Military jets to make debut

By Jiang Jie in Zhuhai Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-11 0:58:01

First public flights for Y-20 transport, J-31 fighter

China's Y-20 heavy air transport and J-31 stealth fighters are competitive with their Western counterparts, executives with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said Monday, amid concerns for the two hotly anticipated aircraft at 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, which starts on Tuesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.

Speaking at a Monday press conference, AVIC executives confirmed that the Y-20 transport and J-31 stealth fighter will both make their debuts at the exhibition, also known as Airshow China.

Pictures of the two models recently went viral when Net users began spreading pictures of what appeared to be the two aircraft landing at the airport for Airshow China.

China's Y-20 is expected to enter military service soon. Its debut at Airshow China will demonstrate its reliability, Geng Ruguang, a deputy general manager of AVIC, told reporters at the press conference. The heavy air freighter will also be put through its paces at a civilian airport, which will help prepare it for future humanitarian aid missions, Geng said. 

"It is also of great significance to military strategy. The Y-20 will help save money on military construction in strategic locations such as the East and South China Seas, since it can transport personnel and weapons effectively," said Wang Guoxiang, an associate professor with the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.

China will also have a sturdier, more survivable option to evacuate its civilians from hot spots, instead of relying on smaller, more fragile civilian aircraft, Wang said.

Military enthusiasts have taken the opportunity provided by year's exhibition as a chance to compare different nations' air transports, since the Russian-made IL-76 and the US C-17 will also be presented along with the Y-20. Geng said that the Y-20 is wider than the IL-476 [the advanced version of the IL-76], a key feature for large military transport aircraft, adding that some of its technologies are more advanced than the IL-476.

China's J-31 stealth fighter is also expected to make its debut at the show, said Li Yuhai, another deputy general manager with AVIC.

In comparing the J-31 and the US F-35 Joint Strike fighter, Li explained that J-31 will change the status quo, and will overtake other members of the so-called "fourth generation" of fighter jets to occupy a a leading role in the market. Li added that J-31 is a true fourth generation fighter but with Chinese characteristics, including a fair price and high reliability.

"Our fourth generation fighter can now compete with foreign fighters," Li said.

Wang added that the People's Liberation Army Air Force has not decided whether to purchase the J-31 and could take the chance to observe it.


Posted in: Military

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