For about half a day in November, something flew off of the coast of Los Angeles. And no one in the government seemed to have any idea what the hell it was. Suddenly, Unidentified Flying Objects were more than a historical curiosity.
Archive of Dec 2010
Danger Room: Most Dangerous Year Ever: Secret Spaceships, Super-Fast Missiles: UFOs Turn Real
It’s possible the above photo represents the basic design for the cockpit of the recently-unveiled Chengdu J-20 — China’s first stealth-fighter prototype. “These pictures were taken at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow, reportedly at a closed-door demonstration for select guests,” China Defense Blog reports.
RIA Novosti’s Ilya Kramnik takes a skeptical view of China’s new J-20 stealth-fighter prototype, noting that “China has consistently lagged 15 to 20 years behind the world leaders in aircraft manufacturing.” The Russian analyst’s salient points.
Matt Bors: Afghan Life, Part Three
Third in a series; click on the art below for the full, 13-page comic.
The latest leaked photos depicting China’s stealth-fighter prototype reveal a large, heavy fighter-bomber, likely optimized for long-range strike missions. “[T]his looks not unlike a stealth F-111,” Bill Sweetman commented at Ares.
For months there had been rumblings on Chinese Internet forums: rumors of photos quickly suppressed by censors. Word was, China’s first stealth fighter prototype, the Chengdu J-20, was nearing its inaugural flight. On Christmas Day, photos finally surfaced on-line — and stayed there. It was official: Beijing now possesses an apparently flyable prototype fifth-generation fighter, making it only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to join the stealth club.
The Arms Industry’s Revolving Door
Andrew Sullivan summarizes a Boston Globe article on the habit of retired U.S. flag officers to assume high-paying consultant or executive positions with the weapons industry.
The U.K. Ministry of Defense’s announcement in October that it would drop the vertical-landing F-35B fighter in favor of a much smaller number of cheaper, conventional F-35Cs clearly vexed the only two other firm, current customers for the stealthy F-35B. With a planned total of 138 F-35Bs, the Royal Navy accounted for nearly a third of projected production of the sophisticated successor to the legendary Harrier jump jet. The U.S. Marines intend to buy 420 copies to equip 22 combat squadrons; the Italian navy wants 22 examples for their Cavour light carrier. Slashing 30 percent of the planned F-35Bs will raise the unit cost for an airplane that is already over budget, behind schedule and plagued by design flaws.
They could be the products of a Chinese government misinformation campaign. They could be clever Photoshop jobs by Chinese aviation fanboys. Or they could be the real thing: the first hard evidence of the long-rumored Chengdu J-20, China’s first stealth-fighter prototype.
George K. Tanham, a famous American military historian once said, “India doesn’t have a strategic culture.” In other words, India doesn’t have a strategy to project its power beyond the confines of the subcontinent. This shows a defensive realism on the part of Indian policy makers.
Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up
Probably one of the longest exercises in car-crash politics ever, the U.S. Air Force tanker replacement program enters yet another migraine-inducing episode after it transpired that a paperwork glitch released confidential data to rival bidders Boeing and Northrop Grumman and EADS. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings next month to investigate the issue and two USAF officials have been fired. The program is an attempt to replace the USAF’s aging fleet of refueling tankers now over 40 years old.