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China Shows Off Its J-20 Stealth Fighter With a Big Surprise

Image: Chinese Internet.

At the Zhuhai airshow in China this week, China showed off its J-20 jet, known as the “Mighty Dragon.” According to a report by Eurasian Times, the fighter jets sported a Chinese-made WS-10C engine.

This is significant, the report said, because of what it says about China’s ability to make its own parts. Until now, the only countries on the UN Security Council that produce “capable and reliable” jet engines were the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.

“This indicates a high degree of confidence among the country’s aerospace engineering community and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). WS-10C is part of their concerted effort to initiate a clean break from Russian power plants,” the report said. “Jet engines are an area where even the reverse-engineering expert Chinese have not been able to master, baring the sheer complexity and sophistication of the technology that countries guard so fanatically.”

The South China Morning Post had reported back in January that Chinese engineers had been “directed to modify the engine on the J-20 until it matches America’s F-22 Raptor.”

“It’s impossible for China to rely on the Russian engine because Russia asked China to purchase more Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for the AL-31F engine deals,” an unnamed insider told the South China Morning Post.

The Eurasian Times article also stated that the pandemic had slowed down China’s work on those engines.

“The J-20 spotted at Zhuhai with the WS-10C engine is not the J-20B, which only entered mass production in July 2020 when the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation added a fourth production line,” the report said. “The new line can produce at least one J-20 aircraft a month. The newer J-10B variant will continue to be powered by Russian engines since the WS-10C will take at least another year to finish testing.”

The J-20 itself has been in development since 2017. The development began, ahead of schedule, because “then-President Donald Trump had stoked fears of a sudden conflict with Washington.”

China keeps its J-20 jets “on lock,” according to David Axe, a former defense editor for the National Interest.

“What’s ironic about China’s J-20 sales-restriction is that many observers strongly suspect Beijing’s engineers derived the plane’s design in part from data that Chinese hackers have stolen from the American-led F-35 stealth fighter program,” Axe explained in an article published by the National Interest in March 2020. “The U.S. expressly designed the F-35 to be safely exportable. The F-35 is smaller, slower, and less stealthy than the F-22 is. But it still includes sensitive technologies including sophisticated sensors and radar-absorbing coatings.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.



  1. Alfred Gossett

    October 3, 2021 at 12:40 am

    You know, I’ll be ‘Real Happy when the U. S. start guarding their military secrets a little bit better than they do! China steals Everything!!

  2. Ong BS

    October 3, 2021 at 12:44 am

    You mean Russia, as part of the UN
    Security Council, is not capable of making its own reliable power plants for it’s jet engines?

  3. Ong BS

    October 3, 2021 at 12:51 am

    As usual, the anti-China bias show. There is hardly any news article from main stream western media which does not mention about China stealing technology from the west. Every country steals from each other. The US stole a lot of the technology from the UK in the past. So why is the US not reminded of its stolen technology Everytime when US made some progress in technological advancement? Only when Chinaafe some progress, there is always the certain mention of China stealing technology from the US. Did the Chinese companies like Huawei steal its 6G technology from the US?

  4. Mental Libtardation

    October 3, 2021 at 6:01 am

    HAHAHAHAHA “Because Donald Trump stoked fears of war”. Nice, had to throw in some orange man bad when in reality China has been desperately trying to develop the WS-10 for the last 15yrs. They were trying to match and if possible surpass the performance of the Russian AL-31F engine, but repeatedly failed to do so until the C model, which came around the end of 2019. Good job completely discrediting yourself as another fake news libtard shill.

  5. Infidel9932

    October 3, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Nonsense. The Chinese have nothing that’s even close. To include a stealth aircraft. You can’t copy a advanced et engine when you don’t have the advanced manufacturing equipment.

  6. Mike

    October 3, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Should have guarded military secrets better. China has a well known record of theft in military technology.

  7. Dan

    October 3, 2021 at 8:40 am

    There is no such thing as climate change or global warming, that is a hoax. God controls the weather not man.

  8. Catapult

    October 3, 2021 at 8:45 am

    It’s one thing to steal the blueprints and another thing entirely to gain the complex manufacturing and QA processes as well as the expertise of the assemblers that make the thing.

  9. Chan Charlie

    October 3, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Yes. China has stolen the western tech to land on the dark side of the moon.
    It has also stolen the western/US tech to land on Mars and also to build the space station.
    And now China has achieved its 5G comfortably. Now it steals the tech again to go for 6G.Really cunning nincompoop.

  10. Chris Bailey

    October 3, 2021 at 9:31 am

    China has never developed the metallurgical expertise to build a jet engine that doesn’t spontaneously explode. Their “stealth” aircraft aren’t stealth as a result. They stealth all their tech, but until they start stealing finished, running engines from the US or UK, even their commercial airframe are crap. This isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda

  11. Brian

    October 3, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    The white supremacists think others must steal they no-whites make progress, disregarding the fact that the average IQ scores of Chinese are pretty high.

  12. Nicholas Gilanelli

    October 3, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Bruh, did you see what they rolled out of skunk works 2 days ago. That old as china plain would stand no chance. Maybe this site should do a little research, bummy china plain 😂

  13. AzGuy

    October 3, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    It doesn’t matter, China is still playing catch up with the West on many things. Just because you call it stealth, doesn’t mean it’s stealth. US tech is beyond what is publicly known, we allowed the world to see the F-22 and the B-2 long after they were developed and tested and put into production, then you have the F-117 that NO ONE knew of it till it was dropping bombs in Panama and only years later was it ” released” to the public. When China says “let’s meet in the sky” the USAF Im sure would be ready to meet the challenge.

  14. Christopher Schuster

    October 3, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    As Ong BS wrote:

    “You mean Russia, as part of the UN Security Council, is not capable of making its own reliable power plants for it’s jet engines?”

    It would appear the author is telling us Russia cannot manufacture reliable engines.

    I do believe that not only would the Russians disagree but so would America, France, UK, and most of the rest of the world.

    Stephen Silver I join Ong BS in calling you out on this significant error.

  15. Rex Kramer

    October 3, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Cool, does this make it lawn dart into the ocean faster?

  16. Eagle 275

    October 3, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Yeah the Red Communist Chinese are begging to get nuked badly with their world domination Bullshiyit. Let me push the button to send a tactical nuke up Bejing’s Arse. BTW I’m retired USAF and we traded in our F-15’s for the 117’s you know stealth. I helped bring it online, and Chi-Coms can go Phuk their Kommie selves

  17. Christopher

    October 3, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    China are theives

  18. Bruce Whitfield

    October 4, 2021 at 1:55 am

    It’s overtime for the US to stop trying to squash China’s technological progress by accusing them of this and that. The US should be talking more with China..instead of acting the big bully in the global school yard. The payback for destroying Hawawei will be more intense development work in China that will eventually pay huge dividends in the future.

  19. Raptor1

    October 4, 2021 at 7:21 am

    So the Chinese engineers were told to keep working until they develop an engine that matches the performance of our Raptor’s 30-year-old F119?
    Sounds to me like the Chinese have a LONG way to go to catch up to our tech that is now 30 years further along… And sounds like the clock to catch up doesn’t start until we see a J-20 sporting their self-destructive WS-15s AND adds on the incredibly hard-to-produce stealthy TVC nozzles that the Raptor sports.
    They might want to be careful what they wish for, as it is the reach of the US Navy is getting longer by the year.

  20. Kemo Ayers

    October 4, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    China needs to sit their ass down & stir up some more fried rice and chicken! The USA has aircraft that are 50yrs ahead of anything flying in the skies today!! Every once again they’ll take one out the barn off the shelf Zip it around a few states people will get a fleeting glimpse of it. It’s like nothing from they’ve ever saw/seen before. EVER! It must be a damn UFO/UAP Then they bring it right back into the hangar & underground.The switchboards at radio stations & tv start lighting up with calls from all over about the strange lights & craft that were seen by people all up & down the coast or somewhere in the Midwest. Folks it’s not UFOs it’s just Secrets and technology!and china you’re Little league!!! You’re always gonna be playing catch up and looking UP TO NO#1.. AMERICA

  21. Hien Nguyen

    October 4, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    As Vietnamese American I can say Cheatnazi has been having historically steeling in their blood. For example: Chinese men will plant their banana and bamboo trees along your borders as long you have been busy. Those trees grow up and spout to your lands . Later the Chinese men will claim his lands. Say the banana and bamboo were planted by me. When you wake up you lost your lands. The Westerners are so naive about Chinese men. Remember China man said Do not trust Chinese man.

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