Chinese J-20 Stealth Jets to Assume Dual Role as Early Warning Aircraft

J-20s can now serve in roles such as fighting, intercepting, attacking, and tactical bombing, as well as performing early warning and control functions
  • bureau
  • 08:19 AM, February 19, 2024
  • 1427
Chinese J-20 Stealth Jets to Assume Dual Role as Early Warning Aircraft
J-20 stealth fighter jet

The Chinese Air Force has equipped its J-20 aircraft with sensors which will enable them to function as early warning aircraft in addition to their role as fighter jets.

This transformation is part of an ongoing initiative led by the Wang Hai Air Group combat unit, which has been entrusted with training J-20 pilots and exploring the extensive capabilities of these aircraft.

As the first combat unit to commission J-20 fighter jets, the Wang Hai Air Group has verified and explored multiple capabilities of the aircraft in air combat. According to a recent report by China Central Television (CCTV), the unit has conducted combat missions under extreme weather conditions, showcasing the adaptability of the J-20.

"The J-20 is not only a fighter jet but also a node of aerial command, so we should not train the pilots to become just combatants; we should train them to also be aerial commanders," highlighted Lieutenant Colonel Yang Juncheng of the Wang Hai Air Group in a recent CCTV report.

The J-20, China's domestically developed stealth fighter jet, possesses complex combat systems across multiple fields of study. The Wang Hai Air Group has been tasked with exploring how to leverage the aircraft's capabilities, particularly in its new role as an early warning and control platform.

The training efforts led by the Wang Hai Air Group extend beyond its own pilots. With all of its pilots equipped with J-20s, the unit has established a system to train J-20 pilots and has assisted numerous other units in training their personnel to operate these advanced aircraft. This positions the Wang Hai Air Group as a talent reserve base for the PLA Air Force, specifically for the training of personnel on new aircraft.

As of September 2022, the PLA Air Force had announced the commissioning of an increasing number of J-20s, with deliveries spanning all Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern, and Central theater commands. The ongoing and future deliveries of the J-20, coupled with its evolving role as an early warning and control aircraft, underscore the necessity for intensive pilot training to ensure the effective utilization of China's most powerful fighter jet.

“Unlike the previous generation of multi-role fighter jets that focus on fighting, intercepting, attacking and tactical bombing, the J-20 has been given a new role, namely the early warning and control function, thanks to its advanced sensors, computing systems and avionics,” a military expert was quoted as saying by Chinese media.

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