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

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  • Airshow China to open on Tuesday in southern metropolis of Zhuhai
  • Native companies have ramped up presence as journey restricted
  • Show debuts embody AG600 and Wing Loong II drone

ZHUHAI, China, Sept 27 (Reuters) – China’s drive for self-sufficiency in aerospace and its rising navy prowess will probably 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 yr as a result of COVID-19, will probably be a largely 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,” stated Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for navy 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 will ship their China-based groups, and there can even be a digital element for these unable to journey.

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

“As China faces growing threats from the West, it wants to enhance its military-industrial, aviation and aerospace capabilities,” stated Track Zhongping, a navy 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 airplane, as a result of be licensed this yr, is made up largely of Western elements however the combine is anticipated to vary 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 navy 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 characteristic some merchandise China needs 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 prospects together with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan as China competes in opposition to Western rivals for extra navy exports.

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

“Beijing is intent on not simply pushing domestically made navy plane and aerospace applied sciences, but additionally its capability to handle nearly any navy requirement on the market,” stated 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 navy development.

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

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

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

Reporting by Stella Qiu in Zhuhai and Yew Lun Tian in Beijing; further reporting and writing by Jamie Freed in Sydney. Modifying by Gerry Doyle


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