Chengdu J-20

Chengdu J-20

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The Chengdu J-20 (Jian-20; ) is a purported fifth-generation
Fifth generation jet fighter
A fifth-generation jet fighter is a fighter aircraft classification used in the United States encompassing the most advanced generation of fighter aircraft...

, stealth
Stealth aircraft
Stealth aircraft are aircraft that use stealth technology to avoid detection by employing a combination of features to interfere with radar as well as reduce visibility in the infrared, visual, audio, and radio frequency spectrum. Development of stealth technology likely began in Germany during...

, twin-engine fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 prototype developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group
Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group
Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group is a Chinese aerospace conglomerate that manufactures aircraft parts as well as designs and manufactures combat aircraft. It was founded in 1958 to be a supplier of aircraft for the Chinese military...

 for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

 (PLAAF). In late 2010, the J-20 underwent high speed taxiing
Taxiing refers to the movement of an aircraft on the ground, under its own power, in contrast to towing or push-back where the aircraft is moved by a tug...

 tests. The J-20 made its first flight on 11 January 2011. General He Weirong, Deputy Commander of the People's Liberation Army Air Force said in November 2009 that he expected the J-20 to be operational in 2017–2019.


The J-20 was one of the stealth fighter programs under the codename J-XX that was launched in the late 1990s. It was designated “Project 718”, and won the PLAAF endorsement in a 2008 competition against a Shenyang proposal that was reportedly even larger than J-20. Two prototypes (#2001-01 & #2001–02) have been built as of the end of 2010.

On 22 December 2010, the J-20 was under-going high speed taxiing
Taxiing refers to the movement of an aircraft on the ground, under its own power, in contrast to towing or push-back where the aircraft is moved by a tug...

 tests outside the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute
Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute
Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute , or «CADI», is a Chinese design institute and jointer partners with Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group for military aircraft.The CADI seems to be working on the J-XX 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft, a stealth fighter project seemingly designated J-13...

 with no confirmed flight test
Flight test
Flight test is a branch of aeronautical engineering that develops and gathers data during flight of an aircraft and then analyzes the data to evaluate the flight characteristics of the aircraft and validate its design, including safety aspects...

s. The J-20 made its first flight, which lasted about 15 minutes, on 11 January 2011.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper
James R. Clapper
James R. Clapper, Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force and is currently the Director of National Intelligence. He was previously dual-hatted as the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alongside the position...

 has testified that the United States has known about the program for a "long time" and that the test flight was not a surprise.

Flight testing

The J-20 made its first flight, lasting about 15 minutes, on 11 January 2011. A Chengdu J-10S served as the chase aircraft
Chase Aircraft
The Chase Aircraft Company, founded in 1943, was an aircraft manufacturer of the United States of America, primarily constructing gliders and military transport aircraft. Lacking space for expansion, the company was purchased by Henry J. Kaiser in 1951. Plans to produce the C-123 transport for the...

. After the successful first flight, a ceremony was held. The test pilot of the J-20, Li Gang, Chief designer Yang Wei and General Li Andong (Deputy-Director of General Armaments Department, and Director of Science and Technology Commission of General Armaments Department of the PLA since 2000) attended the ceremony.

China thus became the third nation in the world to "develop and test-fly a full-size stealth combat aircraft demonstrator", after the United States and Russia. The Guardian reported that experts, on the one hand, expressed "surprise" at the speed with which the aircraft was developed, but on the other hand "said the country's military prowess was still relatively backward and way behind that of the US" and that its military interests were limited to its region.

The first test flight coincided with a visit of United States Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 to China, and was initially interpreted by Pentagon officials and the media as a possible signal to the visiting delegation from the U.S. However, after meeting with senior Chinese officials including Chinese President, CMC Chairman Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

, Secretary Gates remarked, "The civilian leadership seemed surprised by the test and assured me it had nothing to do with my visit." Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing who specializes in China-U.S. relations, suggested that President Hu's ignorance of the test raises questions about the nature of civilian control of the Chinese military. However, as Michael Swaine
Michael D. Swaine
Michael D. Swaine is an expert in China and East Asian security studies and a Senior Associate in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace...

, an expert on the PLA
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 and United States – China military relations, explained, although it's possible and even likely that "senior officials in the [Chinese] leadership did not know that this flight test would occur on this precise day," this is not necessarily evidence of a military-backed effort to insult Secretary Gates' delegation or embarrass President Hu. Rather, decisions regarding the production, development and testing of such military aircraft are routinely managed by engineers and low-level officials more than by senior civilian or military leadership. Coupled with the fact that there was relatively limited coverage of the event in Chinese media initially, it is likely that the test may not have been considered a significant enough event to warrant notification to President Hu.

A second test flight of an hour and twenty minutes took place on 17 April 2011. On 5 May 2011, a 55 minute test flight included retraction of the landing gear.

The full initial test program of 10 to 20 test flights is expected to take years to complete.

Technology transfer, launched in 2000, is a public policy organization focusing on the fields of defense, space exploration, intelligence, weapons of mass destruction and homeland security...

states that China probably declined to participate in joint development and production of a new fifth-generation fighter with Russia given the belief that Russia stood to gain more from Chinese participation. Chinese leaders may have determined that their design was superior to the Russian PAK FA. United States House Committee on Armed Services
United States House Committee on Armed Services
thumb|United States House Committee on Armed Services emblemThe U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, commonly known as the House Armed Services Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives...

 chairman Howard McKeon
Howard McKeon
Howard Philip "Buck" McKeon is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party.-Early life, education and career:...

 said on the J-20 "my understanding is that they built it on information that they received from Russia, from a Russian plane, that they were able to copy". MiG spokeswoman Yelena Fyodorova has denied that any of the project 1.44 materials had been provided to China.

Balkan military officials told the Associated Press that China and Russia may have adopted some stealth technology from a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, which was shot down by the Serbian military in 1999 during the Kosovo war
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

. If Chinese experts used the F-117 stealth coatings, the result would be decades behind current American state-of-the-art. However, Chinese test pilot Xu Yongling said that the J-20 was a "masterpiece" of home-grown innovation, he also said the F-117 technology was already "outdated" even at the time it was shot down, and could not be applied to a next-generation stealth jet. Janes editor James Hardy agrees that it was unlikely China would have learned much from the wreckage.

Retired USAF General Thomas G. McInerney has suggested that the J-20 design may have been based on cyber-espionage of the Lockheed Martin FB-22 project.

A federal prosecutor has suggested that China may have used technology from the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit for their stealth aircraft which was supplied by Noshir Gowadia
Noshir Gowadia
Noshir Sheriarji Gowadia, born in Bombay, India in 1944 is an Indian American design engineer of Parsi descent. One of the creators of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber during a career at Northrop, he was arrested in 2005 on espionage-related federal charges...


Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

 Pradeep Vasant Naik
Pradeep Vasant Naik
Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik is the current Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. He took office on May 31, 2009, becoming the nineteenth Chief of Air Staff following the retirement of Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major....

 has suggested that the J-20 is entirely reverse engineered with no Chinese R&D involved, and questioned if the practice was ethical. The Deccan Chronicle
The Deccan Chronicle
Deccan Chronicle is an Indian English-language daily newspaper. It is published in Hyderabad, India by Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited. The newspaper's name derives from the originating place, the Deccan regions of India. Supplements are "TV Guide", "Sunday Chronicle", "Chennai Chronicle", and...

 has called Naik's comment an "unusual outburst of helplessness" as China surpasses Indian airpower.

Russian military commentator Ilya Kramnik conjectures that China is still 10 to 15 years behind the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in fighter technology and may not be able to manufacture all the advanced composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s, avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

 and sensor
A sensor is a device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument. For example, a mercury-in-glass thermometer converts the measured temperature into expansion and contraction of a liquid which can be read on a calibrated...

 packages needed for such aircraft, and could instead turn to foreign suppliers. However, he speculates that China may be able to produce the J-20 at a cost 50% to 80% lower than US and Russian fifth-generation jet fighters, and that potential customers may include Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 and the richest countries in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Konstantin Sivkov of the Academy for Geopolitical Issues argued that the US is correct to be alarmed at the progress of Chinese military technology. Mikhail Pogosyan
Mikhail Pogosyan
Mikhail Aslanovich Pogosyan is the General Director of the JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau. He is a Russian national of Armenian descent.In 1979 he graduated with honors from the aircraft manufacturer faculty of the Moscow Aviation Institute and started his career at the engineering plant named after...

, head of the United Aircraft Corporation
United Aircraft Corporation
United Aircraft Corporation may refer to one of the following:* United Aircraft Corporation, formerly United Aircraft and Transport Corporation; now known as United Technologies Corporation....

, has claimed that the Chinese program is more a demonstration and that they lack the scale and experience to complete the project.

Bill Sweetman
Bill Sweetman
Bill Sweetman is a former editor for Jane's and currently an editor for Aviation Week group. He is a writer of more than 50 books on military aircraft. He lives in Oakdale, Minnesota. He is noted for his dogged pursuit of the Aurora project...

 speculates that China will have problems meeting its production requirements, as it has several other jet fighter projects in production. Aviation Week raised the question of whether the aircraft is a prototype, like the Sukhoi T-50, or a technology demonstrator similar to the Lockheed YF-22.


The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft which appears to be somewhat larger and heavier than the comparable Sukhoi T-50 and Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. Bill Sweetman estimates that it is approximately 75 feet (22.9 m) in length, has a wingspan of 45 feet (13.7 m) or more, and is expected to have a takeoff weight of 75000 to 80000 lb (34,019.4 to 36,287.4 ) with internal stores only. The prototype could be powered by twin 32000 pounds (14,515 kg) thrust Saturn 117S engines provided by Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, a sign of problems in the development of the aircraft, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan. Chinese sources have claimed that production aircraft will be powered by two 13200 kilograms (29,101 lb)/WS-10 class high thrust turbofan engines fitted with Thrust Vector Controlled
Thrust vectoring
Thrust vectoring, also thrust vector control or TVC, is the ability of an aircraft, rocket or other vehicle to manipulate the direction of the thrust from its engine or motor in order to control the attitude or angular velocity of the vehicle....

 (TVC) nozzles, both made in China. However Richard Aboulafia has said that the WS-10 engine has suffered catastrophic failures in flight. The best estimates are that China will take five to ten years to perfect the fifth-generation jet engines needed for the J-20.

The J-20 may have lower supercruise
Supercruise is sustained supersonic flight of an aircraft with a useful cargo, passenger, or weapons load performed efficiently and without the use of afterburners ....

 speed (yet greater range) and less agility than a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor or PAK FA, but might also have larger weapons bays and carry more fuel. The J-20 has a long and wide fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

 and low jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

 intakes with a forward chine, a main delta wing
Delta wing
The delta wing is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. It is named for its similarity in shape to the Greek uppercase letter delta .-Delta-shaped stabilizers:...

, forward canards
Canard (aeronautics)
In aeronautics, canard is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the forward surface is smaller than the rearward, the former being known as the "canard", while the latter is the main wing...

, a bubble canopy
Bubble canopy
A bubble canopy is a canopy made like a soap bubble, which attempts to provide 360° vision to the pilot.-History:Bubble canopies have been in use since World War II. The British had already developed the "Malcolm hood", which was a bulged canopy, but the British Miles M.20 was one of the first...

, conventional round engine exhausts and canted all-moving fins. The front section of the J-20 is similarly chiseled as the F-22 Raptor and the body and tail resemble those of the Sukhoi T-50 prototype. As early photographs of the prototype surfaced, Bill Sweetman commented that the design may suggest a large, long range ground attack aircraft, not unlike a "stealth version" of the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark. Douglas Barrie has noted that the canard-delta configuration with canted vertical fins appears to resemble the MiG 1.42. Yet, Barrie notes that key differences include greater forward fuselage shaping as the basis for low observable characteristics, along with the different engine intake configuration. It is suspected that cyberespionage may have assisted the development of the J-20, with information used by subcontractors of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 for the F-35 project in particular having been significantly compromised during development of the J-20.

The J-20 has a pair of all-moving tailfins
Vertical stabilizer
The vertical stabilizers, vertical stabilisers, or fins, of aircraft, missiles or bombs are typically found on the aft end of the fuselage or body, and are intended to reduce aerodynamic side slip. It is analogical to a skeg on boats and ships.On aircraft, vertical stabilizers generally point upwards...

 that are swept back in the F-35 style instead of being trapezoid
In Euclidean geometry, a convex quadrilateral with one pair of parallel sides is referred to as a trapezoid in American English and as a trapezium in English outside North America. A trapezoid with vertices ABCD is denoted...

 like the F-22 and PAK-FA tails and ventral stabilizing fins. It also has an F-22 style nose section, but with F-35 style dropped nose, forward swept intake cowls with diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI)
Diverterless supersonic inlet
A diverterless supersonic inlet is a type of jet engine air intake used by some modern combat aircraft to control air flow into their engines. It consists of a "bump" and a forward-swept inlet cowl, which work together to divert boundary layer airflow away from the aircraft's engine while...

 bumps and a one-piece canopy. It was reported in November 2006 that a T/W=10 17000 kilograms (37,478.6 lb) class turbofan (WS-15/"large thrust") was being developed for the J-20. One (#2001-01) prototype is fitted with AL-31F, the other (#2001–02) is fitted with the improved WS-10G with a new "stealth" nozzle possibly to reduce RCS and IR emission.

The J-20 may become the first operational combat aircraft that carries sufficient fuel to supercruise throughout its missions, doubling its sortie rate.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell
Geoff S. Morrell
Geoffrey S. Morrell is an American public affairs person who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and was the Press Secretary of the Department of Defense. He was hired to the position in June 2007 and departed in June 2011...

 has said that it was premature to call the J-20 a stealth fighter or to judge if it had any other fifth-generation characteristics.


The production J-20 may incorporate an advanced fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires , and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control...

 (FBW) system fully integrated with the fire-control and the engine systems. Its fire-control radar is expected to be Active Electronically Scanned Array
Active Electronically Scanned Array
An Active Electronically Scanned Array , also known as active phased array radar is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules . AESAs aim their "beam" by broadcasting radio energy that interfere...

 (AESA) (Type 1475/KLJ5?).

According to recent pictures from the internet, two small dark diamond shaped windows can be seen on both sides of the nose, which could house certain electro-optical sensors
Targeting pods
Targeting pods are target designation tools used by ground-attack aircraft for identifying targets and guiding precision guided munitions such as laser-guided bombs to those targets...

, such as a modular advanced weapon system
M230 Chain Gun
The Hughes M230 Chain Gun is a 30 mm, single-barrel automatic cannon developed by Hughes and now manufactured by Alliant Techsystems. It is an electrically operated chain gun, a weapon that uses external power instead of recoil to load its rounds....

 (MAWS) or an infra-red search and track (IRST) system. Two additional windows are seen underneath the rear fuselage, plus two more on top of the forward fuselage above the canard wings, suggesting that a distributed situational awareness system similar to the electro-optical distributed aperture system (EODAS) onboard American F-35 was installed providing a full 360° coverage.


The aircraft features a "pure" glass cockpit (two large color liquid crystal display
Liquid crystal display
A liquid crystal display is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals . LCs do not emit light directly....

 (LCD) and several smaller ones and a wide-angle holographic head-up display
Head-Up Display
A head-up display or heads-up display is any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints...

 (HUD). Many of these subsystems have been tested onboard J-10Bs to speed up the development.


The J-20 has a large belly weapon bay for short/long-range air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

s (AAM) (PL-10, PL-12C/D & PL-21) and two smaller lateral weapon bays behind the air inlets for short-range AAMs (PL-10).

One photo depicts the same air-to-air loadout as the F-22, that is six medium range and two short range air-to-air missiles.


Carlo Kopp
Carlo Kopp
Carlo Kopp is a prominent Australian freelance defence analyst and academic who has published ~300 articles in trade publications such as Defence Today, Air International, Journal of Electronic Defense, Jane's Missiles and Rockets, Australian Aviation and the Asia Pacific Defence Reporter on...

 has suggested that the J-20's overall stealth shaping is "without doubt considerably better" than the F-35
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

 and PAK FA, but he agrees with others, such as Shih Hiao-wei of Defense International monthly and Bill Sweetman of Aviation Week, that some parts on the J-20 will challenge its ability to remain stealthy from all directions: "The aft fuselage, tailbooms, fins/strakes and axi-symmetric nozzles are not compatible with high stealth performance, but may only be stop-gap measures to expedite flight testing of a prototype." the engine nozzles were clearly non-stealthy; this may be due to the fact that the final "fifth-generation" engines had not been completed yet. However, one of the prototypes uses WS-10G engines with stealthy jagged-edge nozzles and tiles.

Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 has also questioned how stealthy the J-20 might be although he did say the development of the J-20 had the potential to "put some of our capabilities at risk, and we have to pay attention to them, we have to respond appropriately with our own programs.” Kopp and Goon have further speculated that the J-20 is designed to operate as a heavy interceptor, destroying opposing AWACS and tanker aircraft. If true, this would make it more similar to a MiG-25
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. Designed by the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau the first prototype flew in 1964 with entry into service in 1970...

 with stealth capability. Sweetman agrees that this is the most likely role for such a large aircraft with low thrust to weight ratio and limited agility that is optimized for range and speed. Lewis Page has said that it is unlikely that the Chinese will soon have an American style Low Probability of Intercept Radar and so the J-20 would be limited to attacking ground targets like previous generations of American stealth aircraft such as the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk. In that case the J-20 would carry a radar, but using it would instantly give away its location. However, the J-20 is expected to use a AESA radar, which should have Low Probability of Intercept modes. Given that the F-35 can already track and jam even the F-22's radar, this might not be sufficient.

Loren B. Thompson
Lexington Institute
The Lexington Institute is a non-profit public-policy think tank headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, that focuses on national security, education reform, postal service management, space policy, and U.S...

 has said that this combination of forward sector only stealth and long range will allow the J-20 to make attacks on surface targets while the United States lacks sufficient bases for F-22s in the area to counter these attacks and American allies have no comparable aircraft. Thompson has also said that a long-range maritime strike aircraft may cause the United States more trouble than a shorter range air-superiority fighter like the F-22. The Pentagon's 2011 report on the Chinese military agrees that the J-20 is "a platform capable of long range, penetrating strikes into complex air defense environments."

A canard delta offers greater efficiency in both subsonic and supersonic flight (which may help supercruise range), but it is unknown if the Chinese have the same software used on the Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

 to control the otherwise non-stealthy canards. Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia has also raised doubts about the use of canards on a design that is intended to be low-observable: “There’s no better way of guaranteeing a radar reflection and compromise of stealth”. Aboulafia has also called the J-20 a kludge made of mismatched parts and questioned if the Chinese have the skills or technology to produce a true fifth-generation fighter. Nevertheless, canards greatly boost the aircraft's maneuverability
Supermaneuverability is the quality of aircraft defined as a threshold of attitude control exceeding that which is possible by pure aerodynamic maneuverability; in other words, a controlled loss of control beyond normal abilities...

 over that of a pure delta wing without canards. Sweetman notes that the canard delta works with the Whitcomb area rule
Area rule
The Whitcomb area rule, also called the transonic area rule, is a design technique used to reduce an aircraft's drag at transonic and supersonic speeds, particularly between Mach 0.75 and 1.2....

 for a large-volume mid-body section supersonic aircraft. Also, while the diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI)
Diverterless supersonic inlet
A diverterless supersonic inlet is a type of jet engine air intake used by some modern combat aircraft to control air flow into their engines. It consists of a "bump" and a forward-swept inlet cowl, which work together to divert boundary layer airflow away from the aircraft's engine while...

 intakes are easier to maintain than more complex stealth-compatible intakes, such as on the F-22, their fixed form limits the aircraft to around Mach 2.0. J.D. McFarlan of Lockheed Martin has said that the J-20 DSI inlets resemble those of the F-35, but it is unclear if the Chinese have perfected their own design.

Kanwa Andrew Chan, editor-in-chief of Hong Kong Military News Agency, questioned the J-20's stealth among other parameters saying that it cannot yet match its competitors—the Russian T-50 and U.S. F-22—due to lack of engine power, the inability to fly at supersonic speeds, and shortcomings in its radar system and stealth, calling it a 4+ generation fighter in its current state.


Because the aircraft is in development, these specifications are preliminary and are taken as estimates from the available images.

See also

External links