Chinese AF making stealth gains on US

The Chinese military rolled out their newest stealth fighter, the J-31, with new pictures appearing on government media outlets to coincide with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit.

The Chinese media ploy caught the attention of Air Force Gen. Herbert Carlisle, commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces. He said Wednesday at the Air Force Association annual conference that the U.S. is still way ahead of the Chinese in respect to stealth jet fighters, but the Chinese are catching up.

“The [People’s Republic of China] with respect to stealth capability, they are behind us, but they will develop and they will get better, and we certainly can’t rest on our position,” Carlisle said.

It’s striking how similar the J-31 to the U.S. F-22 and even the F-35, in some regards. However, as John Reed with Foreign Policy notes, “simply having a stealthy shape does not mean the Chinese planes are truly stealth planes. Modern stealth aircraft involves the sues of special radar absorbent coatings, along with heat and electronic signature masking technology.”

Carlisle pointed out that the U.S. still has a considerable lead in the development of stealth aircraft. The F-35 program has faced considerable roadblocks and the F-22 fleet was slashed from what Air Force leaders had wanted, but the U.S. still has fifth generation fighters in the fleet.

He warned the Air Force can’t afford to rest on their laurels.

“I think whatever advantages we have technologically will still be there, but they won’t last as long,” Carlisle said.

The focus on aviation stealth has taken a ten year sabbatical as the military has had little use for a stealth fighter jet when fighting enemies without much of an air force to speak of, let alone a significant air defense network. The F-22 has yet to fly a combat mission.

The pivot to the Pacific outlined in President Obama’s new defense strategy will force Pentagon leaders to re-evaluate their stealth capabilities. Commanders will not have the relative freedom to move assets in the air without fear of reprisal over countries like China or North Korea.

The PACAF commander urged the nation to maintain investments to develop stealth technology. Facing the threat of significant cuts to planned defense spending in future years, modernization accounts will get slashed and stealth development could be put on the back burner. Carlisle said this is unacceptable.

Defense industry leaders hope the Air Force’s renewed push for a next generation long range bomber will refocus research efforts on advancing stealth technology.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter also hinted at the possibility of further research on stealth drones. He said Wednesday the Pentagon is planning on making investments into drone technology that can operate in contested environments.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Dfens

    Fortunately it takes China 3 decades to develop new fighters, which is waaaay longer than it takes us. Oh wait, it’s just the opposite. Oh, that’s bad.

    But let’s not change anything. Let’s not get all upset and go changing things back to the way they were when we had new airplanes rolling out 2 and 3 a year. No, those were the bad old days. Just ask any defense contractor. They’ll tell you.

    • Dave

      It helps when you have Chinese “Americans” in defense research that seem to have more allegiance to the PRC, handing over technical data, than to the US of A that likely gave them their education and defense research career and a good life. Anyone that believes that Wen Ho Lee was innocent is just being politically correct. But that’s just my unPC opinion based upon my travel restrictions while in the USAFSS.

    • I’m sure we would like to get back to when we rolled them out quicker, but the politicians are getting paid off. China isn’t just buying technology with their money. That’s why we aren’t selling Taiwan and the Phillipines what they need to keep pace, I’d lay dollars to donuts.

  • BlackOwl18E

    Lockheed seriously screwed up if they allowed China to get access to the F-35’s technology. Obviously the avionics and materials of the aircraft matter and until that’s public knowledge we’ll need to wait and see just how stealthy this Chinese knockoff truely is.

    • blight_

      The Chinese have some material starting points.

      1) Loss of a F-117 Nighthawk over Serbia. Divided on whether or not it went to Russia only, or Russia then China. Or they went in and acquired their own samples independently.

      2) Loss of a helicopter in the OBL mission. Pakistan has a stronger relationship with the PRC, and if anything material samples could go to the PRC. Throw in some spectroscopy to figure out what’s inside it, but it won’t tell you how to formulate, synthesize or apply compound, or how to design a stealthy shape.

      Shape can be inferred from numerous pictures of F-22’s and F-35’s but it won’t tell you much beyond that. The rest will have to be figured out by their engineers. Unless the rumors of the PRC hacking into JSF subcontractors are true…

      • Russell Romick

        I am an old #@% hater, but really most of what you you are saying is that to get true stealth they have to either steal or infer from pictures, WHY is that? Yes it gives them a working copy faster but just because they are a nation of “knock offs” does not mean tehy have to knock off stealth technology. We surely did not. Unless you count the alien tech in area 51. Lol. It is a long laborious learning process and yes they are surely trying to steal tech but the thing is that they dont have to. And I am sure they are not relying on that. Iam sure they have their own design labs trying out different chemical coatings and windtunnels and radar labs trying them out after to see the stealth advantages. It s when you ASSUME that you make an ASS out of U and ME. haha.

        • blight_

          I’m suggesting that it was possible for Lockheed to derive the stealth equations from a translated Russian technical paper in the ’80s, and on paper it will allow the PRC to develop independent stealth capability.

          However in practice, there’s a lot of fun things America had to learn. For example, the use of gold impregnated glass to avoid a radar reflection from the pilot and c-pit. Ways to optimally design intakes to avoid reflections.

          As you say, there are likely wind tunnels in the mainland and RCS target sites in the desert somewhere where they are testing RCS of shapes in the middle of the night.

          I’m not sure if the United States has to more to advance in terms of low RCS, and the next low hanging fruit is IRST, reducing detection of aircraft radar, and perhaps stealthed missile and missile mounting hardware to increase throw weight.

          Considering all this talk about the JSF’s magic avionics and being able to jam…we’ll see how that works in the field.

      • Tad

        Add to this a strong industrial base, with lots of trained technicians and engineers and scientists, and China has all it needs to quickly surpass the US in both quantity and quality of weapons systems. A trend I’ve noticed for the past 10 years are constant news stories in the western press exclaiming in surprise at how far China has come. China always surprises these people to the upside and I wish they’d learn it’s not magic, it’s just the combination of factors I listed above plus the well-established espionage system Blight implies.

        • blight_

          It’s usually easier to license someone elses wheel or do espionage or learn how to make it yourself than to reinvent the wheel.

          China indeed is beginning to have all the pieces together. The Meiji Restoration is a pretty clear case study as to what it takes to leapfrog a couple of centuries and match the west. Send your best and brightest to other countries to learn their ways. Buy top of the line technology and learn to use it. Make moves to improve your manufacturing base to make better product at home. Make it at home. In addition to the cultural changes required to make an isolationist culture accept new technology. I don’t think the latter is necessary…culturally, China isn’t /that/ isolationist.

    • The great jessmo

      The focus on aviation stealth has taken a ten year sabbatical as the military has had little use for a stealth fighter jet when fighting enemies without much of an air force to speak of, let alone a significant air defense network. The F-22 has yet to fly a combat mission.

      Read more:

      1. 10 years ago the F-22 was not operational yet.
      2. The B-2 was active In Libya, and Afghanistan, A Single Fully Loaded wasp class
      ship with roughly 20 F-35B could have handled the Libya Missions.
      3.To Imply that stealth wasn’t needed ignores the Libya, and Iraq wars. We seem to have forgotten that Iraq was in 2003.

      4. lastly Lets Not forget that the last armed conflict between standing armies was initiated by STEALTH FIGHTERS

      Opening salvo: the Dora Farms strike

      On the early morning of 19 March 2003, U.S. forces abandoned the plan for initial, non-nuclear decapitation strikes against 55 top Iraqi officials, in light of reports that Saddam Hussein was visiting his sons, Uday and Qusay, at Dora Farms, within the al-Dora farming community on the outskirts of Baghdad.[130] At approximately 05:30 UTC two F-117 Nighthawks from the 8th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron[131] dropped four enhanced, satellite-guided 2,000-pound GBU-27 ‘Bunker Busters’ on the compound. Complementing the aerial bombardment were nearly 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from at least four ships, including the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), and two submarines in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.[132]

      Notice the same pattern was used in both Iraq and Libya, 1st day stealth fighter/Bomber strikes + massive cruise missile strikes.

      • BB1984

        Mirage 2000s and Rafales overflew Libya for hours in broad daylight before a single B-2 strike or cruise missile launch. No stealth was required in Libya and the B-2 strikes were just publicity stunts, just like they were in A-stan.

        Everything in Libya could also have been handled by a few B-1s based out of Italy, which are real combat ready planes unlike the F-35B which, best case, will be combat ready in 2020.

        Finally, F-117s did good work in Iraq but had tactical and technical surprise on their side, something stealth fighters will never have again.

        • Pat

          Sorry but the B-2 strikes were not some publicity stunt just for the hell of it. They’re just one more option in the arsenal. In actuality the F-111s did just as well in hitting targets as the F-117.

    • William C.

      Hacking originating from China is a problem across entire DoD, contractor, and government networks. It’s not exclusive to Lockheed and major steps need to be taken across the board to put a stop to it.

    • Red

      Surprise surprise, the F-35 just has to be mentioned in a comment.

    • 4FingersOfBourbon

      How is it a screw up? You think its a turd. Wouldn’t you be worried if they got to the F-18’s technology?

  • Hefe

    I’ve heard so many different experts with opposing viewpoints on the f-35. It seems to me that the big problem that is mentioned is that it does not have a good range. If our carriers have to get close to a warzone to launch them then that puts the carriers at risk. I do like the fact that it has the best jammer in the world on it. When a dogfight happens, the strategy will be to have the lead F-35’s jamming the enemy squadrons while the other 6 lock on and take the enemy out. I’d like to see the F-35 brain inside the F-22’s body however. Also, the chinese stealth Jet has canards which ruin stealth.

    • XYZ

      I don’t think I see canards on this one. The other one definitely did, though, you’re right.

    • Praetorian

      The F-35A/C has better range then the F-16C & F-18A/C. both of which the F-35 is replacing. This is with internal fuel, not drop tanks.

    • Mat

      Just pray it never enters a dogfight ,as its top speed ,power to weight ratio and wing loading make it a very poor dogfighter and regarding BVR you can bet F35 missles will have much higher failiure rate than on F15,F16 as they are carried internaly and heated to within a few degrees of their design limit each and every flight

  • duuude

    One word: Drones.
    They don’t need oxygen. They can as much g-force as the airframe allows. If they get shot down, open another crate!

    F-22 costs $200mil, carries 16 missiles max internal and external. What’s to stop a hostile nation with decent technological and manufacturing capabilities from sending up 18-19 drones at $10mil a copy, armed with AAMs, for every single F-22?

    • Russell Romick

      Using drones as your only means of maintaining a combat presence is dodgy at best. You see with full use of drone technology there is nothing to give a country pause at appalling losses. The combat loss aspect becomes removed and the fear of losses is not in the picture. That is when unrestricted warfare begins. We are less sensitive to enemy civilian losses as well when you are at the end of a 5000mile chain. An aircraft pilot already has a certain disconnect to losses on the ground, do you really want to make it worse? I think that using only stealth tech will mean the downfall of our society not to mention civilization. Plus yu will always need “boots on the ground” and “warm wings in the air” to maintain a political presence abroad. Despite some outcry no one would really make much fuss if China shot down a marine Global Hawk, but an F22 with an American citizen? See it works both ways, it would give them pause too. They may do it but there is alot more politics involved in killing the citizen of another country than a bunch of cold circuit boards, sensors and cameras.

      • Russell Romick

        sorry, “using drone tech” not stealth tech.

      • Anonymous

        ” We are less sensitive to enemy civilian losses”

        What sensitivity? Tens of thousands (possibly 100k+) are dead because of our 2 decade-long wars. Sensitivity would be ending the Afghan war when it was won 3 months after 9/11 and never going into Iraq.

        • Nick

          “Less sensitive” is a relative term, no matter how absurd it may seem. Unrestricted warfare could bring casualties into the millions, if we follow the same logic as the original post. War is war, and no matter what people say, many, many people will die. Since, realistically speaking, we can’t prevent high casualties altogether, it’s better to *try* and cut those casualty figures down.

          The Afghan war wasn’t won in three months, btw. Hell, it still hasn’t been one. I feel like you’re overlooking many of the realities that come with invading a country housing a faceless and asymmetric enemy.

          • Nick


          • blight_

            Our basic standard when we went in was to depose the Taliban and assume that everyone hated the Taliban and would welcome Karzai, who would appoint himself leader with the guns of America and the Northern Alliance.

      • Tiger

        A lot low level shooting went on in the Cold War & the fact they had people on board gave few much pause. I ‘m still waiting to get the USS Pueblo back.

      • duuude

        Some enemies might not have such qualms.

      • Owen

        Great reasoning!

  • Superraptor

    The F-35 is outmatched, but we will do nothing about it.

    • Menzie

      Outmatched? Ummm….okay sure.

      • ltfunk2

        The technical term is double disadvantaged.

        As the independent rand study said – the F35 cant turn, cant climb, cant run.

        • Restore Palestine

          I think they said the F-35 was “doubly inferior” to the modern Chinese and Russian Flankers.

    • Restore Palestine

      Superraptor, “we” are doing a lot about it. “We” are going to buy thousands of F-35. How can you say “nothing”?

  • tribulationtime

    Far East war.

    • Menzie

      Well then you best become a “Doomsday prepper” Hope it works out for ya.

  • STemplar

    Big surprise, a US official visits and they roll out another tacair platform. The chicken littles run around wailing about the falling sky. The Chinese want us spending ridiculous money on tacair options because those are options they might be able to fight back against. The last thing they want to see is the US shift procurement priorities to large #s of TLAMs, JASSMs, VA class subs and a new bomber, because those are options they will have a pickle of a time doing anything about.

    • BlackOwl18E

      That sounds about right.

    • blight_

      I think we’re overdue for the next generation of TLAM.

      TLAM was designed to be a long range subsonic platform that emphasized low altitude travel to penetrate Soviet air defenses, as part of a tag team with the Pershing IRBMs.

      Nowadays, it might be too slow, not stealthy and may or may not carry enough payload.

      Perhaps next gen TLAM should be stealthy (leveraging off of experience with both stealthy ALCM types, one of which got retired early). However, if we go stealthy it means we continue to go subsonic and long range, which may suit our purposes.

      Or we go the Brahmos route and design a fast moving cruise missile from scratch…?

      • STemplar

        Brahmos is too short ranged and stealth doesn’t necessarily just mean invisible on radar. People love to post about things like passive radar and such but given the tests on the X47B I think it is pretty obvious that stealth is going to mean active EW options coupled with cyber attacks on communication links.

        TLAM has evolved and I think that’s what we will see more of, like the recent in flight data links, ISR capability. I wonder if there is some kind of combination UAV TLAM idea being worked on. A missile that could carry a couple small independently dropped weapons/bombs.

        • blight_

          Most of the fast-moving CM’s are too short-legged for deep strikes against enemy targets.

          Against Pakistan, Brahmos will work for India. But if we wanted to strike Afghanistan with them from the Indian Ocean, not an option. Or Tehran, but that’s another story.

          A stealthy TLAM with more range, which means continuing to use a turbofan and not the newfangled Waverider.

          Are you suggesting a TLAM with submunition capability, eg cluster bombs or BAT munitions? If they could use them to dispense mines like the Volcanoes it would be nice for in-a-pinch minefield capability…you know, just in case the Norks go hot.

          What I found fascinating about the Russians was their use of missile clusters and decision-making logic to pick one missile to ride hide and guide the other missiles to their target. Perhaps we may adopt a more multi-missile approach, and design missiles with anti-radar capability. One missile could Wild Weasel the enemy and the TLAMs could arrange themselves to destroy enemy radar/ADA sites accordingly.

          In the future we may have aircraft commanding a symphony of aerial munitions, missiles and drones. Platforms detect radar sites and either vector in HARMs or redirect CMs on the fly. Based on whatever missiles are in the air, direct either a TLAM or an ALCM to hit it. TLAMs would be low speed and stealthy versus faster and more obvious ALCMs…

          Sigh, and this would cost more than JSF.

          • Matt


          • blight_

            Considering what happened in OIF to the 101st’s apaches when they walked into an ambush? We’ll see.

            Losses happen, but if you can get away with a cruise missile, why the hell not?

  • Drake

    The US does not have a tech problem, but it does have a procurement/integration and testing problem. It takes too long, too expensive, and then not enough procured to really matter for a modern opponent.

  • gt350jr

    One aspect at least i hope we never lose is are training, were way ahead on that for sure, that just makes any machine more lethal.

    • ltfunk2

      F-22 and F-35 cant train thier aircraft are envelope limited when they arn’t simply grounded.

  • The great Jessmo

    1. Rafaels did 1st day strikes on Libyan IADS?
    I seem to recall the French flying over rebel fighters and steering cleat of Tripoli.
    2. The Issue with using only cruise missiles is the limited inventory and non ability to hit moving targets and bunkers. H

    • Stratege

      Libya had no functional IADS

  • The great Jessmo

    3. Drones cost just as much money to operate as manned fighters. The have a large logistics tail, and require hi end networks. Further more drones are jammable.
    ,4. At the end of the day a guy has to fly over that bunker or air fiel and bomb it.
    5. The F -35 had more range than the F22,F15,and F18 on internal fuel.

  • Cape

    I guess the Chinese AF would be making stealth gains on US, considering they’ve stole all the secrets & technology!!
    Small wonder!!

  • Joe

    China is playing right into the hands of the air force. they want a fleet of new bombers and high end aircraft to fight an imaginary enemy.

    and to be certain the marines are THRILLED to have what they consider to be ‘their’ mission.

    Sorry but a massive expansion of the military is exactly what we do not need after more than ten years of conflict.

    Lets build some schools, hospitals, repair some roads and maybe secure our southern border.

    four billion dollar a copy flying dreadnaughts are about as useful as last century’s floating type.

    • Praetorian

      Si vis pacem, para bellum

    • Kissy

      China wants the Americans to get excited so that more money will be spent on defense until the USA is bankrupt.

    • blight_

      I don’t know…the last century’s type was useful enough last century, and was perhaps good up until WW2 when operating under fighter cover (and maybe even beyond, once guided missile tech gave the advantage back to the ship rather than to the aircraft with dive bombs)

  • majr0d

    Nice copy China! It’s a wonder China doesn’t lead the world in copy machine tech.

  • Kole

    -If you guys keep stirring a useless pot, all you will do is become useless. derp

    A.) The J-31 is the size of the F-35, except it has two engines.

    B.)The basic air-frame in the front section is in fact almost identical to that of an F-35.

    C.) The engines seem to be a recycle of the Jf-17’s engine.

    D.) Can the Chinese produce the same RADAR absorbent paint that the U.S. does?

    E.)Does the aircraft possess vectored-thrust like an F-22?

    F.)Can the J-31 hold a 60 degree AoA?

    -Answer to all… most likely not.

    • J Weich

      I’m not sure that you’re conversant with the technical necessities of modern warfare. But to address your points,
      A: So it has more power
      B: Similar, it does the same job
      C: Weak point
      D: Probably, it’s been out there for two decades and China has quite good research capabilities.
      E: Vectored thrust on the F22 was designed in to counter the already capable Russian aircraft capable of doing it. However, this was irrelevant to modern long range radar guided AA missiles. It’s unlikely that if the F22 ever does fight in anger that it will ever have to use vectored thrust.
      F: Another American copy of Russian technical ability, useless in modern long range warfare.

      • V.A.

        To address some of your answers, J Weich:

        A: Not necessarily. If they’re using RD-33 or a derivative (which is pretty likely), that’s a total of roughly 160kN of thrust.

        C: Why is it a weak point? RD-33s are a generation behind the F-119/135 technologically. They’re not the most reliable engines in the world, they’re smoky, and, according to a report by the Indian MoD, they spool up slowly. The Chinese don’t even have access to the latest RD-33s, just the older engine modified to run on single engined aircraft (RD-93).

        E: Manoeuvrability is important for more than just dog-fighting. Subsequently, vectored thrust has applications beyond trying to outturn a Flanker.

  • orly?

    Copy or not, it would be a bad thing if they started production and augmented their already large list of aircraft.

  • bart

    The chinese did get a good look at that stealth drone the iranians stole… no doubt they can reverse engineer paint.

  • Nate

    Who cares…. In other news we have the best pilots in the world!

    • J Weich

      Except we don’t. Indian pilots trashed us using old Russian planes in wargames.

    • duuude
      • Nate

        In reality… How will the Lufwaffe get to the raptors if they cant see them? The whole point of a raptor is something called ‘stealth’. They can kill the enemy and plenty of Germans before they even realize what is going on!

  • Tim uk

    Could an AWACS with a friggin huge IRST destroy the concept of stealth ? Just data link the results to your fighters and bye bye stealth advantage.

    • Daniel

      Stealth is more than just reducing the RCS. It is also reducing the aircrafts heat signature and electronic signature.

  • Ron

    Hold your horses comrades, Chinese propaganda is all this is-their so called carrier came from Russia, subs came from Russia,tanks-you tell me for both those countries which never sat foot on the moon suddenly have the technology for advance military tech.they are nowhere near our military capability.With our shortcoming on stealth technology to perfect it, I’ll be worried if they suddenly show up with B-2 bomber knock off, till then sleep tight comrades.

    • J Weich

      The Russians beat the US to the moon with a robot spacecraft. Not widely known.

      • Ron

        Big difference Robot not human

      • Praetorian

        Sure, if you call crash landing a success. I call it a failure, thats why the Russians didnt make it widley known.

      • John

        No US moon landing, even more not widely known

        • Praetorian

          Ha, go say that to Buzz Aldrin face to face. Even with photographic evidence your still believeing that ??

        • Reuben

          you’re just a big dummy…what school did you go to??? oh maybe some Chinese or Russian school where i’m certain they teach that the US never landed on the moon.

  • Dave Barnes

    I know.
    Let’s have a war with the PRC.
    Then, we will really know who has the best fighter.

    • J Weich

      Ha ha! Yes, my tribe can beat your tribe. What a way to run a modern world. So civilised, aren’t we?

      • Ron

        Since when did we humans became civilized?

    • Kissmabums

      You don’t need a good stealth jet fighter to inflict great damage. OBL and his merry AQ band inflicted great damage with commercial airliners. In a war, the whole population is vulnerable to attacks from all direction . So maybe the Americans should spend as much effort to propagate peace as the effort put into building weapons.

  • Woody

    All you arm chair aircraft company CEO’s and members of the Joint Chiefs are funny. The US is by far the most powerful force in the world….and its always been “he who controls the oceans controls the world”… takes the 17 countries to match the US Navy, and with the advent of the 35’s and 22’s plus whatever they have in the works at the skunkworks will keep the US far in the lead until our grandkids collect Social Security….c’mon guys….stop cuttin’ down the US and have a little faith the rich wont allow anything less….

    • cs4

      If there is still a social security for your kids, let alone your grand kids to collect.

    • ltfunk2

      Unless faced with armed farmers then it goes to pieces.

    • Brandon

      Your correct as long as the economy doesnt continue dumping with our current debt. The F35 isnt helping that situation very much. Im still pro F35 but Im starting to lean toward caneling it and replacing F15s (Best combat record) with silent eagles with all the upgrades coming out, and further upgrading super hornets while restarting the F22. Lockheed wont scrap the F35 now. Its too late for that and most of their costs have been paid for. They will be able to export it for profit and if we cancel the contract, they will magically find cost savings and make the plane work.

    • reuben

      Whhoaa!!! I love your way of thinking brother. Yes we rule the air and own the sea below…if some bad ass country thinks they have what it takes to take on the US Armed Forces…come on out and play.

    • Kissabums

      You are a big spoilsport. The arms industry needs to arouse fears, anxieties, and insecurities, so that the government can allocate a bigger budget to defense and give out those ridiculously big contracts. How else can they sell you hammers at 100 bucks a piece, and “survival rations” of cookies at 100 bucks a pack when you can but them at 10% of the price in the open market? In the present age, they use China as the bogeyman to spend your tax dollars. In the past it was the Russians. And the Vietcongs. And Saddam with his WMD. And Osama and his talibans. Now China. The people paying the tax and doing the votes are the suckers.

    • blight_

      I’ve always wondered if the United States could deal with a wartime situation where we could not replenish VLS tubes except at ports like Pearl Harbor and San Diego, which might be the first to get hit by conventional BMs.

      The Japanese did not take out Pearl Harbor’s fuel dumps, the drydocks themselves, the submarine forces or the crypto unit: all of which bit them in the long term. Additionally, I’m skeptical of Raytheon being able to crank out TLAM’s like Khrushchev’s sausages…

  • Matrix3692

    Some day in the future, at some airshow, F-22 and F-35 in static display, beside them, the J-20 and J-31. Wonder when and where that could be?

  • Tony

    Well, I guess we can confirm that this is true.

    • Prodozul


  • Guest

    John Reed with Foreign Policy claims “simply having a stealthy shape does not mean the Chinese planes are truly stealth planes”.

    Well, neither does the F-35, because the aircraft simply has partial stealthy shape only in the front fuselage area, except from behind the fuselage, the upper side and from the lower sides which means the F-35 is quite detectable by the 55Zh6M Nebo M “Counter Stealth Radar”, L-Band AESA and other extremely powerful radars to detect LO/VLO aircraft. And in fact the exhaust nozzle of the F-135-PW-100 engine will be extremely hot when the aircraft is in full afterburner which attracts heat seaking AAMs and advanced SAMs.

    • peter

      Incorrect in all regards. The F35 has all aspect VLO. The rear quadrant is less stealthy, but still highly reduced. L band radars can detect a stealth aircraft is “somewhere” in the general area, but cannot direct aircraft towards it or fix weapons onto it. This is Russian propaganda and is completely unfounded. If it had a basis in fact then we would not see the Russians and Chinese both with their biggest military projects being to design, or in the Chinese case copy, VLO aircraft.

  • Mark

    Let’s wake up and smell the egg rolls …

    If we don’t stop these Red Chinese Punks from stealing our technology …

    We’re DEAD.

    On the bright side – I’m sure this makes OBAMA and his State Department happy.

  • Jason

    Pak-FA… all i have to say for now

  • Chris

    This thing is far from stealthy… look at those burners!

  • top dog

    Look like one of ours don’t it? They probably took a picture of it and went from there. Sounds familiar?…or somebody sold it to them……….

  • Patrick J. Busche

    I wonder how much of Mitt Romney’s outsourcing of American jobs to China has contributed to funding China’s defense program for these fighter aircraft?

    • _nder

      that’s funny, & i agree…but sure the amount is nothing compared to all the ‘Made in China’ crap we buy

  • Kevin

    There is no Chinese stealth fighter. If they had one, they’re military and state controlled media would not be the ones feeding you all the information about it. Like the pictures. This, the carrier, the supposed AEGIS ships are all the biggest head fake since the First US Army Group in 1944.

    • orly?

      So you doubt everything you see in pictures?

      Is that what you mean?

  • Rugby19

    Lockheed Martin’s new marketing campaign: We supply the US warfighter with state of the art jets, and we also supply the China warfighter with state of the art jets. If the two most powerful nations use our products, so should you.

    No doubt the China spies working inside LM along with their cyber attacks are starting pay off.

    • Restore Palestine

      That’s a good one. Very persuasive. But why would China use spies when LM is supplying state of the art jets?

  • Brandon

    The more and more I hear negatives on the F35, I fall into the category of the Super Hornet and Silent Eagle supporters. While we just upgrade or buy Silent Eagles/Super Hornets, we should restart the F22 with money saved from cutting F35. Lockheed can continue to develop F35 on their own dime since we have funded the majority of development and they will be able to export it. In the future, if the technology actually matures and becomes useful and reliable, then we could consider buying them. Right now, as always, the private sector is using the DoD to force technoligical maturity so they can then turn and use it in some other form for profit. I dont blame them, its what everyone does if there is a buck to be made from the government. It has even brought on great things but has also led to a lot of money and time wasting that wouldnt have happened if companies were doing it on their own dime to begin with.

  • Tribulationtime

    A seriuos post today. “Electronic signature masking technology” stand for?. Something like a “Active noise control” system tuned to work with electromagnetic waves? Or what?. [Be sure to add a comment about my Inglish].

  • The great jessmo

    Has anyone realized the positives from this for Lockheed? If its true that this plane is a naval fighter then I can see future orders of F-35Bs and Cs for japan and India.
    The Chinese are going to fuel F-35 orders like it or not. navalized Mig-29s rafales, and tejas wont cut it anymore.

  • longshadow

    Isn’t it more costly to develop and deploy stealth aircraft than it is to build AESA/passive radar systems? It seems like the Chinese are pouring money into a potentially dying concept if they aren’t coupling it with a strong EW capability.

    • Peter

      That’s just the thing. The idea that stealth is a dying concept is completely overblown. The systems you are talking about are promising…meaning give it 30 years an we may see them able to defeat stealth. Otherwise, there is no real pt to the Russians and Chinese going the stealth route… pouring money into it! The proof is in the pudding. …and the Japanese are developing a stealth fighter, as are the Koreans, as are the Indians. At last count, 13 of the Worlds top airforces are waiting on F35 as well. Maybe someone knows what they’re doing?

  • oli

    At least we have some sort of competition which is hardly any.

  • BlackOwlE15


    • BlackOwl18E

      So glad I have my account now. Fraud proof. :)

  • NeoconBrony

    That’s cute, what plane are they going to build a mock up of next? YF-23? F-117? X-32?

    • justsaying

      EquestrianGozer? First time I’ve seen a neocon My Little Pony fan. Doubling my disgust.

      • William C.

        No idea what you are going on about, but how typically liberal to call everybody who supports a strong military a neocon.

        I’m not one to immediately accuse the Russians or Chinese of stealing our work. But the Chinese are far more guilty than the Russians are. The similarities are way too obvious, just look at the engine intakes. There is no way that is just coincidence.

        • blight_

          Samsungs look like iPhones. Oh noes!

          The meat of it will be in the internals. If they sell these things to overseas clients, you can bet there will be an attempt to procure one for reverse engineering.

          • Willam C.

            Lets be serious here, the shaping is extremely similar to the front of the F-35. Hell, they even copied the forward swept intake cowl. The Chinese have been implicated in the theft of JSF program data and other classified information. There is a high chance that the Pakistani government allowed the Chinese to get a look at the remains of that stealthy helicopter used in the raid to kill Osama.

            And lets look at other aircraft developed by the Chinese. All of their fighter engines are based on Russian designs. The Chinese reverse engineered the Su-27s they bought to develop their own J-11B

          • blight_

            This is an old point that’s been kicked around before.

            “The other side”, defined as Russia, China or both probably have seen stealth since the ’90s. F-117 material samples have been available for some time. The equations for stealth could have been rederived and stealth RCS shapes developed using images of F-117, XF-32, F-35, XF-23 and F-22 as starting points.

          • William C.

            Very true, thus I don’t like to immediately accuse “the other side” of copying our designs. The PAK-FA is more a evolution of a Flanker based on knowledge of how to reduce RCS than anything else.

            Still, there are many ways to design a stealth fighter, and while this J-31 isn’t a complete copy of the F-35, the frontal shaping looks to be virtually identical. The elevators and vertical stabilizers look like somebody tore them off a F-22 as well.

            If they designed this all on their own, they made a lot of the same decisions the Lockheed JSF team did.

      • NeoconBrony

        Thanks for the new name. XD

  • Dfens

    “John Reed with Foreign Policy notes, “simply having a stealthy shape does not mean the Chinese planes are truly stealth planes.”

    Uh yeah, moron, it pretty much does. What a f’ing idiot.

  • Woody

    If some conflict arose between the US and the Chi-coms it would most assuredly be bloody, you can never underestimate an opponent. Sure the Chi-coms would score a few victories, but in the end couldnt hang in long enough. The things in the skunkworks now that we all have no clue about that are most likely ready or very close to ready has our backs. The Chinese Navy pales in comparison, it takes something like the next 20 countries to match the US Navy’s capability. Chi-coms fighters cant even come to grips with F-4 Phantoms let alone 15’s, 16’s and 18’s…..I’m not worried a bit…

    • UrLocalPLAsleeper

      Don’t have too much faith in anything made by the western defense industry being ‘nearly ready’.

      If I’m wrong, then please could whoever project-manages stuff in the skunkworks please come out of the shadows and manage the F35.

      • Woody

        Thats just it, I do have confidence in US built defense equipment. They have continually shown to be very competent in making some very effective systems, sure some have been failures. I keep up on this kind of thing, and I havent seen anything by our potential enemies that keeps me up at night. You know darn well there are some things that are online that we just dont know about that once used will have those potential enemies thinking twice…and the US could also send thousands of drones, cruise missiles out front of any strike like some people here think that the other would do…..have faith…

  • TimUK

    These whole debates ignore so many factors.

    What success rate for an Asraam kill ??
    The effects of ECM on Asraam ?
    The effects of being hugely outnumbered on f22 tactics
    The effects of IRST ?
    The ability of the Chinese to just launch hundreds upon hundreds of long range heat seeking missiles in the general direction of f22s/JSF and mess up their tactics ?

    Loiter times for JSF/F22 and their tankers huge unstealthy prescence.

    It seems the F22 and JSF aerial dominance relies on all the above working out in their favour. The doctrine is flawed , stealth as many senior US admirals are saying is being undermined by sensors in other em spectrums .

    The USAF and Lockheed have sold the Pentagon two crocked jets that in these reduced numbers will not give dominate the airspace, the bang for buck is criminal !!!

    • Bill Nye

      You don’t really send too many jets in when there are SAMs active in any area or potential for pop-ups. And if those sensors are radiating to find the stealth aircraft, you can guarantee SIGINT will pick it up and fire a TLAM or HARM in that direction.

  • St Germain

    Stealth is over rated. Even now improvements in radar processeing and multi-sensor systems are making stealth an expensive and marginally useful technology. The key in aerial warfare is and always has been the competency of the aircrew.

    • Dfens

      And our aircrews are all idiots. Don’t you listen to the Accident Investigation Board reports? 100% of the time our aircraft crash due to pilot error according to them. It is never the aircraft’s fault. So if our pilots suck and our aircraft are perfect, and our aircraft are worse than China’s aircraft, how can you make a case that our aircrews are better than theirs?

  • Benjamin

    It would be interesting to see how the Aim-9X block II or AIM-120D will perform against these new Chinese stealth aircraft.

  • Rob

    Warfare isn’t about matchups plane versus plane. Too many here are forgetting this. Tactics and finding weak points in the defense lines in a major country on country conflict.

    Be more concerned if they build a 25 mil man airforce.

    Seems to me stealth is overrated if our weather radars can pick up hail.

    Optical scopes can pick up objects in our sky for long ranges.

    At night it becomes harder as IR range maybe shorter but seems our satellites could detect aircraft by sound.

    Also countered by more anti-aircraft on our ships, bases & defense points between our countries.

    • jaidyn

      Rob detecting the plane is 1 thing, getting a firing solution is another.
      Do you have any medium range missiles that can detect sound 100 miles away?
      How about an optical system that can see over the horizon?
      Are you saying our stealth tech is over rated?
      Or the Chinese stealth tech is over rated?
      or all stealth is over rated?
      Note how Japan, the U.K. Russia, China, The U.S., Israel, India, are all getting stealth aircraft in the next 10–15 years.

      • Dfens

        Hell, we might just as well paint all our aircraft dayglo orange. Stealth is over rated. You heard it here.

      • Rob

        Stealth in general is overrated. Advances in weaponry & tech outwieghs the tech of aircraft.

        Surely in a surprise attack scenario in bad weather, at night, China having Stealth would be a threat… They are so pricey and they would quickly be targetted in large battles.

        Defense tech will matter more

        Increase our. Anti-Aircraft munitions globally.
        Use Computer linked monitoring from satellites, land and sea points.
        Drones.. Drones. Drones..
        Underwater atomic detonations to clear foreign subs and naval forces.
        Unmanned jets designed even more stealthy as no cockpit is needed.

  • Mutantone

    I wI would just want to know how they got so many advances so quickly after Obama Kowtowed to them?ould just wnat to know how they got so many advances so quickley after Obama Kowtowed

  • Big-Dean

    Has anyone thought of the idea of kamikaze drones?

    Imagine a fast, small, highly maneuverable drone that’s program to hit or blow up (proximity fuzed) other fighters. It’s would be much like a missile except very smart. Where a missile can be spoofed, jammed or dodged, a hunter killer pack of 7 or 8 drones that link with each other would prove very dangerous because they would keep attacking

    It could out maneuver any manned aircraft and it would have persistence-unlike a missile. It have radar, infrared, and other forms of guidance and it would be intelligent enough to pick and choose targets. If the pack of drones is linked together they would form a coordinated attack, i.e. if the first drone missed or was shot down the other drones would be in pace for the kill. It would be nearly impossible to escape this pack

    I sure the bad guys would trade a couple of million dollar smart autonomous drones for a single F-22 any day

    • X-n17

      Long range , small, sub-sonic, “k-drones”, would be ideal for any power. Super or not. One of the main (-) variables, second to cost, is Range Miles Per Mission. Needing “super speed/agility” has a (-) effect on let’s call it “mpg”. Which (+) cost (tech. RD, Mats).
      The ideal CS would be an extreme distance (THEL)Tactical High Energy Laser mated with a (APS-RAD) Atmospheric Pressure Senor Radar. In theroy.

  • Rob

    Lets consider some possible China Stealth scenarios.

    Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and/or USA are their only few potential adversaries.

    Unless rest of world helps, we cannot defend or reliberate Taiwan for sure. China could opt to just destroy it completely.

    In a Korea conflict how effective can stealth be with mass dogfights & warships everywhere.

    Against Japan or US, they would have to nuke to be able to destroy anything significant enough with Stealth.

    My curiosity is does Stealth cause loss in speed, armor maneuverability or range of the craft? What about the heat signature?

    If no real difference, then more worry that China builds an entire airforce of Stealth. And we should already be doing the same. Stealth anything that doesn’t need thick armor.

    • Rob

      My bet is slight armor loss ( from bullets & shrapnel ) & they have more range with more fuel, by design only.

      Bet speed doesn’t beat our best modified jets.

      A lone stealth is unprotected & susceptible to E-bombs, jamming and Infrared.

      As well as designed slightly less maneuverable for high altitude, long range runs only.

      So question is how advanced are their craft’s missiles, bombs and guns?

      I would think having smaller/lighter weight electronics give almost no range/detection/damage gains.

      Thanks to spying i’m sure they know all of what we have in our arsenal and able to match it.

      The tech of being able to hit a target in the right place and avoid counter measures are the key. NOT Stealth.

      This is where I feel having German and Japanese ‘engineering’ may be our only savior. And idea’s for next generation technology.

      Without it realize China only needs to match our current tech and out number it.

      Agree their forces are behind us in many ways but they also have allies scattered across the globe. You might be surprised who turns sides in WWIII if happened tomorrow.

  • James Moglia

    Open up the F-22 production line and build about 300 more fighters, we don’t have time to keep playing around with the F-35. The F-22 would have been a lot cheaper per copy to produce than the F-35, but the cost escalated due to limited production, ie. B-2 bomber syndrome. With the way our technology is stolen, only a fool would have thought we had a 10 to 12 year advantage in stealth.

  • jaidyn

    Can the F-22 ,land on a carrier, take off vertical or carry a 2kLb stealthy load?

  • vec

    Stop be delusional like Harry Potter.

    China is coming.

  • Kissmabums

    Oooh…….weeee… All the Chinese or the American arms suppliers got to do is put out some pictures and stories about the bogeyman’s “latest advance” in weaponry, real or imaginary, is enough to make the government open up the wallets to put more money into weapon development and procurement, at outrageous prices. The taxpayers are the suckers.

  • blight_

    The motto of House Stark is now…China is coming.