03 August 2014
Whether Chinese aviation companies belong in the Defense News Top 100 will remain a puzzle as long as transparency remains clouded. But the recent arrest of Chinese citizen Su Bin in Canada for allegedly stealing secrets related to US C-17 Globemaster, F-35 and F-22 military aircraft indicates a hunger for US aviation technology.
There is no question that China is developing a C-17 clone, the Xian Y-20, and two stealth fighters, the Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31. Chinese requirements for a heavyweight cargo lifter like the C-17 are high. According to Chinese media reports at the end of July, China’s National Defense University issued a report stating the military would need 400 Y-20s to match US force projection capabilities.
Western aviation specialists said China’s aviation industry still has problems producing advanced engines for fighters and working with high-end composites. No more evidence is needed than China’s attempts to produce two new narrow-body commercial passenger aircraft, the 174-seat C919 and the 95-seat ARJ21, under development by the government-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (Comac).
… Michael Raska, a research fellow in the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore, said the Chinese defense aviation industry still appears to possess limited capabilities for cutting-edge defense research and development, and Western aviation primes continue to outpace China when it comes to most military aircraft and technologies, particularly in propulsion, navigation systems and defense electronics, and high-end composites.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 04/08/2014