China is catching up with the United States in production volume of stealth fighters, and the number of its fifth-generation J-20A fighters will surpass that of the US Air Force's F-22A already this year, currently 187 in operation. declared yesterday John Chipman, director of the think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) based in London. Citing data from the Military Balance database, Chipman said China has more than 150 J-20A air superiority fighters. The only aircraft with similar characteristics used by US forces and the world's first fifth-generation aircraft to enter service, the F-22, is no longer in production due to its high cost. The United States have concentrated their resources on the production of the F-35, even more technologically advanced aircraft, even if the role and characteristics are not entirely superimposable. Production of F-35As is growing, and there are currently around 360 of them used by the US Air Force, but China is rapidly closing the gap in terms of production volumes. “If deliveries continue at the current pace, J2023-A numbers could eclipse the F-20 inventory (…) by 22,” Chipman warned. The Military Balance database shows that the nominal 7 percent increase in China's defense budget approved last year represents an increase in resources of about 16 billion dollars, the highest ever in absolute terms, destined largely to modernization of the armed forces.
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