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24 janvier 2011 1 24 /01 /janvier /2011 06:31


In this March 28, 1999 file photo, Yugoslav army experts check the wreckage of a downed American

F-117 aircraft, in the village of Budjanovci, 45 km (30 miles) northwest of Belgrade. Chinese officials

recently unveiled a new, high-tech stealth fighter - and some of the technology it turns out, may well

have come from the U.S. itself - in the form of a U.S. jet that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.

(AP Photo/Vladimir Dimitrijevic Tanjug)


By David Axe

January 24, 2011 DANGER ROOM


On March 27, during the height of NATO’s air war on Serbia, a very smart and very lucky Serbian air-defense commander achieved the seemingly impossible. Firing three 1960s-vintage SA-3 missiles, Col. Zoltan Dani managed to shoot down an attacking U.S. Air Force F-117 stealth fighter-bomber piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko. NATO commanders had been sending the alliance’s planes, including the stealth attackers, into Serbia along predictable routes, allowing Dani to carefully plan his missile ambush. A fast-acting team of Air Force A-10 attack planes and helicopters retrieved Zelko intact, but not so the wreckage of the colonel’s top-secret jet, one of the technological stars of the 1991 Gulf War. The destroyed F-117’s left wing, canopy and ejection seat — plus Zelko’s helmet — wound up in a Belgrade aviation museum, but most of the rest of the 15-ton jet was gathered up by farmers living around the crash site. Twelve years later, some of those components may have finally surfaced — in the design of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter. If true, and that’s a huge “if,” the partly American origin of China’s first radar-evading warplane could be both a damning indictment of the Pentagon’s reliance on easily-copied high technology, and a potential comfort to U.S. military planners desperately trying to assess the J-20’s impact on Pacific war plans.




Another interesting point


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