China developed its J-20 stealth fighter by copying some technologies from the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, according to former US military official James Anderson.
In an interview with Fox News, the former Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Strategy claimed that the Chinese warplane became more advanced because of “espionage activities.”
He added that it is difficult to compare the two fighters without actual combat, but he is certain that China profited greatly from their “thievery” over the years.
“They’ve put it to good use, and they’ve come up with an advanced fifth-generation fighter,” Anderson said.
Experts warn that Beijing could maintain a close gap between J-20 and F-22 capabilities if the US does not safeguard its sensitive weapons information.
In 2008, China began the development of the J-20 stealth fighter to compete with US Air Force next-generation aircraft.
Several reports noted similarities with US warplanes, specifically their technologies and capabilities.
According to Anderson, China uses a range of espionage techniques such as spying and bribing US contractors in exchange for information.
Additionally, the Asian superpower reportedly engages in cybercrime to obtain key data on military systems.
“Unfortunately, they’ve had some success there,” he said.
“It saves the Chinese time and money. In effect, we end up subsidizing a portion of their research and development budget because they are successfully stealing some of our secrets.”