China's apparent 'stealth aircraft' may pose "terrifying" challenge to US fleet: Experts

Beijing, Jan 8 (ANI): In the midst of speculations that China has developed a prototype of a stealth aircraft, military experts have warned that the apparent jet fighter could pose a "terrifying" challenge to the U.S. air superiority.

Earlier this week, Chinese military websites and newspapers had published the pictures of a prototype of the aircraft that looked like a stealth fighter on a taxi run. They were said to have been taken at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute.

Fox News quoted decorated navy fighter pilot Matthew "Whiz" Buckley, a top gun graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School who flew 44 combat missions over Iraq, as saying that "It's probably leaps and bounds above where we are, and that's terrifying."

"As a former Navy fighter pilot, going up against something that's stealthy, highly maneuverable and with electronic systems more capable than mine-that'll keep me up at night," Buckley, the chief strategy officer at Fox3 Options LLC, said.

He also said that photos posted online of the radar-evading Chengdu J-20 jet fighter lead him to believe the aircraft has great stealth capabilities, adding: "It was built to reduce radar signatures. You can tell it has some serious stealth technology. My F-18 looks like an 18-wheeler on radar. That thing might not even show up."

The U.S. military's current top-of-the-line fighter is Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor, the world's only operational fifth generation fighter. In 2009, Congress capped production of F-22s at 18, relying on the cheaper F-35. Congress does not appear to be reconsidering the cap, which experts call the only real challenger to China's J-20, the report said.

Yesterday, the Pentagon downplayed the development saying China was still years away from deploying a stealth aircraft.

The US has been watching closely as China increases its military capacity, and particularly the development of its so-called "carrier killer" missile, a land-based system which could sink an aircraft carrier from up to 1,800 miles (2,900km) away. (ANI)

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