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China’s J-20 fighter hits milestone with suspected first flight with WS15 engines

7th July 2023 - 14:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch


It is strongly speculated that a J-20 flew for the first time with twin WS15 engines in late June. (Photo: Chinese internet)

The consensus amongst the open-source community is that China has test-flown a J-20 powered fully by WS15 engines for the first time.

Chinese social media has been astir with claims that a J-20 fighter powered by two indigenous WS15 afterburning engines recently took to the air in a maiden flight.

The news was accompanied by blurry images and video clips purported to have been taken on 28 June at Chengdu’s main test airfield. These do not show the engine nozzles in sharp enough detail to reach any conclusion, nor are thrust vectoring control petals apparent.

On the same occasion, some kind of ceremony was apparent, featuring a banner bearing the number ‘15’.

It is difficult to confirm the veracity of these claims,

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Gordon Arthur


Gordon Arthur

Gordon Arthur was the Asia Pacific editor for Shephard Media. Born in Scotland and educated …

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