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Quality Control Crisis in Chinese Jet Fighter Production?

by Greg on May 21, 2010

Yesterday, we wrote up RAND’s latest assessment of the PLA air forces that focused on modernization progress over the past decade and China’s development of a fighter production base built largely by reverse engineering Russian and some Israeli designs.

Meanwhile, David Axe reports that there have been some pretty serious problems with new jets coming off Chinese production lines. The PLA recently rejected delivery of 16 J-11B (a licensed version of the Su-27 Flanker) because of abnormal vibrations.

Chinese production of the single engine J-10B (reverse engineered from Israel’s Lavi) has also veered off course.

“On April 22, a J-10 crashed, killing a senior pilot. It was the second known crash in two years of the new fighter, and came just nine days after the Chinese military hosted delegations of African and Middle Eastern arms buyers, in hope of selling them the J-10 and other weapons.

Beijing has tried to cover up the J-10 crashes, according to Manu Sood. “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 have not worked out as desired by [the] developers.”

– Greg Grant

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