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Thursday, January 11, 2007

China Gives Rare Glimpse Of Homegrown Jet Fighter

Beijing (AFP): China on Friday unveiled its latest generation jet fighter in a rare peek at homegrown military hardware aimed at showing how far China has come in aerospace development, state media reported Friday. Careful not to give too much away, however, Xinhua news agency said China showed only a model of the Jian-10 and a short video displaying its capabilities at a press conference in Beijing.

The fighter-bomber makes China only the fourth country in the world to develop its own advanced fighter aircraft, Geng Ruguang, deputy general manager of China Aviation Industry Corporation I, the fighter's manufacturer, was quoted saying by Xinhua.

China depended for decades on Russian-made military aircraft, either buying Russian planes directly or designing its own versions of them.

However, Geng said the Jian-10 and its Taihang turbofan engine were purely Chinese products.

Although it has been in development since the early 1990s, China has kept mum on the Jian-10's specifications until last week, when Xinhua quoted military sources as confirming it had entered active service.

The plane is "capable of launching precision attacks while hedge-hopping, and making long-distance assaults at altitudes above 10,000 meters", the sources were quoted as saying.

On Friday, Geng also said the Chinese Air Force had been equipped with the country's newly-developed fourth-generation air-to-air missiles.
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