The Chinese aviation sector is wrapping up the production and test flights of various military aircraft that were scheduled for the last week of 2021. The majority of the Chinese firms have completed their work, while some are about to conclude.
Despite the challenges to the manufacturing sector owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, high quality and the number of aircraft being produced will meet the requirements of the Chinese military, an analyst quoted by Global Times claims.
Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), which manufactures the J-15 aircraft carrier-based fighter jet and the J-16 multirole fighters, has completed the year’s production and test flight missions, according to its parent company, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
#China's #aviation industry is wrapping up the #warplane production and test flight work scheduled for 2021 in the last week of the year. Many companies have already finished their missions, breaking delivery records. https://t.co/tW8ikwdRR7 pic.twitter.com/1pkQKKmOvm
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 26, 2021
On December 15, the last warplane landed on the runway at SAC’s test flight station. The company is also responsible for the development of the FC-31 stealth fighter jet. AVIC highlighted in a statement posted on its social media account last week that the number of aircraft it produced and delivered this year set a new record.
The Eurasian Times had earlier reported that China recently unveiled an upgraded version of their ship-based fighter jet, the J-15, which has just completed test flights, with sources claiming that the new aircraft’s missile pylons, infrared search and track system, radar, and wings have all been upgraded.
In addition, the electronic warfare variant of the J-16, the J-16D, made its debut in September at the Airshow China 2021.
Another AVIC subsidiary, Changhe Aircraft Industries Group Corporation Ltd, manufactures helicopters including the Z-10 assault helicopter and the Z-8 transport chopper. It also completed its manufacturing and delivery missions on December 15.
A photo of a test flight of a Z-8 variant, the Z-8C, was seen on the PLA Navy’s newly commissioned Type 075 amphibious assault ship.
The Global Times further reported that the AVIC Xi’an Aircraft Industry Group Company Ltd, the manufacturer of the Y-20 big transport aircraft, completed the final batch of test flights on December 22. In November, an aerial tanker variant of the Y-20 was sighted for the first time in a drill near the island of Taiwan.
At the Airshow China 2021, Tang Changhong, the Y-20’s chief designer, disclosed that the aircraft was tested with two types of locally manufactured engines. The tanker variant of the aircraft will reportedly improve PLA fighters’ capabilities by extending their range and endurance, enabling them to operate near the Taiwan Straits and other regions in the future.
On December 24, AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co Ltd, which manufactures the Z-20 utility helicopter and the Z-9/19 series helicopter, completed production and test flight missions for the year 2021. AVIC claimed that despite the serious impact of COVID-19, the company set a new record for aircraft deliveries.
As EurAsian Times previously reported, China’s J-20 stealth fighter plane has apparently begun mass production after the Russian engine was replaced with a domestically built WS-10.
AVIC Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group Co Ltd, the manufacturer of the J-20 stealth fighter jet and the J-10 fighter plane, revealed on December 10 in a social media post that the company had recently broken records in terms of aircraft deliveries due to high demand.
Moreover, AVIC Shaanxi Aircraft Industry (Group) Co Ltd, which manufactures a wide range of special mission aircraft such as the KJ-500 early warning aircraft and the Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane, is on track to meet its annual delivery goal, the company said on December 24 in a social media post.
Other branches are also nearing completion, and positive news is expected in the coming days, AVIC said.
China’s Growing Air Power
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China is rapidly modernizing, with the goal of surpassing the US Air Force (USAF). China is a dominant regional force that is attempting to establish itself as a global power with far-reaching ramifications.
General Charles Brown Jr., the Air Force’s chief of staff, previously said the PLA had “the largest aviation forces in the Pacific” and had developed them “under our nose” while speaking at an Air Force Association conference. He further predicted that China could surpass the US in terms of air superiority.
In October 2021, China sent almost 150 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), including its most advanced J-16 fighter fighters and H-6 bombers, demonstrating the improving capabilities of the PLAAF.
Additionally, the Department of Defense’s 2021 report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China detailed PLA’s capabilities, strategies, and aspirations.
These objectives are being pursued through large-scale military modernization and force expansion, as well as scientific and technological endeavors that are leading to advancements in new weapon fields like hypersonic ones.
China’s expanding worldwide footprint in locations like Africa and the Middle East may allow it to deploy air forces to launch smaller regional or geographically focused strikes, the report mentioned.
China possesses the manufacturing infrastructure and the resolve to expand the PLA Air Force on a grand scale. According to the Pentagon report, China’s objectives in this area are considerable, with the country aiming for “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049.