Changing balance of power
Changing balance of power

Possible J-20 Cockpit – China’s Stealth Fighter Jet

Robert Gottliebsen writing in the Business Spectator (requires free registration) points out that the new American Joint Strike Fighter will be inferior to the Chinese as well as the Russian competitor:

China’s superior flight-path: Very few journalists covering the visit by the US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates to China last week picked up that it was no accident that the Chinese showed Gates that their giant J-20 Stealth Fighter was superior in almost every respect to the Joint Strike Fighter being developed by the Americans. Defence analysts around the world already knew this but the Chinese chose the Gates visit to rub his nose in the pit of American folly.

The global debate in defence circles is now whether the Russian/Indian developed PAK-FA T-50 is better than the Chinese aircraft – the JSF is simply not in the hunt. Indonesia has already purchased 180 of the Russian aircraft (Australia’s mission critical, October 4).

He suggests:

All Australian defense journalists should go to the Australian Defence museum and look at the photo of Australian airmen boarding the Buffalo aircraft at the start of World War II as they prepared to take on the Japanese Zero aircraft.

The Australians had no hope and almost all lost their lives. Japanese air power was crucial to Singapore falling. In the second half of this decade, if Australian airmen flying the JSF are asked to try to defend Australia against Indonesian, Indian, Chinese or others who have far superior aircraft, then those Australians will face the same fate as those who were given the Buffalo to tackle the Zero.

He mentions that Dan Oakes has quoted a leading defense analyst as saying that the Chinese Fighter had changed the balance of power. But criticizes the report for not making more of Australia agreeing to buy the US aircraft.  Unlike some other air forces, this will be Australia’s primary fighter. If it unable to beat its opponents then they will own the skies in any conflict.

There are grounds for believing that military power follows economic power. This was abundantly clear in the case of the UK when the American threat to sell its stock of pounds and thereby destroy the value of the currency forced it to withdraw from Suez and accept a de facto US veto on its activity. The proposed emasculating of the British armed forces as a consequence of the Blair-Brown destruction of the economy and the Cameron government acceptance of the increased socialization of the country is simply the next step.

It is delusional to believe the role of the US dollar as a reserve currency will forever protect it from similar threats. How will a US President and their Party go in elections if the price of gas, commodities such as food and all other imports go through the roof due to other countries liquidating their stock of US dollars? This possibility will eventually influence US foreign policy.  It is probably not the best time to lock in regional air inferiority for decades in the expectation that the US will always stand behind Australia.


Given China might have passed off footage from Top Gun as part of a military exercise, reports of their  military prowess might be as accurate as reports of the state of their economy (hat tip Market Ticker).

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