10 November 2014
BEIJING — Amid the whine of high-performance jet engines at the start of an air show in Zhuhai, the Chinese government is hoping to generate a different sort of buzz: admiration, and perhaps purchases, of its shadowy J-31 stealth fighter, which is expected to make its first public appearance.
For almost 20 years, the event, Airshow China, has been a showcase for the country’s homegrown hardware, and a marketplace for those interested in selling to the world’s most populous country. As the country tries to climb into the high-end arms market, it has been eager to display fighters, missiles and drones that it hopes will demonstrate how China can compete on the global stage.
By exhibiting a stealth aircraft at the show, China wants to show just how far its arms industry has come, experts say. The United States is the only country with operational stealth planes, and Lockheed Martin the only company to have successfully exported one, the F-35.
…“People think the J-20 won the contest,” said Richard A. Bitzinger, senior fellow and coordinator of the Military Transformations Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
…“A lot of these companies in China have been doing pretty well because the Chinese defense budget has gone up so significantly,” said Mr. Bitzinger of the S. Rajaratnam School. In 1997, China’s total defense budget was about $7 billion; by 2014, it was officially $150 billion, and perhaps much higher, he said.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 11/11/2014