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Forget the F-22 or F-35: Is China Building a 6th Generation Fighter?

While the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force operates the Chengdu J-20, the world’s third operational fifth-generation stealth aircraft after the United States’ Lockheed Martin-built F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, it had only built around fifty or so of the aircraft as of last year.

Few details are known about its speed, stealth performance or maneuverability and it is unclear if the J-20 is a true rival of the F-22 or F-35.

For that latter reason China has reportedly been among the nations leapfrogging the fifth generation and is now seeking to develop a sixth-generation aircraft. To date little is known about this fighter of the future, but reports suggest that China plans to field it as early as the 2025 to 2030 timeframe.

That would be quite ambitious to say the least.

The British-led Tempest Program, which was announced by British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in July 2018 at the Farnborough Airshow as part of the nation’s Combat Air Strategy

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