The pair of twin-engine J-20s that put on a show for crowds at Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai on Tuesday were equipped with the WS-10 engine. The WS-10 was developed by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to replace Russian engines that were in early versions of the J-20.
But Tuesday marked the first time the homemade jets were revealed to the Chinese public and foreign onlookers.
In its June report, Global Times said the use of the domestic engines showed “the J-20 is becoming more and more technically mature.”
“More PLA units based in different locations across the country are expected to get more J-20s, significantly enhancing the PLA Air Force’s capability of safeguarding the motherland’s sovereignty, airspace and development interests,” the report said, citing an anonymous military expert.
However US officials have long said the J-20 can’t stack up to US stealth fighters.
In 2016, then-US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said the J-20’s technology was more akin to the F-117A, early stealth jets the US introduced in 1983 and had retired by 2008.
CNN’s Shawn Deng contributed to this report.
Analysis: China has upgraded its best stealth fighter jet with domestic-made engines