What's China Doing While We're Otherwise Occupied?
Fri, 05 Oct '07
General: They've Been Building "An Almost Impenetrable Air Defense System"
While the US military, the government and media have been focused on our warfighting efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, China has been quietly building an air defense that one top general says can't be penetrated by anything but our most advanced new fighters.
Worse, Lt. General Bruce Wright, who commands about 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan, says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are putting a heavy drain on manpower and equipment needed to meet "contingencies" in East Asia.
As the US has been otherwise distracted, Wright tells the Associated Press that the Chinese have bolstered their air defense capabilities with the latest Russian-made Sukhoi SU-27 "Flankers" and homegrown F-10s (right), a rough equivalent in performance to the American stalwart F-16. ANN has been tracking development of the F-10 since 2002.
"Are we in trouble? It depends on the scenario," Wright said Thursday, quoted by Military.Com. "But you have to be concerned about the small number of our forces and the age of our forces."
For instance, he says, the average USAF F-15 is about 24 years old. And of course, the KC-135, vital to any long range mission, is older than most of the people who fly it.
"Our planes are much older than the planes they would be matched against," said Wright. "For the first time in history, we are seeing another nation, in this case China, with newer fighters than we have. We know that they continue to invest at a level that is unprecedented. We need to be watchful of Chinese military capabilities."