Monday, September 17, 2012

Images emerge of China’s second stealth fighter

A picture of what could be the J-21/31 aircraft 
The lack of transparency in the Chinese military has fueled speculation, but new images seem to confirm that the J-20 is no longer the only bird in town 

A Chinese aerospace manufacturer on the weekend released high-resolution images of what could be China’s second stealth fighter at a time of high tensions in the East China Sea over the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islets. 

For months, Shenyang Aircraft Corp (SAC), one of China’s principal aerospace firms, has been rumored to be working on the prototype of a stealth aircraft known as the J-21 “Snowy Owl.” This first came to the attention of defense analysts after a video surfaced in late June showing an aircraft fuselage covered in camouflage tarp being transported on a highway from SAC to a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) test center at Xian-Yanliang Airbase in Shaanxi Province, Defense News reported at the time. 

Although experts had cautioned that the video and images could be part of a disinformation campaign, the crisp images of the dark-gray prototype serial “001,” posted on China Defense Blog on Saturday, appear to provide confirmation that rival Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corp, which unveiled its J-20 less than two years ago, was no longer the sole player in China’s efforts to develop stealth aircraft. 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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