US downplays authenticity of ‘Chinese stealth aircraft prototype’ report

Friday, January 7, 2011

BEIJING - A day after Chinese newspaper has published a prototype of a stealth aircraft developed by the country, the US has downplayed the development saying it is invisible to all redder system.

The images, which were first published on military websites and blogs, show what looks like a stealth fighter on a taxi run. They were said to have been taken at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute.

The BBC quoted the Pentagon as saying that China is still years away from deploying a stealth aircraft.

In late 2009 the deputy head of China’s air force, General He Weirong, said the country’s stealth fighter would be ready sometime between 2017 and 2019, reports said.

However, China remained mum over the publications ahead of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to the country later this week.

Meanwhile, US Director of Naval Intelligence Vice Admiral David Dorsett said that it would be “years” before China’s new fighter would be operational.

“Developing a stealth capability with a prototype and then integrating that into a combat environment is going to take some time,” he added.

Following the publication of the pictures on websites, the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper carried it in both its Chinese and English-language editions, but no comment was made on their authenticity.

The US has been watching closely as China increases its military capacity, and particularly the development of its so-called “carrier killer” missile, a land-based system which could sink an aircraft carrier from up to 1,800 miles (2,900km) away. (ANI)

will not be displayed