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January 03, 2011

China has a stealth jet

The aviation world, or at least the defense oriented part of it, has been all abuzz in recent days over the appearance of what appears to be China's first attempt to build a low observable or stealth aircraft, the Chengdu J-20.

J20_2 It's been bandied about as a counter to the U.S. Air Force F-22 and F-35, which are widely advertised as the world's only fifth generation fighters (whatever that means). AvWeek's Bill Sweetman, journalist/aeroguru par excellance, has been all over this development for days now while everybody else was planning their New Year's Eve soiree -- or getting over it. Here's his most detailed analysis at AviationWeek.com.

It's enough to give the avid worriers about China's long term military and geopolitical aims a serious case of indigestion, at least.

J20_1 What's interesting is the apparently enormous size of the airplane. About that of an F-111. Something Robert McNamara could love. And we all know what a great fighter plane that was. DefenseTech asked aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia about it and he offered an interesting perspective, even suggesting that it might not be the most fearsome development since the catapult.

- Bob Cox

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