Whoosh! China shows off J-20 'stealth' fighters and jet drones

Slowly but surely, they're gearing up. But for what?

China has showed off its new J-20 fighter in public for the first time along with two jet-powered unmanned aircraft, according to reports.

Two of the J-20s made a flypast at the Zhuhai airshow in Guangdong province, as reported by the BBC and the Guardian.

The Chengdu J-20 is regarded as China's answer to the US F-22, itself a fairly dated design. It looks a lot like an F-22 fuselage mated with an F-35 cockpit section and with the forward canard delta wings of a Saab Gripen or a Eurofighter Typhoon grafted on; a visual mishmash of features from successful Western designs.

Aviation International News is one of the few reliable English-language defence news websites to have any information about the J-20, and briefly details its electro-optical targeting system, radar and potential missile fits.

China's aerial drones of doom

Meanwhile, Aviation Week reported that two pilotless aircraft were also seen at Zhuhai, including Avic's new Cloud Shadow jet and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation’s CH-5 aircraft.

"The three new types have common features of pilotless aircraft designed for medium altitude and long endurance: a V tail, a radome for a satellite dish in the upper fuselage near the nose, and an electro-optical sensor ball on the underside forward," reported the magazine’s Bradley Perrett.

It could well be the case that, having seen the West – particularly the US and the UK – making heavy use of military drones, China also wants a slice of that pie. Certainly Chinese military thinking has moved on a very long way since the Korean War six decades ago, when human waves threw themselves at the British Army's machine guns and tanks. ®

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