The recently revealed Chinese ‘J-XX’ stealth fighter prototype made its first flight from Chengdu’s Huang Tian Ba airport on January 11.
The aircraft, provisionally dubbed the J-XX or J-20 pending official confirmation from Chinese officials, lifted off at 12.50 local time for a short flight accompanied by a J-10 chase plane.
The flight gave photographers on the ground the first opportunity to photograph the aircraft’s large high set delta wing planform and fuselage underside. Images from the flight reveal radar absorbing ‘saw tooth’ edges on the main and nose undercarriage bays, a wide fuselage with space for multiple weapons bays behind the engine intakes, and confirmed the forward fuselage’s resemblance to that of the F-22 Raptor.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is currently visiting Beijing, said Chinese President Hu Jintao had confirmed the first flight, but that its timing with Gates’ visit was purely coincidental. “I asked President Hu about it directly, and he said that the test had absolutely nothing to do with my visit and had been a pre-planned test,” he told US media accompanying him.