1:50 PM, Sep 2, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Via the AEI blog, the Journal runs a piece by Richard Fisher looking at China's efforts to acquire a fifth-generation fighter. As Fisher points out, the F-22 was killed by the Obama administration on the grounds that, per Secretary Gates, by 2020 "nearly 1,100 [combat aircraft in the U.S. Air Force] will be the most advanced fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s. China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth-generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens." Fisher thinks Gates, and Obama, may have made a bad bet -- the Chinese have now gone on record with a supercruise requirement for their next generation of fighters, meaning they want their next generation of fighters to be real fifth-generation jets capable of engaging the top of the line of F-22.
Read Fisher's analysis on the problems the Chinese will have in building an indigenous fifth-generation fighter, and the evidence of their determination to overcome those problems, but on the assumption by Gates and Obama that the ChiComs will fail to produce such an aircraft by 2020:
Obama and the Democrats have made a big bet, and the stakes are no less than the balance of power in the Pacific. If Obama and his allies are right, the country will have saved a few billion dollars. If they're wrong...well, better brush up on your Mandarin.