China’s J-20 stealth fighter makes public air show debut

BEIJING (AP) — China’s J-20 stealth fighter has made its public debut at Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai in the latest sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s military technology.

The plane performed a series of maneuvers under overcast skies on Tuesday. Outwardly, it most closely resembles the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor in service with the U.S. military. The Pentagon says a second Chinese stealth fighter under development, the FC-31, is intended for export as a competitor to the U.S. F-35.

The long-range J-20, armed with air-to-air missiles, performed its first test flight in 2011. In a report this year, the Pentagon says China views stealth technology as key to its transformation from a “predominantly territorial air force to one capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations.”