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January 05, 2011

China has a prototype stealth fighter

Photographs published online and Chinese military sources cited by the Japanese media indicate a test model of the J-20 fighter has been finished, with taxi tests carried out last week at an airfield in southwestern China.

China plans to begin test flights of the J-20 as soon as this month, with plans to deploy the jet as early as 2017, Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper said, quoting Chinese military sources. The fighter will be equipped with large missiles and could reach Guam with aerial refueling, although it could take 10 to 15 more years to develop technology on a par with that of the US F-22 stealth jet. (Others estimate 8 years for an F22 equivalent.)

Russia's T50 is supposed to be an F22 equivalent and could be ready by 2015. There are indications that Russia will sell T50s to China and India. Russia will make the money, China will get F22-like planes sooner and upgrade their airforce and copy the technology.

The F-22 program was canceled after building only 187 such warplanes.



China had about 5.8 trillion in GDP at the end of 2010 and will have about 6.5 trillion in GDP. By 2015, China will be nearly at par with the US in overall GDP ($12-13 trillion for China and about $16-17 trillion for the USA).

China's military spending will be in the range of $200 billion at that point. Less on a percentage basis than US spending. But 10% of it would buy 200 T50s (or 400-800 of their domestic J20). Comparable or more than the US F22s fleet.

Russia will likely arrange to sell a few dozen and let China copy because China will copy anyway or develop domestic technology a few years after. Russia's fighter jet companies will make say $40 billion to fund further development and to pay for fixed costs.

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