A new Chinese fighter jet was unveiled at the Zhuhai International Air Show, and it bears a suspicious resemblance to America’s own latest and greatest “fifth generation” fighter jet, the F-35. USNI News reports:
The J-31 is China’s latest crack at developing a modern so-called fifth-generation stealth fighter — equivalent in ability to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor or F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter.“They’re still in the glossy brochure phase of development, so they still look ten feet tall and bulletproof,” one senior U.S. fighter pilot familiar with the F-35 program told USNI News.“I think they’ll eventually be on par with our fifth gen jets — as they should be, because industrial espionage is alive and well.”
Though there’s no word yet on whether the Chinese plane functions like the American one, since so far it has only been observed at an air show demonstration. But the news that China could be capable of building the equivalent of our best aircraft should galvanize anyone who doubts our need for smarter military spending, or reform of the Pentagon’s outmoded procurement policies. If America can no longer maintain a dramatic technological lead on its military competitors, then both smarter policies and smarter thinking are needed to render that loss manageable. We hope the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is paying attention.