China stealing top-secret technology from F-22 stealth fighter?

China may be using leaked information to build their mysterious J-20 superiority fighter jet, a new photo suggests.

This photo is the first heads-on snapshot of China's newly re-designed J-20 stealth fighter. Compare it to the America's F-22 (below) and it doesn't take military expert to notice there are some striking similarities.

While little is known about the J-20, news agencies have reported that Chinese engineers borrowed heavily from existing stealth models. For instance, Business Insider has reported that “the prototype is said to be using the Saturn AL-31 turbofan engine developed by the Russians for their Su-27 air superiority fighter .” But if the People's Liberation Army has found a way to copy some of the F-22's top secret technology, as the photos suggests, it's quite possible we have a leak on our hands. From this angle, the holographic Heads Up Display has the look and feel of a next generation knock-off of the world's best aerial combat weapon.

China's mysterious Mighty Dragon has been a subject of intense speculation since it first surfaced early last year . Shortly after, Chinese president Hu Jintao openly acknowledged that the Chinese military had been testing and developing the aircraft with the hope of having a serviceable fleet ready as early as 2017.

Experts who've seen photos and footage of the prototype have knocked China's efforts to build a superiority fighter as inferior craftsmanship that's still decades behind the F-22's advanced maneuvering and weapons capabilities. Then again, if the Chinese do indeed have a stolen blueprint to work from, it may only be a matter of time.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com