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.

      • Anon

        The way America has lost it’s moral compass, turned away from the God of the Bible and how it frequently underestimates it’s opponents and sells out its own people makes it a big target to be humbled in the worst way one day.

        • Anoon2

          “turned away from the God of the Bible”

          Nothing has been the same since the Middle Ages.

        • HeeHaw

          China develops economy while rednecks read Bible.

        • Thomas L. Nielsen

          “….turned away from the God of the Bible….”?

          Would that be the “love thy neighbour” God of the Bible or the “stone people to death” God of the Bible? They’re both in there, and the difference is not insignificant.

          Regards & all,

          Thomas L. Nielsen

      • UAVgeek

        Which is a Japanese brand. Zojirushi literally means “Mark of the Elephant”. Asian culture knowledge fail man.

    • 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.

    • Black Owl

      The Chinese also spend small amounts compared to the West’s costs of research and development. We need to find a way to stop this and soon.

      • Stan

        They spend small amounts because we borrow quite a bit of money from them, use some of that money on military R&D which they steal and then repay them with interest.

    • Tad

      Yup, exactly like the Japanese. They copied our cars, trucks, tv’s, radios, etc…, and look what losers they’ve turned out to be.

      • Anon

        You’re a very abrasive individual aren’t you? Mostly likely you’re this new generation with zero integrity and zero character who in actuality know nothing at all about innovation. Therefore, the rug will be pulled from under your feet one day.

        • JoeBlow

          It is easier to sell out than to invest domestically and innovate.

          It’s free-market capitalism.

          Just ask the TEA bangers.

      • ohreally

        If Japanese electronics are so terrible, why is it nothing but Sony, Panasonic and Sharp?

    • Manco

      lol, just like the b2 vs horten, b1 vs t160, f15 vs mig 29. I would much rather copy Russian based on historical innovation, as opposed to acquisition and or theft of scientific minds from the motherland or other parts of Europe (ie Germany). You are a very ignorant audience. Good luck.

      • William C.

        You know that Jack Northrop was experimenting with flying wing designs in the ’30s and ’40s without knowledge of the Horton brothers work, right? No, I guess you didn’t.

        And the fact that the B-1 flew well before the Tu-160, and how the F-15 was in service about eight years before the MiG-29.

        • Tim

          What did you expect? Idiot is what idiot does… It is always amusing to hear characters like Manco to say some ignorant thing like this, but I’m not surprised.

    • Vec


    • jjj

      You realize that the people designing these things for the “West” are foreigners right? It started with Germans after WW2, then to Chinese and Indian scientists.

    • Dark Night

      Picasso has a great saying: Good artists imitate, Great artists steal.

  • 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.

        • Stan

          They were very peaceful during WW2, as they were getting raped by the Japanese. I am aware of their substantial achievements over thousands of years, it’s the time since they invented gunpowder and paper that’s more relevant, however. Because Europe, and a bit later, the US did quite a bit since then. Your hurt feelings notwithstanding what I said was true. They would be nowhere if not for the West and politically, they are still in the Middle Ages. Their recent breakneck-paced development is possible because they are standing on the shoulders of giants, not to sound too grandiose.

        • Stan

          Did I also mention that they cheated and stole their way to their current state of prosperity? Personally, I feel we should return the favor posthaste but I am not sure they have anything worth stealing.

          • asdf

            lol “they cheated” you naive retard. The world’s not fair. Anything a country can do and get away with is fair game.

          • Stan

            You are projecting your stupidity and confusing it with being civilized.

          • Stan

            You know, US generally respecting the rule of law of international trade (being stupid, according to you) vs. China being China. Too complicated for you?

          • Morgan

            Stan, all I hear coming out of your mouth is “USA USA USA USA USA!”

          • Stan

            I am glad we understand each other. Although, if you had a broader view of history and/or reading comprehension you would realize I am actually saying West West West West.

          • ltfunk

            I was talking to a german last week about how Chinese competition will change his industry and how he is goign to compete. But thats not something you will hear from the likes of Stan – no it’s all about feeling good about being a loser.

          • Stan

            What the hell are you talking about? And where is it I suggest that the US is losing?

            Incidentally, Germany with 30% of its GDP reliant on export is in deep shit atm with growth rates well below even America’s anemic ones. At this juncture this country is slowly turning and beginning to move in the direction I consider right in terms of its education, manufacturing and some of the other good things. All in all we are not too badly off. And here is to get some of yours’ teeth grinding, Obama deserves credit for some of that.

          • blight_

            What cheating? Nobody told Stanley to make screwdrivers in China, or Old Navy’s suppliers to move overseas. Or Schwinn to make bicycles in Taiwan to compete with Nishiki (leading to Giant, which then started plants in China). Or Apple moving production from the US during the ’90s.

            The “stealing” only occurs after you give the other country the means to actually use what they can steal. From American industrial history, American entrepreneurs broke British patents and stole British ideas from the industrial powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution to start their own here. Greed is good, and theft is normal.

          • cs4

            It’s funny how people keep saying others are stealing when they got their start by stealing, then improved on it and claiming it their own.

          • Praetorian

            Sounds exactly like what the Russian’s complained about the J-11B.

    • 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.

    • Dayne

      Its easy to make a rough copy of the skin of an aircraft, but i doubt it will perform as good as a raptor when they send it up for the first time

      • Black Owl

        Make no mistake I think the J-20 is entirely inferior to the F-22 and the Russian PAK-FA. I think it was made to be truck for cruise missiles to be launched at carriers and not an air superiority fighter.

        • tiger

          Considering the F-22 has done jack zero & there are less than 200 of them I’m not very impressed with it. I like to breath while flying.

          • Black Owl

            lol, me too. I guess there are a lot of things that I am not impressed with the F-22 about. I doubt that the USAF will use them in combat anytime soon because the consequences of losing one could be extremely severe. The humiliation is one thing and the risk of the technology falling into the wrong hands is another. I think as long as they have the F-16 and F-15 in their arsenal they will still do the fighting.

    • Vec


      • Anon

        You wouldn’t know reality if it smacked you in the face. Underestimate your opponent and suffer the consequences.

        • Tellurian Mines

          Nice try, China

    • HeeHaw

      How freaking hard is it to obtain a picture of the Raptor from the thousands of publicly available photos of the F-22 that are floating out there in on the internet?

      Then factor into account that stealth technology obeys the laws of physics, it is not too hard for Chinese scientists to deduce the accurate shape and dimensions of the Raptor without any espionage involved.

      I’m have no evidence that NO espionage was ever involved, but why automatically assume the Chinese engineers are too stupid to figure out the same solutions that U.S. scientists have?

      • Black Owl

        I’m actually thinking of that incident where Chinese hackers took information from the F-35 program. I’m just saying that they could have incorporated that into the J-20.

    • Alan

      Damn good point, you can’t hack paper. Long story short, however, without a global naval presence and playing catch up in space, China is deluding itself if it thinks it can do more than challenge the control of the South China Sea.

    • john

      Well, if you had an ounce of intelligent. You know that every nation on Earth copy others. If you know anything about military strategy, is that you never underestimate your adversary . This one of the main reasons that the U.S with almighty weapons still not winning the Taliban and lost the Vietnam war.

    • Pepot

      It’s not really hard for the Chinese to copy and build their own. The Chinese bought several Russian Sukhois for their air force. Dismantle the plane, copy and manufacture most parts. They even have the operating jet engine copied from the Mig 29. They learned already the tricks due to more than a decade of industrial revolution. Remember, if you look around in your house specially your kitchen, you will not see anymore a made in U.S.A. It’s made in China. The manufacture now their own cars, trucks, farm tractors because we have the so called “American Greed”! Ford, GM and Chrysler moved their manufacturing plant in China while China also was delighted to learn, copy and manufacture it later. They also have a copied version of Boeing 737 passenger jet but they have problem selling it to the world due to SAFETY PROBLEM!!Our government is to blame too. The U.S. air force , navy and army cannot shut their mouth telling the world of their newest weapon invention. Today, we are surprise to read Chinese news that they already tested their newest Drones copied from a U..S. Predator. Pretty soon because of this lack of security, this Chinese will soon copy our Rail Gun and the newest Laser weapon. Looks like the U.S. military did not practice this slogan,”Loose mouth sinks ships”!

  • 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.

    • 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?

    • duuude

      If the J-20’s pilot uses a helmet mounted cueing system to aim its missiles, does it need to look like a dogfighter?

  • 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.

      • ohreally

        We “earned” it. We didn’t “steal” it. They’re not “protestors” they’re “terrorists”. Yeah yeah yeah. Only thing America earned was the ability to steal the technology.

        • Vec


        • Ryan

          Are you really standing up for the nazis because the Americans “stole” their technology? Great friends you got there…

      • blight_

        Not if it was bought on the blood of Jews and Roma. Though, who in their right mind would attempt to replicate the hard won lethal-dose-of-gasoline; time-to-die-in-freezing-water experiments of the Nazis, or to repeat chemical weapons test data gained from Chinese civilians by Unit 731; or vivisection data? No sane IRB would permit such madness.

      • cs4

        Winning the war does not automatically means you can take whatever you want. You took it without consent, doesn’t it sound like stealing?

        • Prodozul

          Russians took from the Nazi’s the Brits took from the Nazi’s. What does it matter if we took it?

          Oh wait it’s the US so it’s an automatic no no right?

          • cs4

            And you use that logic to justify your actions?

        • Ryan

          So I guess we should have never studied crashed axis aircraft during the war then right? I’m sure the Japanese were coming back for that Zero in the Aluetians… Better to fight your enemy not knowing how their hardware works is a great idea!

  • 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.

      • Thomas L. Nielsen

        My dear Tiger,

        I object to that in the strongest possible terms! You comparison is offensive to 6th-graders everywhere.

        Thomas L. Nielsen

  • pale male

    more chinese chattel