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Is It Time to Figure China Into the ‘World Military Power’ Equation?

China’s phenomenal economic growth over the last decade has shadowed an equally rapid increase in the level of sophistication of its armed forces. Modernisation programmes, defence manufacturing and aerospace research and development are accelerating, and nowhere has this been more apparent in recent months than with the unveiling of China’s new J-20 stealth jet .

Noteworthy beginnings
The J-20 Chengdu has recently passed the first of a series of air worthiness tests. These tests were carried out in January and gathered initial data about the airframe’s operational limits. They have certified that the aircraft is able to transition through phases of flight and execute simple aerobatic manoeuvres. This marks the first successful internal production of an advanced airframe by an Asian nation, but the aircraft itself is a long way from being complete, although observers have been surprised at the relatively short amount of time it has taken to go from blueprints to the first phase of testing…

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