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China denies stealing American stealth technology

The F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter of US.

BEIJING (PTI): China Tuesday denied that its stealth fighter J-20 was developed with stolen US technology, claiming that it was a “masterpiece” of its technological innovation, shortly after an Indian-American was jailed for 32 years by an American court for leaking military secrets to Beijing.

Chinese defence officials and military analysts insisted that the country's J-20 stealth fighter jet, which was test flown this month, is a result of the country's own efforts, state-run Global Times reported.

"It's not the first time foreign media has smeared newly unveiled Chinese military technologies. It's meaningless to respond to such a speculation," an unnamed official of the Chinese Ministry of National told the daily.

The remarks came a day after Indian-American, Noshir Gowadia, a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer, was sentenced by a US federal judge to 32 years of imprisonment for selling military secrets to China. He was convicted of helping China design its stealth cruise missile.

Besides, a Croatian admiral, who served during the Kosovo War, had alleged that China formulated the technology for its J-20 jet from an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.

China had test flown the J-20 fighter in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, earlier this month during the visit of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to that country.

Xu Yongling, one of China's top test pilots, said that the J-20 possesses an advanced supersonic cruise ability and powerful air mobility that are technological breakthroughs for the country.

"Different from previous fighters such as the J-7 and J-8, which drew on the merits of aircraft from other countries, the J-20 is a masterpiece of China's technological innovation," Xu claimed, comparing the stealth jet to the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor and Russia's Sukhoi T-50.

Xu said it would have been impossible for China to glean technology from the US’ F-117, whose stealth technology lags far behind fourth-generation fighters and was regarded as "outdated" even at the time when it was reportedly shot down.

And as for the radiation-absorbent, exterior coating technology adopted by the F-117, Xu said it would be hard to copy that technology from the wreckage due to its complicated production process.

Wang Yanan, an associate editor in chief at Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said that the F-117 could hardly have inspired the development of the J-20, due to the design differences between the two generations of fighters. He added that it is worthless to take an interest in obsolete technology for developing more state-of-art technologies.

"Despite being dubbed a stealth fighter, the F-117 functioned as a bomber because of its low speed and limited air attacking abilities, while the J-20, more resembling the F-22, is designed to have a powerful air attacking capability with a fast flying speed," Wang said.

Responding to the accusations about China's stealing of new technologies, Wang conceded that, as a forerunner for new technologies, the US can only provide a reference point for other countries but will never leak any details about the technologies, leaving many countries to develop weapons on their own or buy them from another country.

Li Daguang, a Beijing-based military analyst termed such accusations as groundless and originating from envy and wariness of China's technological advancements.

"China not only has the freedom to develop high-end technologies but also the capability to develop them independently," he said.


Stealth Fighter  China  J-20    

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