Has the People's Republic caught up [csis.org]?
The Chengdu J-20 marks the first entry of a multirole stealth fighter into China’s armed forces. According to the Department of Defense [defense.gov] (DOD), China views stealth technology as a core component in the transformation of its air force from “a predominantly territorial air force to one capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations.” Designed for enhanced stealth and maneuverability, the J-20 has the potential to provide China with a variety of previously unavailable air combat options and enhance its capability to project power.
As an advanced multirole stealth fighter, it is speculated that the J-20 can fulfill both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat roles for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the aviation branch of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (referred to as either Naval Aviation or the PLAN-AF). According to PLAAF Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, the J-20 will enhance the overall combat capability [cnn.com] of China’s air force. A 2016 report by the DOD [defense.gov] states that the J-20 represents a critical step in China’s efforts to develop “advanced aircraft to improve its regional power projection capabilities and to strengthen its ability to strike regional airbases and facilities.” In 2014, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission [uscc.gov] described the J-20 as “more advanced than any other fighter currently deployed by Asia Pacific countries.”