Not only was this China’s fifth-generation fighter, but China’s fifth-generation fighter that is equal in technology and capability with its American counterpart. The sixth-generation will have surpassed American prowess — while America is suicidally inflicting itself with budget cuts, mothballing and technical problems of its latest generation.
What’s more, it makes you wonder what China’s doing under the radar with such a large ownership share of rare earths. It’s within the realm of possibility that the PLA could in the future begin to crank these (and future generation fighters) out like Twinkies, en masse.
When the wraps came off the J-31 stealth fighter at the Zhuhai air show yesterday, there was double cause for celebration for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. It not only marked the public debut of the country’s the fifth-generation stealth fighter, it represented the progress China has made in the 65 years since its air force first got off the ground.
The J-31 is just one of a series of fighter jets to roll off mainland military production lines in recent years. Despite the advances there remains one gaping hole in China’s winged military industrial complex – one that could stop it from realising the next mission set for it by the highest echelons of power.
Whatever their individual missions, the various jets fighters and aerial drones are building blocks for China’s aim to push the next frontier – space. Continue reading