China’s New Stealth Fighter Jet: Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery
In recent days, we have been seeing a staggering number of photos of China’s new stealth fighter, the 5th-Gen J-31.
However, is it truly that original?
China has a long history of stealing (at worst) or mirroring (at best) U.S. designs, primarily that of the F-35, so this is far from an unfamiliar subject.
While some reports suggest that this similarity is a result of espionage, there are always slight differences that “dispel” these claims such as the fact that the J-20 — as similar as it was to the F-35 — was lower, wider and longer.
In fact, Chinese media sources have even acknowledged the undeniable similarities noticeable in the designs.
When one takes a deeper dive, it is easy to see that this pattern continues, not just in planes, but across all military technology, not to mention other tech in the consumer sector.
To provide another example, after the Bin Laden raid, Pakistan is rumored to have let China examine the helicopter that crashed outside of the compound. Even though it was blown up by the Navy Seals, a great deal of it remained intact, primarily the tail.
As soon as two years later (2013), pictures were seen of a helicopter being transported in China, its tail features unmistakably similar to that of the downed chopper.
While there has never been conclusive evidence, it is very possible that it was reverse engineered, even considering the disrepair in which it was found.
Furthermore, the US is unable to conclude if Pakistan would have aided such effort, but it is plausible considering their anger for not being looped in on the raid.
Beyond aircraft, China seems to have done anything they could to advance themselves as a “world military power” over the years - both legally and illegally, through acquisition of foreign military technology.
Through propaganda, deception and threats, they have attempted to impact the world’s opinion. Have they succeeded? Only time will tell.
Written by Jack Argiro
Edited by Alexander Fleiss, Michael Ding, Pranshu Gupta, Jason Kauppila