China trails United States in development of 6th generation aircraft

Vastavam web: China, which in recent years tried to catch up with the US in the design and production of new generation warplanes, is trailing the American air force in the development of the sixth-generation fighter jets by several years, according to a media report. America is leading the world in the sixth-generation fighter jets with the US Air Force saying it has flown a prototype a milestone that is still years away for China, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

The US has two fifth-generation fighters in service: the Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35, both with stealth, supersonic cruise, super maneuverability and superior avionics. The bulk of its advanced jets mostly comprise of Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft, including Su-27, Su-30KK and Su-35S, besides J-15 which has been specifically developed to operate from the decks of the aircraft carriers being developed by it.

China currently has one aircraft carrier, Liaoning, a refit of the Soviet-era ship which was commissioned in 2012 and the second indigenously developed carrier, Shandong, is undergoing sea trials while the third one is under construction. Also, China which helps its all-weather ally Pakistan to jointly produce JF-17 fighter jets, recently upgraded it with new Block-3 version.

The upgraded JF-17 fighter jet featuring the technologies of China’s stealth fighter J-20 made its maiden flight early this year in the Chinese city of Chengdu. JF-17 Thunder, which was previously referred to as FC-1 Xiaolong, was previously a single-engine multi-role light fighter jointly produced by the two countries for several years with engines supplied by Russia. China’s fifth-generation fighter project began in 1997, but it was not until 2011 that the Chengdu J-20 had its first flight, and 2017 when it entered the service.