China Rolls Out J-20 Stealth Fighter, Navy Calls "Serious Threat" To US Assets

As tensions mount over the South China Sea shipping corridor which handles $5 trillion in annual trade, China has finally rolled out its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter jet which some have compared to the United States' F-22 Raptor.  

The new jet is rumored to have already been deployed to the South China Sea along with several of China's Su-35s, to take part in a joint combat patrol over the region, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense whose release did not mention the J-20.


The fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet made it's maiden flight in 2011 and was first shown to the public at a November, 2016 air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province. 

A spokesman for the People's Liberation Army (PLO), Shen Jinke, said that the J-20 would "help the air force better shoulder the sacred mission of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity," adding that the air force was in the middle of a modernization program in order to fight enemies on all fronts.



While the jet's combat service was announced on Friday, the J-20 was officially entered military service last September - and conducted nine days of drills along with older J-16 and J-10C fighters last month, according to the air force. 

The J-20 was designed for stealth and manoeuvrability and is powered by two jet engines, giving it extra power as well as the ability to survive engine failure, according to the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

The US Naval Institute said the aircraft was likely to be a serious threat to US aircraft, ships and bases, because the PLA might be able to put more of them into the sky.

Senior analyst at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute, Malcom Davis, told Business Insider that the J-20 is a "fundamentally different sort of aircraft than the F-35"


Davis characterized the J-20 as "high-speed, long-range, not quite as stealthy (as US fifth-gen aircraft), but [the Chinese] clearly don't see that as important." According to Davis, the J-20 is "not a fighter, but an interceptor and a strike aircraft" that doesn't seek to contend with US jets in air-to-air battles.

Instead, "the Chinese are recognizing they can attack critical airborne support systems like AWACS (airborne early warning and control systems) and refueling planes so they can't do their job," Davis said. "If you can force the tankers back, then the F-35s and other platforms aren't sufficient because they can't reach their target."

Retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula agrees. In a November assessment for Defense & Aerospace ReportDavis said "The J-20, in particular, is different than the F-22 in the context that, if you take a look and analyze the design, it may have some significant low-observable capabilities on the front end, but not all aspects — nor is it built as a dogfighter," adding "But quite frankly, the biggest concern is its design to carry long-range weapons."


A senior scientist at Lockheed told Business Insider that China made serious missteps in their attempt to integrate stealth into the J-20.

"It's apparent from looking at many pictures of the aircraft that the designers don't fully understand all the concepts of LO design," said the scientist.


E-Knight Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:50 Permalink

I remember watching a lengthy program that these new jets (and ours) cost multiple orders of magnitude more than if we just used regular f15/16s. It literally was something like you could have 100 F16s compared to one f35...guess no one thinks there might be SOME value in the quantity vs quality argument?

In reply to by

vato poco stizazz Wed, 02/14/2018 - 03:08 Permalink


shorter, more accurate USN spox: "quite frankly, the problem is that big expensive capital ships are sitting fuckin ducks. that can be taken out with laughable ease by 1) fancy-schmancy l-r missiles 2) massive swarms of cheap dumb explosives-laden drones - and we've known this since the mid-70's; we just never talk about it."

c'mon Trump. the future of naval warfare is that naval warfare has no future. put them sailor boys and their billion-dollar deathtraps in mothballs where they belong.

In reply to by stizazz

philipat Zero Point Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:23 Permalink

"because the PLA might be able to put more of them into the sky."

So does that mean that China can manufacture these things at a much lower cost because they don't have the MIC ripping off excessive margins through Government corruption all through the system? Yup, thought so...

And in terms of the REAL strategic balance, that warrants thinking about if a REAL war ever comes?

In reply to by Zero Point

MK ULTRA Alpha philipat Wed, 02/14/2018 - 09:47 Permalink

They cost over $100 million each. There are 8 test bed prototypes with a planned production run of 20. The J-20 is a cross between an F-35 and F-22.

The J-20 isn't comparable to the F-22. The F-22 is a stealth fighter, the J-20 is a high speed, long range strike aircraft, not for dog fights.

It fills a gap between a medium bomber and a high altitude interceptor.

China plans a total of 20 J-20 and 24 Su-35, that's 48 high performance aircraft. This is no challenge to the US, UK, France, Australia, Japan, and Russia.

The Chinese would need to procure 200 of this kind of mix to be able to challenge the US, but India, South China Sea bordering countries, and Taiwan would be overwhelmed by 48 J-20 and Su-35.

China has a long way to go before being able to defeat the US in any theater except a land war on the Chinese mainland. But that would be taken care of with thermonuclear weapons.

In reply to by philipat

MEFOBILLS Duane Norman Wed, 02/14/2018 - 12:46 Permalink

This is correct.  China is attacking weak points.  America power projects with a Navy and long distance air power.  

Long distance air power weakness are its tankers.  Shoot down tankers and AWACS, then america's fighters are grounded.

Carriers can be attacked from above, or a Chinese submarine can sneak into middle of a carrier battle group.

Both China and Russia have a defensive land based strategy.  China's building of islands is also a land based strategy, where you hop your military from island to island all the way down to Japan.  To do this hop action, you will need lots of cargo planes, and small ships, to then transport troops and supplies.


In reply to by Duane Norman

Laowei Gweilo Lost in translation Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

pretty much... I mean, really... threat? threat is the intention or likeliness of harm.

they use the same line against Russia for decades and how many times they bomb us lol

and now the Chinese, who we have exponentially far more social and economic mutual reliance with, is also a threat?


some DARPA liaison at Boeing's Phantom Works or Lockheed's Skunkworks just wants a budget increase lol

In reply to by Lost in translation

Element Dame Ednas Possum Wed, 02/14/2018 - 02:31 Permalink

Tell it to Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Phillipines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

They ALL want US firepower close by, to keep China at bay (even Vietnam!) because they have no doubts about what would happen if the USN was not active in the immediate region.


And tell it to all the former claimants re atolls, hydrocarbons and fisheries in the SCS - INTERNATIONAL WATERS no less.


All usurped by regular direct overt Chinese threats of war.


You think this all just stops if the US military goes away? Nope. If the US navy was not present and highly intimidating to China, there would be a MAJOR REGION-WIDE WAR ... for certain ... soon affter they left.


Readiness, deterrance and overwelming capability are the things Beijing understands, and which keeps the peace. That and guarded borders and alliances, that provides your sorry excuse for a net-nerd the luxuries, security and plenty which you enjoy.


But which you don't appreciate, nor even understand its origin - ingrate! Could you possibly have your head further up your arse? Or be any more wilfully ignorant and stupid?


There are many utter muppets like you on zh these days. You're all the dumbest, most short-sighted unthinking echo-chamber-addicted idiots I've encountered.


But why am I bothering to point-out the blindingly obvious to a hopeless trenchant cretin.

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

Koba the Dread Element Wed, 02/14/2018 - 03:07 Permalink

What's that body of water called? The South China Sea I think. That should be blindingly obvious to the most inattentive cretin. (I didn't use your construction of "a trenchant cretin" because the word trenchant means "incisive in expression or style", which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the context in which you used it.

As to Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Phillipines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. . . .  What has India got to do with the South China Sea. If the US navy were not in the (here it comes). . .the South China Sea, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Phillipines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as well as North Korea would, Asian-style work this all out. The dog in the manger is the US navy. The US government has seen the far east as material for colonization since the 1790s. Otherwise, why did Meriwether Lewis and William Clark go all the way to the Oregon coast when the Louisiana purchase went only to the ridge line of the Rocky Mountains?

In reply to by Element

Element Koba the Dread Wed, 02/14/2018 - 03:53 Permalink

Clearly English is not your first language, no, google is not the oracle.

trenchant [ tren-chuhnt ]
Main Entry: trenchant
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: sarcastic, scathing

My usage was entirely correct and made perfectly clear sense.


Is the Sea of Japan all Japan's?
Is the Gulf of Mexico all Mexico's?

You must be a dimwit if you think your argument cuts the mustard with any county but China.

The THREAD TOPIC is about the J-20, it is not concerning the SCS, the reference to all those countries is with regard to the overt belligerence of China.

My reference the SCS was clearly made in the context of clearly demonstrated and undenisble Chinese territorial beligerance, which they are also pursuing against Indian border territories.

You are so ignorant that you know nothing of this, but wish to talk rubbish anyway?

As for the rest of your verbal slop, we do not live in the 17th century. Those people are long dead, those times are long gone.

And if you think that sort of ludicrous * excuse * will make any headway with the SCS regional States, you are in for a significant disappointment.

In reply to by Koba the Dread

land_of_the_few Element Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:18 Permalink

Try again. Perhaps you might want to consider what the word "trench" means, apparently it has a well-known military meaning?

Merriam-Webster (US)


1: keen, sharp
2: vigorously effective and articulate
3 a : sharply perceptive : penetrating
 e.g.   a trenchant view of current conditions
  b : clear-cut, distinct

OED Oxford English Dictionary (UK)


Vigorous or incisive in expression or style.
‘the White Paper makes trenchant criticisms of health authorities’
2  archaic, literary (of a weapon or tool) having a sharp edge.
‘a trenchant blade’


Middle English (in trenchant (sense 2)): from Old French, literally ‘cutting’, present participle of trenchier (see trench).


In reply to by Element

Element Normally Aspirated Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:04 Permalink

So you would side-step, appologise and wink at Chinese beligerence and coersion?

Does debt growth matter only to the USA, too?

Nope. And nor does militarism and aggression.

Militaristic beligerance is not o be winked at from any major regional power.

You falsely claim that:
"China has no history of conquest"

That is pure a-historical horse shit and ignorance speaking.

China has had wars with almost ALL of its neighbours, in the past century, alone.

Look up the border wars it hsd with India and Russia, in the latter half of last century. Those wars almost went nuclear.

Look up the Korean War, they invaded North Korea and attacked Sourh Korea, and TRIED TO OVER RUN IT! And relentlesdly attacked a UN force there and butchered them. That war almost went nuclear!

Look up the "Taiwan Straits Crisis" ... that one very definately almost produced a nuclear war!

And you better look up the PLA's origins in a massive and barborous civil war that killed tens of millions. That's why the communist party exists today in China.

And its proxy wars in South East Asia in the 1950s (Laos), 1960s and 1970s, where China attempted, promoted, armed, trained and financed a region wide Maoist Communist infiltration and attepted revolutionary takeover of several SEA states!

Can you really be so oblivious?

You may be completely oblivious to China's militarily aggressive recent past, but people in proximity to China, who lived through it, know all too well what Beijing will do if the US were to pack up its tent and go home.

And the US knows it too, which is why they don't and won't be going away any time this century.


Most of them want to be US Allies, out if necessity, because they know China is so much worse, and so much more DANGEROUS AND DELUDED, AND HAS A MASSIVE (ALLEGEDLY HISTORICAL) JUVANILE CHIP ON ITS SHOULDER, about imaginary 'wrongs' and aserted imaginary entitlements.

Towards just about every one, it feels entitled to what is not China's.

And that is the source of their current TRENCHANT beligerance and militarism.

In reply to by Normally Aspirated

holy_crane Element Thu, 02/15/2018 - 07:03 Permalink

China's belligerence??? USA rule-based play??? So all these decades what we look around is the USA following international rules? :) lol

Taiwan Island has been part of the Chinese sovereignty for many centuries, China lost it only by the Shimonoseki Treaty 1895 (The First War of Japanese Invasion against China). The Diaoyu islands (Japan call it Senkaku) is resulted from the same treaty. The current schism is resulted from a Civil War in China that ended in 1949. Ultimately the Chinese people will solve their intrafamily matter. It is not an American business to get involved there. China's claim on the South China Sea does not happen in recent decades or in current century. Much longer than that. Problem, China was so weak in the past, they couldn't defend their claims.

It ain't the China's belligerence that all these problems happen. To the most part the USA intervention, with the Empire attitude, is the prime causes to the many problems around the Chinese backyard. By time all will be fixed one by one. The Chinese civilization exists way much longer then the Empire tenure :) I have no doubt at all on this view. The Empire tenure is limited and thing will change!

In reply to by Element

Element roddy6667 Wed, 02/14/2018 - 17:50 Permalink

I don't have any reason to "believe" any of it, it has occurred, and is currently still occuring, I saw myself what the Chinese Communist Party is all about.

You dwel in a self-sellecting fantasy, apparently - facts optional!


There are always the pseudo-intellectual high-minded ignorant idiots (looking at you) who want to blindly deny what the mainland Communists have done, are doing, and will keep doing, because their massive tyrannical anti-free-speach, anti-freedom propaganda front, has been so effective, that smug and TRENCHANT IDIOTS, like yourself, now exist all accross the globe, and refuse to face the facts of what they actually DO.


(you might want to look up what the Chinese communists actuallybdid, and still do to intellectual and pseudo-intellectual 'readonable' types ... it ain't pretty)


And not by any means just externally, they are just as vile and violent to the Chinese people themselves! But according to a genious like you, they are being misrepresented?




What they say and assert, could not possibly be any more dissimilar to what they actually do in practice.



It is opinionated useless idiots (as opposed to useful) like you who carry their water for them, and fawn to their lying narative, and appologise for what they are, and would, if you could, re-write their sordid grubby history in glowing reverencial terms.


Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

In reply to by roddy6667

roddy6667 Element Thu, 02/15/2018 - 09:44 Permalink

You don't know anything except the propaganda that your handlers feed you. I live in China. My wife and her 6 siblings and her parents have lived through it all. I know what they went through. I experience China every day, after 65 years in America. I think I have a little direct knowledge. You seem to think the Mao Zedong is still alive and that the year is 1955. Come out from under your rock. The world moves forward.

China has not been communist since 1978, but you didn't get the memo in your trailer park. The average Chinese citizens has many freedoms that Americans lost in the last few decades. It is easier to start a company and get rich in China than it is in America. 54% of the country is now middle class, by Western standards. All classes make gains every year, something that backsliding Americans cant say.

You know absolutely nothing about China. Keep reading and believing those propaganda handouts. You are a Good Citizen.  

In reply to by Element

rwe2late Element Wed, 02/14/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

Your belief that the USA is a neutral and honest "protector" is ill-founded.

Taiwan is part of China. The chief problem is US meddling since Kai-shek and his drug lords. The British had enough sense to get out of Hong Kong and allow the Chinese to manage their affairs.

The Philippines, Japan and South Korea are US-occupied client states. They have all been invaded, conquered, and occupied militarily by the USA. Your conviction about the continued desire of others for US military occupation ("protection") is open to question.

Your belief that the best way to deal with others is by intimidation because "they" only understand "overwhelming force"  is a reflection of your crass chauvinism.

Instead of economic sanctions, financial blackmail,  and military threats, the USA would do better to change and promote cooperation (though that would require the USA to remove its organizational dependency on militarism and corporate greed).


Have you ever heard of "self-fulfilling prophecy"?

Well, it can work in a different direction than you would have it..


In reply to by Element

Element rwe2late Wed, 02/14/2018 - 18:56 Permalink

Why, as you assert (AND WHICH I DID NOT SAY), would I ever "believe" the US is a "neutral"?

You are trying to put words in my mouth which I did not say. The US is plainly not neutral, it is the most likely to engage China in armed conflict. So obviously I would not for one second consider the US to be "neutral".

That is YOUR assertion, not my remarks, nor my thoughts.

South Korea was NOT INVADED BY THE US, the US was emergency requested to assist militarily (under a UN mandate no less, with numerous other countries doing the same, btw) to repulse by combat force, an armed invasion of ROK by the DPRK, which invasion was backed directly by both Russia and COMMUNIST CHINESE PLA.

South Korea is not occupied - it never has been occupied by the US!

Japan was occupied briefly, but today isn't, the occupation ended after WWII, when the Japanese DEMOCRATICALLY adopted a new national Constitution, and voted in a DEMOCRATIC government, that chose to have US bases remain in Japan. So much for the awful occupation, it was the best thing that ever happened to Japan!

The Democrstically elected Govt of Japan today, DESPERATELY WANTS THE US MILITARY TO STAY IN JAPAN, and into the foreseeable future. The PM of Japan made that very clear, the moment Trump was elected, as he was the first govt leaded to visit Trump, to convey that very message.

So no, it is *NOT* an "open quedtion", as to if many Asian states desperately want the US military present. They absolutely do want the US military to stay, and to directly threaten and hold at risk Chinese military forces, and Chinese mainland military targets.

Taiwan feels exactly the same. There is no question of this.

As for Phillpines, it was occupied in the 18th century! During the COLONIAL ERA OF GLOBAL PRE-MODERN HISTORY ... for god's fucking sake!


You dismal fucking idiot.

When the cold war ENDED, Davis AFB was closed in 1992! The invited US forces, who were NOT an occupation force at all, packed up its tent and went home.


Because the combined Russian and Moaist Communist threat to South East Asia had finally collapsed, after 4 decades.

And guess what? The majority of SEA states in 1992 expressed grave concerns that the US military may be completely disengaging from the SEA region!

So much so in fact that Washington had to repeatedly reassure countries in ASEAN during the whole of the 1990s, that the US military was not going away, but was just re-deploying from forward bases that were no longer required, because Chinese and Russian communism, as a global revolutionary ideology for war, had become completely discredited and rejected.

And guess what ASEAN states were worried about in the 1990s? Chinese military attacks and occupation in the South China Sea!

So the US left the Phillipines, which had NOT been OCCUPIED by the US, since WWII, when it liberated it, same way they did in France.

Your assertions are twisted bullshit, cherry-picked utter rubbish, you have zero commitment to the knowns, you just spew shallow ignorant propaganda mantras, which are fake naratives regularly repeated in Russian and Chinese state media lie-factories.

I am beyound question of the mind that China will only respond favourably to credible military capability, and a real existential tthreat to it, backing with either diplomacy, or else politics via other means, and the destruction of its military expeditionary forces.

I have zero doubt that if the USN, USAF and USMC were not present, that the Beijing Communist Party would fully coerce and militarily operate against local military forces in the region, in armed combat, to turn regional countries into a carbon-copy of what they have done to the Chinese people - themselves.

Which they hate, but no choice at all.

Beijing wants to create mirror-images of their despotic one-party state, authoritarian, anti-free-speach, anti-freedom, genuinely kleptocratic, endemically corrupt, chauvanistic, anti-human-rights, a central-committee governed Commie ...

***   S H I T   H O L E   ***

Which you seem to admire so much?

Your idiocy begs for attention to be taken seriously? For you to not be scathingly dismissed as a TRENCHANT muppet?

Dream on.


In reply to by rwe2late