Full-Sized Models of U.S. Fighter Jets Discovered in Xinjiang Desert; Seen in Satellite Images, Hong Kong Daily Reports

©2024Airbus / Google Earth photo
A satellite image taken in May shows full-scale models of several U.S. fighter jets in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

BEIJING ― A number of full-sized models of a cutting-edge U.S. fighter jets have been discovered in a desert in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong’s Sing Tao Daily reported.

The models of the U.S. military’s F-22 stealth fighter and its advanced F-35 version seen in the Taklamakan desert are apparently being used by the Chinese air force for target practice.

According to the report published Monday, the fake aircraft and what appears to be a runway can be seen in a satellite image taken in late May. There are visible bullet marks on the runway and several aircraft have been destroyed.

As there are F-35 fighters stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, there is speculation that the setting is meant to replicate a U.S. base in Japan.

The Taklamakan desert has been the location of similar activities in the past, with the targeting of full-scale mock-ups of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and guided missile destroyer previously confirmed.