(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
Beijing’s stealthy Chengdu J-20 fifth-generation combat aircraft, pictured above in an artist’s rendering, may have entered low rate initial production according to state-owned Chinese media.
Xinhua—Beijing’s official news agency—published photos of the newest J-20 aircraft, which is still coated in primer paint, earlier this week. An editorial accompanying the photos suggests that the new stealth warplane has entered initial production. Xinhua noted that the serial number is an indication of that fact, having changed from the 20XX designation of earlier iterations to 2101. But the news agency is careful not to definitively state the stealthy warplane has entered full production.
The earlier J-20 prototypes were designated as 2001, 2002, 2011 and 2017. Aircraft 2001 and 2002 were used as technology demonstrators while aircraft 2011 and 2017 were production configuration flight-test articles, Xinhua noted. The aircraft’s configuration has remained stable over the past two iterations—which indicates that the design works relatively well. Read more