Photo: China defence Mashup
Online forums were rife with speculation about a fifth-generation Chinese jet as photographs of an unknown plane appeared on internet forums yesterday.According to the Russian website RiaNovsti, the Chinese photo depicts a combat plane with parts and design similar to other fifth-generation aircraft. The overall construction appears to be similar to the Chinese J-20 prototype.
A fifth-generation military aircraft is considered the most advanced type of plane in the world. This generation of fighters has stealth ability even when armed, Low Probability of Radio Intercept (LPIR), highly advanced airframes, and a networked communications systems that allow it to coommunicate with other elements on the battlefield.
The only operational fifth-generation plane in the world is the U.S. F-22 Raptor, but China, and Russia both have aircraft in development.
The photo release is a common way for the Chinese to unofficially announce new military hardware before making the declaration public.
The news comes on the heels of China’s acknowledging their new Ukrainian constructed aircraft carrier, the Varyag. Until now China denied the carriers military purpose and maintained it was being refitted as a new Casino to float in Chinese harbors.
Senior analyst Rick Fisher with the International Assessment and Strategy centre in Virginia believes these developments are part of China’s long term move to dilute U.S. military power in the region.
“The aircraft carrier is part of China’s fulfillment of its 2004 historic mission that the People’s Liberation Army will increasingly defend the Communist Party’s interests outside of China,” he says.
“By the 2020s China wants a military that will be globally deployable and will be able to challenge American interests where they need to be challenged.”
Experts maintain China is 20 years behind America in its military development, but with this new focus on weapons design that gap will be covered quickly.
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