Beijing: China’s induction of the latest J-20 stealth bomber, the first in the region, into its air force fleet will enhance the country’s “new war capacities" and break the US and Japan’s monopoly in Asia-Pacific region, according to the state media.
The introduction of stealth fighter has made waves as China is the first in the region to have the stealth bomber. Its introduction is very significant for India as the Indian Air Force is yet to acquire a stealth fighter, leaving a major gap in the strategic forces levels, specially in the high-altitude Tibet region, military observers said.
China’s latest J-20 stealth fighters have been commissioned into air force combat service, Shen Jinke, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force said last week.
The introduction “marks an important step for the J-20 to have comprehensive combat capabilities," Shen said.
“The J-20 played a vital role in the air force’s Red Sword 2017 exercise and laid a foundation for the enhancement of its new war capacities," state-run Xinhua news agency had quoted him as saying.
“The stealth jets will improve the air force’s comprehensive fighting ability and enable it to better safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity," Shen said.
Since the fighters have been commissioned into the combat units, the air force has made steady progress in the training of pilots, Shen said.
Only the US has a range of stealth fighters in its air force fleet. The J-20 is China’s fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet.
It made its maiden flight in 2011 and was first shown to the public at the 11th Air show China in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, in November 2016.
“Once a new type weapon or equipment is delivered to the military, it will be tested by troops specialising in testing, and the troops will inform the relevant department if adjustments are needed.
Normally this process takes 1-2 years," Song Zongping, a military expert and TV commentator told the state-run Global Times.
“After this process, the new weapon will be formally armed by combat troops, which means it will be used in actual combat, and the J-20 will engage with rivals in the future who dare to provoke China in the air," the report quoted Song as saying.
Shen said the People’s Liberation Army Air Force was becoming a modern strategic unit capable of combat in all territories, asserting that it will become a significant force in shaping the situation, to manage and control crises, to deter war and to win the war.
“The J-20 will also change the history of the air force in Asia-Pacific region. In the past, only the US and its allies like Japan were capable of arming stealth fighter jets. But now, their monopoly in this region has been broken by China’s J-20," Song said.