Fighter Gaps: Why the Chinese J-20 Matters for U.S. Air Power

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out a comfortable air defense scenario in a July 16, 2009 speech to the Economic Club of Chicago:

“[B]by 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds. Of those, nearly 1,100 will be the most advanced fifth generation F-35s and F-22s.  China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens…”

Mr. Gates went back to China in January 2011.  U.S. and international news sources reported test flights during his trip for a “J-20” fighter, whose external appearance, at least, resembled the U.S. F-22 Raptor.  Old fighter program data and old relative power projections for 2015-2025 may need revision.

The past few weeks have seen a significant re-evaluation of U.S. air power strategy.  The J-20 appears to have caught the U.S. militay by surprise and it is questionable how they will adapt their strategy to meet this new challenge.

William A. Price evaluates the F-22 fighter program in an National Strategy Forum Review: Special Report titled Fighter Gaps.  Mr. Price’s detailed analysis of the F-22 and F-35 strike fighter programs, the U.S. Air Force procurement strategy, and comparisons of aircraft capabilities pose some striking questions.  Is the U.S. adequately preparing for the air superiority challenges of the future?

Fighter Gaps

By William A. Price

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One Response to “Fighter Gaps: Why the Chinese J-20 Matters for U.S. Air Power”

  1. Implications of China’s J-20 Stealth Aircraft « National Strategy Forum Blog Says:

    […] Update: William A. Price has written an insightful analysis of the F-22 and J-20 issue.  For more details, read the article: Fighter Gaps. […]

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