In 1999, a US high-tech stealth fighter jet, the F-117 Nighthawk, was drowned by a vintage SA-3 missile shot by a Serbian air-force commander named Col. Zoltan Dani. 11 years later, Balkan military officials and other experts state that China's recently unveiled stealth fighter jet may be partially a product of reverse engineering pieces from the crashed U.S. model, the Associated Press reports.
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. We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies ... and to reverse-engineer them, Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war was quoted saying in the Guardian UK.
Earlier, on January 11, 2011, public visuals of China's J-20 stealth planes on the net shocked the world. The pictures indicate taxi tests of the model being carried out at an airfield in southwestern China. The news came just days before US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, made a visit to Beijing to mend previously severed military ties with China.
Further strengthening China's growing supremacy in its air defense system, the Chengdu J-20 is a combination of radar-eluding design and high performance avionics.
These new developments have posed a challenge for the US air defense sector and government officials are trying to work out ways to counter this by focusing on the development of the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Apart from this, countries like Australia and the UK are also planning to boost their defense spending to match China's growing supremacy in the region.
A joint statement signed by UK and Australian delegates on January 18 reiterates their commitment to seek constructive and cooperative relationship with China on regional economic development and common security concerns, as well as on addressing global challenges.