A new generation of aircraft expected to form the backbone of the Chinese air force have purportedly been captured on film and posted online by military enthusiasts. The photos of the fourth-generation stealth fighter J-20, Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) aircraft KJ-500 and Y-20 large military transporter, reportedly conducting tests flights, were published on a popular military forum on Saturday. The internet user who uploaded the images to www.cjdby.net identified the plane models and said “these pictures were taken recently at Yanliang Flight Centre”, a military-use airport in Xian, Shaanxi province. The photos appear to have been taken from some distance outside the airbase’s exterior fences. Military enthusiasts often take photographs of People’s Liberation Army aircraft and share the images on internet forums. The PLA Air Force is known to use Yanliang airfield for flight testing and the planes allegedly photographed remain a sensitive matter. The South China Morning Post could not reach the airbase and was therefore unable to verify the claims. Previous media reports have said that the aircraft supposedly featured in the photographs are still in the testing phase and could be a few years away from deployment. However, they are projected to serve as the backbone of the PLA Air Force once they are given the green light. The J-20, designed and built in China, is the country’s first stealth fighter and the PLA’s most advanced military jet. It is reportedly capable of covering the vast South China Sea within its combat range. The Y-20, China’s biggest self-built military transport plane, is expected to serve the air force’s need to transport large amounts of heavy military weaponry, while the KJ-500 is the nation’s new generation of AEW&CS, and is earmarked to provide early radar warnings to combat troops to give them an edge in potential future battles. This is not the first time images of the planes have been shared publicly but it is the first time they have been seen together. Chinese online military forums like cjdby.net have increasingly become an unofficial outlet for rare images of some of the PLA’s latest weapons. They offer a large audience of military enthusiasts a glimpse of sensitive weaponry that is usually kept under tight control by military authorities.