Thursday, December 1, 2011

Well, it looks cool, anyway

The J-20, China's prototype foray into the world of stealth aircraft, is showing up more and more on the Internet. Confident that it will fly without any embarrassing glitches--like blowing up or crashing--the Chinese military is making sure this impressively large aircraft is getting a lot of face time.

Note that the video was shot from inside the base. This isn't shakycam from a planespotter; this is PR.

To me, the project seems more like a testbed or technology demonstrator. It is too large to be an effective fighter and there are many things about the design, including the engine nozzles, that make it non-stealthy... no matter how many cool angles are designed into the fuselage.

Overall, the J-20 doesn't represent much of a gap-closing with the U.S., even leaving avionics, networking and weapons out of the equation.

But a more cynical man might suggest that this aircraft is being pushed so hard into the spotlight because there is something else in the shadows.

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