The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has confirmed that it is using Chengdu J-20 fighter jets to patrol the East China Sea.
According to the Chinese air force, the 5th generation aircraft has the mission to track stealth aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
The US fighter is operated by South Korea and Japan and is also part of the US Navy’s fleet of nuclear aircraft carriers that are sailing in the region.
Known as the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the area is located between the three countries, close to the cities of Shanghai (China) and Nagasaki (Japan), but also north of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. According to Chinese state outlets, the J-20 has been operating in the region since mid-July.
In March, USAF General Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the Pacific Air Forces, revealed that J-20 and F-35 fighter jets had a fairly close encounter.
The military said that the approach between the aircraft took place in the East China Sea region, but did not clarify when it took place. “We recently had, I wouldn’t call it an engagement, where we got relatively close to the J-20s along with our F-35s in the East China Sea, and we’re relatively impressed with the command and control associated with the J-20,” the USAF official said.
The J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ is the most advanced fighter in production outside the US and active that has motivated the Pentagon to review the training of its pilots for the scenario of confrontation with enemy stealth aircraft.