The Chinese authorities allowed photographs of the J-20 stealth fighter jet to be published on various local internet sites just a few days ahead of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ official visit to Beijing.

While some experts contest the authenticity of the photos, the majority consider that the J-20 has entered its final testing stage and will soon become operational.

The J-20 is believed to be more technologically advanced than Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor, which is produced on a limited scale due to its exorbitant cost and whose more sophisticated functions have never been put in operation.