Status of Chinese military aviation in the eyes of Russian

On the facade air power PRC looked more than impressive. But uncritical perception and analysis of news media could create a false picture of the reader. In fact, in the view of many specialists, the situation with the Chinese military aviation retrofitting modern technology and weapons, can be described as critical.

The most unpleasant to guide China is the fact that, despite the half (not counting experiments 20-30-nineties) aircraft history, China has never managed to create and run a series of single aircraft of its own design. All machines serially proizvodivshiesya in China, or were accurate (most often licensing) copy foreign models, or were built with the most extensive use of foreign components and technologies.

Furthermore, when examining the history of Chinese companies, striking its uneven development. From 1950 to 2006 year can be allocated two periods of development with a long break between them.

Start of the first period roughly coincides with the emergence of China in the 1949 year. With the assistance of the USSR, China has access to the most advanced at that time, aviation technology and production facilities. Since the early 50-s to the mid 60-s (before the break with the USSR) were transferred to China technology and equipment, resulting in the production of fighter aircraft to run J-2 (MiG-15), J-5 (MiG-17), J-6 ( MiG-19), J-7 (MiG-21), bombers H-4 (TU-4), H-5 (IL-28), H-6 (Tu-16), military transport aircraft Y-8 ( AN-12) and helicopters.

As a result, by mid-60-nineties China was well advanced in its composition and the Air Force prepared in the USSR inzhenerno-konstruktorsky composition capable of maintaining equipment in the Air Force at the appropriate level. But, after the break relations with the Soviet Union and the Cultural Revolution began, in the Chinese aircraft began to stagnate.

As a result, by the end of the 70-nineties, China had strictly and in the production of virtually the same set of aircraft pervogo-vtorogo generation, and that for twenty years before, while the USSR and the United States already complete production of the third generation of aircraft and trained to Fourth series. Its forces have managed to make Chinese engineers in the design of machines Soviet develop only small changes dictated, first of all, the Vietnam War experience.

The supreme achievement of the aviation industry of China in this period was the establishment bombers Q-5 and fighter J-8. But these machines can not be considered separate developments, they represented a profound modification of the construction of MiG-19 and MiG-21.

Then, in the 70-80 th century XX years, and defined niche in the world market for Chinese aircraft. The buyer of aircraft “made in China” have become the poorest countries in the world, such as Bangladesh, North Korea, Uganda, Albania, and others. In addition, a large portion of Chinese exports to Pakistan accounted for aircraft, which is a partnership with China was due to hostile relations of the two countries with India.

By the end of 80 years, the backlog of Chinese Air Force world class opredelyavshegosya mostly Soviet and American developments, was disastrous. The main Air Force fighter China remained a modified MiG-21, while the USSR and the United States are already equipped most of the aviation units fourth-generation aircraft-F-15, F-16, MiG-29, Su-27 and other machines.

Chinese authorities have not believing in the possibility of bridging the gap fast, saw the exit to gain access to modern Western and Soviet aviation technology.

The second period in the development of the Chinese companies began in 1988 year with the receipt of Israel’s technological assistance and documentation package to help copy the Lavi fighter. Based on the Israeli car was set up easy Chinese fighter J-10, in their TTH and opportunities related equipment around fighter aircraft F-16 and MiG-29 production of the second half of 80-ies. However, the situation marred by the fact that J-10 was launched in the production of only 15 years later in 2004 year.

Following the establishment of contacts with Israel, China resumed connection USSR, with whom relations have become normal in the mid 80’s. In 1989 Godou USSR and China signed a number of agreements on cooperation in the military-technical sphere, and since that time most of the achievements of China’s aviation industry associated with the reproduction of Russian technologies and designs.

These “passes” in the modern world has become a channel to China Aviation licenses and technological assistance in the development of fighter aircraft Su-27, as well as supplies from Russia aircraft Su-30MKK established on the basis of Su-27. Delivery of the aircraft allowing China to obtain a qualitative advantage over Air Force neighbors notably Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, and the match Opportunity deployed in the region to parts of the Air Force and Navy aviation.

Currently, China is actively trying to catch up, improving purchased aircraft and designing their own. However, it should be noted that the root of China’s aviation industry shortcomings and design schools are still not resolved.

For example, China still has not been able to develop its own aeronautical konkuretnosposobny engine. Moreover, China has so far not been able to copy and build self-engine AL-31 installed in aircraft Su-27 and their modifications. Engines produced in China for “Suszek” delivered from Russia in disassembled form, and in China is only their assembly and refinement. Also engines installed on Russian fighter jets J-10.

Another problem is lagging behind China in the field of radio electronics. To obtain the missing information, China has to actively pursue exploration. In particular, there are attempts to obtain information about the Chinese system of fire stations and optiko-lokatsionnyh Russian fighters Su-27, on the possibility of a superior machine equipment provided by China.

Access to modern technology for China is complicated and even sanctions the European Union and the United States at the end of the last century. Despite attempts to change the situation, cooperation with Russia is actually the only “window” through which China receives equipment and know-how to maintain its design school at the minimum required level.

It is known that China is striving to change the situation and get rid of technological dependence. Over the past decades, such attempts have remained unsuccessful. Does the situation change in the future, time will tell.
Ilya Kramnik,


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