According to ET, in response to the current threat of China’s regime, the US Air Force restarted the 65th Aggressor Squadron this month and announced that the fifth-generation jet fighter F-35 would be used to deal with the potential threat from China’s J-20.
According to 19 Fortyfive, The 65th Aggressor Squadron used F-15s for exercises at Nellis Air Force Base from 2005 to 2014. After the 65th Aggressor Squadron was decommissioned, the 64th Aggressor Squadron carried F-16 fighter jets to continue with the exercise. In 2019, Air Force officials announced plans to restart the 65th Aggressor and designate the F-35A to be used for “the high-end fights”.
Col. Scott Mills, commander of the Nellis-based 57th Operations Group, said, “Using the F-35 as an aggressor allows pilots to train against low-observable threats similar to what adversaries are developing.”
Gen. Mark Kelly says the potential threat is “growing” as China ramps up the development of fifth- and sixth-generation jet fighters.
To deal with this threat, Kelly suggested, “We must use a portion of our daily fifth-generation aircraft today at Langley, Elmendorf, Hill, Eielson, and now Nellis to replicate adversary fifth-generation capabilities.”
Kelly added, “Precisely because we have this credible threat when we do replicate a fifth-gen adversary, it has to be done professionally. That’s the Aggressors.”
According to 19 Fortyfive, China’s J-20 fighter has been developed with designs stolen from the U.S and it also still has many limitations. However, Pentagon officials show that they are not subjective.
Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of US Pacific Air Forces, said, “What we’re noticing is they [J20] are flying it pretty well.”
Wilsbach mentioned the encounter between the F-35 and the J-20 in the East China Sea, and the Chinese fighter has also shown some advantages.
Lt. Gen. David Nahom, “Five, six years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about F-35s being adversary air because our adversaries didn’t fly fifth-generation airplanes. Well, the Chinese do now.”
Nahom added, “As the China threat has stepped up, we have to step up our replication.”