China – Shenyang J-XX Stealth Fighter / Flight Concept
The signs have been there for some time. In 1997, the US Office of Naval Intelligence stated their conviction that a 4th generation stealth fighter was under development in China. Then in December, 2008, the highly respected “Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft” went on record saying that China has been developing a “heavyweight” stealth fighter for many years.
In 2005, a former Northrup B2 design engineer was arrested for selling highly classified data about the B-2 and its stealth design to China. Noshir Gowadia has admitted to the charges and so there is no question that the propulsion system and stealth design features of the B-2 have been studied intensively by those designing fighters and bombers for China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
Image: Karl Toussaint
China – Shenyang JXX / J14 – concept
In April 2009, China cyberwar experts attacked the US Department of Defense computers that hold classified data about the F-35 program. Apparently a great deal of data was downloaded, although theft of information in the highest security classification was not acknowledged.
China – Shenyang J SAC-601 J-15A / Stealth Fighter Prototype – First Photo
At least two Chinese stealth fighters are farther along in development than anyone would have imagined six months ago. The most recent of these stealth fighter photographs was published on November 25, 2009 on a website that has high level expertise in all matters relating to Chinese military aviation.