China's new stealth fighter may use US technology from downed - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

China's new stealth fighter may use US technology from downed

BRUSSELS (AP) - The Air Force says it knows of no link, but military experts say China may have developed the technology for its new stealth fighter from U.S. jets.

The new Chengdu J-20 made its inaugural flight earlier this month, and while it's thought to be eight or nine years from entering China's air force inventory, it's seen as a possible rival to America's F-22 Raptor.

Balkan military officials say the inspiration for J-20 may have come from one of the Raptor's predecessors: an American F-117 Nighthawk shot down in Serbia in 1999. The Nighthawk was the first stealth fighter ever hit.

The man who was Croatia's military chief at the time says Chinese agents are believed to have bought up pieces of the jet's wreckage from local farmers and could have reverse-engineered them.

A U.S. Air Force official in Washington says the service is not aware of any connection between the downed F-117 plane and development of Chinese stealth technology for the J-20.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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