Chinese Fighter Mystery Solved
The Air Force has ended speculation about the nature of an aircraft that looked a lot like China’s latest J-20 stealth fighter at a Savannah air base so conspiracy theorists will have to move on to the next one. In early December a fuzzy photo of an object with some of the characteristics of the relatively new front-line fighter sitting in broad daylight on the ramp on the military side of Savannah-Hilton Head Airport in Georgia was published by theaviationist.com. Theories ranged from a defection to a movie prop to the more mundane and accurate origin of the object. “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, said in an email to the website.
What Haldopoulos didn’t say is how they use the seemingly elaborate replica, and for what purpose(s). Engine plugs are in place but could be just for show and the workmanship doesn’t seem to be up to high-performance military aircraft standards. The website’s thorough research and consultation with Chinese military observers had pretty much debunked any notion of the aircraft being real by the time the Air Force got back to them. The comparison photos prepared by the website, showing the incorrect position of the vertical stabilizer, wrong engine nozzles and landing gear above, make it pretty obvious.