USAF address speculation about J-20 fighter jet Spotted at U.S. Base
A MYSTERIOUS warplane that appears to be a Chinese J-20 stealth fighter has been spotted at a US base — immediately sparking rumors that its pilot had defected.
The U.S. Air Force has officially confirmed to TheAviationist.com that the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon photographed at a military facility inside Savannah-Hilton Head Airport, Georgia, US, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, is a training mock-up for use by the United States Marine Corps.
“It is a full-scale replica and remained at the Air Dominance Center for a short period during the week of 4-6 Dec. The USMC is funding and directing the training objectives of this device […] Col. Emmanuel Haldopoulos, Commander of the Savannah Air Dominance Center, wrote us.
The specific role of the realistic, full-scale mock-up has not yet been clarified by official U. S. Marine Corps sources.
Now that the authenticity of photo and the purpose for the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon have been officially confirmed by the U.S. Air Force the more interesting story becomes how the U.S. Marine Corps will integrate the aircraft into its training operations.
The appearance of the USMC-owned J-20 mock-up suggests that the U.S. is taking the emergence of this and other Chinese weapons systems seriously. With a significant increase in both indigenous and export weapons programs coming from China the U.S. focus on emerging Chinese defense technology is well justified.
The image has been shared millions of times online, with some incorrectly claiming it was photoshopped while others suggest it could have been a Cold War-style defection.
The most famous of these was Viktor Belenko, a former Soviet pilot, defected in 1976 while flying his MiG-25 “Foxbat” jet fighter and landed in Hakodate, Japan.
The J-20 last made a public appearance at an airshow last month in Zhuhai, China.