http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/lat...-tests-first-stealth-fighter-rival-F22-and-F3 By David Trayner / Published 1st June 2016 The new warplane – which is almost invisible to radar – will be ready to join China’s active fleet “in the near future”, the country’s air force has said. Experts suggested the futurist craft had already joined the service after photographs emerged supposedly showing it taking part in training exercises. But the military claims the J-20 – seen as a direct rival to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor – is still undergoing tests. WIKIPEDIA INVISIBLE: The Black Eagle will be almost impossible to track “” In a statement, China's air force described as "unreliable" reports that the J-20 had appeared in training exercises, following a weekend state television broadcast that showed grainy pictures of what some viewers took to be the aircraft. "At present, the J-20 has yet to be equipped for air force service," the air force said on its official microblog late on Tuesday afternoon. Both the J-20, and another new aircraft, the Y-20 transporter, are still being test flown as planned, the air force said. "In the near future, the J-20 and Y-20 will, in succession, be equipped for service, effectively raising the air force's ability to fulfil its mission," it added, without giving a timeframe. GETTY RAPTOR: Lockheed Martin's F-22 China expects the J-20 to help narrow the military gap with the US. But experts say China is struggling to develop advanced engines that would allow its warplanes to match western fighters in combat. China has rapidly been ramping up research into advanced new military equipment, including submarines, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles – which has rattled nerves regionally and in Washington. Another stealth fighter – the Shenyang FC-31 Falcon – is expected to ready for combat in 2022. In a statement, the Chinese air force said: "In recent years, China has mostly been relying on its own strength to develop new armaments, one after another. "This is a completely reasonable requirement to protect the country's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and protect the nation's security developments. “It is a necessary guarantee of effecting peaceful development."