The most common phrase you hear in military aviation lately is "5th Generation Fighter." With the United States leading the way since the 90s with the F-35 program (more on that later), all the major superpowers are following suit. The whole idea behind this revolutionary push is to make your aircraft practically invisible to any sensors and radars, having the advantage of shooting down your enemy before they even know you're there.
The Russians are fiddling with their PAK FA which is planned to be introduced sometime int 2018. We've seen some footage of that fighter as well but never before China's version of their 5th Gen aircraft, namely, the J-20.
Their program also began in he late 90s and the first successful flight occurred in 2011. Their new stealth, twin-engine fighter is now entering small scale production and is expected to be operational sometime in 2018.The plane and its capabilities were kept secret from the public, until today, November 1st, 2016.
People got a first real look at these planes during an airshow just west of Hong Kong. You can see it in action for yourself in the video we found which was uploaded by a Chinese spectator.
As for its effectiveness, we can all take a stab at it. A Chinese spokesperson told CNN World, "the aircraft will further enhance the overall combat capability of the Air Force, which would help the army's sacred mission of maintaining the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity."
That's exactly what the F-35 is designed to do. Chief of Staff General David Goldfein was quoted saying:
"When I hear about F-35 vs. J-20, it's almost an irrelevant comparison."
The truth of the matter is that both of these platforms look good on paper and when you listen to people talk about their capabilities. Neither has been tested in a real, live fire situation. Only time will tell who's got the upper hand when facing off. A time we all hope, will not come to be.