13 February 2018
The deployment of the J-20 stealth fighter for combat service and Su-35 jets for drills over the South China Sea shows the air force has “significantly boosted” its capacity to handle security threats from the sky, according to the People’s Liberation Army.
Collin Koh, a military expert with the maritime security programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the J-20 and Su-35 jets could potentially be used in a number of flashpoints in the region, including on the Indian border, the Taiwan Strait and the East and South China seas.
“The risk of encounters and clashes has intensified” with more highly advanced fighters such as the J-20 or Su-35 operating over contentious maritime zones, Koh said.
But Chinese military expert Adam Ni from the Australian National University said it was “too optimistic” to see the deployment as a leap forward in China’s deterrence capability.
“The exact operational status and readiness of the J-20 remains unclear. It can take years from initial deployment to achieve full operational status,” he said.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 14/02/2018