J-20 Displays Missiles for First Time
(Source: Global Times; published Nov 11, 2018)
By Liu Xuanzun in Zhuhai and Ji Yuqiao in Beijing
A fly-over by two J-20 stealth fighters with their missile bays open to show six air-to-air missiles celebrated the 69th birthday of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force on the last day of the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai. (GT photo)
Armed with six missiles, China's most advanced stealth fighter jet, the J-20, opened its missile bay door to the public for the first time when performing at the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province on Sunday, in celebration of the 69th birthday of the Chinese People's Liberation (PLA) Air Force.

Chinese experts said on Sunday that the move displayed the J-20's superiority compared with the US' top fighter jets, the F-22 and F-35.

Four J-20 fighter jets in formation slashed through the sky above the air show venue at about 10:50 am, as the crowd of spectators exclaimed surprised "wows" in unison.

Only three J-20s in formation had flown in the previous day's show.

Two of the J-20s then, for the first time at the air show and the first time in public, opened their missile bay doors while flying, showcasing four missiles in its belly and one on each side of the aircraft.

The J-20 continued to perform dazzling maneuvers, before disappearing in the clouds after about 10 minutes.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator told the Global Times on Sunday that the four missiles in the J-20's belly are long-range air-to-air missiles, while the two on the sides are short-range combat missiles intended for dogfights.

The J-20 can carry a variety of missiles, which indicates the J-20's strong aerial control capability, Song said.

Song said that despite being fully-loaded with missiles, the fighter jet can still perform remarkably, which means it has incredible maneuverability even in real-combat scenarios.

Sunday also marks the 69th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Air Force.

A spectator surnamed Wang told the Global Times that he was extremely excited by the J-20's performance.

"I knew that the PLA Air Force was to celebrate its birthday with a surprise. When I saw four J-20s, I realized that was it," Wang said. "It was beyond my wildest imagination that they would showcase their missiles," he said.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, told the Global Times on Sunday that the J-20 air show displayed the openness and confidence of the PLA to foreign countries.

The J-20 is one of only a few types of the fifth-generation fighter jets in service in the world. Others include the F-22 and F-35 made by the US.

Song said after the show he believes the J-20 to be superior to US fighter jets although it was put into service later, judging by their combat and striking capabilities.

When integrated with multiple combat systems including revolutionary new engines and missiles in the future, the J-20 can further improve its capability, Song said, noting that the F-22's technology is becoming outdated while the F-35 has inherent defects.

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