China Is Trying To Secure Its Own Stealth Fighter
(ConservativeSense.com) – President Joe Biden is asking Congress for $1.7 billion for the development of a Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) stealth fighter in the fiscal year 2023 defense budget request. According to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, the fact that sixth-generation US NGAD systems have just entered the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase signals at least seven more years until they reach initial operating capability (IOC).
Meanwhile, China is on a fast track to securing its own sixth-generation stealth fighter, according to General Mark Kelly, the Air Combat Command Commander.
Kelly has called NGAD fighters an air combat “system of systems,” incorporating the collaborative use of drones, energy weapons, sensors, advanced communications, and artificial intelligence to coordinate all of the complex systems. While the US knows little about China’s secretive NGAD program, experts expect the Asian nation’s developers have included lasers, machine learning, artificial intelligence, thrust vectoring, augmented reality, and the ability to direct a squadron of support drones. Technologically, China appears to be matching the US step for step.
Zhuhai Air Show 🇨🇳
6th Gen Fighter Aircraft Concept
PLAAF Loves Tailless Jet Design pic.twitter.com/hyTPqZlHGT
— David Wang (@Nickatgreat1220) November 6, 2022
Kelly believes one of the keys to China’s rapid success is the ability to “iterate” improvements from previous designs and models, allowing their engineers “to reprogram at the speed of relevance,” as he expressed to media outlets in September. He described how Chinese design engineers incorporated features from successive iterations of their own fifth-generation NGADs and those they purchased from Russia to bootstrap into the sixth-generation design; the commander called the decisions smart.
Yet, Kelly emphasized the critical importance of reaching the goal first and maintaining air dominance. He stressed, “the only thing more expensive than a first-rate air force is a second-rate air force.”
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