The United States became the first nation to have a fifth-generation fighter in its war arsenal when the F-22 Raptor first made its maiden flight on September 1997.
Unwilling to be outdone by the West, China soon unveiled its own fifth-generation warplane, the mightily impressive Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon.
In fact, it was so impressive that according to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, it could easily outperform its US counterparts.
Fight for Second Place
The US easily demolished its competition, winning the race in developing a fifth-generation warplane century upon the development of the F-22 Raptor.
With the US now having the upper hand, other nations now sought to be the second nation to have functional fifth-generation fighters. Both Russia and China were heavily invested in the race.
On January 11, 2011, China became the first Asian country to beat its legendary US rival when it took the Chengdu J-20 on its first flight.
Top Secret Capabilities
Getting information about this legendary plane isn’t easy, most of the early information about the fighter was obtained from secret US satellites and aerial footage of the J-20’s prototypes.
Many of the design’s peculiarities were kept secret by the Chinese armed forces.
What We Know
While other details about the aircraft are relatively unknown, from the methodical study of available footage, the US knows the plane has a long and blended fuselage with a chiseled nose section. It also has a canard wing configuration, a holistic stealth airframe approach, and a frameless canopy.
The Mighty Dragon is also equipped with a massive bomb bay that can hold up to six warheads in the fuselage while retaining its stealth capabilities.
Despite it all, until the day both sides meet in combat, it’s relatively impossible to know which layout would be deemed more superior in a combat sc