Upgraded, third prototype of China’s stealth jet ready for maiden flight

J-20 Mighty Dragon “2011” has already completed hi-speed taxi tests.

In the last few days, the extremely active Chinese aircraft enthusiasts have documented the ground activity of the third prototype of the J-20 “Mighty Dragon” stealth fighter jet.

The new pictures show the J-20 coded “2011” performing taxi tests at Chengdu airfield. Following a high-speed taxi, the aircraft raised the nose and then deployed the drag chute to reduce speed: the usual steps that precede the first take off.

What is really interesting about the new plane is that it seems to embed a series of improvements. According to several reports it has a new air intake design, shorter engine nozzles and a (basic?) sensor fusion technology.

J-20 third prototype

For sure the J-20 has something worth a mention: a revised nose section, much similar to that of the much criticised F-35, with an IRST/EOTS (Infra Red Search and Track / Electro Optical Tracking System) – used to hunt low observable aircraft, and a metal finish that loosely reminds the radar absorbing Haze Paint first used on F-16s.

Image credit: Chinese Internet, cjdby.net, fyjs.cn


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Are you sure this is IRST as an IRST on the MiG-29/Su-27 i.e. the one for aerial targets or something like the EOTS on the F-35? It reminds me of F-35 EOTS more (due to position and shape). If true it would then be an air-to-ground system…However, the position and shape is not necessarily the major indicator of its purpose…

    What others think?

  2. Dem/Libs/Obama….Pentagon is WASTING $Billions$ on these new fangled fighters like the F-22 & F-35!! What do we NEED them for anyway!! Spend the $Billions$ on high speed rail or solar panels…..That’s it….That’s the ticket!!!

  3. Looks like a pig. Engine inlets seem too small and the plane is too long… and heavy. Is the nose cone big enough to fit a chinese radar?

    • Yep, the plane is so so very heavy, probably even much heavier than a Ford-class aircraft carrier. It is der number one reason why the plane has only a single very smallish nosewheel and that it has to take to the air after a very short run on the taxiway. It is so heavy.

      • If only you were as smart as you think. The rear tires are huge. Now that could be because it’s made to land on unprepared strips but they look like dragster wheels.

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