China has introduced a stealthy sixth-generation combat aircraft model believed to rival the US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter.

The futuristic military plane concept was displayed during an airshow and aerospace trade expo in Guangdong province.

It is unclear if the tailless fighter-like airframe spotted at a Chinese jet production facility in 2021 was the same as the one displayed during the Zhuhai Airshow earlier this month.

The aircraft design previously appeared in publicly available Chinese aviation white papers.

China’s aerospace industry is known to be working on a sixth-generation combat jet that is faster and more advanced than other existing military aircraft.

Earlier this year, US Air Combat Command chief Mark Kelly revealed that Beijing is already “on track” to producing a sixth-generation fighter.

‘Tailless Design’

The sixth-generation combat aircraft model recently featured has a tailless design similar to the US Air Force’s NGAD.

The design enhances the fighter’s low observability to dodge many radar types.

It also reportedly offers improved efficiency due to reduced drag and sustained high-speed flight and cruising.

However, the absence of a vertical tail could make the aircraft more unstable, affecting its maneuverability.

US Concerns

During a September air, space, and cyber conference in DC, Kelly disclosed that the US might have two versions of the NGAD to accommodate long-range missions in the Indo-Pacific and short-range operations in Europe.

But the official also explained that China’s sixth-generation fighter concept appeared similar to the American idea.

Because of that, Kelly reiterated the need for the US Air Force to produce and field the NGAD fighter “at least a month before our competitors.”

USAF sixth-generation fighter
Artist’s rendering of a potential sixth-generation fighter concept for the US Air Force. Photo: US Air Force Research Laboratory