The PLA Air Force has not disclosed the total number of J-20s at its disposal. Handout.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force for the first time showcased seven J-20 stealth fighter jets, the largest J-20 formation ever publicly shown, on Tuesday, leading experts to say China’s military is already operating a considerable number of J-20s, which could achieve regional aerial superiority and destroy the enemy’s strategic facilities deep in hostile territory.

In a video released by the PLA Air Force on social media, which was also the 74th anniversary of the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), as many as seven J-20s can be seen flying in formation, Global Times reported.

The number of J-20s flying in formation has gradually increased from two to five, and now seven, since China’s most advanced fighter jet made its first public appearance at Airshow China in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, which was held in November 2016.

Each increase in the number of J-20s has attracted considerable attention from military enthusiasts, Wang Ya’nan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that it reflects the scale and level at which the PLA Air Force is operating its fighter jet.

“A considerable number of units are probably ready to fly the J-20,” Wang said.

Meanwhile, the PLA Air Force has not disclosed the total number of J-20s at its disposal, the report said.

“If seven J-20s are sent simultaneously into battle, they would have a significant striking capability with their air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons,” Wang said.

He noted that they could achieve regional air superiority and destroy enemy strategic nodes deep in hostile territory.

“To truly achieve peace, defending our homeland is not enough. We must not only defend but attack,” said Yang Wei, J-20’s chief designer, in the video.

Wang said that in actual combat stealth fighter jets like the J-20 would not fly together in large numbers, but in twos or threes to achieve the highest combat potential, so the seven seen in the video could have been conducting a rehearsal for the upcoming national day parade.

In July, the PLA Air Force for the first time released a photo of a J-20 stealth fighter jet with the serial number of a combat unit, indicating that the warplane has completed trials.

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