Chinese J-20 spectators ‘breathtaking’ with deadly manoeuvres; Yu-20 plane breaks cover at Changchun Air Show
Chinese combat aircraft (PLAAF), the J-16 and the stealthy J-20, showed their power at the Changchun Air Show recently. Both the J-16 and the J-20 have been used by the PLAAF to intimidate Taiwan as Beijing seeks to reunify the island with the mainland.
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There were several attractions in the open house event that entertained Chinese citizens. However, the mainstay was the aerobatic demonstrations by the PLA Air Force’s most capable fighter jets – the J-16 multirole fighter jet, the J-20 stealth fighter jet and the large transport plane Y-20.
The aerial demonstrations of these planes took place a few weeks after their participation in the exercises surrounding Taiwan after the visit of Nancy Pelosi.
While the J-16 is the most frequent visitor to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the J-20 has been deployed to the East and South China Sea for combat patrols .
A Y-20 transport plane took off and stunned the crowd with maneuvers like low-flying and sharp turns, demonstrating the aircraft’s agility despite its huge size.
The open house event also saw the launch of the YU-20 transport aircraft, an aerial tanker variant of the Y-20 transport aircraft.
The debut came just two days after the PLAAF released a photo of the J-16 and J-20 being refueled in-flight by the YU-20 aircraft, as previously reported by the EurAsian Times.
A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) spokesman said earlier that the YU-20, a next-generation tanker intended to improve the long-range operational capabilities of other aircraft, was included in combat readiness training.
— Zhou Li周莉 (@Zhou_Li_CHN) August 26, 2022
The JH-7 fighter-bomber, H-6K bomber, HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missile and several types of radar systems were also on display, along with other main force equipment.
China has paraded its strike fighters and bombers amid heightened regional tensions with Taiwan and Western adversaries.
China has been downright belligerent since May when the US president embarked on his first visit to Asia when he conducted a series of exercises in the region, until August when he began live-fire exercises near the strait of Taiwan in response to US President Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
The breathtaking performance and dazzling maneuvers of the most advanced fighter jets in its fleet become all the more significant in the wake of escalating tensions.
D-16, D-20 steal the show
According to Chinese media, a J-16 multirole fighter aircraft stunned the audience at the event’s opening ceremony by performing multiple low-altitude maneuvers, demonstrating the pilots’ excellent judgment and control and mobility outstanding aircraft.
The J-16 has been upgraded to the J-16D variant and equipped with an advanced electronic warfare suite to improve precision capability and operational maneuver on the information and communication axis, putting implement a general aviation electronic system.
In April this year, the PLA claimed that armed with J-16 fighters, it tracked a US Navy warship USS Sampson crossing the Taiwan Strait. The aircraft is one of the most reliable in the PLA Air Force.
— Zhang Heqing 张和清 (@zhang_heqing) August 26, 2022
While the J-16 opened the show, the fifth-generation stealth Mighty Dragon closed the event. The event culminated with a J-20 stealth fighter jet performing a series of complex maneuvers, including quick pull-ups, quick turns, and successive horizontal and vertical movements.
A Chinese military analyst at the event, Wang Mingzhi, told the Global Times on Friday that the J-20 can quickly take up positions for attacks because maneuvers such as sharp spins and quick turns after pulls and dives are frequently used in dogfights. Li Debing, the pilot who flew the J-20 at the event, said the J-20’s flights were combat-focused.
— BNN China (@BNNChina) August 27, 2022
The PLA’s first combat unit equipped this particular J-20 and recently participated in joint exercises over Taiwan earlier this month. China has released a video showing J-20 stealth fighter jets taking part in military exercises, flying from an airfield.
The Chinese J-20 is the most advanced fighter aircraft in its inventory. With the Mighty Dragons, the PLAAF aims to bridge the capability gap with the US Air Force armed with F-22 Raptors and F-35s. A J-20 pilot recently revealed that the aircraft can search and track F-22 and F-35 aircraft.
The J-20 would have engaged with the American F-35, as revealed by USAF Pacific commander General Kenneth Wilsbach, who seemed optimistic about the aircraft’s prowess.
Chinese experts also spoke of the deadly combined force of the J-16 and J-20 fighters. China-Arms quoted Chinese military expert Wang Mingliang as saying, “As the J-16D and J-20 join hands, it must be one plus one greater than two, or even greater than three; we will use such a pairing in the future battlefield.
The PLA Air Force can easily fly missions around the island of Taiwan using heavy fighter jets like the J-20 and J-16 as well as large planes like bombers, early warning planes and reconnaissance planes, according to Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, who spoke to the Global Times.
The YU-20 aerial tanker, which could refuel other aircraft from the air and significantly extend their combat range, further amplifies this. The opening of the Changchun was a demonstration of its combat capability.