On August 1st, China celebrated the founding of the People's Liberation Army by allowing some high-resolution photos of the next-generation J-20 stealth fighter to leak, indicating a sensor system that looks awfully similar to the Lockheed Martin Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) on the front of the F-35 Lighting II, Business Insider reports.

In 2007 Chinese hackers stole technical documents related to the F-35 and its electro-optical sensors. That year Chinese hackers went after Australian F-35 defence contractors, nabbing even more info on the cutting-edge fighter.

The electro-optical systems share quite a few similarities in shape and placement with the Eurofighter or Su-57's electro-optical systems and infrared tracking systems (IRTS). The J-20 probably is designed for long-range strike missions against ground targets and interceptor duties.

Although the J-20 has been pushed into service, recent problems with the J-15 carrier-based fighter suggest that the Chinese answer to the F-22 isn't quite ready for prime-time despite propaganda from Chinese-owned media outlets that portray the J-20 as a fully-armed and operational battle station.

According to Beijing’s state media in Nov 2017, China's first stealth jet fighter has now entered fully operational frontline service. This puts it in second place.

Before now, only the United States has had a fully operational ‘fifth generation’ fighter. And it’s easily the most capable aircraft deployed by any nation in its region — giving it a significant edge over the Japanese, Korean and Indian Air Forces.

In contrast — the Sukhoi Su-57 (T-50 PAK-FA) — appears to have been abandoned in its development by the Russians. And the U.S. ‘export’ stealth fighter, the F-35, continues to suffer protracted delays.

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