Monday, January 24, 2011
China uses tech gleaned from F-117 to build J-20?
China was able to build its first stealth bomber using technology gleaned from a downed U.S. fighter, it has been claimed.
Beijing unveiled its state-of-the-art jet – the Chengdu J-20 – earlier this month.
Military officials say it is likely the Chinese were able to develop the stealth technology from parts of an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.
Lift-off: China's J-20 stealth plane has made a successful test flight. Military officials say it is likely the Chinese were able to develop the stealth technology from parts of an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999
It was during Nato's aerial bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo war, that an anti-aircraft missile shot a Nighthawk (pictured). It was the first time one of the 'invisible' fighters had ever been hit
The Pentagon believed a combination of clever tactics and luck had allowed a Soviet-built SA-3 missile to bring down the jet.
The pilot ejected and was rescued but the wreckage was strewn over a wide area of farmland.
Civilians collected the parts – some the size of small cars – as souvenirs.
‘At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers,’ says Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia’s military chief of staff during the Kosovo war.
‘We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies... and to reverse-engineer them.’
A senior Serbian military official confirmed that pieces of the wreckage were removed by souvenir collectors, and that some ended up ‘in the hands of foreign military attaches’.
The fighter jet's successful test follows reports that China is planning to launch its first aircraft carrier and has tested a ballistic missile capable of sinking U.S. vessels in the Pacific.
The prototype jet was shown in flight, with civilians and air force personnel watching on, in pictures on several unofficial Chinese military websites, after local media outlets had claimed a successful test flight had taken place.
While the Chinese government is renowned for its stringent approach to state secrets, photos and reports of the J-20's test have remained online.
According to international agencies, the scheduling of the test flight to coincide with Mr Gates' visit to China, coupled with the seemingly relaxed approach to reports about the flight, indicated Beijing's willingness to be more open about its military intentions.
Nonetheless, reports of the stealth's successful test will do little to quell anxieties about the speed of China's military progress.
The U.S. F-22 Raptor is currently the only operational stealth fighter in the world, while Russia's Sukhoi T-50 jet is expected to enter active service in the next four years.
But pictures of China's J-20, which looks larger than the F-22 or T-50, will be of concern to the Taiwanese government, whose antiquated aircraft and radar systems would provide little resistance to radar-evading Chinese jets.
The U.S. has claimed China would not be capable of developing a stealth jet for years and production of the F-22 was recently capped.
But the J-20's successful test, coupled with reports of the development of an aircraft carrier and missile system, confirms China's growing military might.
RELATED- F-117 mockup spotted in China.
SNIP: F-117A MOCKUP IN CHINA
The image above, captured in March of 2010, depicts an F-117A mockup. Normally, a mockup of the F-117A wouldn’t be a very big deal, but this one is in the middle of Luoyang, China. First spotted by the intrepid members of the China Defense Forum, the mockup appears to be partially completed, apparently missing the forward fuselage.
Now what would an F-117A Stealth Fighter be doing in China? According to the article, the F-117A mockup is sitting at the Electro-Optical Technology Development Center in Luoyang, China. Apparently the center does R&D for Chinese air-to-air missiles.
RELATED: DId Spy leak F-117 flight operations plans?
Related: Did stolen F-35 plans help China build J-20?
By SIOBHAN GORMAN, AUGUST COLE and YOCHI DREAZEN
WASHINGTON -- Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project -- the Defense Department's costliest weapons program ever -- according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks.
Similar incidents have also breached the Air Force's air-traffic-control system in recent months, these people say. In the case of the fighter-jet program, the intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft.
The latest intrusions provide new evidence that a battle is heating up between the U.S. and potential adversaries over the data networks that tie the world together. The revelations follow a recent Wall Street Journal report that computers used to control the U.S. electrical-distribution system, as well as other infrastructure, have also been infiltrated by spies abroad.
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Attacks like these -- or U.S. awareness of them -- appear to have escalated in the past six months, said one former official briefed on the matter. "There's never been anything like it," this person said, adding that other military and civilian agencies as well as private companies are affected. "It's everything that keeps this country going."
Many details couldn't be learned, including the specific identity of the attackers, and the scope of the damage to the U.S. defense program, either in financial or security terms. In addition, while the spies were able to download sizable amounts of data related to the jet-fighter, they weren't able to access the most sensitive material, which is stored on computers not connected to the Internet.
Former U.S. officials say the attacks appear to have originated in China. However it can be extremely difficult to determine the true origin because it is easy to mask identities online.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 6:12 AM