Wednesday, May 12, 2010

China tries to hide J-10 fighter crashes

On April 13, in the port city of Tianjin about 130- KM away from Beijing, China showed off its 4th Generation J-10 aircraft to military attaches of about 50 countries it could possibly export to. 9 days later as per Strategy page reports it was running to cover up the 2nd crash of the J-10 fighter that became public in the last two years.
The 22 April crash became public because a senior colonel had died in the crash and the funeral became too big to keep the story hushed. The news report also claims that the design of the 200-odd J-10s produced has not worked out as desired by its developers.
The crash and doubts over its design also comes as a set back to Pakistan, which was hoping to buy 36 J-10 in a deal worth US$1.4 billion has also been concluded reports China's English Peoples Daily. In the past it has exported fighter aircraft to Iran, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, the pitfalls of reverse engineering without paying royalty and truly understanding the technology are high accident rates, a fact that China has hushed up with its lack of media freedom.
The first flight of the J-10 begun took place in 1998. It is the most advanced 4th Generation aircraft to be built by China. However, reports the development of J-10 has proven to be torturous. The prototype was rumoured to have first flown in 1996, but the project suffered a serious setback in late 1997 when the 02 prototype lost control and crashed, as the result of certain system failure, presumably with either the FBW system or the engine.
If the reports pertaining to the faulty design of the fourth generation fighter are serious enough, it will put the Chinese plans to replace the obsolete J-7 fighter and Q-5 attack aircraft in a limbo. With 2,000 combat aircraft China has the 3rd largest air force in the world.

BY: 8ak 

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