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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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RE: I see why US isn't worried
By sorry dog on 1/16/2011 12:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no aero engineer but the fact that it has a delta config with canards means it will have a FBW computer to control the canards, flaperons, blow flaps, slats, and other aero do dads that help offset the delta's problems with low speed handling and high alpha situations.

One's of the Concorde's biggest development hurdles was designing a delta shape with acceptable trade-offs... something the TU-144 didn't really achieve.

This plane seems to make a stealth compromise from the rear as the nozzles and turbine section does look shrouded like other stealth designs... and I wonder what they've done for skin coating as that is still a major maintenance issue for other stealth designs. I imagine they are still cutting their teeth on that problem.

I think 8-10 years is probably a good estimate for the amount time for defence stategists to come up with a counter for this system.


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