Doublewood: Game Change In US-China Military Balance

Looks like China’s new fighter jet J-20 (top) is potentially a better plane than even the US F-22 (bottom), which has proven to be extremely expensive to maintain.

At the recent Zhuhai air show in China, the J-20 finally made a brief official appearance and discreetly demonstrated a couple of “Bruce Lee” maneuvers (remember to scroll out the full article):

English and Russian analysts are already concluding that the J-20 is at least equal to the F-22, and demonstrably superior in maneuverability. Of course, the cost factor is as you would have guessed, probably bearly a fraction of F-22.

Now, we also understand why the US former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates got so angry when he visited China in January 2011 and the Chinese made known to the public the existence of the J-20. It upset the US plan to sell the problem-laden F-35s, which is no match for the J-20. Afterwards he promoted the “story” that China’s J-20 is an inferior plane that won’t be ready until 2025, in order to hard-sell the expensive F-35 to allies. Then, he wisely resigned from Obama’s cabinet and wrote a book highly critical of his former boss. Had he not resigned, he’d have to face the music today (2016-2017) of explaining why there is an already ready-to-deploy fleet of J-20s, and how come they turn out to possibly be more advanced than even the F-22, the much-touted US ace fighter jet. (Bear in mind that Mr. Gates was also the head of the CIA before his tenure at the Pentagon. Surely it was his job to know and not be so far off in intelligence assessment.)

The US had stopped the production line of the F-22 a couple of years ago, due to its extreme high costs to operate and Congressional unwillingness to foot the gargantuan bills for full deployment. Now, with the confirmed capabilities and readiness of China’s J-20, the US military industrial establishment is in a pickle, being unable to recoup the $ 100 billion+ costs of developing the F-22 and F-35, and unable to convince the world of its unsurpassed technological lead. It is in disarray and scrambling for an answer. Individual companies and factions in the military are competing with each other on the way forward, essentially fighting each other for dollars and cents.

At the Zhuhai show, there are many other new stuffs that show obviously that China’s military capabilities have far exceeded everybody’s expectation, and gathered a staggering momentum. Moreover, they are displaying full arrays of effective and economical items in practically every niche (for example, a uniquely wide range of air-to-air missiles ensemble, the versatile and inexpensive drone collection, etc). And that’s just a tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, that is a fact.

The Game has changed. That is why, based on what I knew for some time, I had expected US policy to have to change soon, for better or worse. The old narratives are no longer fooling allies, but playing into the hands of adversaries we manufactured or imagined for ourselves and the rest of the world.


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