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

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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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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure