The stealth club just keeps on growing. China's new mysterious jet prototype, thought to be a stealth fighter prototype to rival America's F-22 Raptor, made its public debut just after the New Year in a series of "leaked" photos and video clips. Now, a Japanese senior military officer says Japan will test its own homegrown stealth fighter in just three years.
Lt. Gen. Hideyuki Yoshioka told the Associated Press that the prototype is likely to make its first test flight in 2014. This isn't a complete surprise to those following this ongoing thread in aviation tech--Japan has rolled $473 million into funding their stealth jet initiative since 2009 when it became apparent that the U.S. probably wasn't going to share its F-22 Raptor tech (Congress deemed America's most advanced fighter too technology laden to share even with close friends like Japan).
Aside from the United States, both China and Russia have poured resources into rival stealth fighter designs. China's Chengdu J-20 flew in January and Russia's advanced Sukhoi T-50 flew last year; coupled with other technologies (China is feverishly upgrading its Navy with hardware including but not limited to aircraft carriers) these aircraft could alter the balance of power in the region.
So is there a high-tech arms race brewing in the Sea of Japan? Sort of, but let's not get too carried away. Stealth tech isn't exactly brand new--though it's still a closely held secret--and Japan isn't the only nation seeking it. Modern militaries see it as necessary for a cutting-edge air defense, and Japan is nothing if not modern. If other powers in the region are developing their own stealth technologies, it's unsurprising that Japan would do the same (especially factoring in the tenuous Sino-Taiwanese relationship and the always-unstable presence of North Korea just across the water).
Si vis pacem, para bellum- The real question is how long before Japan finally builds VF-1 Valkyire ;)
Isn't a contradiction to cancel the F22 program domestically while simultaneously banning foreign military sales? If the USAF doesn't want it, why deny sales to our allies who do?
It's only a matter of time before other countries have equivalent or better technology. Forcing Japan to develop their own stealth fighter only means lost sales on what is fast becoming a dying platform (manned combat fighters).
@felix.derubio. I agree entirely with the last part of your comment, "a dying platform".
Why should the USAF spend countless billions on technology that will be common place in under 4 years?
They can build smaller, faster and unmanned stealth fighters that will render the allies forces useless. So, if the other countries are spending countless billions on this "old stealth" tech, then they won't be in a position to develop the technology going into the USAF programs you don't hear about.
well put All4it...i do disagree a bit, the f-22 and f-35 will rule the skys for quite some time, niether the china version or the russian version are in the same ballpark as these two (i know the f-35 is not deployed yet, it soon will be)...the big thing most people don't talk about is the fact that these two fighters are the last human piloted new US fighters, stealthy attack drones will rule soon enough to render any human piloted fighter obsolete, the US has plans to use human piloted planes in stand off positions coordinating attacks of the drones...pushing technology to new hieghts will keep us ahead of the rest.
Selling our tech to other nations before they develop it will give them a huge boost. I think that maybe forcing them to develop it themselves also buys the US more time to stay a few steps ahead.
"I think that maybe forcing them to develop it themselves also buys the US more time "
We won't be buying anything if we don't start selling some product. How far in debt are we today?
Japan can, no doubt, build their own stealth fighter, so why not sell them ours? Or more realistically- A slightly downgraded version of ours? We can make some bank while still remaining in control. We will still maintain the means of production, so if they needs parts (Hello F14 saga), we can supply or deny.
Because China is a "Huge Threat" to countries around the world......
When 2 stealth fighters fight, they will finally fight the old ways: the dog fight.
The USAF never said they didn't want more F-22s...Congress canceled the rest of the contract. Unless we live in a military dictatorship, the USAF must do what it is ordered to, per the Constitution.
The Chinese may have a "stealth" fighter, but it will be inferior in many ways...not to mention the lack of skill on the part of Chinese pilots.
There's no way the average Chinese fighter pilot can compete with American or European pilots...they don't have the experience or know-how to train pilots like the US. The US has been at war many, many more times than the Chinese and our experienced pilots always come back and teach the newer generation the tricks of the trade.
Like when Gerard Butler said in the movie, 300, "This is SPARTA!" This is what we do...we've achieved air superiority more often than not because of the skill of the pilot, not the capability of the aircraft. Many times during Korea and Vietnam, our pilots faced better equipped foes but still ended up besting them.
J-20 helping China? BS... if you had actually looked at true sources, such as the video China put out showing a "missile test," you would have seen that the J20 is no where near being a threat to the F-22... T-50, we'll just have to see, because that is Russia, and they know their stuff when it comes to military, but there is no way the J-20 will ever really help China against a fleet of F-22s, F-35s, UCAVs and such
Rather spending resources for stealth abilities and radar resistance , why don't countries focus more on aircraft weaponry and firearms. Most air battles would be dogfights where stealth coating would not be necessary rendering all this research practically useless. If countries are to invest in stealth they should at least use the technology on bombers rather then fighter jets due to the fact the stealth will come to a lot of use in the invasion of a country.
Based on the comments above:
1) "Not sharing the technology" does NOT mean "not selling the already-made planes". Microsoft doesn't share the technology behind Windows 7 with you... but they sell you a copy of it.
The US sells stealth fighters to our allies--we just don't tell them how to make their own.
2) Most of the stealth fighters are designed to handle air combat or air-ground combat. It's worth the tech.
Minor problem with sealth fighter and bombers: The weapons they drop aren't stealthy.
The naval Millenium Gun is portable, and more than capable of shooting down smart bombs and anti radiation missiles, if you put it on a battlefield and asked it to. And though the F-22 can get within strike range of a Eurofighter easily enough - it's questionable whether the AMRAAM it would have to fire could get past the Eurofighter's ECM and decoy system. Europe after all has had a very long time to examine that missile...
Ultimately the ability to hide only takes you so far in war.
@B.V. Even if we didn't give them the technology, by selling to them, we are inadvertently giving them the technology by means of reverse-engineering.