Until recently, American officials thought their F-22 and F-35 aircraft were the world’s only fifth-generation fighters. Then, on a 2011 trip to China, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates learned otherwise (the J-20). The People’s Liberation Army is also aggressively upgrading its drone fleet.PopSci: Inside China's Secret Arsenal
Just 10 years ago, the budget for the PLA was roughly $20 billion. Today, that number is more like $100 billion. (Some analysts think it’s closer to $160 billion.) The PLA’s budget is only a sixth of what the U.S. devotes to defense annually, but defense dollars go much further in China.