China's J-20 stealth fighter jet may have entered mass-production following its induction into an “ace unit” of the People's Liberation Army - Air Force (PLA-AF).
With the J-20 fighter jets, the ace unit, which enjoys the honor of shooting down or damaging 59 enemy aircraft, will be able to better perform their duties of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, Global Times quoted Shen Jinke, the spokesperson for the PLA –AF as saying Sunday.
In July this year, there were reports that the J-20 had been deployed to the country's Eastern Theatre Command, which overseas Beijing’s muscle-flexing over Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Last month, a formation of seven J-20s flew over Beijing in PLA-AF markings giving the clearest indication yet that the stealth jets, which Beijing considers a competitor to the US’ F-35, had completed its development program and was in active service with the nation’s air force.
The production number for the J-20s are not known but could run into hundreds over the next few years as China aims to retire older generation jets such as J-11 and stop imports of advanced jets from Russia.
While China considers the J-20 a match or more for the F-35, China’s closest adversary, Taiwan feels its recently ordered F-16V jets from the US are more than a match for the J-20, given their ability to network with other battlefield assets and their latest generation armaments.