Report: Chinese Air Force Closes Gap With U.S.

FC-31-2The U.S. Air Force’s air power superiority over China is rapidly diminishing in light of rapid Chinese modernization of fighter jets, cargo planes and stealth aircraft, according to a recently released Congressional review.

The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommends that Congress appoint an outside panel of experts to assess the U.S.-Chinese military balance and make recommendations regarding U.S. military plans and budgets, among other things.

The Commission compiled its report based upon testimony, various reports and analytical assessments along with available open-source information. The review states that the Chines People’s Liberation Army currently has approximately 2,200 operational aircraft, nearly 600 of which are considered modern.

“In the early 1990s, Beijing began a comprehensive modernization program to upgrade the PLA Air Force from a short-range, defensively oriented force with limited capabilities into a modern, multi-role force capable of projecting precision airpower beyond China’s borders, conducting air and missile defense and providing early warning,” the review writes.

One commissioner involved with the review told Military.com he wants to see Congress provide the requisite funding for the U.S. to retain its technological superiority in light of China’s rapid progress. This includes providing funding for the Pentagon’s Pacific rebalance, he said.

“Every year we make forty to fifty recommendations to Congress. Commissioners highlight what they consider to be the most important ten recommendations.  This year among the top ten recommendations was one to ensure that the budget to meet the Pacific rebalance is adequate,” said Larry Wortzel, a commissioner tasked with helping to oversee the compilation and publication of the annual review.

Regarding stealth aircraft, the review mentions the recent flights of prototypes of the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter, calling the aircraft more advanced than any other air platform currently deployed in the Asia-Pacific region.  The Chinese are also testing a smaller stealth fighter variant called the FC-31, according to the report.

China recently displayed the Shenyang FC-31 stealth fighter at China’s Zhuhai Air Show. However, several analysts have made the point that it is not at all clear if the platform comes close to rivaling the technological capability of the U.S. F-35.

However, the U.S. technological advantage in weaponry, air and naval platforms is rapidly decreasing, according to the review. To illustrate this point, the review cites comments from an analyst who compared U.S.-Chinese fighter jets to one another roughly twenty years ago versus a similar comparison today.

The analyst says in 1995 a high-tech U.S. F-15, F-16 or F/A-18 would be vastly superior to a Chinese J-6 aircraft. However today — China’s J-10 and J-11 fighter jet aircraft would be roughly equivalent in capability to an upgraded U.S. F-15, the review states.

Alongside their J-10 and J-11 fighters, the Chinese also own Russian-built Su-27s and Su-30s and are on the verge of buying the new Su-35 from Russia, the review states.

“The Su-35 is a versatile, highly capable aircraft that would offer significantly improved range and fuel capacity over China’s current fighters. The aircraft thus would strengthen China’s ability to conduct air superiority missions in the Taiwan Strait, East China Sea, and South China Sea as well as provide China with the opportunity to reverse engineer the fighter’s component parts, including its advanced radar and engines, for integration into China’s current and future indigenous fighters,” the review writes.

In addition to stealth technology, high-tech fighter aircraft and improved avionics, the Chinese have massively increased their ability with air-to-air missiles over the last 15-years, the review finds.

“All of China’s fighters in 2000, with the potential exception of a few modified Su-27s, were limited to within-visual-range missiles. China over the last 15 years also has acquired a number of sophisticated short and medium-range air-to-air missiles; precision-guided munitions including all-weather, satellite-guided bombs, anti-radiation missiles, and laser-guided bombs; and long-range, advanced air-launched land-attack cruise missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles,” the review says.

The review also points to the Y-20 aircraft, a new strategic airlifter now being tested by the Chinese which has three times the cargo-carrying capacity of the U.S. Air Force’s C-130.  Some of these new planes could be configured into tanker aircraft, allowing the Chinese to massively increase their reach and ability to project air power over longer distances.

At the moment, the Chinese do not have a sizeable or modern fleet of tankers, and many of their current aircraft are not engineered for aerial refueling, a scenario which limits their reach.

“Until the PLA Navy’s first carrier-based aviation wing becomes operational, China must use air refueling tankers to enable air operations at these distances from China. However, China’s current fleet of air refueling aircraft, which consists of only about 12 1950s-era H–6U tankers, is too small to support sustained, large-scale, long-distance air combat,” the review states.

Using Y-20s as tankers would make China more effective into the South China Sea and the East China Sea, Wortzel explained.

The review also cites Russian media reports claiming that Russia has approved the sale of its new, next-generation S-400 surface-to-air-missile to China.

“Such a sale has been under negotiation since at least 2012. The S–400 would more than double the range of China’s air defenses from approximately 125 to 250 miles—enough to cover all of Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands, and parts of the South China Sea,” the review says.

The review also catalogues information related to China’s nuclear arsenal and long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the existing DF-31 and DF-31A along with the now-in-development DF-41.

“They already have road-mobile ICBMs that carry nuclear weapons. The DF-41 is expected to have as many as 10 re-entry vehicles,” Wortzel added.

Some prominent lawmakers, such as HASC Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., have expressed concern regarding the review’s findings.  Forbes has consistently talked about the U.S. need to properly address the potential threat posed by rapid Chinese military modernization and expansion.

“If you look back at the approach the Pentagon was taking 10 years ago, they were missing what China was doing. China was growing geometrically,” Forbes told Military.com in an interview. “I think we have to be looking globally to make sure we are creating the kind of strategies that are going to be necessary to defend this country a decade from now or two decades from now.”

Forbes emphasized that while working toward peace and stability and improving relations with the Chinese is important, the U.S. must nevertheless modernize and prepare its military based upon Chinese capability rather than Chinese intent.

“You have to prepare based on capability because intent could change overnight with one incident,” he said.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • Luke

    Great news!

    • Mike jones

      It’s all about what’s in the closet. I have a feeling the u.s has much more amazing trump cards available. Our use of the 13 years of constant war has given us more practice than china will get for decades.

      • blight_

        We have expeditionary experience operating overseas. We have coalition experience from RIMPAC exercises. We have the diverse array of legacy equipment that will see us partway through a total war.

        However, the long term game belongs to the People’s Republic. Our inability to produce any naval or aerial weapons systems at an affordable price has surrendered a considerable technical lead to Russia and the People’s Republic. Our subsequent loss of industrial power makes us a glass-jaw nation that is unlikely to be able to replace severe losses of armored vehicles, ships, aircraft or manpower. Whatever remains of the 20-division stockpiles after GW1, the nation building of the ’90s, OEF and OIF is what will be available to our troops in the next war.

        • wlbond008

          Anybody else notice that the aircraft they are copying is the F-22. That they do NOT, REPEAT NOT copy the F-35. Remember a couple years ago when the left wanted to stop work on the F-22 for the F-35. Seems nobody wants that goose except some congressional lumps.

        • Bill Alexander

          I read a report the other day that stated one of our Navy ships was fitted with a powerful laser that they took through the paces and operated very will-can anyone add to this? ( I am 81 years old, but in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in except that I have to look at my drivers license to find out who I am from time to time-memory isn’t what it used to be)

  • 009

    Awesome, military and recently surpassed our economy, maybe they too can police the globe and us take the back seat for a change.

    • steve

      How exactly have they surpassed us militarily? They have pics of an F-22 competitor class A/C and an F-35 competitor has officially FLOWN. They own a single rebuilt Russian A/C Carrier that can launch a few jets. They have ~12 1950’s tanker jets. We have OVER 400. Just Tankers. read a fucking book.

      • Sling

        I agree Steve! They just recently put to sea their first aircraft carrier, which was a used Soviet era vessel they bought from Ukraine. They spent years refurbishing it. We have had FLEETS of aircraft carriers for over 70 years! Even with China’s massive increases and the U.S.’s decreases in military spending, the US military budget is still greater than China’s and Russia’s spending COMBINED. Not to mention NATO nations comprise 75% of the total global military spending.

    • Phono

      China wouldn’t police the globe. It has no history of freedom and democracy and would certainly not defend it anywhere in the world. It has always actet only in his own interest.

  • Virgil Cuttaway

    And they will pass us in all forms if military power. We provide the technology, educate their top students, give them the equipment to hack our defense contractors, and buy Chinese products that allow them to build up their military.

    Also, most of our budgets will continue to be eaten up by social programs!

    • Stan

      Poorly structured social programs protected by a variety of special interests, perhaps. You want a new government with members concerned about the wellbeing of the country over keeping their jobs? Consider updating the Constitution.

      • Jeff

        The Constitution is fine, it’s the people that insist on using their “interpretation” of it.

        • Dfens

          You got that right. Show me where in the US Constitution it says the federal government can be in charge of a national welfare program. That doesn’t exist, but the 10th amendment does. It says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Of course, most of what the federal government does these days is completely unconstitutional, so just another day in communist utopia.

          • guest

            Where does the Constitution allow the federal government to pay subsidies to farmers ? Surely thats another welfare?

          • Guest

            Where does the Constitution allow the federal government to pay military retirees after just 20 years of service?

          • Scott

            its a retainer… IE I retain the option to recall your services at anytime for the needs of the service… Because at some point we might need a rapid influx of already trained and experienced people..

            Like if the decide to recommission old battle ships.. or reactivate mothballed air craft or need to fill out a few battalions quickly.. the retired/retained service member is the one that fills that roll.

          • blight_weroasdfl

            True, but again…not explicitly called for in the constitution (in contrast, letters of marque are still in the Constitution). Praise the originalists all you like, but retainers for military service aren’t on the list. Daniel Shays never got a retainer after the Revolutionary War (money problems and the soldiery getting squeezed leading to Shay’s rebellion).

            Article 1, Section 8 lists Congress’ powers, but nothing about pensions. The prez’ powers are also rather vague.

          • blight_weroasdfl

            Note that Shay was eventually pensioned off. However, the Constitution was never revised, nor amendment generated.

          • displacedjim

            Art I, Sect. 8: “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy;”

            Notice the lack of any clause that says anything about “raising and supporting farmers” or “providing and maintaining the nation’s food supply” or anything similar, or in fact anything to do specifically with agriculture whatsoever.

        • Stan

          The government is provided for by the constitution, and so is its bottomless disfunction which also serves a purpose. You have to be a knuckledragging moron not to think that the constitution needs an update.

        • Stan

          Their interpretation of it? As opposed to the one correct interpretation which happens to be yours? Idiotic. Perhaps it should be made LESS open to interpretation esp. where it relates to political speech, corporate personhood, campaign finance, anticorruption duties of the government, term limits for supreme court, etc., etc., etc.

      • blight_weroasdfl

        Would worry more about CFR and USC, as they are what the government uses on a day to day basis.

      • Bernard

        If we cared as much about providing basic health care, a solid education, and mental health services as we care about bailing out banks, paying obscene executive bonuses, and giving away free money to defense contractors we wouldn’t be worried about China. America’s greatest resource is human talent, which only comes from a healthy well educated population. We like to trumpet up foreign threats, but we are still the one’s with the best minds and technology. We have a multicultural melting pot of human talent from all over the world, and our adversaries are impotent monocultures.

        Regardless, bootleg Chinese jets aren’t going to upend the balance of power. We can’t invade China with F/A 18’s and F15’s, but there is no way that FC-31 matches our stealth. Look at the details up close, it has non-stealth exhausts and a Mig-29 jet engine. This is a weak bluff. China still has a starving population and rampant corruption, Chinese companies continue to poison their own people. China can posture but they still don’t have their own house in order. The strongest military is worthless if you are falling apart from the inside.

        • blight_weroasdfl

          Executive pay is high because one company’s CEO is another company’s board member. Everyone scratches everyone else’s back to keep pay high. It won’t change.

          We’re a nation without a mission. Scratch that, our mission is to look out for our individual self-interest. If this means screwing the government or screwing the workers, let’s do it!

        • Les

          Amen to Bernard. I agree totally but when someone eventually gets power over another, then greed sets in and everything become skewed. Being the richest nation in the world, we should have the best educational system and the best healthy people, but…
          blight makes a very good and accurate point as well…sarcastic, but on pint

    • Stan

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zak…

    • Mojo

      China’s gains have come due to a few U.S. presidents, Bill Clinton, George Bush (the elder) and obama, that have committed treason by giving them military secrets, free access to U.S. guidance systems, most favored trade nation and stupid Americans buying their inferior products at inflated government subsidized prices.

      • blight_weroasdfl

        Indeed. Reagan “only” started the ball rolling with NAFTA, which was the beginning of gutting the United States. But since you’re so focused on boogeymen from across the sea…

        • Dfens

          I thought Bush started NAFTA. I know Ron Paul did a tirade on the house floor for China to have most favored nation trade status.

  • Lance

    More fear mongering from people who want a unlimited military budget. The Chinese J-10 ad J-11 are not as good as current US fighter old and new. And face it there FC-31 is copy of he JSF which we know is inferior to the F-16 it is meant to replace. The Su-27 is a good fighter but not superior to our Raptors and Eagles. Chinese fighter are currently based more on Su-27 (J-11) and MiG-21s (J-7) than any 5th gen fighter. What we need is new generation of missiles than stealth planes our AIM-120s and AIM-9 series are obsolete so maybe research should change from JSF to new missiles.

    We can and need to change funds from wasteful army programs like JLTV AAPV and MHS to Navy and USAF upgrades.

    • Lurker

      You really have a vendetta against the Army don’t you? You’ve made like three different comments saying the same thing. What makes you think that canceling any of those programs would have any impact at on Navy readiness? Even if every dollar programmed for the JLTV was somehow handed over to the Navy its impacting the overall fleet would be negligible if not nonexistent. What does a pistol competition have anything to do with this?

      • Lance

        Yes we are throwing billions on weapons the Army doesn’t need. All that money can maintain a larger fleet and keep the Navy looking at newer ships. The pistol competition is another ICC and is wasting billions for a pistol we dont need pistols have little to do with modern warfare with PDWs and carbines in wide use. All a waste of money the Navy needs.

        • Ronin

          What a fool you are. You can keep the sea lanes open, you can sweep the skys with air power and bomb them back to the stone age-BUT until you put a ground troop ON THE GROUND you don’t own it.

          Yes pistols have there place ans do PDW’s, Carbines and full size rifles.

          Stick to what you think you know and let the ground pounders fight the ground war.

        • blight_weroasdfl

          Small arms are cheap. It’s the competition for the next IFV, the next wheeled general purpose vehicle and the next tank that’ll break budgets, along with the next frigate/multirole combatant and the next bomber, the next boomer, the next cruise missile and the next ballistic missile.

    • joe

      yepEnter text right here!

      • Lance

        ????

  • rat

    They’re not building up their military to not use it. And its for more than capturing Taiwan.

    • Lurker

      Its a distinct possibility that they could try to make a move on Taiwan when they feel confident enough, and one we should be prepared to counter if necessary, but I don’t think they’re so eager to stir up such an international fustercluck that would cetainly negatively impact their economy.

    • Nadnerbus

      Considering the giant global yawn that responded to Russian moves in Ukraine, the current administration’s demonstrated lack of interest in being a strong global actor, and the coming two years of Lame Duck presidency, this might appear to be a golden opportunity to Chinese leadership if they are really bent on a military solution to their Taiwan policy.

      Yes, that is all one sentence =)

      • guest

        You forget the Crimeans voted for annexation, and mostly being Russian was a big help. Doesnt apply in Taiwan, as well they have there own capable military for just an event.

        • rtsy

          Speaking Russian and being Russian are two different things.

        • 45k20

          There was a treaty in place specifying that Crimea belonged to Ukraine. Putin pulled a Hitler with the annexation.

  • josh.p

    Ok… ummm it seems like we have these annual china military reports and we always hear what they are developing. Why arnt we developing new stealth fighters and new missiles? It just seems like our country is just sitting back and just doing nothing about it other than put more ships out in the pacific.

    • blight_

      Stealth fighters? Other than JSF, F/A-XX is in the works. For missiles, LRASM. We’ve got a lot going on.

      “Put more ships out in the pacific” is pretty important too. We can’t do much without ships in the sea.

      • arrlarr

        so true the chinese wont even be able to detect lrasm because it avoids radar
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvHlW1h_0XQ

    • cactusbob

      Short answer is that Obama doesn’t want us to. His whole game plan is for the once-powerful USA to become third-rate, and if Communist China wants to conquer us militarily, that just makes Obama’s job easier. Wake up, America, fear-mongering has nothing to do with it. We survived the Soviet build-up and outlasted them financially. We can’t do that with China, AND a regrouping Russia, with one arm tied behind our back financially with all our resources being dissipated by the PC global warming crap and the in-fighting that Obama has unleashed on us by refusing to enforce our laws (immigration).

  • oldmtnbkr

    This post reminds me of the slick “Soviet War Machine” psuedo-magazines published by the Pentagon during the 1980s. And the “U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission” has about as much credibility.

    • blight_weroasdfl

      This, you mean?
      http://s1140.photobucket.com/user/zuikis77/media/…

      (For those of us born on the tail end of the Cold War)

    • wpnexp

      They were Soviet Military Power documents. They were needed because Russia was a closed country in the greatest sense of the word. They were important to let the people know what the USSR was up to. The USSR was a dangerous regime, and it appears that China is likely to be dangerous too. Russia as we see is already reverting to their pervious ways although slower than China is moving today.

      • blight_weroasdfl

        Well, that makes more sense.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Military_Powe…

    • Stratege

      Soviet Military Power magazine was well-know for underestimation of Soviet war capabilities.

  • Alan Freeman

    The Congress think that because the cold war with the USSR they can relax.
    China has more spies in the USA than you can shake a stick at and cyber tech that leaves you well and truly in the 1900s they know not only what you are making but the hows and tech , then manage to build it before you. If you don’t do something soon the US super power will become CHINA SUPER POWER and then world war three will begin,
    Tell me I am lieing in about 35 years time when China rules the world. Its up to Congress to do something now before its to late

    • FIUHWEG

      Sorry buddy but short of China getting bombed into the stone age, they’re going to rule the world no matter how hard we try. The only thing we can do is try and delay it for a decade, two, three…

      The good news? Nothing lasts forever. After China, it’ll be someone else ;)

  • SCPO Ken

    Remember the “MIssile Gap” of old…well now the Pentagon is pushing the “China Gap” and “Russian Gap”. Ike said beware of the military industrial complex. Lately they have given us two versions of the LCS - both so, so., huge cost over runs and delays for the F35, billions wasted on high tech trucks, and fast landing craft for the Army and Marines, multi versions of cammies, etc, etc. MMCS(SS)(SW) USN Ret.

    • Reverend Clint

      Dont forget the make believe cruiser gap

      • blight_weroasdfl

        The Economic Warfare Plan is to make the Chinese and Russians freak out over the “Littoral Combat Ship” gap, because they have no Littoral Combat Ships and we are building more.

        Instead, they will objectively assess the ships by their capabilities and not their classed types (which was behind the cruiser gap, since many DDG’s were cruisers in all but name)

  • Dfens

    You people seem to be under the misconception that our armed forces exist to protect this nation and our national best interests. Once you have accepted the fact that the military actually exists as a cash pipeline to divert US tax dollars to a handful of rich welfare recipients then and only then you will find peace with the world you live in. We pay our defense contractors more to fail, and they fail. We offer them development contracts that guarantee them $1.10 for every $1.00 they spend, and they spend themselves rich. So if at some point in the future we decide that we want our military to actually be a military, maybe we should reconsider how we pay these contractors. So, like, if weapons are what we really want, maybe we should only provide companies a profit on actual working weapons instead of paying them a profit on a bunch of bs processes and promises they never intend to keep.

    • Christopher

      Hmm. It may be time we switched from using “Military Industrial Complex” too “Military Corporate Welfare Complex”.

      • Dfens

        That’s exactly what it is! There’s no evil madman determined to destroy this nation. To a large extent there is nothing illegal being done. In fact, most of the people who are a part of this fiasco are good and decent. But like with so many of the failed institutions in this country, the failure of our defense industry is a story of a bunch of little sins. Greed, sloth, laziness, complacency, a lot of people looking the other way when they should stand up and say something. And suddenly we are in a hole that’s very hard to get out of.

        • Peter

          Sadly I agree totally with you. But, is it likely to change? I think not.

          • Dfens

            It will change. It has to. I wish I had the confidence in democracy that Lincoln had when he said, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Let’s just hope he was right.

          • hialpha

            You speak of this country as if it is sick? Indeed, it is sick, it’s like an alcoholic, and I think the change will only come when we hit rock bottom. We are comfortable, if frustrated, and until that changes, or perhaps until we go to war with a country who isn’t the equivalent of a half-starved street urchin, we won’t see real change. Unfortunately, we’ve been beating up on the poor kids for 60 years and that has led us to believe in our own invincibility. We fight somebody real and get bloodied, that will precipitate change because it will prove that the current system does not work.

            It’s terrible and wasteful, but the theory is nothing new.

            “The tree of liberty mush be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

          • Dfens

            Maybe we won’t have to get our asses kicked before things change for the better. It’s not just defense procurement that’s screwed up. As the Obamacare website showed, it’s all of government procurement that’s a mess.

    • Fred Hoots

      How out of touch can you be!!!

      • Stan

        How about you?

  • changey

    While the US has invested in slow drones and gear for fighting AQ level of warfare, we have let our strategic and peer to peer abilities atrophy significantly. Then we voted into office the most radical President in quite possible our history with a strong contempt for past American military actions. Also he negotiated and has defended intensely the deepest cuts in our military budget since World War II.

    Dream come true to the Chinese, Russians and others and they took full advantage of it. Got to wonder if these birds had their hands in 9/11, its worked so well for them.

    • Inside Man

      Obama, are you saying he is the most radicial president in US history, that’s funny. It doesn’t matter that he cut the military budget, because we keep invading and attacking places that don’t matter to american interests and we keep making things worse in certain parts of the world, therefore complicating our real american interests even more.

    • Ronin

      Could Be

    • blight_weroasdfl

      “Also he negotiated and has defended intensely the deepest cuts in our military budget since World War II. ”

      I don’t know…Truman presided over a massive demobilization during WW2.

      • blight_weroasdfl

        Correction, /after/ WW2.

    • Been there

      It was GWBush who had the navy sink about 35 of their own ships, claiming they were antiquated, yet some were only 20 years old with a hull design life of 40 years. In contrast the navy only sank 4 ships during Clinton’s presidency.

  • erich

    Why do their planes look like our planes. Cannot they make their own designs?

    • BILL

      with low budget copies in china and russia they don’t need multibillion research programs because they don’t have the economy and tech of usa.Thats why usa has best quality and tech 20 years ahead from them in big numbers.

  • goldo62

    We must to declare war now!! before it was too late…..

    it’s our fault there is ferocious and we forget conccurrence future economic problems. there has been too lenient towards them … They have the right to ask to have to partner with national companies with technology transfer and they can sell without having to join a Western company .. it is not just … their currency is deliberately low and there is an import tax … and restrictions !!! such as video game consoles, but recently opened ….Chinese must laught at us…..It is to enrich some western people …

  • Christopher

    The Obey Amendment once again harms our National Security. Their going to regret not letting Japan purchase the F-22. Hell they might have even upgraded it into a better fighter! Oh wait the Military Corporate Welfare Complex doesn’t like it when a foreign country makes a better version of their plane than them.

    • blight_weroasdfl

      It’s an export control problem. People are still raw over the whole “Toshiba sold the Soviet Union machine tools to produce better propellors for the Akula, reducing noise”

  • Brian

    The fifth generation fighter aircraft we are very out numbered worldwide only buying 187 f-22’s we needed at least 300 to 350 of them very stupid of the administration I thought that in 2009 really think that now. We do not have enough modern fighter aircraft to protect both coast’s and our allies and us thinking that our adversaries would not catch up is a joke.

    • guest

      No money was essentially the problem.

    • Stan

      The f you talking about? Who outnumbers us in 5th gen fighters?

      Chinese and Russians are furiously working on antistealth and area denial. That’s what needs to be countered without bankrupting the country the way the US bankrupted the USSR? Anyone here studied some damn history?

      • jffourquet

        You are right, stealth is not the silver bullet it was 10-20 years ago. But we still need modern fighters with speed, agility and some stealth. We also need modern ship,land based and WACS radar systems to detect stealth aircraft. If we don’t get these, we will be the ones who cannot defend our selves against stealth aircraft attacking us in the next war.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    We could substantially affect the correlation of forces relevant to China’s invasion of Taiwan by simply selling Taiwan the more current weapons that it wants. I’ll go further, and suggest that in the event of a Chinese attempt at forcible annexation, which I think is all but inevitable after just a few more years, that we can’t and won’t be able, even if willing (which is open to question) to seriously intervene. Carriers are too conspicuous and too few in number to operate in close proximity to any invasion, and for the next twenty years we’re locked into the F/A-18E, F and F-35 for carrier defense antiship operations, and air superiority over the Taiwan Strait. Submarines may be able to operate in closer proximity to Chinese territory, but the size of the Strait will permit China to open with a massive SEAD campaign operating mainly from land and follow up with airborne and hovercraft-borne invasion forces on a huge scale. Simple saturation of Taiwanese airfields with relatively cheap ballistic and cruise missiles will buy China the time needed for a more granular operation with manned aircraft.
    It’s hard to see how even the best Naval stealth fighter could make a difference when the carrier platform is so detectable and vulnerable.

  • hialpha

    http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/onlin…

    The address is to a prescient speech President Eisenhower made days before he relinquished the office. In it he discusses the need for our military-industrial complex as an entity which can constantly keep our country ready for confrontation technologically and with arms Previously we used emergency measures to slowly change our industry base to make our weapons during war — beating plowshares to swords; a very laborious process, if I understand history correctly. However he also warns that lawmakers must be ever vigilant against corruption and that they must constantly hold accountable the military industrial complex.

    I think it’s clear that corruption has gotten the best of us, and there needs to be a fundamental change in the military-industrial complex and congress in order reestablish our priorities. Eisenhower understood that if we don’t get this right, our war-fighters will be greatly disadvantaged in the short-term and in the long term, our country.

  • Ron

    I think they will eventually attack Israel with a 200 million strong army

  • superraptor

    Come on guys. There is no reason for despair. Restarting production of an upgraded F-22 is entirely feasible and payable by limiting the F-35 program.
    But instead of lamenting, we should call our GOP representatives and demand that they behave like a loyal opposition and reverse Obamas unresponsible policies. Demand that we build new W80 warheads in order to strengthen our tactical nuclear enterprise vis-à-vis Russia which has 7000 tactical nuclear warheads pointed at us compared to our 200 remaining tactical gravity bombs.
    Demand that Congress cancels the New Start treaty.
    Demand that the defense budget is increased substantially
    we have a voice, but stating how terrible everything is will not do it.

    • Steve

      The solution to China POSSIBLY developing a stealth fighter that you suggest is building more nuclear bombs we can mismanage and degrade like the ones we current;y own? That’s literally fucking insane. We have enough nukes to put out of permanent use every airfield that would ever challenge us in PACOM. You say increase the defense budget, but to what ends? To build more LCS failures? You say yourself the F-35 should be limited… if we increase the DOD budget we will just buy more. TYFYS. Please stay retired, or more liekly, in you mom’s basement.

      • superraptor

        First of all the response to China’s exceedingly well progressing Stealth fighter program is restarting production of an upgraded F-22 which could resume within 18 months and would cost 2 Billion dollars. But what you don’t seem to know little paduan is that Chinese military strategists are exploring to attack USN carrier groups with nuclear cruise missiles to which the USN has no response other than incineration of its surface ships unless they had tactical nuclear missiles again as they did during the Cold War which is here except that it soon could become a Hot War as the US has become a big fat hapless target. W80 warheads can be made fit to almost anything even SM3 missiles if so desired. Our number is up. We better wake up and try to defend ourselves.

    • Christopher

      You do know that other countries both our allies and enemies will have 6th generation fighters by the time the Raptor production line starts back up.
      The only upgrade that will make F-22 competitive then is turning it into the X-44 Manta.

      The GOP? Their not gonna do crap. They just cut military benefits.
      Building more warheads is just stupid. How is abiding by treaties signed by previous presidents unreasonable ? Oh wait it’s because a black person is in the White House.
      Also the W80 is incompatible with current cruise missiles.

      • superraptor

        If you think that a peer adversary can produce a 6th generation fighter in 2 years, I will admit I was wrong. But it really would only take 18 months and 2 billion dollars to put a production line in place to build new Raptors,actually Superraptors. If I had more money, I would donate the money myself (I am 500 mill short). The F-35 is simply not going to cut it. Join Governor Perry’s campaign and if elected President he will bring back the F-22

        • Christopher

          18 months? I’m going to have to call shenanigans on that. More like 36 months to 5 years to restart the production line. The workers have been laid off or moved elsewhere.
          Lockheed would have to spin up a large management program, organize a supply chain consisting of thousands of companies from all over the world, put together engineering, testing, and manufacturing teams, figure out its own manufacturing capacity issues and bring out all the custom tools and parts from storage and figure out which ones are still usable and what others need to be recreated. The Air Force explicitly stated that it stored tools only for maintaining the Raptor fleet and not restarting production.

          It also would not solve the problem for the Navy and USMC’s problems.
          An interim off the shelf Fighter would be better. But our military loathes to buy things it didn’t make itself.
          Also any design that isn’t tailless will be easily detected by 2020 without their own jamming pods.

          No I will not help another Texas ****** become president. He’s too busy helping fat rednecks shoot at child and teenage gang victims. If that moron becomes President. ISIS will be able to bomb us for sure.

        • blight_weroasdfl

          Just like Reagan brought back the B-1…that didn’t work out well. We never produced enough B-1’s to replace the B-52; and then we consumed funds that probably could have gone to the ATB. And then we ended up with three types of strategic bomber, two types of non-stealth bomber and only 20 stealth bombers.

          FYI, the F-35 was built by Lockheed, which also built the F-22. Any new aircraft competition will be Boeing or LM. What makes you think the result of round three between the remaining fighter jet makers will be any better?

  • Leslie Bryant

    Great! Just more justification for USAF leadership to cut people and personnel and veteran benefits versus generals, aides, and all the equipment we dont need but are the latest and greatest toy and the perks of power for the 50th time.

    • Dfens

      Yeah, thanks for fighting 2 wars for us, here’s your pink slip.

  • BILL

    a chinese sold his soul to the devil after a month the soul has broken

  • Wordell

    Ridiculous article…a false flag. Here’s something that’s also ridiculous: “Chinese pilot who fly upside down have crack up.”

  • Joe_Sovereign

    I will place my bets on a 230 year old Democracy over a 70 year old Commi/Capitalist Facist Dictatorship. The political and economic model of China is not sustainable.

    The end game for America is that we gut goverment spending, devalue the dollar and become protectionist and isolationist. That is far worse for the rest of the world than it is for us.

    • Dfens

      You got that right. F the rest of the world. They need us a helluva lot more than we need them.

  • DrBillLemoine

    The crack about our president diminishing the military is nonsense. What is disturbing is the thoughts that China is hacking our corporations developing military hardware to get their plans because congress under the Tea Party refuses to spend anything for national cybersecurity beyond NSA data collection and needed eavesdropping with warrants by law enforcement. Time to face the reality of a bigger nation, with more money, starting to protect itself militarily.

    • Dfens

      Right, maybe they can set up an unconstitutional Department of Homeland Cyber Security and throw more billions of taxpayer dollars down that rat hole. Because no matter how badly government fails, it never fails so badly that we don’t need more of it. Pure genius.

      • DrBillLemoine

        You are mixing nation defense security with something else. NSA may be the optimal agency to insure national cybersecurity considering government agencies are routinely hacked. Otherwise each separate corporation must do it, an inefficient process. Without some universal defense, our power grid can go down; ditto, nuclear power plants; and, any other computer regulated function. Guess you’ve never been hacked at home, had your department store hacked for your credit card information, etc. You want to be defenseless to foreign terrorists and large, tech-savvy nations? Might as well wave the white flag now and safe us all some money, and lose our individual freedoms along with the nation. Didn’t you pay attention to the hacking statements of Edw. Snowden???

        • Dfens

          I’d rather get hacked by the Chicoms than have the department of knows everything about everyone make all the decisions about who gets to connect to what. There is no “universal defense” nor will there ever be. You want big government to take care of you as opposed to using a little bit of personal responsibility. If you consider that freedom, then Cuba is just south of Florida, feel free to get all the freedom you want by moving there.

  • uplate5301

    China may be closing the gap, but we are NOT falling behind. They have still not developed capable engines for the J-20, and estimates are they won’t have any operational before 2020…… and then in extremely limited numbers. So by 2020 they will have caught up to where we were about ten years ago. In the mean time, by 2020 we are supposed to be flying air-superiority drones, that will VASTLY outperform anything they have in the air (not needing to provide life-support or limit g-forces the plane can take because a pilot is on board).

    Lockheed Martin says they’ll have their first truck-sized thermonuclear reactor prototype operational within a year, and have a commercial model ready for sale to the military in five. That means high-energy weapons and rail guns on ships and planes that will be as much a technological leap as machine guns are over bows and arrows. A ship-launched kinetic energy projectile an inch in diameter will be able to destroy an enemy ship from 100 miles away in about 50 seconds. From an aircraft just over the horizon, we’re talking 3 seconds form launch to destruction, and impossible to defend-against. Launched ICBMs will be destroyable while still sub-orbital, and if any get into orbit, even MIRVs will be destroyable before they can re-enter.

    The Chinese are trying to catch up with technology we developed twenty years ago and made operational between five and ten years ago. We’re on the verge of deploying whole new classifications of weapons.

    • AAK

      I agree with half of your summation. The US is certainly not falling behind. However China is closing the gap, as you’d expect starting from such a low baseline. They also have huge challenges to overcome. Engines being one, actual working AESA and weapons integration being another, something even the US has had challenges with over a long period.

      The f-35 program is over a decade old with the chosen design. There are a few non-combat capable airframes flying about now but that’s it. The idea that fusion powered awesome-weapons are close to fruition is a bit of a leap. And in some ways the well known Chinese espionage machine can take advantage of that sort of fundamental step change/breakthrough faster than making all the tricky bits work on a complex turbofan or electronics suite.

  • Allen

    Do you think maybe they hacked into the various defense contractors computers? And yes this is the same bull DOD and the Defense industry used in the 80’s the sky is falling.

  • pukin dog 143

    sure hope LM does a better job with their thermonuclear reactor than they have with the F-35 or their LCS. with their track record I don’t think I would trust them with anything that dangerous or expensive.