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Chinese Stealth Fighter Jet May Use US Technology

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the better-to-be-lucky-than-good dept.

The Military 339

Ponca City writes "In 1999, a US F-117 Nighthawk was downed by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during a bombing raid. It was the first time one of the fighters had been hit, and the Pentagon blamed clever tactics and sheer luck. The pilot ejected and was rescued. Now, the Guardian reports that pieces of the wrecked F-117 stealth fighter ended up in the hands of foreign military attaches. '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.' Zoran Kusovac says the Serbian regime routinely shared captured western equipment with its Chinese and Russian allies. 'The destroyed F-117 topped that wish-list for both the Russians and Chinese,' says Kusovac."

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Logic bomb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988448)

Logic bomb? Logic bomb.

Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988450)

Guess what? They also are stealing our music!! oh no!!

Re:Newsflash! (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988638)

Guess what? They also are stealing our music!! oh no!!

And our golf clubs, and our purses, and . . .

The technology in question... (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988464)

...is a pirated copy of Windows 7 they bought in a Shanghai alley.

If true... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988470)

It seems only fair to ask whoever just had to take the shiny toy out for a spin whether it was worth it for Serbia?

Re:If true... (4, Interesting)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988652)

The F-117 was used in the Serbian conflict because it had the ability to make quick, stealthy precision strikes on the Serbian air command, paving the way for the heavy cavalry to move in and decimate the ground forces.

As a Hungarian, I'm also pleased that the one and only time the Goblin was downed was at the hands of a Hungarian commander, one Zoltán Dani, who used an old modified Russian radar unit operating at very long wavelengths to defeat the F-117's stealth capability, and used manual guidance on the missiles along with several spotters who reported the flight path.

As for the new Chinese stealth fighter, it's reported to be an even match for the Raptor, and used designs on a Lockheed HDD that was not wiped before being sold overseas. I wonder what else remained on that drive, though...

Re:If true... (5, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988864)

You do realize that not only that but the F-117's were restricted to a very specific flight pattern flying over the exact same pass day and night over and over again.

He may have used some old equipment that had a different radar freq, but he also got lucky that Political stupidity played a major role(flights into and out of the region where very limited, which areas they could and couldn't fly over).

The Chinese fighter is larger and heavier than the Raptor. It doesn't use thrust vectoring nozzles, or even distributed nozzles to limit heat output by the engines. it is only stealthy head on, from any other angle it will be easy to spot. Those giant canards will also turn a very large radar reflection back too. It uses old school radar so it will be easy to track. All in all it isn't a bad attempt at an updated fighter for china, but it is two or three generations from being capable as the Typhon or raptor.

Not to mention this is the initial test flight. it will be ten years before they have decent production going. remember the raptor's flight demo for the USAF was in 1991, and the first production model flew in 1997.

Re:If true... (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988988)

You do realize that not only that but the F-117's were restricted to a very specific flight pattern flying over the exact same pass day and night over and over again.

He may have used some old equipment that had a different radar freq, but he also got lucky that Political stupidity played a major role(flights into and out of the region where very limited, which areas they could and couldn't fly over).

The Chinese fighter is larger and heavier than the Raptor. It doesn't use thrust vectoring nozzles, or even distributed nozzles to limit heat output by the engines. it is only stealthy head on, from any other angle it will be easy to spot. Those giant canards will also turn a very large radar reflection back too. It uses old school radar so it will be easy to track. All in all it isn't a bad attempt at an updated fighter for china, but it is two or three generations from being capable as the Typhon or raptor.

Not to mention this is the initial test flight. it will be ten years before they have decent production going. remember the raptor's flight demo for the USAF was in 1991, and the first production model flew in 1997.

Awesome! The secret stuff they did not have before they now have because of you!

Oh, /. is blocked in China? Sorry, never mind ;)

Re:If true... (0)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989208)

Remember, of course, that this is China.

Quality, safety, and any sort of standards mean nothing there - along the same lines as intellectual property and personal freedom.

Re:If true... (4, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989016)

Its been "reported" that its a match for the F-22, but the fact is that it's only flown a handful of times in very limited envelopes. Theres really no way to tell what this aircraft is capable of and how good it's technology is.

If it's really based on the F-117A, then the stealth technology is at least a full generation behind F-22, and less capable than what Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon have, not to mention F-22A and F-35 and modern UAVs and UCAV prototypes have.

F-22s capabilities are because of 12 years of test program and refinements of software, the new Chinese fighter is basically were YF-22 and YF-23 were in 1990-91 were or where X-35 and X-32 were in 2000-01.

Plus we don't know the sensor capability of this new aircraft, it's data link capabilities, range, speed, armament.

Its years too early to say it's a match for F-22, F-35, Typhoon or Rafale

Re:If true... (5, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989034)

The F-117 was used in the Serbian conflict because it had the ability to make quick, stealthy precision strikes on the Serbian air command, paving the way for the heavy cavalry to move in and decimate the ground forces.

When I visited Belgrade some years ago, I was told by someone in a position to know that US planes were actually kept away from the most demanding targets. Apparently, it was mostly the French (gasp!) who accounted for the strikes in downtown Belgrade. Their handiwork was impressive, to say the least: The Ministry of Defence building was completely destroyed, falling in on itself, while neighbouring buildings sported only a few nicks from flying debris.

The US were responsible for at least one raid in Belgrade itself. But more about that in a moment....

As a Hungarian, I'm also pleased that the one and only time the Goblin was downed was at the hands of a Hungarian commander, one Zoltán Dani, who used an old modified Russian radar unit operating at very long wavelengths to defeat the F-117's stealth capability, and used manual guidance on the missiles along with several spotters who reported the flight path.

At least some parts of the wreckage must have made it into the Chinese hands. That would account for the *cough* tragically mistaken bombing [wikimedia.org] of the their Embassy. (The US knew what it was doing. If you don't think that NATO had spotters on the ground, you too are tragically mistaken.)

Fear sells weapons (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989132)

As for the new Chinese stealth fighter, it's reported to be an even match for the Raptor...

You mean the J-20 which is due to be operational 6-8 YEARS from now [wikipedia.org] ? Most of what is "known" about it is just speculation based on some very limited information. Most performance projections are going to be pure conjecture until more information is available.

As for matching the F-22, did it occur to you that the folks selling the F-22 might have a vested interest in proclaiming this jet to be competitive with the F-22? Fear is a great way to sell weapons. It's certainly possible to design a jet to match the F-22, but its not remotely clear that this Chinese jet reaches or will reach that level of performance.

Re:If true... (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988664)

It seems only fair to ask whoever just had to take the shiny toy out for a spin whether it was worth it for Serbia?

Just a wild guess here, but I think whomever was driving was ordered by someone in a five-sided building in Virginia.

Re:If true... (3, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988666)

Youd be foolish not to use it to take out anti-aircraft, power stations, tank formations, etc or anything that is a threat to conventional units. Not to mention you get to see it in live combat, build experience, and see its limitations. The real problem was that it was taken out under conditions stealth doesnt work right like in the rain.

I'm pretty skeptical that these pieces could really have led to a stealth fighter. Stealth tech isn't that tough to figure out and I'm sure the most you can gain from these pieces is what materials were used. If your country has a run-away military budget like the US fdoes you can make all the stleath you want. For reference the US's budget is 10x China's. If anything, why dont we have nicer toys? Oh right, the waste, pork, cronyism, etc that typifies the military-industrial complex.

As a side note, you gotta be shititng me about slashdots new commenting system. It took 5 minutes to reply to this, paste doesnt work in chrome, its ugly as sin, and probably the worst commenting system on the web. Just rollback to the old one please. Slashdot isnt ready for web 2.0.

Re:If true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988886)

I donno. Works fine for me.

Re:If true... (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989006)

Don't fret, it isn't much better in firefox, and it's impossible to use IE. I'm not sure what browser they tested with, must be opera.

Re:If true... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989042)

Paste doesn't work for me in Firefox, Chrome or Safari 95% of the time from WIndows 7 or Mac OS.

Re:If true... (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989236)

Slashdot changed commenting systems again?

*shrug*

I'm still using the old, old one, with real links and no glitz. Works fine, with no Web 2.0 to speak of, just like it has for over a decade....

Re:If true... (2)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989276)

.... It took 5 minutes to reply to this, paste doesnt work in chrome, its ugly as sin, and probably the worst commenting system on the web. Just rollback to the old one please. Slashdot isnt ready for web 2.0.

Yeah, paste sucks in chrome. I've found that if you right click and hit paste, it works, but not if you ctrl+v. Or maybe its the other way around.

But the system is wacky. It blows me away that a tech blog can't even come out with a text entry system that doesn't test properly in one of the most popular browsers (and probably the single most popular browser for users of this site).

The whole point of improving comment systems is to improve discourse, but now I don't cite my sources on things because I can't copy and paste links half the time!
-Taylor

Re:If true... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989346)

I'm pretty skeptical that these pieces could really have led to a stealth fighter. Stealth tech isn't that tough to figure out

No, it's not tough to figure out stealth. But it is a stone cold bitch to design, engineer, produce, and maintain.
 

I'm sure the most you can gain from these pieces is what materials were used

Which, in and of itself, is pretty valuable information. We all know it's skin is made of "carbon composite", but that's kinda like saying the body of an automobile is made of "metal". (Details matter.) Also, if the pieces are big enough, you can learn other valuable information like how the skin was attached to the airframe, or how gaps like those for the canopy or landing gear doors were handled. (Again, details matter.)

No surprise (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988474)

My first though when I heard of the Chinese Stealth Fighter is I wonder where and how they stole the technology. No way China could build one themselves at this point without a little help. Not saying that they could not have built on further in the future on their own; only saying this was really quick.

Re:No surprise (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988530)

Jokes on you, they had stealth planes for years and the technology is obviously superior to the what the US has.

Re:No surprise (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988572)

brilliant!

even if it were true, it's so stealthy that we couldn't see one to prove it :)

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988802)

Jokes on you, they had stealth planes for years and the technology is obviously superior to the what the US has.

Just like all the herbal medicine that keeps their population down to the billions instead of trillions.

Re:No surprise (1, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988586)

This shouldn't be a newsworthy headline. This is what a newsworthy headline would look like:

"Chinese Stealth Fighter Uses Only Chinese Technology"

Re:No surprise (2)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988816)

This shouldn't be a newsworthy headline. This is what a newsworthy headline would look like:

"Chinese Stealth Fighter Uses Only Chinese Technology"

The Onion version: "Chinese Stealth Fighter Uses Only North Korean Technology"

Re:No surprise (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988976)

Just like all the herbal medicine that keeps their population down to the billions instead of trillions.

Your right, the people Western world would never be idiotic enough to stock expensive alternative medicines on the high streets that have no beneficial side effects other than that of a similarly administered placebo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy [wikipedia.org]

Re:No surprise (1)

hardtofindanick (1105361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988622)

What exactly is the basis for these claims that the tech is stolen and they cant do it on their own? Stealth has been around for a long time, Chinese may well have found a way to do it. If not, there have been a lot of Chinese researchers in the US, they may not have worked directly on the projects, but definitely there must be many who worked on relevant projects, and nothing is stopping them from taking the knowledge back to their country with them.

What did you think, they would unveil it piece by piece to not surprise people?

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988928)

What exactly is the basis for these claims that the tech is stolen and they cant do it on their own? Stealth has been around for a long time, Chinese may well have found a way to do it. If not, there have been a lot of Chinese researchers in the US, they may not have worked directly on the projects, but definitely there must be many who worked on relevant projects, and nothing is stopping them from taking the knowledge back to their country with them.

What did you think, they would unveil it piece by piece to not surprise people?

Right! It was sitting on the shelf of the laundry next to the magic beans* and the acupuncture needles!

*Some think they had those before Jack and the Giant too.

Re:No surprise (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988672)

The 117 is old hat, and was never all that stealthy.

The new Chinese J20 fighter [ausairpower.net] reported recently is based on features found on much later US and Russian designs, and bears little resemblance to the F117.

Technology stolen would probably include anti-radar coatings and perhaps engine and avionics.

The J20 is simply too big to be very stealthy.

Re:No surprise (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988880)

Well I for one hope they stole the RAM design from the F-117, the high maintenance cost of the RAM on the Nighthawk is major part of why it was retired so soon after the introduction of the F22.

Re:No surprise (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989064)

The Chinese are probably happy to get technical information and parts from any US secret aircraft - as we would be to get theirs. They might have learned something useful, but the technology on the F117 is so old that it probably wasn't very useful.

Its difficult to know the status and capabilities of the new J20, but China does have a lot of smart engineers so it should probably be taken seriously.

Re:No surprise (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989098)

As if they even needed those F117 components to figure out a stealth design. All the pieces to start building an F-22 equivalent have likely been leaked via espionage, an engineer who lost a USB key, or a compromised server containing technical design documents. All the design software that can be used for modeling RF signals are available via pirated copies online, and have been for some time. They probably started building their jet right from old design plans for the F-22, likely recovered from a hard drive in all the e-waste, or sold to them by a former engineer.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34989356)

JORN early warning system [archive.org]

The 117s don't sound that stealthy, for that matter I wonder if any stealth aircraft could beat a technological competent advisory on there home ground.

Re:No surprise (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989428)

clearly you know very little about stealth aircraft - you are right in that the the Chinese aircraft does not resemble the F117, it more closely resembles the F-22 or JSF and Size has virtually nothing to do with stealthiness, the B2 is a huge aircraft ! The F-117 was VERY stealthy and has been estimated to be around 10 square centimeters (you can find it on the internet) slightly larger than a rubics cube

Re:No surprise (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988698)

My first though when I heard of the Chinese Stealth Fighter is I wonder where and how they stole the technology. No way China could build one themselves at this point without a little help. Not saying that they could not have built on further in the future on their own; only saying this was really quick.

Actually, their knockoff does not look like any of that F-117 angularity. It looks more like the newer ones that are rounded off.

Different wild guess, they looked at all of the "advertising" pictures the USA sent around of their new plane, took some of their own, paid off a few people and "poof" new airplane that looks like a USA plane. I wonder if the guts are the same?

Re:No surprise (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988716)

My first though when I heard of the Chinese Stealth Fighter is I wonder where and how they stole the technology.

Wait, you mean the US can't use the technology anymore since it's missing? They should steal it back.

Re:No surprise (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988890)

No, he means the Chinese are notorious for theft and reverse engineering rather than science and innovation.

Re:Not stopped by CIA bombs (5, Interesting)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988728)

In March it was shot down, in May, the US "accidentally" bombed the Chinese Embassy. There was widespread speculation the next day that it was to destroy stealth material. It wasn't a random bomb that fell onto Embassy grounds, but the most precise bomb that was available, with GPS coordinates given by the CIA rather than military intelligence, and dropped right on top of a specific foreign agents office, 5 times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._bombing_of_the_Chinese_embassy_in_Belgrade [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not stopped by CIA bombs (5, Insightful)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989268)

After that incident i always found it odd how the media reacted to such things. The media never reported on just how blatant the strike was. Instead the main stories been reported around the time were "attacks on US nationals increase" as various Chinese protest groups vented their anger on American government buildings around the world. Essentially the reports were made to make the Chinese look bad.

Now it's obvious that Chinese media is a complete farce. It's state controlled and blatantly so. But i also have to wonder if our western media isn't exactly the same but just smarter about it? Sure it isn't blatant like Pravda or China Daily but our western media still seems to reach for the same goals as Pravda and China Daily would. From getting people behind support of a war to excusing completely unjustifiable actions. Our media seems no better, just smarter and less blatant. Probably makes our media more dangerous than theirs to be honest.

Similar things happened in the Hainan Island spy plane incident. The Chinese returned the crew in perfect health and the also spy plane to the US but they were the bad guys according to the media i'm exposed to. I really don't get our media. I'm sure if the roles were reversed China would still be made out to be the bad guys.

Yet again the same thing with the Iraq war. There were never any links to Al-Qaeda. No WMDs. But our media didn't even report that as a possibility in the lead up to war.

Re:No surprise (1)

thelovebus (264467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988876)

I'm confused how China could not have built one on their own at this point? The F-117 was designed in the 1970's, so "stealth" isn't exactly a new concept. China has a big enough economy to dump billions down the drain figuring out how to build a stealth aircraft, it wouldn't be surprising at all to me that they could achieve it without stealing any US technology.

Whether or not it was entirely a home-grown effort is a different question, but it may include stolen tech only because it was cheaper to steal than to reinvent.

And to say "this was really quick" seems incorrect to me. The F-117 was debuted to the general public twenty years ago. It's likely the Chinese knew it existed before then, so they certainly could have started their own research program long ago. Considering that the F-117 went from initial design to flying prototypes in less than ten years (using 1970's computers, no less), there's no reason to think the Chinese couldn't do something similar using more modern technology.

Re:No surprise (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989108)

My first though when I heard of the Chinese Stealth Fighter is I wonder where and how they stole the technology. No way China could build one themselves at this point without a little help.

Why not? It should be stressed that the language of the article is purely speculative.

Note the language of the article
"experts said China may have gleaned knowledge from a US F-117 Nighthawk..."
"We believe the Chinese used those materials"
"It is likely..."
"it has been claimed..."


I'm not saying it wasn't stolen. I don't know anywhere near enough to have any kind of informed opinion but I feel the need to point out that the article throws out wild speculation and many people here are reading it as hard cold fact. I'm far more worried about the blatant manipulative effect the press has on people than I am by the idea that the Chinese have developed technology the USA has had since the 1970's.

Geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988480)

Why would they go to that much trouble , when all they have to do is ask one of the people working in our labs?

Stealth (3, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988492)

We think they're using some of our stealth tech. We tried to check, but couldn't find the plane. =(

Re:Stealth (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988646)

It must not be one of ours, then!

But seriously, American stealth bombers were designed to work well over oceans and Russian terrain, and apparently didn't work so well over open desert terrain.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988986)

Where the hell did you see open desert terrain in Serbia?!

Re:Stealth (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989062)

American stealth bombers work just fine over the desert, B-1B and B-2A work just fine.

The aircraft that was shot down in 1999 was the F-117A, its a small single seat fighter sized aircraft, not a bomber

Whatsa matter? (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988508)

You don't believe in the "free market"?

It's "Open Source" development (3, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988766)

One of the more serious problems with the military-industrial complex's development process, besides obvious little things like threatening to kill millions of people and possibly initiate nuclear winter, is that it takes a large number of scientists and engineers and diverts them away from useful civilian technology and diverts their talents to working on projects that ideally will never be used, and hides any parts of that work that could be useful away where the public can't use it.

There are occasionally useful technologies that escape - this "Internet" thing really is more convenient than uucp and Usenet were, and GPS is really cool but there are other ways to implement wide-area navigation systems without satellites. But they guys who were making tank engines 20% more efficient could have been doing that for truck engines or car engines, and the people working on improving small supersonic airplanes could have been improving civilian passenger or cargo airplanes instead.

Re:It's "Open Source" development (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989112)

Increasingly efficient and powerful turbofans are because of military research, your better tank engine technology actually comes from the private sector and is adopted for the military.

Technology goes both ways very quickly between the private sector and military since many military platforms are based on civilian platforms. For example, the C-17 cargo aircraft's engines are derived from the engines for the Boeing 757 and will be an option for the new Russian civilian airliner the Il-96.

The engines of the CRJ-700-900 are derived from the engines designed for the A-10 Warthog.

We Can Rule You Wholesale (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988964)

"When dragons belch and hippos flee My thoughts, Ankh-Morpork, are of thee Let others boast of martial dash For we have boldly fought with cash We own all your helmets, we own all your shoes. We own all your generals - touch us and you'll lose. Morporkia! Morporkia! Morporkia owns the day! We can rule you wholesale Touch us and you'll pay.".....From Terry Pratchett.

Whats the problem? (5, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988510)

We got the technology for the F-117 Nighthawk from the downed alien space craft in Roswell. So why can't the chinese get it from us?

Cue obligatory comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988526)

about how IP is all a scam, anyway

Re:Cue obligatory comments... (1)

grantek (979387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988580)

It is when you fly it into a foreign country. Sort of like shipping decryption keys in end-user products.

ONE WORD !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988542)

Duh !!

duh (-1, Flamebait)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988548)

not like they chinese could do it for themselves. no creativity.

Well, damn. (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988564)

We made something and it got copied. Innovation? that sounds expensive! Lets do what the media industry does, sue them instead. They can't use something that we've made illegal can they? That'd be...wrong.

Pilot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988574)

Was that the one the German was piloting?

Doesn't it work both ways? (0)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988584)

If X steals and uses technology which Y used, then Y already knows about the technology X is using, doesn't it?

Does it actually lead to Y's superiority in the technology?

Or is it the case that God accidentally built a stone so heavy that he has to give ad hominem arguments against anyone who asks Him to lift it?

Why doesn't the Chinese respect US IP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988588)

Because even the Government knows that intellectual property is imaginary property.

No problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988592)

It runs Windows Vista.

this just in (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988596)

the codename is "Chinese Whisper".

(any Americans present - this is what the British world call your game "telephone")

Derp (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988618)

Wait a sec, their fighter looks nothing like an F-117. It looks like an F-35, and I'm more than willing to chalk the similarity up to the fact that it's simply the best design.

Re:Derp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988798)

Looks more like the F-22 to me. Either way, the point still stands

This story is BS (1, Insightful)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988636)

The F-117 is a decades old design made of aluminum and off-the-shelf components. The only thing you need to canvas to build a F-117 is Google. This story is complete rubbish.

Yet another example of /. increasing anti-Chinese story bias.

Re:This story is BS (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988738)

So you know exactly what was in the the paint that the F-117 used? What about the materials used in the inlet cover of the plane to mask the engine noise and radar signature? How about the ceramic used to cool and disperse the heat in the exhaust? Just because you can see a schematic of the plane today doesn't not mean there are some facts that have not been disclosed. If foreign governments got the parts, they could analyze and reverse engineer them. There isn't a government (friendly or hostile) on this planet that wouldn't be interested in obtaining parts of a downed stealth fighter.

Re:This story is BS (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989402)

Yep. As I pointed in another post, the details matter - a great deal. If the stealth fighter (which I have no experience with) is anything like nuclear submarines (which I do have experience with), what's on the web and other places isn't actually all that detailed or informative. (Not to anyone who actually knows the details that is, though it may impress the less well informed.)

Okay, so (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988642)

So our F-117A gets shot down by a Yugoslav-made SAM, based on a Soviet design, in Serbia ten years ago. The F-117A was already close to 20 years old at the time, and it was retired in 2008. This is definitely the tech I want to be copying for my state-of-the-art stealth aircraft.

So, why exactly are we concerned that the J-20 will give the F-22 or F-35 a run for their money? We already know that the F-22 can splash (in mock combat) F-15s and F-16s with missiles before the F-22 is even detected. If the Chinese merely copied stealth tech from the F-117A and (apparently) photos of the F-35, is it really going to have good enough stealth to stand up against the F-22 or even just the F-35 in actual combat?

Re:Okay, so (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988792)

They may have copied some technology in materials. The paint [english.blic.rs] on the F-117 appears to be most prized secret. Externally they seemed to have copied some of the angles of the current generation of fighters (which isn't hard). However some parts of the plane appear to be not so stealthy [wsj.com] . Notably the front canards and the engine exhaust do not appear to be designed for stealth.

Re:Okay, so (5, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989262)

Concerns are based on two problems:

1. Russians were above and beyond West in both radar tech and SAM tech by at least two-three decades according to jane's back when soviet fell apart and some US specialists got to poke at some soviet tech. It's one of the development areas known to have not stopped due to lack of funding as it was considered strategically important to Russia. Decades old S-300 is most likely capable or detecting and tracking F-117 if it comes close enough. S-400 was specifically built to track and kill B-2-generation aircraft and its derivatives in addition to cruise missiles. S-500 coming next year was officially designated as an "AWACS/Electronic warface aircraft killer" carrying insane sounding range of 600km.
Most Chinese radar tech is direct derivative of russian tech. This was largely confirmed when US and Israel all but pissed their pants when hearing about S-400 being potentially sold to Iran - it would've essentially make any airstrike against Iran a one way trip for many strike craft and force to essentially use nothing but last generation stealth aircraft and still most likely take significant losses, cutting both Israel's options to zero and making US "plausible deniability" to any airstrike made zero as well.

2. Air-to-air combat between two stealth fighters has a very high probability of becoming dogfight situation. This is very, very bad for US whose strategic approach is to field a low number of nigh-untouchable aircraft from remote bases and aircraft carriers using long and medium range radar guided missiles as their main weapon. Stealth on the opponent's side makes both early detection and radar guidance difficult, and makes superiority of your own aircraft much lesser then that of the opponent. Up until now, US was counting on fielding something around 200 stealth aircraft to suppress Chinese airforce in event of Taiwan escalation (the main conflict at the moment). China can field approximately ten times that at least. So strategically this requires each airstrike group being able to fight in at least 1:4 scenario, and win with minimal attrition. Old stealth may indeed still allow for numbers, but would raise attrition rates to unacceptable levels causing a strategic failure.

We know how China's tech is mostly simply copied/licensed russian tech, we can trust that craft in question most likely have older, worse stealth, but significantly better radar system and most likely better tracking. We still couldn't fit helmet-mounted HUD and wide-angle tracking on F-22, it simply wasn't ready yet. It's a major feature of F-35 though, and it's a direct copy of russian tech reverse engineered from MiG-29 lifted from the few aircraft that Germany gained in unification. This system gives pilot tremendous advantage in dogfighting, and if chinese can indeed use older stealth to force F-22 into close range dogfights and has a copy of that old russian tech as well , F-22's superiority itself becomes questionable.

Finally, there's an obvious home field advantage for stealth aircraft and radar usage. Firing up your active radar essentially nullifies your stealth to a large degree. This is why neither F-117 nor B-2 carry any kind of active radar. F-22, being an actual air superiority fighter however does, and would have to actually fire it up to engage enemy fighters stealthy enough to disallow passive guidance. This makes it vulnerable to ground-based interception as well as air based one.

All in all, any opponent who is in possession of any stealth tech AND plans to fight inside or close to its border presents a number of strategic and tactical problems that opponent that doesn't have stealth fighters won't. Even in best-case scenario where Chinese wouldn't have access to russian radar tech and software, this would cause a major headache and significantly more restrictive rules of engagement, cutting down strategic options.

there's a standard solution to this (2, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988650)

The US could have (should have?) bombed the wreckage at the time.

Re:there's a standard solution to this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988764)

The US could have (should have?) bombed the wreckage at the time.

Not practical. If the plane disintegrates at a high altitude, the wreckage is spread over a wide area.

Re:there's a standard solution to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988770)

It sounds like the wreckage was already spread across several different farms, flying in to bomb it would put another jet at risk.

Re:there's a standard solution to this (1)

Ken McE (599217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988772)

My understanding is that the plane broke up in flight and came down in a number of places. Besides, blowing it up makes it smaller, but does not hide the various materials, layers, and coatings involved.

Re:there's a standard solution to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988980)

You think we bombed the Chinese embassy on accident?

Re:there's a standard solution to this (4, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989148)

The US didn't bomb the wreckage because the scene was soon overrun with civilians, which was broadcast on CNN. It would have been horrible PR if those civilians dancing on the wreckage suddenly disappeared and the image faded to static.

Re:there's a standard solution to this (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989312)

The US didn't bomb the wreckage because the scene was soon overrun with civilians, which was broadcast on CNN. It would have been horrible PR if those civilians dancing on the wreckage suddenly disappeared and the image faded to static.

Just say "oh no, the self-destruct went off!" and everything will be fine.

Re:there's a standard solution to this (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989304)

No!!!!!! That would give out our other hyper secrets of stealth bombs!!!!!

Re:there's a standard solution to this (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989322)

A cruise missile would seem a practical alternative in this case. Knowing that it cost several million each to fire, there is a lot of money invested in the Stealth tech. It would seem to me there would be an advantage of destroying the cockpit area, storage media, flight recorder and communications equipment among other things.

If there's anything I've learned from Mythbusters (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989434)

If there's anything I've learned from Mythbusters, it's that explosives do not make things disappear... Explosives simply turn stuff into smaller stuff and spread it around.

F-117A is a bomber (2)

molo (94384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988686)

The F-117A is a bomber or "ground attack" aircraft, it is not an air-to-air fighter, despite what stupid movies and popular media say. This summary is also incorrect in calling it a fighter.

-molo

Re:F-117A is a bomber (2)

Orestesx (629343) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988810)

The misunderstanding is forgivable considering the "F" designation and irrelevant to the purposes of the summary. Give it up, "Stealth Fighter" is part of the lexicon.

Re:F-117A is a bomber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988858)

Scuttlebutt says that it was officially designated a fighter so that they would get the cream of the crop fighter pilots to sign up to fly it.

Since we all know hotshot fighter pilots hate the idea of being bomber pilots

Re:F-117A is a bomber (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988958)

It's a lot closer to the size of a fighter and has the capacity of a fighter and carries an F designation. Contrast that to the B2 Spirit which is huge and has nearly the payload capacity of the B52.

Really now... (1)

jshuford (1948776) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988736)

I think that they may not have stolen the design or the technology. It wouldn't surprise me if one day soon we were to realize how much the U.S. Government as well as many corporations were working closer than we'd like with the Chinese. I know that at the local level, administrations everywhere seem to be idolizing the Chinese.

what stealth fighter? (4, Insightful)

Chaostrophy (925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988752)

We have some blurry photos of a largish fighter or light bomber, with a shape that looks like it was designed with a low RCS (Radar Cross Section) in mind, that would be done using equations the USSR published in the 1960s (never thinking that computers would become fast enough for them to be practical). What you would get from an F117 wreck would be RAM (Radar Absorbant Materiels), but how you can tell what an aircraft is made from via those photos is beyond me. Get the info from a US aircraft trying to track it, and you can say something, but all we can do with what is known now is speculate (which sure is fun).

Re:what stealth fighter? (4, Insightful)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989404)

Shh... the point is to get approval for F-XX uberstealth fighter project that will maintain the US air supremacy. Military-industrial complex needs bigger and better enemies as the wars in the middle east can be fought with current low tech equipment. If you read the news articles they are wondering if this will offset new arms race, several companies are counting on that.

Reverse engineering a plane is not as easy, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988756)

Even if a country like China was handed over the design for an advanced jet, it would be incredibly difficult to build one. The manufacturing processes for building advanced planes are complex and sophisticated. Developing countries have to build a whole military industrial complex and that takes a long time if you want to start from scratch. If they were able to do this in a short time, it is because they have a good industrial spy network. In fact an indian engineer was recently sentenced for selling stealth secrets to China. India has been unsuccessfully trying to build its own jet engine Kauveri for more than 20 in spite of having designs and even technical advise from advanced countries. So this article may be overstating the importance of getting access to an advanced plane.

This war was Bill Clinton's idea (0)

steelersteve13 (1372165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988774)

Ergo, this is Bill Clinton's fault.

I would guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988884)

... that much of it was also gathered through the massive chinese-driven false flag espionage flood into western countries with scientists and engineers trained to employ, gain citizenship, and report back to China.

I wouldn't be so skeptical if it wasn't nearly every other month we hear of corporate espionage by the Chinese.

The very latest in 1970's technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988900)

The F-117 was designed in the 1970's for deployment in the 1980's and 1990's.

Sure, we may not be comfortable with other countries copying the technology. But let's keep this in perspective. There's been a lot of advances since then...

Like information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988924)

It seems that, like information, stealth technology wants to be free.

Practically speaking, it was only a matter of time before technology flown into combat ended up in frenemy hands.

Coincidence (1)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988938)

I'm sure this had nothing to do with the accidental US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade at the time.

And this is surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988940)

China is stealing whatever tech that they can. It is time for America to take it seriously. At this time, America needs to stop doing funding Chinese to attend school here as engineers and hard science and then pay them to work on DOD projects. Much of that goes straight to China.

Think hard about using your new toys (1)

Goldenhawk (242867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989036)

The problem with using your shiny new toys is that you *might* lose one. Then the other kids learn what you know, or at least some of it. That's the risk of maintaining your edge by purely technological means.

They don't have to steal our tech. . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34989088)

They don't have to steal our tech, when GE is all to happy to hand it over to them. They have stealth now, all they need to do is go through the stuff GE is handing over to build jet engines to match ours.

Don't be such a loser (1)

weiqj (870224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989228)

Some people just think other people can't build better stuff than they do. And I call that kind of people arrogant dumb asses. Humbleness has been traditionally regarded by Chinese as a virtue for thousands of years. Being humble doesn't limit the creativity or diligence by all means. Chinese people won't hold knowledge as asymmetrical information against the other people for ridiculous profit. From bare-bone telecom equipments, high speed train, to advanced jet fighter, as long as Chinese can independently manufacture those things, the price will drop many times all of a sudden. Chinese people are happy with the "penny profit" they made from hardworking, whether it is from "selling high-tech product" or 50 cents per unit iPod assembly line. Chinese people has contributed a great deal to this world by making it running more efficiently. The Chinese strategy is not trying aggressively to compete against US as the top super power. Their goal is to maintain enough capability at 10% of cost. I remember the Chinese manned space program took 10 years and only about 1 billion USD. Just try to compare it to the bonus pool of Goldman Sachs. As the J20, I am not expert of jet fighters. But from what I heard both the aerodynamic shapes and avionics are more advanced than any existing design. Who did Chinese copy those things from?

Old (5, Insightful)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989338)

The F-117 is 25-30 year old technology at this point. I would be more worried about the tech being freely handed over to China by companies like Boeing when they go into partnerships with Chinese state owned firms.

Good - please copy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34989414)

It must have not been that good in the first place.....

Raptor sucks too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34989456)

There's nothing stealthy about a plane that's painted like its going to hide behind bushes.

paint them fucking white, like clouds n shit.

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