Previously we reported that Pakistan may have given China access to the stealth helicopter that crashed during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. In that article we mentioned that the F-117 Stealth Fighter shot down during the Kosovo War may have found its way to Russia. Interestingly, this 2010 Google Earth image shows the faint outline of an F-117 in the Chinese city of Luoyang, reportedly sitting outside the Electro-Optical Technology Development Center – an R&D centre for Chinese air-to-air missiles.
Not surprisingly, the F-117 in the satellite photo is reportedly a full size replica. China is believed to have developed several Stealth Fighter and SR-71 mock-ups (see here) over the years, in a bid to better understand U.S. stealth technology. These images purportedly show the Blackbird attempt along with an F-22 Raptor. But the authenticity of the images is in question because the F-22 certainly is not a full size replica built by China – it’s a direct mirror image of this legitimate American photo of the first operational Raptor in the paint shop.
The F-117 in the satellite photo was reportedly spotted by the China Defense Forum and appears to be partially complete, perhaps missing its forward fuselage. But the grainy image – with a fuselage that fades into the concrete as it nears the front – almost looks as if the wannabe Stealth Fighter is painted on the ground. Either way, is this replica a cause for concern? Probably not, since the F-117’s faceted stealth is decades old by modern standards. China’s fifth generation Chengdu J-20 stealth prototype (above) is far more concerning.