Photographs of an unknown Chinese fighter jet appeared on Internet forums on Wednesday, sparking speculation that the country has developed the world's second fifth-generation fighter.
The U.S. F-22 Raptor is currently the world's only operational fifth generation fighter plane.
The Chinese photograph depicts parts of an unknown combat plane standing at an aerodrome. The air scoop and part of the pilot's cabin lamp, shown in the picture, resemble the shapes of fifth-generation plane parts and appear to be closely related to the Chinese J-20 prototype.
The Chengdu J-20 is a fifth generation stealth, twin-engine fighter aircraft prototype developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group for the Chinese army's Air Force.
China has a reputation for releasing photos of new military hardware on unofficial military websites before it announces them publicly. In January, amateur photographs showing preparations for testing China's fifth generation fighter J-20 were released on the Internet. Chinese media later confirmed the information.
Russia is testing its own fifth generation aircraft T-50 PAK FA developed by the Sukhoi design bureau. The aircraft is expected to become operational in 2015.
A U.S.-led international consortium is also working on a new F-35 multi-purpose fighter.
BEIJING, June 9 (RIA Novosti)