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?

    • Andy

      will it perform the same?

      NO….They can even design the RICE COOKING MACHINE.

    • Technoweapon

      I would pay to see the two duke it out in a training excersize. Such close similarities always leaves me dying to know what little differences make the difference, you know?

      • blight_

        I’m sure the PLAAF would be dying to know too.

    • shawn1999

      Of course they won’t perform the same!

      In the US, it cost 4-5 times more than it was supposed to, and was completed a year or two after, with hypoxia issues being reported for the last year.

      In China, if it takes longer, costs more, heads will (literally) roll and the next in the chain of command will be put in charge- with promise of the same fate.

      So of course not- China’s will perform better.

    • bob

      thats what she said

  • 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.

    • JackBlack

      bomber threat that is.

      • A. Nonymous

        Indeed it is, Yoda.

      • More likely to be a Multi-Role aircraft than just a stealth bomber or maybe a Stealth Fighter-Bomber. It has the aerodynamic characteristics of a fighter with it’s delta wing configuration. Little can be said from just looking at photos. One can only speculate.

  • 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…?

      • ltfunk

        Yea and the F-35 has a Typhoon helmet duct taped to the pilots face. LOL

    • 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?

  • 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.

    • Russ

      Franklin, it is smaller than an F22 by quite a substantial amount so there is no comparing it to an F22 so how can it hold much larger bombs than an F22? I personally think it is a mock-up. Remember most stealth panels are composites that come in panels or sections. They are then shipped to the assembly factory on or near an airbase. Why ship a 3/4 complete medium sized jet to be completed elsewhere. The logic isnt there. You bring the peices to it.

    • Dark Night.

      The J-20 isn’t designed to be a fighter. It might be a multirole, like the F-35, but its probably designed to be a long range stealth bomber to attack places like Taiwan or the Diaoyu/Senaku Islands or defend Chinese soil. I bet the Chinese foreign policy isn’t to invade places like the US does. Since China is focused on beating Japan and Taiwan, who both don’t have F-22s or F-35s, they don’t need a 5th gen fighter.

  • Pat

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

    • exLoader

      If their anything other previous communist technological threats, I wouldn’t worry too much. We used to think the MIG’s, even the newer ones, were a threat. I’ve had the opportunity to be up close to more than one. It takes money to keep a fleet of anything like that in the air. So if all you can afford is a dozen or so, where’s the threat.

  • 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.

    • Russian Reliability, only closest thing in the world to Chuck Norris reliability.

    • exLoader

      Sounds like the original Mig-25 Foxbat. The Soviet’s proof that, with enough thrust, you can make 79,000 lbs. of crap fly………..

  • 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!

    • SuttonHoo

      Pass the US militarily in what?

      Above: It’s like a kit car of a Revington Lambo…. both look great from the exterior but only one is the real deal internally. Anyone want to take the Pepsi challenge

    • Joeblow

      “as more money is spent on social programs”

      Right, because our country exists to serve the military, not the other way around.

      “Also, US companies have moved manufacturing know how to China.”

      It’s called free-market capitalism.
      What? You don’t like it when capitalists act like capitalists and sell out? Are you a socialist commie?

  • 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…

    • Tom

      By what metric? I don’t think you can define ‘super power’ by exports or population, about the only things China is #1 in.

  • 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.

    • cs4

      Do you have enough bomb shelters when nukes starts blowing up above your heads?

    • tiger

      Are you like 12? Your thought process is about 6th grade.

  • pale male

    more chinese chattel