It has been more than a month since the Chengdu J-20, China’s first stealth fighter prototype, made its debut in grainy Internet photos. The 70-foot-long J-20 flew for the first time earlier this month, and has now apparently embarked on what could be an at least eight-year test program to prepare it for mass production.
Archive of Jan 2011
China has test-flown a robotic space plane similar to the U.S. Air Force’s secretive — and highly potent — X-37B.
As tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Egypt’s major cities again on Sunday, the United States is wondering what impact the unrest and possible regime change could have on American foreign policy in the region. For 30 years, Egypt has been a factor of stability in the Middle East and it continues to play an instrumental role in both advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and containing Iran.
This just in from Una Moore at U.N. Dispatch.
“There are those that see JSF as the last manned fighter,” U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen famously said in 2009, referring to the long-delayed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. “I’m one that’s inclined to believe that.” After 2030 or so, dogfighting drones would take over from the traditional pilot-in-the-cockpit fighter, many believed.
Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up
Burma’s Supreme Court refused to allow Aung Suu Kyl’s pro-democracy party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to participate in Burmese politics. An NLD lawyer told reporters that, the ruling was the party’s “last legal avenue.”
Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up
Fans of distressed aerospace programs, look away now. After over a decade of tortured development, the days of the planned upgrade to the little jet airliner that couldn’t, the Nimrod MR4A, are numbered. The program — previously known as Nimrod 2000 — was meant to have been introduced either side of, you guessed it, the year 2000, but it’s 11 years on and only now is the first plane ready for flight testing. Sadly, the economic crisis and shocking incompetence at Britain’s Ministry of Defense has meant that the nine MR4A planes will be culled, which has enraged elderly retired generals and unions. The work is taking place at the BAE Systems plant at Woodford, Manchester. While the cull will save £2 billion, the entire program to date had put the U.K. taxpayer back roughly £4 billion.
Somalia’s embattled Transitional Federal Government and the government of autonomous Puntland in nothern Somalia hired mercenary firm Saracen, along with with former Blackwater head Eric Prince, to train up pirate-fighting militias in Puntland and in the capital of Mogadishu. A supplies shipment to the new Puntland force was intercepted by breakaway Somaliland and held for violating a U.N. arms embargo. The U.S. State Department was equally nervous about the training deal, saying it was “concerned about the lack of transparency regarding Saracen’s funding, its objectives and its scope.”
A Rare Peek Inside North Korea
This blog has a rare photo essay on life inside North Korea. Lots of carts, mud and unhappy people. Not a lot of technology. “And to think that used to be the developed half of Korea,” Kyle Mizokami mused.
China has come under scrutiny for allegedly stealing U.S. secrets to help develop its J-20 stealth fighter. Beijing is notorious for copying U.S. and other foreign military hardware, often badly. Now it appears China’s government-run Central Television News has ripped off American cinema in order to spruce up its reporting on a Chinese air force training exercise, according to Ministry of Tofu. “In the newscast, the way a target was hit by the air-to-air missile fired by a J-10 fighter aircraft and exploded looks almost identical to a cinema scene from the Hollywood film Top Gun.
It was Beijing’s ironic Christmas present to the world. On Dec. 25, the first photos surfaced on-line depicting the long-anticipated Chengdu J-20, China’s first stealth fighter prototype. While pundits debated the significance — some predicting imminent doom, others urging calm — steadily more photos, and even videos, appeared. The sleek, supersonic J-20 flew for the first time on Jan. 10, and by then its dimensions and layout were clear.