The fifth generation F-35 Lightning II is the most advanced fighter jet currently in production in the world. Experts have long argued that the design of China’s newest stealth fighter, the J-31, as well as the Chengdu J-20 fighter jet, are in parts influenced by the F-35.
Chinese F-35 espionage effortsfocused on acquiring the radar design (the number and types of modules), detailed engine schematics (methods for cooling gases, leading and trailing edge treatments, and aft deck heating contour maps) among other things. 50 terabytes of data specific to the F-35 joint strike fighter program were stolen.
The Chinese hackers were also successful in obtaining data on the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-22 jet, space-based lasers, missile navigation and tracking systems, as well as nuclear submarine/anti-air missile designs.
China has long been accused of industrial espionage and possibly reverse-engineered an old F-117 — shot down over Serbia in 1999 — to get them where they are in stealth technology today.
China Defense showed the similarities for the cockpit of the J20 and the F22.
The prototype J-20 is said to be using the Saturn AL-31 turbofan engine developed by the Russians for their Su-27 air superiority fighter.
China reverse engineered the Shenyang J-15 carrier-based fighter from the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker. China says the J-15 is more advanced than the Su-33. China used more advanced computers, avionics and radar in the J15. China probably used the US avionics and radar that was hacked and off the shelf computer and electronics that China has developed for commercial industry.
The Washington Times reported China would take until about 2022 to produce an original stealth engine for the J20 and J31.
The F-22 Raptor may be more agile but the J20 carries more fuel and weapons.
SOURCES - Australia NEws, China Defense, Business Insider, Washington Times, Der Spiegel