China Claims Air Supremacy With Its New J-20 Stealth Fighter

Artist rendering

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A close look at China’s J-20 stealth fighter, by Washington think tank The Jamestown Foundation, calls the plane a “game changer,” that will render all air defence in the region obsolete.With no refueling of the J-20, Japan, South Korea, and former Air Force bases in the Philippines will all be open to attack; with refueling, United States operations in Guam become easily acquired targets.

China Island Chains

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This capability allows China to take full control of both “island chains” that form the country’s self-defined, maritime defence perimeter.The study suggests that J-20s will be the tactical equal of U.S. F-22A Raptors as well as F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, and be capable of delivering large “glide bombs” that will “remain unseen through the whole delivery manoeuvre, effecting complete surprise.”

With no radar arrays capable of picking up a stealth fighter, the J-20 will be undetectable to all air defence systems in the U.S., and on all its allied bases in the Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. options for dealing with the J-20 in the air are limited to the 158-plane, F-22 fleet that has been grounded since May 3 due to faulty oxygen systems that cause pilots to lose consciousness at high altitude.

There is currently no allocation in the defence budget to develop “counter stealth” radars in the U.S.