China's military tech advances as America stagnates
Beijing has unveiled a sophisticated stealth jet fighter that is reportedly light-years ahead of Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor.
Indeed, Matthew "Whiz" Buckley, a Top Gun graduate who flew 44 combat missions over Iraq, told Fox News the Chengdu J-20 was "probably leaps and bounds above" current-gen US fighter jets.
"As a former Navy fighter pilot, going up against something that's stealthy, highly maneuverable and with electronic systems more capable than mine - that'll keep me up at night," said Buckley.
"It was built to reduce radar signatures. You can tell it has some serious stealth technology. My F-18 looks like an 18-wheeler on radar. That thing might not even show up. [Yes], we used be No. 1 at having the leading technology... Now, we're kind of in catch-up mode, where we've never really been before."
Meanwhile, Richard Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian Military Affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, confirmed the aircraft did have "great potential to be superior in some respects" to the American F-22, and could be "decisively superior" to the F-35.
According to Fisher, the stealth Chengdu J-20 is capable of super cruising, or flying supersonically without the use of fuel-hungry afterburners.
In addition, the Chinese fighter jet boasts superior maneuverability due to thrust-vectored engines which facilitates sharp turns during aerial combat.
"This fighter [jet] will likely start entering service in serious numbers by the end of this decade," he said.
"[However, Beijing] can accelerate this event by purchasing new Russian engines and settling for a lesser capability."