We’ll Be Watching

The Chinese J-20 fifth generation fighter will bear watching, but isn’t a near-term threat, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in an interview. “Is that a demonstrator or a prototype? My sense is … it’s more the former than the latter,” Schwartz told the Daily Report. This doesn’t mean that the J-20 aircraft won’t lead to an operational type, but “we’ll definitely keep an eye on the development,” he said. “Although I respect the Chinese engineering and manufacturing capability,” he continued, “we should keep in mind that [operational stealth] is something that we invented and . . . it wasn’t a cakewalk for us.” Asked if the J-20’s resemblance to the F-22 and F-35 designs indicates that the Chinese are pilfering US secrets and can advance faster than the US did in developing a true stealth combat capability, Schwartz said such concern “requires that we protect our advantages.” He added, “In that respect, it’s a team sport between government and industry.”