11 March 2011

Uddipan Mukherjee, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi: “The Chinese J-20 and its Ramifications”

Uddipan Mukherjee, The Chinese J-20 and its Ramifications,” Article No. 1751 (New Delhi: Centre for Land Warfare Studies, 2 February 2011).

…The Chinese manoeuvre was obviously intended towards USA. To synchronise the test with Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ visit was too much of a coincidence. …

On top of this, Hu Jintao’s statement that he was kept in oblivion of the flight testing of J-20 hardly makes much sense and rather erects a facade of ‘benign gentlemanship’ through which the Chinese are constantly attempting to project their ‘peaceful rise’ concept. Interestingly, it has even cast some doubts regarding the real hold of the Communist Party over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

In this regard, China analyst Andrew Erickson of the US Naval War College opines: “The PLA may have its own perspective and its own organisational interests, but the Party still controls the gun.” Furthermore, the test also preceded the Hu-Obama Summit. Again real military signals across to the US, no doubt.

…doubts have been cast on the actual ability of the Chinese to acquire the stealth technology. …to quote Erickson: “China’s J-20 fighter has the potential to be a formidable air combat system in the Asia-Pacific region, but a number of technical hurdles will need to be overcome before mass production can commence.” However, PLAAF Deputy Commander General He Weirong says that J-20 may become militarily operational between 2017 and 2019. …