Chengdu J-20: China’s First Stealth Fighter


Categorie: Air, China, David Axe |
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J-20. Via Chinese Internet.


For months there had been rumblings on Chinese Internet forums: rumors of photos quickly suppressed by censors. Word was, China’s first stealth fighter prototype, the Chengdu J-20, was nearing its inaugural flight. On Christmas Day, photos finally surfaced on-line — and stayed there. It was official: Beijing now possesses an apparently flyable prototype fifth-generation fighter, making it only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to join the stealth club.

The J-20 appears to share design characteristics with earlier stealth types. It has the same angled chin as the Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35, plus those jets’ all-moving tailplanes. Its twin engines are probably Russian-made 117S models. Like the Russian T-50, it’s big: an estimated 70 feet, compared to 66 for the T-50, just over 60 for the F-22 and the F-35′s 50. “The bigger that the aircraft is, the more likely it is that it is a bomber as much as, if not more than, a fighter,” Ares‘ Bill Sweetman noted.

Is the J-20 intended as a production program? If so, how soon might it enter service? There’s no way to know for sure, but Sweetman stressed that the J-20 might not spend as long in development as, say, the F-22 and F-35, both of which required 15 years from demonstrator first flight to service-entry. “We don’t have a pattern for Chinese major programs,” Sweetman warned.

If it enters service, and enters service fast, the J-20 could help China flesh out its still largely outdated fleet of some 1,500 fighters, bringing Beijing closer to achieving air parity against its local coalition of rival countries: the U.S., Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and India. Even with the J-20, China will be overall outnumbered and behind technologically — but much less so.

The J-20′s first flight should occur any day now.


J-20. Via Chinese Internet.


16 Responses to “Chengdu J-20: China’s First Stealth Fighter”

  1. [...] article originally appeared on War is Boring, December 29, 2010. Comments [0]EmailBuzz itDeliciousDigg [...]

  2. 111 says:

    Deep Blue Horizon has some interesting blogs on defense aviation technologies.

  3. buster hyman says:

    funny,,, looks exactly like the united states f22 raptor that they abandoned after a few years in service. maybe i see now why they let that program go. looks like maybe china got ahold of some blurptints and schematics somewhere.. looks way too much like the f22 raptor.

  4. Mark P says:

    Most def some sinister shit goin on. Looks like the F22 however looks very long, almost like the old Mig25 Foxbait haha. Can’t be as agile as the F22…yep, given enough hp even a bathtub can fly. Looks like they used the Mig29′s chassis and went from there. Also, look @ the length from the rear gear to the tail…must be a bitch to take off without scraping. It’ll be primarily a bomber and a negotiating toy…I’d bet a case of guinness on it. A poor Man’s B-1

  5. Azad says:

    No doubt, China has first ever come into direct rivalry with the USA in question of air superiority excellence. This ultra modern war machine will out number Raptor-22 as it has been made examinig Raptor’s flaws.

  6. Edwin says:

    Well there are such a large corruption in US in weapon purchasing program so not worth to pay taxes back home. We get technology in expensive cost compared to foreigners while our services personnel don’t get much pay. Imagine how corrupt it is, during beginning of afgan war and so on, we got large fleet of military but we still outsourcing the military equipment such as apache helicopter from Dynn Corp.

  7. [...] Gabrielle Giffords signals a threat to American society — a greater threat than that posed by Chinese stealth fighters and Russian warships. It’s time to end the [...]

  8. [...] ironic Christmas present to the world. On Dec. 25, the first photos surfaced on-line depicting the long-anticipated Chengdu J-20, China’s first stealth fighter prototype. While pundits debated the significance — some [...]

  9. [...] foreign observers was that the large warplane with the angular nose and canards was in fact the long-awaited J-20, one of two low-observable next-generation fighters in development for the People’s Liberation [...]

  10. [...] Via China Defense Blog, here’s the highest-resolution photo published so far of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter. [...]

  11. Dell wen says:


  12. [...] military ambitions more broadly have pushed some analysts to see a looming threat: at sea, in the air and in space; and now also in the U.S.’s own “backyard.” But how much of [...]

  13. [...] It’s difficult to say for sure, as details about this Chinese superjet is scarce, and what information we do get from the Chinese government is dubious at best. Hopefully, there will never be a need for [...]

  14. [...] The J-20 seems to be fitted with WS-10 engines rather than WS-15 but this cannot be confirmed. The thrust generated by  J-20 is 180 kN which leads to better engine performance. [...]

  15. [...] J-21 stealth fighter. If the latter, it would be China’s second stealth warplane, after the J-20 that debuted two years ago. J-21? Via China Defense Blog. J-21? Via China Defense Blog. Share [...]

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