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Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter
Apparently Liang forgets the new stealth fighter China is showing off

The tensions in Asia over the growing might of the Chinese military are easy to see and understand. China is using its booming economy to fund the development of new weapons programs. China wants the world to believe that it is merely being sure it can defend the sovereignty of its nation while others fear that China will use the military might to take resources and possibly attack other nations in the area.

With tension growing, Chinese Defense Minister General Liang Guanglie said at the 10th Shangri-La Dialog in Singapore that the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) is 20-years behind the U.S. Military. Guanglie said, "I would call the gap big. [The PLA] main battle equipment of our services ... is mainly second-generation weapons." He continued saying, "For example, the army is still being motorized, not mechanized."

Liang acknowledged that the modernization of the Chinese military has drawn attention and concern from around the world. Liang says that China has a right to protect is "core interests" such as protecting its sovereignty. Liang also explained at the conference that relations between the Chinese and U.S. military were improving. This year's Shangri-La dialog was in face the strongest turn out for the Chinese after years of ignoring the conference.

In addition to Liang there were a number of other Chinese officials at the conference including Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, deputy chief, Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defense; Senior Col. Ou Yangwei, director, Center for Defense Mobilization Studies, National Defense University; Major Gen. Song Dan, deputy director general, General Office, Central Military Commission; Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe, deputy chief of general staff, PLA; and Xiao Jianguo, director, Department of Ocean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

As much as Liang wants the world to believe China has a massive gap between its military and the U.S. military (and other armed forces of the world), the country is investing heavily in next-generation weapons. A the most high profile new weapons program is the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter. The J-20 completed its second flight in April and has been captured on video as it has been tested. Some speculate that China obtained the stealth technology that is used in the J-20 from a U.S. F-117 stealth fighter that was downed in 1999 in Serbia. China is known to have had agents crisscross the area where the fighter crashed buying up the wreckage from local farmers.

The Chinese military is also believed by many around the world to be carrying out very sophisticated and successful hacks against military and corporate networks. Many digital attacks have been traced back to parts of China where the government is known to have a strong military presence. The Gmail hack that was revealed earlier this month is believed to have been perpetrated by China, though Chinese officials have denied any involvement. China is also allegedly the source of the hacking attacks that compromised networks at Lockheed Martin using stolen RSA SecurID dongles. Those hacks are believed to have targeted Lockheed Martin military projects. 

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RE: 20 year gap.
By Bad-Karma on 6/10/2011 1:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
Comparing the F-117 to it's replacement, the F-22, would have been more accurate.

The F-17 was never intended nor used as a fighter. It is strictly a light attack bomber. It has 0 air-to air capability. Also , its faceted shape makes its maneuverability quite poor. You could compare it's air combat maneuvering (ACM) to something closer in line to the much older B-47.

The F-117 is inherently unstable and takes quite a bit of computational power just to keep it pointed straight and level. If fact the avionic computers will actually override the pilot's commands if he pushes to close to the flight envelope.

Disregarding test and development aircraft the F-22 is the actual first stealth fighter.

Or you could go quite a ways back and point to the YF-12A Oxcart variant that was equipped with a a fire control radar and air-to-air-missiles as the first "stealthy" fighter. Of course how far they got into testing and or production can only be speculated. While the Y-12s and its follow on were quite stealthy they didn't have the advent of Bill Schroeder's mathematical RCS modeling inherent in the F-117.

The more powerful computers of the 1980s allowed the mathematical model to be incorporated into the continuous curvature we see in the B-2. Jack Northrope's original B-49 design, on which the B-2 was patterned, was actually quite stealthy, and he intentionally used as little vertical stabilization as possible to keep down the RCS. Large vertical stabilizers are more about in-flight stability than maneuverability. In fact those attributes are considered a counter to each other in regards to flight characteristics.

Due to desired performance characteristics demanded by fighter aircraft, both the faceted and curved techniques are readily apparent in the F-22 & F-35 even though the F-35's design is far more dedicated to the ground strike role than air superiority.

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