Tuesday, January 25, 2011

China Stole Technology to build Stealth Fighter

So do we continue to allow China to build their military? Do we just sit back and say that every
thing is OK and allow China to grow strong enough to deny the U.S. passage in "open waters"?

Chinese officials recently unveiled a new, high-tech prototype stealth attack plane that could pose a significant threat to American air superiority - and some of its technology, it turns out, may well have come from the US itself.

Balkan military officials have said that, in all probability, the Chinese gleaned some of their technological know-how from an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.
Nighthawks were the world's first operational stealth
aircraft, planes that are very hard for radar to detect. But on 27 March, 1999, during Nato's aerial bombing of Serbia in the Kosovo war, a Serbian anti-aircraft missile shot down one of the Nighthawks. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

It was the first time one of the much-touted "invisible" fighters had ever been hit. The Pentagon believed a combination of clever tactics and sheer luck had allowed a Soviet-built SA-3 missile to bring it down. Posters saying "We didn't realise it was invisible" become very popular in Serbia.

The wreckage was strewn over a wide area and civilians collected the parts as souvenirs.

"At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers," said Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff in the Kosovo war.

"We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies … and to reverse-engineer them," Adml Domazet-Loso said.

A senior Serbian military official confirmed that pieces of the wreckage were removed by souvenir collectors, and that some ended up "in the hands of foreign military attaches".

China's multi-role stealth fighter - the Chengdu J-20 - made its inaugural flight on 11 January, revealing dramatic progress in the country's efforts to develop cutting-edge military technologies.

Although the twin-engine J-20 is at least eight or nine years from entering service, it could become a rival to America's top-of-the-line F-22 Raptor, the successor to the Nighthawk and the only stealth fighter currently in service.

China rolled out the J-20 just days before a visit to Beijing by US defence secretary Robert Gates, leading some analysts to speculate that the timing was intended to demonstrate the growing might of China's armed forces.

Parts of the downed F-117 - such as the left wing, the cockpit canopy, ejector seat, pilot's helmet and radio - are exhibited at Belgrade's aviation museum.

"I don't know what happened to the rest of the plane," said Zoran Milicevic, deputy director of the museum.
"A lot of delegations visited us, including the Chinese, Russians and Americans … but no-one showed any interest in taking any part of the jet."

Zoran Kusovac, a Rome-based military consultant, said the regime of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic routinely shared captured Western equipment with its Chinese and Russian allies.

"The destroyed F-117 topped that wish-list for both the Russians and Chinese," Kusovac said.

Russia's Sukhoi T-50 prototype stealth fighter made its maiden flight last year and is due to enter service in about four years. It is likely that the Russians also gleaned knowledge of stealth technology from the downed Nighthawk.

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996