I've been thinking a lot recently about China's J-20 fighter.
Based upon what I've been reading on the web, I list several observations and conclusions I've come to:
* J-20 uses canards which have the advantage of adding maneuverability, but the disadvantage of decreasing stealth and decreasing speed
* J-20 is significantly larger than the F-22, which means it has more space for fuel and weapons
* Conclusions: I believe China has traded off stealth for maneuverability. China may have concluded that it's stealth plane (even with a more stealthy design) could still never be as stealthy as the F-22 for both technological and budgetary reasons, thus if China is going to lose to the F-22 in stealth, may as well be more maneuverable than the F-22: hence the canards. It's the only reasonable explanation for the unstealthy canards that I can think of. China simply said: our stealth cannot be as good as the Americans for the next 10 years, and even if it were, by the time we locate the F-22 (due to a missile launch from them) and fire at them, they will have closed their outer bays and be invisible again and any missile we fire at them will lose its target. Our only real chance is to get in close and dogfight the F-22. Then we can see it and shoot it down.
What other rationale can there be for those fucking canards, which I hate and all the other China military enthusiasts don't mind or love? I hate those canards, I really fucking do and I hate the way those Chinese nationalists pretend like it's a good idea that the plane has them.
The F-22 and YF-23 are the gold standard in stealth. There is no way that either the J-20 or the Russian T-50 are superior designs. Maybe one way to look at the J-20 is not that it's an attempt to build a Chinese F-22, but that it's a better investment of money than China continuing to build Su-27SM (I won't bother to call it J-11B since it's just a Su-27 copy) Flankers. While the J-20 is flawed, it's way better than the Su-27 which is obsolete. A Flanker is just a sitting duck for the F-35 and F-22.
With that being said, maybe we'll see some more Chinese stealth designs soon and J-20 will just be one of two or three heavy weight China fighter designs. I have seen some other Chinese designs that more closely copied the F-22 Raptor. Perhaps China is just waiting until it has the engine and avionics technology, as well as the budget before it designs an F-22 clone. Until then we have the F-22/Mig 1.44 hybrid. Is that what we should consider the J-20?