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China Stealth Jet Fighter J-20

January 5, 2011

Aviation experts believe China may have started testing a new stealth aircraft – putting it well ahead of Western predictions that a revamped air force would not be ready for take-off for another decade.

Photographs of the J-20 taking high-speed taxi tests at an airfield have appeared on several websites, fueling speculation that Beijing is not particularly concerned about keeping its latest weapon under wraps – at least unofficially.

The plane photos surfaced just one week after a U.S. naval commander warned that China is stepping up testing on a space missile that could sink American aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

The Chinese prototype looks like it has “the potential to be a competitor with the F-22 and to be decisively superior to the F-35,” said Mr. Fisher. The J-20 has two engines, like the F-22, and is about the same size, while the F-35 is smaller and has only one engine.

China’s stealth-fighter program has implications also for Japan, which is considering buying F-35s, and for India, which last month firmed up a deal with Russia to jointly develop and manufacture a stealth fighter.

The Chinese military are also expected to launch their first aircraft carrier next year – a year earlier than anticipated by U.S. experts.

But China’s Foreign Ministry insists his military is one of peace, saying: ‘We pose no threat to other countries.’

According to the Aviation Week website, security at the airfield  where the J-20 was photographed was slack and the prototype could be viewed from several public areas.

The ‘leak’ supports earlier claims by the Chinese military that a stealth aircraft would be airborne by 2011 and could be operational by 2017.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates dismissed that idea at the time, claiming that China would not have stealth fighters operational before 2020. “China has the money, they have the industrial expertise, they have the scientific base, the drive and motivation and of course the benefit of American research over 30 years acquired by legal or illegal means,” one anonymous observer was quoted by a Time magazine blog site. “These enablers give China wide latitude in matching or exceeding American designs that are now 20 years old.”

Stealth aircraft – which can evade detection by radar, infrared and other tracking devices – have been in development since the end of World War Two.

Experts point out that the Chinese version is larger than most observers expected – ‘pointing to long range and heavy weapon loads’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1344115/China-leaks-sneak-peek-latest-stealth-aircraft-going-test-run.html#ixzz1A9jwFEWh

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