China’s Stealth J-20 fighter – Changing the Air Balance of Power in Pacific?

Times Asi via (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Flickr

While the U.S. touts its 5th generation F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor stealth fighter as air power ‘game changers,’ the bulk of the U.S. air combat fleet will continue to consist of 4th generation aircraft until the 2030s.  And adding new (‘4th gen-plus’) F-15EX ‘Eagle II fighters is not really helping to change that dynamic.

Meanwhile, China is fielding its own 5th generation fighter, the J-20, Though U.S. experts dismiss the J-20 as not really 5th generation, and as inferior to U.S. 5th gen planes, some analysts believe the Pentagon is not adequately addressing the threat posed by the J-20 and Chinese airpower more generally.

The bottom line is that the U.S. needs to accelerate deployment of its 5th gen combat aircraft such as the F-35, and/or deploy newer advanced 6th gen aircraft and capabilities very soon, or it may quickly lose its technological air superiority over the Chinese air forces in the Pacific. However, it appears the Pentagon isn’t quite getting it.

Aviation Week (AW), one of the world’s premiere aerospace journals, notes that: “The notion that the service’s fourth-generation Lockheed F-16s and Boeing F-15s soon will be confronted by significant numbers of advanced Chinese aircraft has not sunk in.” In its recent piece, ‘Face It: China’s J-20 Is A Fifth-Generation Fighter,’ the magazine adds:

In a 2017 interview, PLAAF [People’s Liberation Army Air Force] Brigade Commander Xiao Jun agreed that the J-20’s purpose was to sweep away all fourth-generation fighters, though he added that the true strength of the aircraft was part of a broader systems of systems approach.

The AW analysis describes the J-20’s many flaws, as well as capabilities, but ultimately concludes that:

Despite these challenges, the J-20 represents a revolutionary progression of the PLAAF’s air superiority capability. Cursory pronouncements that the J-20 is inferior to U.S. fifth-generation platforms miss the mark.

In the near future, at least through 2030, the growing number of Chinese J-20s may be facing mostly U.S. 4th gen aircraft (i.e.: F-15s, F-16s and F-18s) not F-35s and F-22s. And against these aircraft, argues Aviation Week: “The J-20’s inherent benefits of LO [Low Observability] and situational awareness will similarly present a significant challenge to U.S. fourth-generation fighters. 

AW concludes:

The large-scale deployment of the J-20 must also be viewed in the context of broader Chinese capabilities, from the J-10C and DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile to improved training and readiness. Clearly, the U.S. Air Force will not retain an overmatch advantage without recommitting toward modernization…

Securing air dominance in the Asia-Pacific region has become the U.S. Air Force’s raison d’etre, and fifth-generation fighters will remain the foundation of that mission for years to come.

 

 

Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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EricD
EricD
4 days ago

And we’re buying these planes for them whenever visiting Walmart, Harbor Freight, and countless other retailers.

kim Burks
kim Burks
4 days ago

Yes they got it from our PENTAGONE great going!!!

Bibby
Bibby
4 days ago

Impeach Joe Biden before America gets into a serious conflict. Remember Joe was part of Benghazi attack coverup

mojo
mojo
4 days ago
Reply to  Bibby

Fire biden and hairas-sase

Thor
Thor
4 days ago
Reply to  Bibby

Biden is a sick man up stairs don’t know what to do and American people are not doing anything soon you will destroy yourself

Craig Murphy
Craig Murphy
4 days ago

Yes, but the Chinese insist their fighter pilots meet diversity requirements.

William
William
3 days ago
Reply to  Craig Murphy

THAT was really FUNNY! Bravo!

RangerEDGE5@yahoo.com
RangerEDGE5@yahoo.com
4 days ago

Keep sleeping. They are counting on it. Of course with whimp Biden/Harris and their cronies. better start praying. Because China ain’t playing.

AmericaWakeUpNow
AmericaWakeUpNow
4 days ago

The deindustrialization of the USA and shifting industries to countries like China was always the agenda used by anti American politicians to bring our country down!!! These crooked politicians sold our country out!!! These useful idiots would cater to the rulers of China not knowing that if China took us over these very politicians that helped them would be dead!! Now China Joe Biden stands to strengthen China’s economy further so that they could use riches gained from America to build war machines to use against us!!! America Wake Up Now!!!!

Ben Matthews
Ben Matthews
4 days ago

This is how really ‘very costly R&D’ get’s financed in the real-world, by making a threat out of a paper-tiger?

james corcoran
4 days ago
Reply to  Ben Matthews

paper tiger…… Beijing Biden is the paper tiger…..n clueless and sold out to chicoms

Jim Coles
Jim Coles
4 days ago

All US “frontline” combat aircraft have faced tough developmental troubles but eventually became best in class-best in show.
The F-35 system is & will be no different from its air-ancestors.
There aren’t enough F-22s to make much difference in a full theater-size conflict; thanks to the deliberate sabotage & destruction of the program by The Skinny Kenyan.
By 2030 the F-35 (US version only– if this current mis-administration doesn’t cut back the program) will be the top aerial predator ever but may still be part of a losing air war because of what I call “The Mohammed Ali” conundrum … Ali, in his prime, Ali could have taken out three Smokin’ Joe Fraziers at once … but add a single Sugar Ray Leonard to that pack & Ali would have learned what canvas feels like on the face.
Communist military doctrine is based on swarming numerical over-match …
Within a few more years Beijing will be building five J-20s or its follow on to each F-35 we build…our “Ali” can probably take out three or four of their “Joe’s” but eventually their numbers will overwhelm our forces.
Early trend lines from Harris-Biden-Harris show penny foolish-Pound stupid Defense thinking.
I am not hopeful about our national future under the current national non-leadership.

james corcoran
4 days ago
Reply to  Jim Coles

we are going down….no doubt about it…it started with bathhouse barry and his defence cuts//

William
William
3 days ago
Reply to  Jim Coles

Mr Coles…you are obviously a well-informed American of military background. Also an effective communicator. I’m a USN vet, myself…and the more you know, the worse you feel! Be well, my good man! Be well!

Jim Coles
Jim Coles
3 days ago
Reply to  William

William … Thanks for the nice words, “Swabby” … 🤩
I did Army/DOD Public Affairs/civil affairs/PolMil … 35 years.
However long you served in the Navy is X-years more than 93% of all military eligible Americans who ever lived have served: I salute you, my brother.
Truthfully, as I watch these enemies of our liberty chip away a little more of our republic every day, my mood becomes more bleak.
We who are sons & daughters of American exceptionalism love each other — we’re a great family … We defend, protect, support & admire each other…these unAmerican, treasonous buggers use the offices they stole to harm or nation. They are tools of our enemies.
I saw today in a news report that the Defense budget is flat — no growth — while programs that enhance the Central American Invasion grew exponentially.

Be concerned, brothers & sisters … Resist these Quislings in every legal way you have.

Get involved and your local Conservative groups; register yourself to vote; help your friends and family and neighbors register then all of you vote conservative!

Defeat the Leftists, crush RINOs …
Take back our country from the enemies within.

GI Bride
GI Bride
2 days ago
Reply to  Jim Coles

Yes & vote out those in congress who never served in the military & took the oath to always protect the USA. Make it a requirement that no naturalized citizens can run or serve in the congress of the USA

GI Bride
GI Bride
2 days ago
Reply to  William

You are correct i your thinking.. My husband was Air Force Vet Korean era war

Pgb
Pgb
4 days ago

All the while Beijing Briben is in the process of dismantling our armed forces to free up funds for the southern border invaders. They have no knowledge of the decade preceding WW II and how ill prepared we were to fight it. We will no doubt be forced to repeat the history the left has chosen to not learn only the technology is much better now and it won’t be the Japanese but the communist Chinese who will be our adversaries.

james corcoran
4 days ago
Reply to  Pgb

they will bomb the west coast into oblivion……. before we can play catchup

StLouisSteve
StLouisSteve
4 days ago
Reply to  james corcoran

Ummmm. That would be California, Oregon, and Washington -,let them bomb them, then my oceanfront property in Arizona will be more valuable.
What’s frightening is Biden has been in office less than three months and he has managed to make the US a laughingstock….What will happen by the time we hope to flip House and Senate?
Time to learn Mandarin
Buck Fiden

jimdady
jimdady
3 days ago
Reply to  james corcoran

They (chinese) don’t have the balls!!!

GI Bride
GI Bride
2 days ago
Reply to  Pgb

You are correct.
When the USA was hit at Pearl Harbor. The USA had been warned way before, But the democrats in power just ignored the warnings.
Now China is a total another ball game . China has the man power to fight, Like ants in a ant hill . & do not care how many of their own die to get what they want & that is the American soil,
Russia is once again raising its head & wants the same thing American land, Oil & feed
Think about it. China needs all three also.
Both nations have too many people & cannot feed them like Africa. Bothe nations need all our minerals & oil
This stupid green movement is playing right into both China’s & Russia’s hands
Again I say wake up America

agiletz
agiletz
4 days ago

What LO – all you have to do is look at that POS and know it is easily picked up by even crude WWII radar, and missiles would have no problem going right up the exhaust…SIGH!!!!!

William Alberts
William Alberts
4 days ago

We’re screwed with Biden, and Harris in the Whitehouse. He’s more worried about keeping the borders open for his new voters than protecting American citizens, and America.

TomB
TomB
3 days ago

We, the citizens, only know the capabilities of both ourselves and the enemy that they (the military and government) want us to know. Not one person, or persons, on these public forums who purport to have firsthand knowledge is going to divulge anything which allows any of the rest of us to make anything more than SWAGs at what is or isn’t happening going forward…period…

GI Bride
GI Bride
2 days ago
Reply to  TomB

Though I do not approve of Obama or his administration. In this Obama is right when Obama was caught saying . ” Joe has a way of screwing things up”

Valdez
3 days ago

America is an Ostrage with its head in the swamp. We are on course to losing the next 1000 years of freedom. Welcome slave to your generation of obeisance

Joe
Joe
3 days ago

This is great, with dumb and dumber at the helm, joe’s in the basement, kammalla is awol, to busy to go to the border, and see what they created. Both need to removed for total incompetence.

GI Bride
GI Bride
2 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Cackle, Cackle Harris is too busy going to the donut shop in Chicago, than go to the border & see the mess Biden/Harris has made on the borders


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