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The world has been shocked by the unveiling of the J-20, a new Chinese stealth fighter aircraft. Photo: Reuters
THE shock unveiling of a new Chinese stealth fighter aircraft has changed Asia’s power balance and means Australia must dramatically rethink its regional strategy, according to an Australian analyst.
Peter Goon, a vehement critic of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Australia has committed to buying from the United States, says the Chinese J-20 is far superior to the American fighter and Australia must immediately adapt to the new status quo.
The Chinese tested the J-20 for the first time last week, on the day that US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates arrived in Beijing for talks. Although the Chinese claimed the timing was coincidental, Mr Gates expressed concerns about the military’s motives.
Lowy Institute analyst Rory Medcalf, a recent visitor to Beijing, said it was possible that the military did not tell the government in advance of the testing, as a way of expressing displeasure at Mr Gates’s visit.
Mr Goon, co-founder of the Air Power Australia think tank, said the US and its allies had been ”caught flat-footed” by the J-20’s maiden appearance.
The J-20 has been described by some analysts overseas as ”unimpressive” and a ”mish-mash of Soviet and American design features”.
But Mr Goon said he believed it was clear from the images of the plane and other material that it was far superior to the JSF, and even to the US’s top-of-the-range F-22 ”Raptor” jet.
”It is basically a lot more stealthy than the JSF, will fly faster and higher, be more agile, and because it’s a much bigger aircraft it can carry more weapons,” Mr Goon said. ”This thing has been designed to compete with and defeat the F-22. They haven’t even bothered with the JSF, and why would you?”
Read moreChinese J-20 Stealth Fighter ‘Has Changed Power Balance’