PLA cannot compete with US F-22 fighters: Japanese media

Staff Reporter
Want China Times

The Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier. (Photo/CNS)

The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. (Photo/CNS)

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy Air Force would be unable to challenge US aerial superiority over the Far East because an American F-22 fighter is capable of defeating 20 fourth-generation Chinese fighters in aerial combat, according to the latest issue of the Tokyo-based right-leaning SAPIO magazine.

Facing the challenge of China’s maritime expansion, Japan has equipped its Escort Flotilla 2 based in Sasebo and Escort Flotilla 4 based in Kure — which would be responsible for a potential naval operation over the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) — with Kongo-class guided-missile destroyers. In addition, Soryu-class and Oyashio-class submarines continue to conduct patrol missions in the disputed region of the East China Sea, which should be considered a great threat to the Chinese aircraft carrier operating in the waters, the magazine said.

Even though the PLA Navy should not be underestimated, the article said that the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, cannot launch its J-15 carrier-based fighters from the flight deck with a full payload of munitions without a proper catapult. Meanwhile, the PLA Air Force can mobilize more than 100 fourth-generation fighters from land bases, but it is still no match for Japan, according to the magazine.

F-22 Raptors

F-22 Raptors

Currently, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force has 20 F-22 fighters and 200 F-15J fighters, of which 70 are capable of coordinating with US fighters in a potential joint operation against China. If the country were to invade the Diaoyutai, which are currently administered by Japan, the magazine said that America would deploy F-22s which could destroy between 10 and 20 Chinese aircraft each.

Moreover, US and Japanese fighters would be able to destroy the Chinese air defense network established over the disputed islands. After that, US marines and soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force would be able to retake the Diaoyutai from the Chinese occupation force, according to SAPIO.

Chinese military analyst Liu Jianping has disputed the magazine’s claims, however, telling China’s nationalistic Global Times tabloid that the article is full of mistakes. He said that SAPIO exaggerated the combat ability of the United States and Japan, while greatly underestimating the power and will of the PLA. Liu added that weapon systems alone cannot determine the outcome of a war.

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