China’s biggest air show to display self-sufficiency drive, military prowess By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The fifth prototype of China’s home-built C919 passenger aircraft takes off for its first check flight from Shanghai Pudong Worldwide Airport in Shanghai, China October 24, 2019. Image taken October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

By Stella Qiu and Yew Lun Tian

ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) – China’s drive for self-sufficiency in aerospace and its rising army prowess shall be on show on the nation’s largest air present this week, in an occasion set in opposition to the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and commerce frictions with the West.

The usually biennial Airshow China within the southern metropolis of Zhuhai, delayed by a 12 months as a consequence of COVID-19, shall be a principally home affair due to tight quarantine guidelines.

“The truth that Airshow China is occurring in any respect, when the worldwide air present calendar has been fairly disrupted, permits China to point out it has returned to post-COVID normalcy,” mentioned Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for army aerospace on the Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research (IISS).

Native aerospace and defence companies have ramped up their presence considerably. Main Western suppliers like Airbus and Boeing (NYSE:) will ship their China-based groups, and there may even be a digital part for these unable to journey.

The nation’s efforts to enhance homegrown aerospace expertise shall be within the highlight at a time of a rising strategic rivalry with the West.

“As China faces rising threats from the West, it wants to enhance its military-industrial, aviation and aerospace capabilities,” mentioned Track Zhongping, a army commentator and former PLA teacher on missile expertise.

Commerce frictions with the West are additionally accelerating China’s want to scale back its dependency on foreign-made business merchandise.

Industrial Plane Corp of China’s (COMAC) C919 narrowbody aircraft, as a consequence of be licensed this 12 months, is made up principally of Western elements however the combine is predicted to alter over time as Chinese language expertise advances, with the engines a key goal for eventual home alternative.


Greater than 100 plane have registered for show within the air or on the bottom as China exhibits off its army may and its house ambitions, together with a next-generation crewed rocket and heavy-lift launch car.

State media reported the J-16D digital warfare model of the J-16 fighter jet will make its present debut.

The flying shows will function some merchandise China desires to export, together with the AG600, the world’s largest amphibious plane, designed for fire-fighting and sea-rescue roles.

The Wing Loong II, an armed drone much like the American MQ-9 Reaper, has already been offered to clients together with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan as China competes in opposition to Western rivals for extra army exports.

A brand new sequence of drone merchandise named Feihong, together with an unmanned helicopter, loitering missiles and a brand new technology of stealth drones, will make their debut on the present.

“Beijing is intent on not simply pushing domestically made army plane and aerospace applied sciences, but in addition its potential to handle virtually any army requirement on the market,” mentioned Kelvin Wong, a Singapore-based defence expertise analyst at Janes.

The present comes as analysts warn Asia could also be sliding into an accelerating arms race as international locations react to China’s army development.

The US and its Asian allies have expressed rising alarm at Beijing’s army buildup, strain on Taiwan and deployments within the contested South China Sea.

Chinese language-claimed Taiwan has complained for a 12 months or extra of repeated flights by China’s air pressure close to the democratically ruled island.

The US, Britain and Australia this month established a safety partnership that can contain serving to Australia purchase nuclear-powered submarines.

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