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Chinese aircraft take off in international defense market

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-27 10:16

BEIJING - Chinese-developed aircraft have been in the global spotlight recently with a series of maiden flights of export-oriented models.

China's first export-oriented armed helicopter, the Z-15E, made its maiden flight on May 18 in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

It followed maiden flights by the Wing-Loong II Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and the JF-17B dual-seat fighter earlier this year.

The raft of high-end, export-oriented aircraft highlighted the achievements of "Made in China" expertise, said a statement from the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China's leading aviation manufacturer and developer of the three aircraft models.

They were developed to meet China's strategic interests and the demand of the global market, especially from countries along the Belt and Road initiative, said AVIC.


After more than six decades of efforts, China has created a comparatively complete aviation equipment manufacturing industry. Cost-effective products have also made China more active in the global arms market.

The Z-19E armed helicopter represents China's latest achievement in pursuing the military-civilian integration strategy and the Belt and Road Initiative, said Zhang Jichao, chairman of AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industrial Group (HAIG), manufacturer of the Z-19E.

"Drawing on the best resources of state-owned and private enterprises, it is purpose-built for the global market," said Zhang.

One of China's first aviation exporters, HAIG has successfully marketed its Z-9 armed helicopter and Y-12 series small fixed-wing aircraft in the world market.

The Z-9 is China's most popular helicopter for export. To date, HAIG has exported 55 of them to 13 countries.

As China's leading helicopter manufacturer, HAIG has worked with clients to improve technologies and user functions, said Zhang.

"Now, we have the Z-19E, with significant capacities in environmental adaptation, maintainability and reliability. We are confident it will do well in the global market," said Zhang.

The narrow-body tandem-seat armed helicopter is also China' s first export-oriented helicopter made especially for attack.

Tailored products

"China's aviation products stand out in the global market with technology breakthroughs," said Li Shengwei, deputy chief designer of the Z-19E.

Value for money is another attraction. "We have comparative advantages in after-sales services," said Li.

Chinese-developed military aviation products are gaining in their global reputation.

The Wing-Loong II UAS successfully completed its maiden flight on Feb. 27.

With its integrated reconnaissance and strike capabilities, it won the biggest-ever export order for a Chinese UAS, even before its maiden flight.

Two months later, the JF-17B dual-seat fighter trainer made its maiden flight. And the aircraft for the maiden flight has already been ordered by Pakistan.

AVIC said it received export orders for the F-17B during its development stage, a sign of growing international confidence in China's aviation industry.

The JF-17B was targeted at the requirements of international customers and the global market.

China's aviation products still lag behind foreign peers in comprehensive competitive power and market share. "However, we have advantages in cost performance and trading modes," said Yang Ying, president of China National Aero-technology Import and Export Corporation.

"We have a better understanding of and adaptive solutions for our clients in developing countries. We can provide tailored products and after-sale services to them," Yang added.

"Alongside China's progress in the aviation industry and its global influence, Chinese aviation products are gaining a voice in the global market."

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