NEW DELHI: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Hangzhou province in China to attend the G-20 summit, a top secret stealth fighter, J-20 of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, was spotted in the Tibetian region close to Arunachal Pradesh border.
According to reports, the J-20 was spotted at the Daocheng Yading airport in the high-altitude Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture which lies in the east of Arunachal Pradesh.
The development is seen as important in the military circles after China had warned India against deploying the supersonic BrahMos missile along the Himalayas.
According to defence sources, the image of the J-20 shows the fighter covered in tarpaulin at the Daocheng Yading airport, which is located at an altitude of more than 14,000 feet, making it the world’s highest civilian airport.
The deployment of the J-20 at the air base also shows that the fighter can operate from extreme high-altitude air fields, where the reduced density of air severely restricts the amount of fuel and ordnance that can be carried when the aircraft takes off. India does not operate any stealth aircraft at present as its Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) is still at the developing stage.
Defence sources maintained that J-20 is a twin engine fighter with stealth features which enable it to sometimes go undetected by radar, an enormous advantage in air combat over conventional fighter jets which can be tracked on radar.
The supersonic J-20 is thought to have gone into low-rate production this January after first being spotted at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute in December 2010. The jet flew for the first time in January 2011. Since then, new variants of the jet have appeared with modified design-features to accommodate a larger engine.
Meanwhile, Modi on Friday flew into the Vietnamese capital on his maiden visit to hold wide-ranging talks with the country’s top leadership on ways to bolster strategic bilateral ties in key areas like defence, and trade. “Hello to Hanoi! PM @narendramodi makes a late night arrival in Vietnam to begin the first leg of his 2 nation tour (sic) ,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.