Pic of the Week: China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter Head-On

Happy Friday, everyone. This is absolutely your pic of the week. You’re looking at the Heads Up Display on China’s J-20 stealth fighter. This is the first time we’ve seen the J-20’s holographic HUD up close. (The jet shown is the second J-20 test jet, number 2002. You can tell because 2002’s pitot tube sticks straight out of the front of the nose, while 2001’s sits further back on the radome.)

Just for fun, compare the view of the J-20 and its cockpit with that of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor below. Can you say reverse engineering/espionage?

Via China Defense Blog.


  • 4FingerOfBouron

    Funny…Looks pretty similar….but will it perform the same?

  • DG1981

    The Chinese can only imitate while the West innovates.

  • Lance

    Yawn another J-20 pic and it looks similar to a Raptor yawn.

  • Kole

    The J-20 looks too damn big to be an uber-stealth threat.

  • Jc frog

    Shape might be similar for same technical reasons; a bit like all compact cars look the same nowadays. ??
    never underestimate the “other side” , they are nowhere proving to be stupid.

    • Stan

      The impression I get is that they would still be running around with bows and spears if they couldn’t steal or buy (mostly steal) from others. Their last major contribution to armsmaking was made about a thousand years ago and I am not sure they realized it. Which of course doesn’t at all mean they should be underestimated. For a country with what, 4-5 thousand years of recorded history to have achieved so little lately I would have a chip on my shoulder too.

      • CJ

        Stan you ignorant fool. They are the oldest standing civilization in the world. They achieved much more over the course of history than most have. They did not have the need to develop a high tech military, having been excluded from the arms race during the cold war, having been a peaceful nation during the first and second world wars, and have now had to build up their defensive capability based on a fabricated threat from the west. Their military time line is not as impressive, but their civilization continues to move forward, having a nation of over a billion people to deal with. You should go there and see for yourself. That is if you can afford it, and if you wish to be more culturally up to date.

    • john

      Agree, it is stupid and dangerous to underestimate the Chinese possibly our future adversary.

  • Xiao Liu

    Who uses HUDs anymore? Oh yeah! Backwards countries who copy technology!

    • duuude

      F-22 has a HUD.

      You were saying…?

    • What an awesome way to explain this-now I know evygrthine!

  • Black Owl

    I wonder where they got the data from the F-22? I find it frightening that they can take so much knowledge from us simply through cyber espionage. The Chinese have difficulty getting anything from Russia’s fighter programs or engine designs without stealing an actual unit. I later found out that this might be because Russian engineers and designers have a long history of doing major calculations and notes on paper and hand writing them out. By comparison we practically abuse computers to do the numbers and store the data on drives that we pay Chinese companies to manufacture. You can’t hack paper. Maybe we should start doing some of that. This of course still doesn’t stop the Russians from selling old or rejected designs like the MiG-1.44 to the Chinese though.

  • Tom

    I don’t think they look that similar, the J-20 appears to be significantly wider (below the canopy the F-22 has almost vertical surfaces while the J-20’s are much more horizontal) and the surfaces around the engines are more rounded on the J-20 than on the F-22. Where are the J-20’s vertical stabilizers in that picture?

    • Leon

      actually I think it looks more like the Northup YF-23, which is also an excellent plane.

  • harry9876

    Who cares about the HUD. Are their oxygen systems faulty?

  • Franklin

    This plane is not an imitation because its a lot bigger than a fighter. Its bomb bay is more like the fighter bomber FB22 would have been. Unlike the FB22 I would bet it will hold much larger munitions than the FB22’s 250lb small bombs, and have greater range. With airborn refueling it could attack just about anywhere in the Pacific.
    With all the cyberwar thats going on I wonder if they just modified the plans for the FB22.

  • Pat

    I want to know when these fighters are actually going to become a threat. For now they’re just a gossip topic.

  • traindodger

    That canopy is, in fact, a total rip-off of the Raptor’s. Also, these J-20s look big and heavy, like they wouldn’t maneuver too well in a dogfight and may end up being relegated to bomb truck duty. Also, coatings or no, they’ve got too many rounded surfaces to be particularly stealthy.

    • asdf

      j 20’s biggest in volume only. its weight and surface area are smaller than the F-22 and T-50

    • Round surfaces can be stealthy, think b2…

    • Dark Night

      Dear traindodger:
      I think you should read up.
      First, the J-20 is probably a stealth bomber, like the B-2. It’s big and heavy so they have
      a bigger range and payload. Aerial combat would taken care off by other planes such as J-11s, the version of the supermanuverable Su-27 in Chinese service. Secondly, the F-22 is not designed to dogfight. It is designed for BVR combat. If it does come to a dogfight, remember those J-11s.

    • saiful333

      Su-27 is big and heavy too. While B-2 has many rounded surface too. And guest what..

  • johnysmith

    As general aviation in the United States slides further into apathy China has discovered how useful a network of general aviation facilities. Is the Future of General Aviation in China? http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/4fa177f5c6f8fa

  • Ronnie

    Have they fixed the oxygen problem….. could import them like US does everything else.

  • Hikerguy

    Like has been said, it probably is too big to be a dogfighter. It looks more of an intercepter or precision guided weapons bomber ala F-117. It’s really not a bad looking aircraft, and given time, the Chinese will make it operable. Yes, they do a lot of reverse engineering and copying. But, whether through industrial espionage or just plain buying it, they will eventually get to where they need to be.
    The real question is this: What will the West and other Asian nations do to prepare for it?

  • Look who’s coping! Ops i mean stealing technology from the German Nazi’s! Yep the Yankies!

    • Ryan

      The nazis did lose a war to us… I think we earned whatever technology we gained from them.

  • Anlushac11

    J-20 is considerably larger than the F-22. Maneuverability would depend on wing loading and thrust to weight ratio. F-15 and F-14 were considered large planes for their day and both were top notch dog fighters. The J-20 canopy does look like F-22 clone right down to handle locations.

    Chinese are now able to build AESA RADAR units but not with anything close to F-22 or F-35 capability. That may change due to the Chinese hacking boatloads of F-35 data to the extent the F-35’s flight software had to be rewritten. The Chinese are still struggling to build high output jet engines with nothing close to US or even Russian reliability.

    Speculation is that J-20 is more of a missile boat or long range interceptor using stealth to allow it to rush in close, salvo off missiles, and run for home.

  • Ben Richards

    And you really think that those envoy trips when China threatens to stop buying up all our debt are diplomatic ones? We should wonder if we are paying off the debt in other ways. The old saying goes, “Give the dog a bone to shut him up abit”

  • Red

    I know China steals a great deal of American tech, but I’m not sure you can look at the J-20 and F-22 straight up and conclude immediately that the J-20 was a copy of the F-22. Similar aircraft built for similar purposes tend to look similar.

  • Tim

    Well, you know what they say: Just because you can change a few light bulbs, it does not make you electrical engineers. The irony is that China does have electrical engineers, but they are just now learning to change lightbulbs…

    Just because it looks like a duck, flies like a duck, even quacks like a duck, does that make it a duck?

  • Frank

    Reverse Engineering? Even allies like UK ,Japan, Australia could not get it, how and where Chinese acquired the knowledge and material?

    • RememberTheAlamo

      Frank, yours is an excellent and very important question. I spent over 30 years in research. The U.S. literaly recruits from Red China, Russia and nations of the former Soviet Union. How do they get the knowledge and material? They are smack dab in the middle of the goings-on.

  • Marcellus Hambrick

    The Chinese will pass the US militarily a lot earlier than people think. In the US, by default, as more money is spent on social programs (including Social Security) by default less on national defense will be spent. Also, US companies have moved manufacturing know how to China. China’s rise is Anerica’s fault!

  • Ricky

    It looks like the F-22 because it is the F-22. Some one posted a picture of the F-22 and said it’s the J-20. The color is not right and there are no canards. And the tailfins are much to big for the J-20.

  • citanon

    Has it occurred to anyone here that stealth supersonic fighters, might, in general, look fairly similar to one another?

    I’m sure they’ve copied some parts and tried to steal as much technology as they can. It is after all, the smart thing to do. But this plane isn’t “just” a copy of a F-22 or an F-35. It’s a substantially different design with a different operational doctrine.

    To think otherwise would be unjustifiably arrogant and complacent.

  • Yang Xi Gua

    hey look, bump air intakes just like on F-35

  • john

    The Chinese have already stolen and even reverse-engineered some sophisticated US military technologies. They have also taken US jobs, debts and who knows some US talents….beware of Chinese spies..they could be too many than any other countries’ spies

    • cs4

      Like buying your debts are a bad thing. Where do you think money for the war against terrorism come from? Talents? Well talents, US or otherwise, needs to eat. Spies? You only pointed out Chinese spies, how about American ones in China? Think on the bright side, if US is not the top dog who would want to imitate?

      • blight_

        Do you mean talents as in skills or an allusion to precious metal currency? In any case, it was taels back then, but now it’s RMB.

  • lichen

    China really is the only Super Power…we are kidding ourselves to think otherwise…

  • fangs out

    Ck out what the IDF done to the f16 and 15 call it revamp.

  • observant1

    We don’t have to worry about competition, after all, it’s made with chinese parts.

  • iftikhar

    i am a pakistani and happy to see the success of china, in my opinion J_20 stealth is
    technically better than F-22 and any other fighter plane existing in this age.i hope china
    will supply these fighers to pakistan soon.thanking you.

    • blight_

      Considering the F-22 is America’s second of three stealth aircraft versus unproven J-20…?

      I imagine you should be thinking more about India than China.

    • Dark Night

      Sorry mate. China isn’t dumb enough to sell 5th Gen stealth tech to other countries

  • iftikhar

    we are waiting to receive J-20 stealth anxiously and it will great honour for pakistan.

  • Snopp Dogg

    This is ludacris, its only a matter of time before WW3 and when it happen we will know for sure if its a stealth aircraft. Trust me when I say this We Americans don’t talk about other secret projects for a reason, we don’t want it being stolen. Plain and simple.
    China play fair and build your own jets, economy and military stop stealing our research. You people will not learn until we shut you down, remember we still haven enough nukes to wipe you off the map if that means anything to you.

  • pale male

    more chinese chattel