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J-20 takes flight
Further ahead indeed...

Numerous pictures of the Chinese Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter have surfaced online over the last few weeks. The aircraft has been seen conducting taxi tests at the southwest China Plant 132 facility. Plant 132 is the designation for Chengdu Aircraft reports Defense News.

After government officials initially dismissed the J-20, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted recently that the Chinese "may be somewhat further along" than was previously believed. As Gates is in China for talks with the Chinese government a new report comes out that the J-20 made its first flight. The maiden flight had reportedly been set for January 7, but poor weather forced the flight to be cancelled. 

According to Chinese media, the chase aircraft on the test flight was a Chengdu J-10S Vigorous Dragon fighter. Defense News reports that the test flight will surprise some analysts who though the aircraft wasn’t ready for flight. The maiden flight of the J-20 lasted 18 minutes and was conducted on January 11.

The first flight of the aircraft may be used as a bargaining chip by Taiwan to urge the U.S. to release 66 newer F-16C/D fighters that were requested. The aircraft have been on hold since 2006 due to Chinese pressure on the U.S. to not offer more military aid to Taiwan.

Chinese Minister for National Defense Gen. Liang Guanglie said, "On that, China's position has been clear and consistent - we are against it." He also said, "Because United States arms sales to Taiwan seriously damaged China's core interests and we do not want to see that happen again, neither do we hope that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will again and further disrupt our bilateral and military-to-military relationship."

The F-16 aircraft that Taiwan wants aren’t likely to be approved by the U.S., but upgrades for the F16A/B fighters Taiwan may get a green light.

Updated 1/12/2011 @ 7:35am EST

Video has been posted of the J-20's first flight. The taxi/liftoff occurs around the 3:06 mark.

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By DigitalFreak on 1/11/2011 3:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
I have to wonder if the Chinese are capable of coming up with things on their own. Everything they do seems to be stolen from someone else.

RE: Stolen
By Bubbacub on 1/11/2011 4:19:09 PM , Rating: 1
why re-invent the wheel, when you can look over your neighbour's shoulder and copy the design?

a country only really needs to develop truly new technology when it is amongst the most advanced nations.

having said that i doubt china has needed to steal very much from the US to develop this plane.

the theory behind reducing radar reflections is no secret and they have had decades of experience of building 4/4.5 gen planes based off russian designs (not stolen from russia)

RE: Stolen
By bangmal on 1/12/2011 6:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
It seems more like it is the americans are stealing/begging around the world, invading countries around stealing wealth and call them liberations, yet have to beg the Chinese to buy their debt.

RE: Stolen
By InsaneGain on 1/13/2011 6:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
There is no doubt that the Chinese have put a lot of effort into military technology espionage for quite a while now. Over 10 years ago they stole U.S. radar based wake propagation detection technology that will let them detect underwater US nuclear submarines, seriously comprising one of the most important branches of the US nuclear triad. They also stole U.S. miniaturized nuclear warheads so they could fit them on their ICBMs as well as U.S. nuclear cruise missile technology. These are just 3 of the thefts that have been detected and publicized. You can bet stealth technology has been high on their "want" list.

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