Washington: China may be building its own version of next-generation fighter planes, which are touted to have similar capabilities like US’ latest breed of super jet fighters, a new report has revealed.
The Pentagon’s 2012 annual report revealed that the January 2011 flight test of China’s next-generation fighter prototype, a J-20, highlights China’s ambition to produce a fighter aircraft that incorporates stealth attributes, advanced avionics, and super-cruise engines.
The report comes a month after a second prototype of the J-20 was reportedly spotted hovering around a Chinese airfield, more than a year and a half after China’s only other known prototype made its first public flight.
According to ABC News, the three attributes described by the Pentagon are among the advanced capabilities of a F-22 Raptor, the stealth fighter jet introduced by the US Air Force and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, which has been named as the most sophisticated fighter plane on the planet.
However, currently the entire fleet of F-22s, which cost the US government an estimated USD 79 billion, has been slammed with strict flight restrictions due to safety concerns for pilots.
Although reports suggest that China may not be possessing more than a couple J-20s, a US government report on Chinese weapons systems released last month claimed US intelligence as estimating that at least some J-20s could go combat operational as soon as 2018.