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