The F-35 Lightning II fighter is operated by South Korea and Japan and is also part of the US Navy’s fleet of nuclear aircraft carriers that are sailing in the region.
This assumes significance as it is the first time Chinese official sources have confirmed a J-20 was employed to identify foreign military planes in China’s ADIZ.
It implies that the J-20 is entirely capable of detecting and recognizing the stealth fighter aircraft of other nations, according to China Daily.
Generally, an air defense identification zone is a unilaterally declared area where the claimant country tracks and identifies aircraft flying within that designated space.
China’s ADIZ covers the entire East China Sea and overlaps with Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwan ADIZ.
The article said the Air Force was now “flying the routes that had not been flown and accessing the airspace that had never been reached” as it became capable of carrying out “both defensive and offensive operations.”
In March 2022, US Pacific Air Forces Commander General Kenneth Wilsbach revealed that the US F-35 stealth fighter jet had a close encounter with China’s J-20 stealth fighter jets over the East China Sea.
At the time, the Commander had sounded optimistic about the J-20’s capability. However, the J-20 pilot’s comment goes a step ahead.
The J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ is the most advanced fighter in production outside the US and active that has motivated the Pentagon to review the training of its pilots for the scenario of confrontation with enemy stealth aircraft.