Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Experts Disagree On Validity Of Chinese Stealth Plane Prototype.

The Wall Street Journal (1/5, A1, Page, subscription required), in a front-page story, reports on pictures of China's stealth fighter prototype that were released on the web, although it is uncertain who took the pictures of the J-20 prototype. A majority of experts believe this is an actual plane and not a mockup, although there is some disagreement. Pentagon spokesperson Col. David Lapan said, "We know they are working on a fifth-generation fighter but progress appears to be uneven." The article notes the officials stated this development would not change US plans for plane development.

According to Flight International (1/4, Waldron), the images have "created a stir among aviation enthusiasts, but a true Chinese combat aircraft in this category is probably well over a decade away from readiness." The article also noted that there is disagreement on whether this plane is a hoax or not. Meanwhile, "despite China's clear ambitions to be a leader in both civil and military aviation, other programmes suggest that it lacks the building blocks to create a truly fifth-generation combat aircraft." Instead, "the country will focus on cost-effective programmes such as the J-10 and J-11B to replace older types such as its air force's Chengdu J-7s - based on the Mikoyan MiG-21 - and Shenyang J-8s."

Credit: AIAA

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