Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chinese stealth J-20 fighter jet photos leak online: 'Aircraft' fact or flight of fantasy?

China has developed its personal stealth fighter jet -- if postings on army message boards may be believed.

Images of the plane, dubbed a J-20 fighter, have been leaked online not too long ago and prominently featured within the International Times, a Chinese newspaper.

The information outlet didn't say whether the photographs have been genuine, but because the media in China is controlled by the state and it reportedly has made little to no effort to censor the images, it suggests the discharge of these images could have been intentional.

Aviation websites said the photographs have been taken from outside a fence on the Chengdu Plane Design Institute's airfield in southwestern China. Evaluation of the J-20 photos exhibits it to be larger than comparable Russian or U.S. planes, seemingly allowing it fly farther and carry heavier weapons.

It has been theorized that the jet seen within the pictures is not truly a working model, but simply a mockup, in line with Fox News.

China's growing its own stealth fighter just isn't a surprise. In 2009, deputy air power chief He Weirong instructed state broadcaster CCTV that China's fourth-era fighter - a reference to fashionable stealth expertise - would start flight testing soon and will enter service in eight to 10 years.

The U.S. military indicated it was not stunned by the event, and shortly dismissed it.

"It's not of concern that they are working on a fifth-generation fighter," Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said. Fifth-technology means the J-20, if real, can be considered a sophisticated plane that is a era forward of what's currently in service.

Lapan also indicated the army was aware of the photographs and that the Chinese have "been conducting taxi assessments" on the plane.

Based on The Wall Street Journal, China has made rapid progress in creating superior weapons, including unmanned aerial automobiles, thanks to reverse engineering of Russian navy technology.