China – J-XX Stealth Fighter / concept
China – Shenyang J-XX Stealth Fighter / Flight Concept
Photo – irandefence.net

The signs have been there for some time. In 1997, the US Office of Naval Intelligence stated their conviction that a 4th generation stealth fighter was under development in China. Then in December, 2008, the highly respected “Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft” went on record saying that China has been developing a “heavyweight” stealth fighter for many years.

In 2005, a former Northrup B2 design engineer was arrested for selling highly classified data about the B-2 and its stealth design to China. Noshir Gowadia has admitted to the charges and so there is no question that the propulsion system and stealth design features of the B-2 have been studied intensively by those designing fighters and bombers for China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

China – Shenyang JXX / J14 - concept
China – Shenyang JXX / J14 – concept
Aviation art – Karl Toussaint

In April 2009, China cyberwar experts attacked the US Department of Defense computers that hold classified data about the F-35 program. Apparently a great deal of data was downloaded, although theft of information in the highest security classification was not acknowledged.

At least two Chinese stealth fighters are farther along in development than anyone would have imagined six months ago. The most recent of these stealth fighter photographs was published on November 25, 2009 on a website that has high level expertise in all matters relating to Chinese military aviation.

China Stealth Fighter Prototype / First Photo
China – Shenyang J SAC-601 J-15A / Stealth Fighter Prototype – First Photo
Photo – cjdby.net / Chinese Military Aviation

The photo below of a Shenyang JXX / J14 in a hanger has been available for at least two years and has been widely criticized. It is described as either a prototype J-14 or J-15 stealth fighter, but it could also be an altered photograph of an existing Chinese heavyweight fighter.

China – Shenyang JXX / J14 / Stealth Fighter
China – Shenyang JXX / J14 / Stealth Fighter Prototype
Photo- centurychina.com

China J-11B fighter
China J-11B fighter
Photo – sinodefence.com

Unveiled in 2002, the Shenyang J-11B is a very advanced, multi-role attack fighter with Chinese-made avionics and some degree of reduced radar cross section (stealth) – ideal for trying out new ideas about increased stealth. Since 2006, it has been a testbed for the Chinese FWS-10A ‘TaiHang’ turbofan engine. The FWS-10A is similar to the Russian AL-31F, and is a candidate for next generation stealth aircraft propulsion.