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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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What would Taiwan do
By Belard on 1/14/2011 9:36:26 AM , Rating: 2
Okay.. lets say Taiwan got 66new F16 fighters... so what? That brings Taiwan's total to 100~120 total jet fighters?

About 20 F22s would wipe them out. And next door China would easily swarm the skies.

Overall, China should just let it go... They are a big dog with a huge stick, the business that Taiwan & China do together is mutually important. They should simply view them as HK, but without actually running the country. Offer them "protection" against say... N.Korea, etc. Its not worth this aggravation... but its a matter of "face", but geez - work it out.

USA won't get that involved... not worth a war.

RE: What would Taiwan do
By Belard on 1/14/2011 9:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
PS: The Chengdu J-10S Vigorous Dragon is a Chinese version of the F16 (has many design elements & functions & capabilities), appears to be taken from the rejected Israeli Lavi fighter (which is also based off the F16). ;)

Give it a few years, China will have a much cheaper version of the F35 they can sell to the USA.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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