Report: Israel helping China build new fighter jet
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Monday, December 9, 2002
A new report says Israel has helped China develop a new fighter jet built with Russian components and is weighing a Chinese request for an Israeli radar system.
A report by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation said China has sought Israeli radar for its new J-10 Chengdu fighter-jet. The J-10 is said to make extensive use of foreign components, largely from Russia, Middle East Newsline reported.
Military discussion between Israel and China have not been in the news since the Jewish state cancelled the Phalcon airborne early-warning radar to Beijing last year. The cancellation came after heavy U.S. pressure.
The report also cited "possible Israeli design assistance" for China's HQ-9/FT-2000 surface-to-air missile and the SONG conventional submarine.
The report said the Chengdu J-10 multirole fighter was built with Israeli help. Israel, Fisher said, provided assistance in developing the airframe and control system.
The engine for the J-10 "will be a Russian Saturn-Alyuka AL-31FN and its radar likely from Israel or Russia, or influenced by their technology," the report, authored by Richard Fisher, said. "The new SD-10 active guided air-launched anti-aircraft missile uses the radar and data link from Russia's very capable Vympel R-77, combined with a Chinese missile motor."
Fisher, a senior fellow with the Jamestown Foundation, is the managing editor of China Brief. The publication focuses on China's emerging strategic power.
Fisher, in a report entitled "Military Sales to China: Going to Pieces," said Beijing seeks to build indigenous weapons with imported foreign-made components. The report said Israel's Phalcon radar was to have been placed on a Russian Il-76 cargo plane.
"The PLA [Chinese military] was hoping to make the Phalcon, which used modern and effective phased-array technology, a centerpiece of its developing military information architecture, and a critical force-multiplier for the PLAAF [air force]," the report said. "The PLA timetable was set back several years. The embarrassment of powerlessness over the situation would have been avoided had the system been built in China, had China been able to develop it."
The report said China's military has still not mastered what it termed the current intermediate stage of coproduction. It cited a 1996 contract to coproduce 200 J-11 aircraft, a version of Russia's Su-27SK fighter-jet. The first two jets were so poorly assembled that Russian technicians had to rebuild them.
But the J-11, produced by China's Shenyang, has been improved and now has a better finish that Russian-made Su-27s. Shenyang will also modify its J-11s with a new Chinese radar that will make them multi-role fighter and attack capable.
The report said China plans to obtain a range of systems and technology from Britain. They include micro- and nano-satellites and airborne early-warning radar for the Y-8 aircraft.