China unveils J-20 stealth fighter's missile capability at airshow

AFP  Wang Zhao

Speaking to a press conference Sunday at the Zhuhai air show, Chinese air force deputy commander Lieutenant General Xu Anxiang revealed a three-step roadmap toward renovating the country's aerial military capabilities, as the official China Military Online reported.

The claim is the new missiles are comparable to US AIM-9X missiles.

In a Xinhua video, two J-20s screamed over the huge crowds at Airshow China with bomb bay doors open, showing four long-range missiles mounted inside.

While the Chinese stealth fighter has participated in combat training exercises, the J-20, unlike its American counterparts, has never been deployed in actual combat.

While China has touted various achievements in the J-20 programme, it has also seen setbacks, particularly with respect to the lack of a reliable indigenous engine. He said that by 2020, China would integrate space and aerial warfare as well as strike and defensive techniques using fifth-generation aircraft as well as earlier models.

Participants in the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, in south China's Guangdong province, signed more than 569 contracts, agreements and cooperation memoranda totaling USD21.2 billion with 239 aircraft sold.

The Americans have faced serious technical issues with the planes and severe backlash over the cost of the development program - each Raptor is priced at about $140 million, compared to $50 million spent by the Chinese for each J-20. Two missiles were also mounted under the jets' wings.

Of the six missiles, four of them in the J-20's belly are long-range air-to-air missiles, while the other two on the sides are short-range missiles intended for dogfights, Song Zhongping, a military expert was quoted as saying by Global Times news daily Monday.

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