China is moving to push its claims over disputed islands with Japan and is making it known by restricting its airspace. As a result, the U.S. moved forcefully to try to counter China’s bid for influence over increasingly jittery Asian neighbors by sending a pair of B-52 bombers over disputed islands in the East China Sea, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The B-52s took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and flew more than 1,500 miles northwest, crossing into what China has declared as its new air-defense identification zone, at about 7 p.m. ET Monday. The U.S. deliberately violated rules set by China by refusing to inform Beijing about the flight, officials said. China had warned of military action against aircraft entering the zone without notification, but didn’t respond to the B-52s, which weren’t armed and were part of a long-planned military exercise. A U.S. official said there was no attempt by the Chinese military to contact the B-52s. “The flight was without incident,” a U.S. official said. The ministry said the U.S. military aircraft had flown on the eastern edge of the new Chinese zone, about 120 miles from the disputed islands.

China is going at drones as well! This morning has seen the maiden flight of the first Chinese stealth drone. The first Chinese stealth unmanned combat drone conducted a successful maiden flight according to accounts by Chinese media and photos taken from a popular Chinese military website. Lijian, or “sharp sword” in English, aced its first test flight in southwest China, making the People’s Republic of China the fourth nation to successfully fly a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle. The test flight lasted nearly 20 minutes, according to accounts on cjdby.net, a Chinese military forum, and later picked up by the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and the South China Morning Post.

China unveiled its latest jet fighter, the J-31 Falcon Eagle which looks remarkably like earlier models of a twin-engine variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. We would not think for minute that China would copy… This is the second fighter unveiled to the public, after the J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter, built by Chengdu Aircraft. “ The design is stunningly like the F-35. Reports of Chinese industrial espionage related to the JSF give this aircraft added interest. Built by Shenyang Aircraft, little is known of the Falcon Eagle’s true capabilities beyond analysis of the photos.

“The rear section of the Chinese aircraft, however, shows little LO [low observable] design, though this may reflect its developmental nature,” Barrie said. “Signature management is also about a great deal more than basic shaping, with materials technology and emission control in terms of radio frequency and infrared also significant. The extent or limit to which China has developed already the requisite technologies to address these areas remains an area of conjecture.” Chinese-language media outlets indicate the fighter might serve on China’s future aircraft carrier fleet. China has one carrier-borne fighter in development, the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark.