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China races to build ‘Mighty Dragon’ stealth fighters to keep up with US.

China has ramped up production of its Mighty Dragon, the J-20 stealth fighter, at state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the country to match US Air Force technology in the region.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is using what Chinese military and defense experts say are “world-class” pulse production lines to speed up the delivery of its advanced fighter jets, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Sunday.

“The increased production of J-20 was intended to balance the increasing use of the dominant US aircraft, the F-22, and another fifth-generation stealth fighter, the F-35, in the region,” the military said.
“The use of new pulsed production lines and domestic engines brought the number of J-20s to match or even exceed the number of American F-22 Raptors.”

China may have built at least 200 J-20s, based on the serial and run numbers painted on the planes displayed at an air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, this month. 

Serial numbers painted on four J-20s at two air shows indicated that Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, the plane’s developer, had delivered at least one aircraft of its last two blocks, the third and fourth, to the United States. 

Defense News claimed earlier this month, citing military aviation expert Andreas Rupprecht. The US deployment of more than 100 F-35
visits to Japan and South Korea in 2017 reportedly led to the PLA’s use of the J-20 pulsed production lines.

An aircraft can be assembled on a pulsed production line after it has entered the final assembly phase, which requires the precision assembly of major structural components and flight control systems, including the cockpit, engines, wings, tail, and landing gear. and weapon system.

According to Lockheed Martin, the fact that standardized electronic tail and targeting system stations are placed on vertically moving aircraft allows more work to be done in less time. According to Fu Qianshao, a PLA Air Force equipment specialist, China has often used the pulse production line to produce both military and commercial aircraft.

j20 china

“China will never reveal the exact number of its military aircraft, but I believe that the combat capability of the J-20 is at the level of the F-22 and even more advanced than the F-35 because it is designed and developed for the new century,” he asserted.
American experts, however, disagree, Because the PLA, unlike the US Air Force and Navy, lacks systematic joint operations between different combat wings, Stephen Burgess, a professor in the Department of International Security Studies at the US Air War College, believes that it is too early to draw any conclusions about the possible air superiority of the J-20.

“[PLA] air superiority over China is possible. “Over the western Pacific, it’s doubtful,” he said.

“There are many variables to consider: pilots, network-centric warfare, air supply, the technical advantages of the US Navy’s F-22 and F-35C, etc.”
J-20 is inspired by the F-35. According to Zhou Chenming, a researcher at the Yuan Wang Military Science and Technology Think Tank in Beijing,
Chinese aircraft manufacturers were encouraged to create their own production lines through the development of the F-35.

“Now both CAIG and other state aircraft developers have adopted the technology to produce their fighters,” Zhou said.
“This is why the PLA has been able to accelerate the replacement of the warplane in recent years.”
According to calculations, the J-20 costs about 110 million dollars to build, which is less than half the price of the F-22 Raptor. a report posted on the PLA social media account in 2018.
Despite requiring both expensive maintenance and training, Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation produced PLA KJ-500 early warning aircraft on a pulsating production line at Asia’s largest aircraft factory in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, in a series broadcast by state-run China Central Television in December 2019.
Seven years after Lockheed Martin released videos of their use in its F-35 factory, China has for the first time confirmed the use of pulse production lines. According to Lockheed Martin’s annual report, F-35s were delivered last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, and 156 aircraft are expected this year.

The defense firm once boasted that its ingenious production method could build 300 F-35s a year at maximum capacity.

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