China People’s Liberation Army Air Force J-20 Stealth Fighter TV Promo : I Am J-20. At least six J-20s are in active service, with tail numbers 78271-78276 identified. Another six were believed ready to be delivered by end of Dec 2016. On 9 March 2017, Chinese officials confirmed that the J-20 had entered service in the Chinese air force. In September 2017, the J-20 officially entered military service with PLAAF, making China the second country in the world after United States wielding fifth-generation stealth aircraft, and the first in Asia. In January 2018, Chinese media reports that J-20 is in full operation-ready deployment.
The J-20 has a long and wide fuselage, with the chiseled nose section and a frameless canopy. Immediately behind the cockpit are low observable intakes. All-moving canard surfaces with pronounced dihedral are placed behind the intakes, followed by leading edge extensions merging into delta wing with forward-swept trailing edges. The aft section features twin, outward canted all-moving fins, short but deep ventral strakes, and conventional round engine exhausts.
One important design criterion for the J-20 describes high instability. This requires sustained pitch authority at a high angle of attack, in which a conventional tail-plane would lose effectiveness due to stalling. On the other hand, a canard can deflect opposite to the angle of attack, avoiding stall and thereby maintaining control. A canard design is also known to provide good supersonic performance, excellent supersonic and transonic turn performance, and improved short-field landing performance compared to the conventional delta wing design.
Leading edge extensions and body lift are incorporated to enhance performance in a canard layout. This combination is said by the designer to generate 1.2 times the lift of an ordinary canard delta, and 1.8 times more lift than an equivalent sized pure delta configuration. The designer claims such a combination allows the use of a smaller wing, reducing supersonic drag without compromising transonic lift-to-drag characteristics that are crucial to the aircraft’s turn performance.
According to the Jamestown Foundation, the J-20 has the potential for development into a high performance stealth aircraft comparable to the F-22 Raptor, if given appropriate engines.