China Begins Mass-producing Stealth Fighter

A J-20 stealth fighter of China takes part in a training session.
Xinhua/Yang Pan via Getty Image

China Begins Mass-producing Stealth Fighter

The first operational fifth-generation fighter jet designed outside the United States

China’s first stealth fighter jet, the fifth-generation J-20B, has entered mass production, according to an anonymous military source close to the project. The new stage of production was marked by a July 8 ceremony unveiling the jet, which was attended by senior military officials including the vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission.

The J-20A, the first version of the J-20 fighter jet, entered service in 2017 when the United States delivered 100 F-35 strike fighters to Japan and South Korea. The J-20 was designed to rival the F-35; however, it did not meet the agility requirements of a fifth-generation fighter. The newly updated J-20B jet is equipped with a modernized thrust vector control that allows better control and maneuverability. The new thrust allows pilots to tilt the jet’s exhaust nozzles, allowing it “to perform jaw-dropping maneuvers at very high angles of attack.” While this rapidly drains the jet’s energy, potentially leaving it vulnerable to attacks, it does provide an advantage in avoiding missiles and other air combat.

Delays on China’s domestically built WS-15 engine means the J-20B will use the Russian Saturn AL-31 engine. China’s engine is expected to be completed in a year or two and will give the jet a greater thrust-to-weight ratio, increasing its acceleration and rate of climb, as well as reducing reliance on Russian production.

The updated J-20B, built by Chengdu Aerospace Corp., is a full-fledged fifth-generation fighter—the only operational stealth jet designed outside the U.S. Fifth-generation fighters “are defined by their stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, super maneuverability, and highly integrated avionics.”

About 50 J-20B are believed to have already been built. Four production lines are now running, each capable of producing one jet per month. It is unknown how many the Chinese plan to produce.

Zack Cooper at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official specializing in U.S.-China military competition said, “It’s going to be really hard for us to keep up with the numbers that China’s going to have. … That’s going to be a really big struggle.”

Washington Examiner pointed out that the stealth fighter could be valuable in an invasion of Taiwan or “to seize control of the local airspace from neighboring U.S. allies.”

Senior research fellow on Chinese military and security at the Heritage Foundation, Dean Cheng, pointed out that Chinese air superiority is an “important prerequisite” for conflict on land or at sea. “Advanced surface-to-air missile systems are very, very lethal, so the idea that you’re going to fly a combat mission with non-stealthy aircraft is pretty much a nonstarter,” he said. The Chinese are equipping themselves with the tools necessary for military superiority.

The book The Governance of China provides an outline of President Xi Jinping’s Communist Party agenda. Quoting the main points of Xi’s November 2012 speech to the Central Military Commission, it states:

We must carry on the glorious traditions of our military. These traditions have been developed under the leadership of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, and we will continue to apply them as we strive to modernize our national defense and armed forces.

This central goal of modernizing its military will allow China to play its prophesied role in end-time events. Revelation 9:16 prophesies of a 200 million-man army emerging from “the kings of the east” alliance (Revelation 16:12). How could an army this massive form if it did not include the world’s most populous country? Not only will China provide the numbers for this army, it is also developing formidable military technology to accompany it.

In the 1959 Plain Truth, predecessor magazine to the Trumpet, editor in chief Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “[China’s] constant dream for centuries has been ultimate world conquest! … China knows, however, that in this highly industrialized age she can accomplish this dream only as an ally of Russia. … China is now ready to begin devouring the rest of Asia with Russia’s secret military backing.”

The Trumpet continues to heed this warning from Mr. Armstrong. In our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy, we write, “Keep your eye on China. Within a few short years, this nation—the ascendant, proud China that has emerged today—will dazzle the world. Watching its vault into great-power status truly is a look at the future.”

We are witnessing the ascendance of this proud China right now. With enhanced military capability, its threatening actions in the South China Sea, its takeover of Hong Kong, and its growing political influence around the world through its Belt and Road Initiative, this nation is laying the groundwork for its dream of “ultimate world conquest!”

For more information proving Russia and China’s identity as leading nations in the kings of the east alliance, and to learn whether China will achieve its goal of world conquest, read Russia and China in Prophecy.