China steals US technology to build fifth-generation J-20 Mighty Dragon fighter jet that resembles F-22 Raptor

By: Maksim Panasovskyi | 10.03.2023, 18:51
China steals US technology to build fifth-generation J-20 Mighty Dragon fighter jet that resembles F-22 Raptor

In the summer of 2022, we wrote about how China copied the Patriot surface-to-air missile system and Soviet designs for the DF-21 / DF-26 ballistic missile, the HQ-9 air defence system and the J-11 fighters. But China has not stopped there.

Here's What We Know

James Anderson, a former United States Defense Department official from the Donald Trump administration, said that China relied heavily on stolen American technology during the development of the J-20. In fact, the US subsidised part of China's research and development budget. The former official called for increased security for the classified weapons systems.

For several years, he said, China had been stealing US classified technology. As a result, China's fifth-generation J-20 Mighty Dragon fighter is based on technology from the F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter, JSF) and F-22 (Advanced Tactical Fighter, ATF) programs. Espionage has made the J-20 much stronger than it could have been. In particular, a Chinese spy is known to have stolen blueprints for the Lockheed Martin fighter jet, and in 2016 he was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

The J-20 made its maiden flight in 2011, three years after development began, and was accepted for service in 2017. It is virtually a replica of the F-22 Raptor, which entered service 10 years earlier. The Chinese aircraft has small front wings, which differs from the US aircraft. However, it is generally accepted that they have similar flight capabilities and armament. You can compare the two aircraft externally in the photo below.

American experts say the J-20 is a huge leap for the Chinese military industry. That said, it has not faced real combat with the F-22, so it's impossible to say how it will stand up to the U.S. aircraft.

The ATF program ended in 2011. During this time 187 F-22 fighters of the fifth generation have been produced. After that, the Pentagon favoured the JSW. Chinese spies were able to steal several terabytes of data related to the design and electronic systems of the F-35 Lightning II in 2009. Ultimately, by stealing US and European technology, China was able to significantly narrow the technology gap.

Source: Daily Mail