during the country's biggest meeting of aircraft makers and buyers - Airshow China - showcased its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter in public for the first time.

The showcase in the southern city of Zhuhai, offers Beijing an opportunity to demonstrate its ambitions in civil aerospace and to underline its defence ambitions. According to media reports, China is set to leave the US behind as the world's top aviation market in the next decade.

Two J-20 jets, in the opening ceremony generated a deafening roar setting off car alarms in a parking lot at the site. The J-20 was received with a loud round of applause.

An international news agency quoted Bradley Perret, a veteran China watcher as saying, "It is clearly a big step forward in Chinese combat capability."

However, media reports suggest that analysts say it is too early to ascertain as to how the new Chinese fighter can match radar-evading properties of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air-to-air combat jet, developed for the US Air Force and the J-20's closest lookalike, or the latest strike jet in the US arsenal, Lockheed's F-35.

However, experts are of the opinion that China has been refining designs in order to narrow down military gap with Washington.

Cao Qingfeng, an aircraft engineer said the "stunning" display was a show of China's strengthening aircraft industry and manufacturing, reported an international news agency.

"This shows they now have confidence to put it out in public," said a Western industry official who has monitored the biennial show from its inception 20 years ago.

"This is the airplane for China in the way that the J-31 is not; this is the one they develop for themselves," he added.

First published: 1 November 2016, 2:13 IST