How China Built Its Own J-20 Stealth Fighter from Secret F-35 Information | World Defense

How China Built Its Own J-20 Stealth Fighter from Secret F-35 Information

Khafee

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How China Built Its Own J-20 Stealth Fighter from Secret F-35 Information
Cyber theft.
September 10, 2019
by Jared Keller

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Although the two electro-optical systems pictured above are not identical, they share quite a few similarities in shape and placement: compared to the Eurofighter or Su-57’s electro-optical systems and Infrared Tracking Systems (IRTS), respectively, which are also mounted on top of the fuselage, the differences between the Lockheed Martin and J-20’s Systems are relatively minor.

On August 1st of last year, China celebrated the founding of the People's Liberation Army by allowing some high-resolution photos of the next-generation J-20 stealth fighter to leak, complete with a tasteful photoshopped-on patriotic dragon painting just below the canopy which just screams "Happy Birthday, PLA."

The new photos of the J-20 provide an up close and personal look at the fuselage of the new interceptor. But the photos also appear to show a sensor system that looks awfully similar to the Lockheed Martin Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) on the front of the F-35 Lighting II.

There’s a reason for this: In 2007, Lockheed Martin dealt with something of a cyber Ocean’s 11 when Chinese hackers stole technical documents related to the development of the F-35. The details on the hack, eventually revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden, are just one example of Chinese attempts to steal foreign aviation technology; as recently as 2017, Chinese hackers went after Australian F-35 defense contractors, nabbing even more info on the cutting-edge fighter.

Although the two electro-optical systems pictured above are not identical, they share quite a few similarities in shape and placement: compared to the Eurofighter or Su-57’s electro-optical systems and Infrared Tracking Systems (IRTS), respectively, which are also mounted on top of the fuselage, the differences between the Lockheed Martin and J-20’s Systems are relatively minor. The system’s positioning under the nose of the aircraft also reinforces that the J-20 is probably designed for both long-range strike missions against ground targets and interceptor duties. However, the J-20 EOTS appears to be less capable than the F-35 equivalent, judging by the size and layout of the J-20 EOTS enclosure.

Much about the J-20 is shrouded in secrecy, but the plane is most likely powered by the same two AL-31F engines which are used in the Su-27, a Russian fighter that is capable of a top speed of Mach 2.3. But the J-20 could also be flying with indigenous (but less reliable) WS-10B engines, due to a lack of Russian engines or as a stopgap until the more powerful WS-15 jet engines are ready for operational use. And while parts of the design of the J-20 appear to resemble the F-22 and it’s stealthy curves, these similarities could be skin deep as the angularity on the jet inlets and wings remain quite different, and the J-20 lacks all-aspect stealth. Recently the Indian Air Force claimed they could track the J-20 using the Su-30MKIs electronically scanned ‘Phazotron Zhuk-AE’ radar.

Although the J-20 has been pushed into service, recent problems with the J-15 carrier-based fighter suggest that the Chinese answer to the F-22 isn’t quite ready for prime-time despite propaganda from Chinese-owned media outlets that portray the J-20 as a fully-armed and operational battle station. That certainly sounds familiar …

 

Mastankhan

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Hi,

Just to build an aircraft with the design and shape and capability of the J20 is a massive achievemnt for chinese fighter aircraft industry---. The nation that had built and depended on aircraft like the J8's and J7's suddenly came out with a modern day 5th gen capability aircraft that looked and appeared modern in its design---capable in its flight umbrella and had sophisticated EW package as well.

The simple stealing of design was not the only factor in producing this aircraft---. There were other factors involved as well.

The chinese made an excellent decision in not waiting for the perfect engine for this aircraft to develop the aircraft---but rather continued with what they could get and kept on building the aircraft---manufactured it---and loaded it up with operation EW package---radar and weapons---and had kept on using the supposed "underpowered" engine on this aircraft thru its development stages of integration & operation of this aircraft---.

Supposedly a more capable engine has been developed and is in service at this time and going thru on the aircraft full time flight testing.

If the J20 comes within 80-85% of the capability of the F22 / F35 aircraft---the chinese have come up with a winner---. Even if it is within the 75-80 % capability umbrella of these two aircraft---the chinese are still ahead of the game.
 

Khafee

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Hi,

Just to build an aircraft with the design and shape and capability of the J20 is a massive achievemnt for chinese fighter aircraft industry---. The nation that had built and depended on aircraft like the J8's and J7's suddenly came out with a modern day 5th gen capability aircraft that looked and appeared modern in its design---capable in its flight umbrella and had sophisticated EW package as well.

The simple stealing of design was not the only factor in producing this aircraft---. There were other factors involved as well.

The chinese made an excellent decision in not waiting for the perfect engine for this aircraft to develop the aircraft---but rather continued with what they could get and kept on building the aircraft---manufactured it---and loaded it up with operation EW package---radar and weapons---and had kept on using the supposed "underpowered" engine on this aircraft thru its development stages of integration & operation of this aircraft---.

Supposedly a more capable engine has been developed and is in service at this time and going thru on the aircraft full time flight testing.

If the J20 comes within 80-85% of the capability of the F22 / F35 aircraft---the chinese have come up with a winner---. Even if it is within the 75-80 % capability umbrella of these two aircraft---the chinese are still ahead of the game.
Very well said! It is an enormous achievement, no doubt!
 

TomCat

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Very well said! It is an enormous achievement, no doubt!
If we inspect the pics closely as deino mentions that EOTS is still not operational given the panel is currently on some tapes/films.
 

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