China’s J-20 ‘fifth-generation’ multirole fighter has taken part in its first combat drills since its March 2017 deployment, according to a 12 January report by the state-owned China Daily newspaper.
Citing People’s Liberation Army Air Force announcement, the paper reported that exercises featured J-20 aircraft simulating aerial combat with older J-16 and J-10 fighters and also involved H-6K long-range bombers and Y-20 airlifter.
“This is the first time the [PLAAF] has confirmed that the J-20 has participated in a combat exercise,” the report said.
State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) also aired footage of J-20 superfighters engaging in beyond-visual training, which also included mock combats against J-16s and J-10s.
“This means both the two new fighters are now in full, operation-ready deployment and that the PLAAF is now able to hold combats between the two to hone the skills of its pilots, as both fighters are the cachets of their respective generations,” a Chinese news portal stated.
Chinese media reports claimed at the time that the platform would “soon” enter series production and that it was on a path towards achieving full operational capability.
The J-20 all-weather stealth jet fighters – the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s ace warplane, debuted during the PLA’s 90th anniversary parade held at the end of July last year in Inner Mongolia, and was officially commissioned on September 28, 2017.