“2017” prototype heralds the end of an era for J-20 fighter jet testing, start of another era
The eighth J-20 prototype “2017” made its maiden flight on November 24, 2015 at the Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) factory in Chengdu, China. Complete with a red carpet launch ceremony, the event was well attended by AVIC dignitaries, J-20 program personnel and government officials. After several months of preliminary flight testing, “2017” is likely to be taken by the Chine Test Flight Establishment (CTFE) to remote northern China, where it can conduct more significant testing away from prying eyes.
If those projections hold, China be the second country in the world, after the U.S., to field an operational stealth fighter force in the “fifth generation” category. While the initial batch of J-20s may not be as fast as the F-22 (but will be fast as the F-35), they will still possess stealthy features, advanced radars, jammers, infrared sensors and long range missiles, providing new competition in the arms race to dominate the skies.
Full article: China Is Building The World’s Second Stealth Air Force (Popular Science)