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Wendell Minnick

China’s social media are rife with rumors on the country’s military developments, but when in June a video showed up with what seemed pictures of its new fighter, the world took it very serious, writes military analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick:

In late June, several videos appeared on the Internet showing a fighter fuselage, wrapped in a tarp, being transported along a highway from Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC) to the Chinese Flight Test Establishment, an air force test center at Xian-Yanliang Airbase, Shaanxi Province.

The configuration matches descriptions of China’s second stealth fighter, the J-21 Snowy Owl, including that of a model displayed by university students connected to SAC at the International UAV Innovation Grand Prix held in Beijing in September 2011.

The model was a twin-engine stealthy fighter with internal carriage and configured for an active electronically scanned array radar, said Richard Fisher, author of the book “China’s Military Modernization” and a fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Alexandria, Va.

China unveiled its first stealth fighter, the twin-engine J-20 Black Eagle, built by the Chengdu Aircraft Co. (CAC), in January 2011. CAC and SAC were in competition for a requirement for a fifth-generation fighter for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and PLA Navy (PLAN).

With the unveiling of the J-20, it was assumed CAC had won the competition.

More in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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