Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chinese stealth fighter just got better... thanks to stolen US tech

(China) In 2011, the Chinese shocked the world when they unveiled their latest jet fighter, the J-20 which also happened to be a 5th Generation one at that (ie: Stealthy). At the time, many pundits dismissed the aircraft as somewhat second rate and somewhat lacking, that actually the J-20 was an old Russian design. Yet they forgot to mention that the plane was a prototype and that the finished product is always somewhat different.

Below is the plane as revealed in January 2011:

Jan 2011
Well, it seems that for the past 3 years the Chinese haven't been sitting on their laurels, and last month the latest iteration of the J-20 took to the air, and what a difference 3 years have been. It appears that a cyber espionage operation by China seven years ago stole sensitive US technology and aircraft secrets that have been incorporated into the latest version of the J-20 stealth fighter jet. One of its most significant enhancements is a new electro-optical targeting system under its nose (as found in the F-35), protruding engine nozzles seen in the earlier version have been hidden, a different radar-absorbing coating. In an attempt to further reduce the jet’s radar signature, a new cockpit hood, again similar to the F-35, new intakes and new wheel housings.
Top 2011/Bottom 2014

Top 2011/Bottom 2014

As with how the Chinese have copied Russian technology (tank and aircraft clones), it appears the Chinese don't have any problem showing off to the world what they have stolen from others. To that end, they usually sell their clones off at bargain basement prices, so I wonder who will be in the market for the J-20?