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According to Chinese media, the newly developed stealth fighter J-20 has now been selected as the aircraft for the next generation of Chinese aircraft carriers. The J-20, developed by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), has thus prevailed over the F-31 presented by Shendyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), which produces the previous J-15 carrier aircraft. Both are subsidiaries of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The J-20, “Powerful Dragon”, should be able to reach a speed of 2,470 km/h. With its length (20.3 m) and wingspan (12.90 m) it has approximately the dimensions of the American F-22, with which it is also compared in the Chinese presentation. Operating radius is 1,100 km (300 km more than the F-22). Armament is six air-to-air missiles, one aircraft cannon is not confirmed. In the past there were massive problems with the Russian engines of the fighter launched in 2017. After a third revision they seem to be fixed meanwhile.

China intends to introduce four modern aircraft carrier groups by 2030. The previous J-15 carrier aircraft (in service since 2012) will continue to be available.

Hans Uwe Mergener