In a fitting reply to the U.S.' Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, air-to-air combat jet, China has put into service its new-generation J-20 stealth fighter warplane.
As per a Reuters report published Thursday, senior naval officers indicated that China is developing marine corps and building a "first class" navy. China had publicly showed off the new aircraft at Zhuhai air show for the first time in November last year, as was reported in CCTV.
Video footage from CCTV Channel 7 Thursday night showed J-20 fighters joining the People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force with Y-20 transport planes and H-6K bombers. However, the channel did not say how many J-20 fighter jets were serving in the air force, South China Morning Post reported.
The move comes at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping's is overseeing a massive modernization of the country's armed forces, the largest in the world, which includes anti-satellite missiles and advanced submarines, seeking to project power far from its shores, according to Reuters.
Although, the J-20 aircraft represent a leap forward for the Chinese defense-aerospace industry, questions remain whether it can match the radar-evading properties of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air-to-air combat jet or the latest strike jet in the U.S. arsenal, Lockheed's F-35. The closest look alike of the J-20 is the F-22, developed for the U.S. Air Force.
As China persistently continues to acquire Russian advanced fighters, the Russian government had announced that it started building 24 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), The National Interest had reported in November.
Apart from J-20 aircraft, which has been put into service, China is developing another stealth fighter, the J-31, which it showed at the Zhuhai airshow in 2014. The showcase of these warplanes, coincided with the then U.S. President Barack Obama's visit for an Asia-Pacific summit, Reuters reported.
China hopes the J-31 will compete with the U.S.-made F-35 stealth aircraft in the international market, according to state media reports.