The Chengdu J-20 appeared in this year’s flying display at Airshow China, performing a conservative flying routine.
The show started with a three aircraft flyby, after which two aircraft performed a series of sweeping turns in tight formation. A solo aircraft also performed a series of rolls and a sharp climb before climbing out of the show and departing.
While the performance highlighted the type’s large size, there was a lack of aggressive maneuvers, such as the falling leaf and tight vertical loops. At air shows, such maneuvers are routine for the types to which the J-20 is most often compared, the Lockheed Martin F-22, and the Sukhoi Su-35.
Still, the J-20 performance was a few minutes longer than at the 2016 show, where two aircraft made a pass over the crowd. One aircraft then departed, leaving its partner to conduct a few turns before climbing out of the show.
For the first time, AVIC distributed a flyer with a very brief description of the aircraft: “The J-20 developed independently by China is a heavy stealth fourth-generation fighter (aka fifth generation internationally), renowned for its dominant role of medium & long range air combat and excellent capability in ground & marine precision strike,” it states.
“Its overall combat effectiveness marks significant improvement compared with that of third-generation fighters. Major operational missions include: seizing and maintaining air superiority, medium & long-range fast interception, escort and deep strike.”