China's J-20 stealth fighter is still in the development phase, according to several Chinese officials.
Wow, tell us something we don't know.
Ok; these officials did reveal that the jet is designed to "designed to protect the airspace over China," according to the Global Times newspaper. It cites several interviews with Zhu Heping, deputy president of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Air Force Command College and another official named Yin Zhou in revealing the fighter's function:
Yin Zhou, a delegate to the CPPCC, told Xinhua that the stealth fighter jet could be used to secure China's airspace in the event of a threat.This sheds new light on the debate about the purpose of the plane. For months now, people have been wondering if the J-20 is an actual prototype for a new stealth fighter or if it's simply a technology demonstrator. If it's a prototype for a production jet, that means China is much closer to fielding a stealth fighter than if this is simply a one-off proof of concept. The Chinese officials' answers, while vague, seem to say that the J-20 is a prototype.
Still, the officials could simply be speaking in abstract; saying the technologies developed in the J-20 will be key to 'protecting' China. We'll see.
Good on Steve Trimble for spotting the article.