At the Communist Party of China's (CPC) centenary celebrations today, fifteen J-20 fighters flew in formation over Beijing skies, the largest number of these jets open to viewing by the general public in any event till date.
The previous record was five, at the National Day military parade on October 1, 2019.
The J-20s, five in each of the three V-shaped formations, flew past Tiananmen Square as part of aerial performances to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC.
“A total of 15 J-20s flying together is unprecedented and amazing to behold. It indicates that the J-20 is becoming technologically mature and has entered mass production, with more units beginning to commission the aircraft,” Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Thursday.
There could be some additional J-20s that served as unused substitutes for the aerial performance, and there must also be more J-20s that did not participate the event, as they were needed in routine training and combat missions, Fu said. "From this, we can image that China now has a pretty large fleet of J-20s."
On June 18, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force announced that the Military Development Vanguard Air Group is now equipped with J-20s, becoming the second heroic ace force to fly the aircraft, following the Wang Hai Air Group that commissioned J-20s in 2019. The J-20s that joined service last month are powered by domestically developed WS-10 engines.