Chengdu J-20 China’s first stealth fighter takes to the skies

The latest buzz on Internet is that the China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group is preparing to test its first stealth aircraft known to world as the J-XX and now official J-20.

According to enthusiasts living nearby, the aircraft has already done taxi run and top level officials are coming to the facility to witness the first flight. This comes as a surprise as both American and Russian think tanks had written off China. J-XX is Chinese competitor in the Fifth Generation race.

It is stated to have very low observability, advance avionics and radar coupled with two Turbofan engines generating 180 kN of thrust.

The exact happenings are still uncertain but the images leaked on the internet are extremely convincing. The aircraft seems to be around 60-70 feet long with forward canards and delta wing configuration similar to the J-10. On first look the aircraft looks very similar to the American F-22. However, it has features such twin DSI inlets and V-shaped tail.

The aircraft seems to be fitted with WS-10 engines rather than WS-15 but this cannot be confirmed. According Janes there are two prototype airframes in existence of which one is flight ready.

Exact happenings are still unknown in the formal media as the Chinese Govt is tight lipped on it. If indeed this aircraft is flight ready than this could have serious implication to surrounding countries which are yet to have such an aircraft.

The first high-resolution photographs appeared on Chinese non-governmental websites of a prototype of the Chengdu J-20 fighter being built for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) The J-20 appears to be conducting a high-speed taxi test.

The latest images show some startling similarities between the Chinese J-20 and canceled Russian MiG-1.44. Both have similar style of delta wing canard configurations and V-Shaped tail section with closely mounted engines. The frontal aspect looks extremely similar to that of the American F-35 JSF with DSI intake which has now become common on all new Chinese designs.

Finally we cannot comments on this latest development in detail since there are no images of the cockpit hence we just don’t yet know how advance the aircraft is. It could be a half baked cake with good icing or China is indeed very advance. Building a stealth airframe is easy thing for moderately advance countries but what matters is remaining stuff like engine, avionics, radar and sensors and other sub-system which China hasn’t developed to advance stage.

Pictures Source: Defence-Update

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About Pratik Sawerdekar