Partially Homegrown?

US officials aren’t sure if the Chinese somehow acquired or stole stealth technology for their J-20 fighter design from the United States, according to Adm. Robert Williard, US Pacific Command boss, Tuesday. “We don’t know,” Williard told the Senate Armed Services Committee when asked by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking member. Williard said he has “read an account that indicated that, perhaps, there was an exchange of information as a consequence of the Kosovo campaign and the loss of a [F-]117 that occurred there.” However, he added, “I don’t know that that’s the case.” China lifted the veil on the stealthy looking J-20 late last year. News of its first flight came several weeks later as Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Beijing. Williard said US officials continue to study the J-20 and are “attempting to ascertain its low-observable characteristics.” US defense officials have cautioned against making assumptions about the J-20’s sophistication based on the little public information available. (Williard written statement)