However, what has drawn experts’ keen attention is the solemn ceremony China held at the site for the maiden flight, which is quite unusual.
According to Li Xiaojing, the website’s special military commentator, there are now 6 J-20 prototypes plus 2 experimental prototypes for test flights and 1 Tu-204 and 1 Y-8 for testing radar and electronics, quite enough for testing the new fighter jet. The solemn ceremony at the test site indicates the end of the production of prototype as the design has been finalized. He believes that small batch production of J-20 in the future will be based on that prototype.
As for the speculation that China imports Russian Su-35 to get 117S engine for J-20, Li said that China will not directly uses 117S engines on J-20 as 117S has not been taken into consideration when J-20 was designed; therefore, there have to be lots of modification and tests to accommodate for the use of the engines. That will be too complicated.
Li concludes by stressing that judging by the number of J-20 produced and progress in the development, small batch production of J-20 may begin in 2017 for trial use in Chinese air force and formal commissioning of J-20 will begin around 2020.