China’s largest air show showcases self-sufficiency, military efficiency by Reuters

© Reuters File Photo: The fifth prototype of China’s home-made C919 passenger plane took off on October 24, 2019, for the first test flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China. Photo taken on October 24, 2019.

By Stella Qiu and Yue Lun Tian

Zhuhai, China (Reuters) – China’s self-sufficiency in airspace and its growing military prowess will be on display at the country’s largest air show this week at an event against the backdrop of the coronavirus epidemic and trade frictions with Western countries. .

The biennial airshow in the southern city of Zhuhai, usually delayed by a year due to the Covid-19, will be mostly domestic, due to China’s strict segregation rules.

Douglas Barry, a senior fellow at Military Airspace at the International Institute, said, “While Airshow China is happening at all, when the global air show calendar has been quite disrupted, let China show that it is back to normal after Covid.” For Strategic Studies (IISS).

Local space and defense agencies have significantly increased their presence. Major Western suppliers such as Airbus and Boeing (NYSE 🙂 will send their China-based teams, and there will also be a virtual component for those unable to travel.

At a time of increasing strategic rivalry with Western countries, the country’s efforts to improve home-made space technology will be under discussion.

“As China faces a growing threat from the West, it needs to improve its military-industrial, aviation and aerospace capabilities,” said Song Jungping, a military commentator and former PLA instructor in missile technology.

The trade deficit with the West is also accelerating China’s desire to reduce its dependence on foreign-made commercial products.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) C919 narrowbody planes, which have been certified this year, have been made mostly in the western part but the mix is ​​expected to change with the advancement of Chinese technology, engines are a major goal for the final domestic replacement.

Arms race

More than 100 aircraft have been registered for display in the air or on the ground as China demonstrates its military prowess and its space ambitions, including a next-generation crew rocket and heavy lift launch vehicle.

According to state media, the J-16D electronic warfare version of the J-16 fighter jet will make its debut at the show.

The flying displays will include some products that China wants to export, including the AG600, the world’s largest amphibian aircraft, designed for firefighting and sea-rescue roles.

A Wing Lung II, similar to the American MQ-9 Ripper, has already been sold to customers, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, as China competes for more military exports against Western rivals.

A new series of drone products called Fihang, including an unmanned helicopter, lightening missiles and a new generation of stealth drones, will debut at the show.

“Beijing is not only advancing locally-built military aircraft and aerospace technology, but is capable of meeting almost any military need,” said Kelvin Wang, a Singapore-based defense technology analyst at Genesis.

Analysts have warned that Asia could enter an accelerated arms race as countries react to China’s military growth.

The United States and its Asian allies have expressed growing concerns about Beijing’s military buildup, pressure on Taiwan and its deployment in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained of one or more repeated flights by the Chinese air force to the Democratic-ruled island.

The United States, Britain and Australia established a security partnership this month that will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

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