Sooner on That Chinese Fighter?

If a senior US foreign intelligence analyst is correct, China will have an F-22 rival operational by 2018, reports Reuters news service. That is at least two years and possibly seven years earlier than Defense Secretary Bob Gates predicted last year during the heated debate over Pentagon plans to cap F-22 production at just 187 aircraft. According to Reuters, Wayne Ulman also told the Congressionally chartered US-China Economic and Security Review Commission Thursday, “It’s yet to be seen exactly how [the next generation Chinese fighter] will compare one on one with say an F-22, but it’ll certainly be in that ballpark.” Ulman is the China Issues Manager at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.