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Chinese J-20 stealth fighter
U.S. officials weigh in on the J-20

We reported last week that China is doing taxi trials of its new J-20 stealth fighter. The J-20 is being seen as a competitor for both the Lockheed F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter (which is going out of production after 187 units have been produced), and the more "workhorse" Lockheed F-35 Lightning II.

Despite the leaked pictures that clearly show that China has something quite advanced in its back pocket, U.S. officials are downplaying the significance of the J-20 in its current state according to Reuters. While the plane appears to be in finished form, it hasn't actually taken to the air like Russia's Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter

"It's still not clear to me when it's going to become operational," said U.S. Vice Admiral David Dorsett who is director of naval intelligence. "Developing a stealth capability with a prototype and then integrating that into a combat environment is going to take some time." 

Dorsett believes that China is still a few years away from actually deploying its stealth fighter.

Another Pentagon official, Colonel Dave Lapan, was even more dismissive of the J-20, stating; "Our assessment of when China might have an operational fifth generation fighter puts it at some point in the future, close to the end of this decade."

Regardless of how long it will take China to field the J-20, it would likely be unwise to underestimate the capabilities of the Chinese military which is using its robust economy to bolster its military might.

The United States has a highly capable platform with the F-22, but its numbers are quite limited due to cost overruns. Likewise, the F-35 is a much more versatile platform (it will be replacing the F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, and A-10), but it's development has been marred by setbacks and it too has been plagued with cost overruns.

It would be interesting to see how new T-50 and J-20 stack up to the latest and greatest from America, but hopefully we'll never have to find out in the real world.

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RE: Interceptor
By snakeInTheGrass on 1/7/2011 3:09:12 PM , Rating: 4
I agree that China doesn't care, but I'm not so sure I'd label our way as an advantage, assuming they can put together enough missiles / planes to challenge carrier/air superiority. Sure, we have more expensive stuff that is better when it's working out in the field... like the German WWII tanks were better than a Sherman, though outnumbered and in the shop too much. (Tommy Cooker / Ronson - think the U.S. top priority was our lives or lots of tanks?)

If China doesn't care about their soldiers, they can run off many more [tanks/planes/guns/...] and overwhelm whatever we have. The drones we're using are friggin' crazy expensive for the most part, let alone the aircraft and other vehicles.

China has a lot of military age males they can afford to lose, and maybe more frighteningly, thanks to their killing of baby girls to have boys instead, they have a lot of young males who aren't going to find spouses (which will lead to a lot of social unrest) and which they are probably going to want to lose. Anyone have any ideas how to cut down on the numbers of 'extra' unhappy guys in their society? How does a war over Taiwan or oil in the China Sea sound? Over minerals in Africa? For our sake I hope they decide they and India need reductions, as awful as that is to think.

RE: Interceptor
By geddarkstorm on 1/7/2011 3:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
All very true points.

Why does this sound like the lead up to the Fallout series, minus the stuck in the 50's bit?

RE: Interceptor
By snakeInTheGrass on 1/7/2011 3:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
Because cool games will be based on it assuming enough infrastructure survives? ;)

RE: Interceptor
By bennyg on 1/7/2011 7:14:38 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think China can afford at all to lose any working-age males. They have a looming issue regarding demographic shift to ageing population many times worse than the West because we haven't had laws that have outright restricted population growth, and have led to sex favoritism.

Their only resource advantage is their population. And I can very realistically see that advantage gone by 2040 by the way they're mishandling it. Their regulation of reproduction is primitive in the extreme.

RE: Interceptor
By Jerricho24 on 1/10/2011 9:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
primitive and effective much like the Anglo's that crushed early Britain, the only ever sucssesful invasion and genoside factualy recorded in history, the Invasion of Native north america or australia don't count cos they are still in affect.
The F22 IMHO is a white ellephant to a point, as has been pointed out they are a publisity stunt. the T32 and T35 tanks of WWII and the British Hurricane are shining exanbles how cheap and easy to repair wins over technicaly advanced much like a gorila war wins over a conventional slug fest.
despite China having a large share of US debt, it maybe wise to remember that Iraq was not just about Oil, The Debt for all the Jets and tanks and arms that had been sold to Sadam to aid the war on Iran had not been paid, the US govenment couldn't let sadam go on thumbing his nose at that debt. Countries are not banks and don't have to work within any legal framework or regulation if china wants it's money back and deside to come and get it it will not be F22's that stop them! and many a chinaman would maybe like a nice american wife? if you can think of a more succsesful Social planning scheme I would be interested to hear it cos swine flu was a fail.

RE: Interceptor
By lolmuly on 1/11/2011 2:17:50 AM , Rating: 2

australia don't count


still in affect


point, as has been


are shining exanbles how





get it it will

them! and many



I can forgive a couple of misspellings, punctuation issues, and sometimes a run on sentence. This is an informal discussion, however you sir are a plague upon the English language.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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