China’s first jet-powered stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), the Lijian or “Sharp Sword,” was recently spotted undergoing taxiing tests in that country. Analysts interpreted the sighting as indicating that the Lijian’s maiden flight is imminent.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China
The fatal crash of an Su-27UBK fighter trainer of the China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in late March has called attention to the lack of advanced jet trainers for pilots of China’s third-generation fighters, the Su-27, J-10 and J-11. But although the L-15 has been under development by Nanchang-based Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG), there is no confirmation from within China that the PLAAF has placed a substantial production order.
Though business aviation is still young in China, the country has been quick to make clear its intention not just to be a consumer of imported business aircraft, but to be active as a manufacturer of them too. So far, partnerships with foreign airframers have been the main path to this goal, but now China’s Avic group has started work on its own design for what it calls the China New Generation Business Jet.
Honeywell Aerospace’s business and general aviation division started putting down roots in the key emerging market of China just over seven years ago in 2005. Today, the U.S. group believes it has one of the strongest aftermarket networks in the country and, indeed, throughout the Asia Pacific region, with some 42 dealers and service facilities now in place.
With the rapid development of China’s economy, business aviation is viewed by many in the country as a so-called “Blue Ocean industry” with vast potential. As estimated by Embraer in its last market forecast, by 2020 China may represent a market for as many as 635 business jets. Bombardier is even more optimistic, projecting a need for almost 1,000 more business jets in the coming decade.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic, Booth No. C1521) brought its Avicopter rotorcraft unit for the first time to Heli-Expo.
This year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE), which will take place at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport from April 16 to 18, will once again bring together numerous parties who are hopeful that the business aviation market in this vast, fast-growing country will open up and boom. The event is a joint venture among NBAA, the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA), Shanghai Exhibition Center and the Shanghai Airport Authority.
China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga), a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic), has started the “trial production” of a prototype for the new business jet it is planning to develop based on the existing Cirrus Vision SF50 design. Caiga acquired U.S.-based Cirrus Industries in 2011.
Like many companies with high hopes for air transport growth in China, Honeywell Aerospace is counting on the country’s new leadership to step up a long-anticipated set of reforms, including moves to get the Chinese military to open vast chunks of airspace.
Two Chinese attack helicopters made their airshow debut during Airshow China at Zhuhai this week. A Z-10 from the Changhe Aircraft Industries Group made a daily flying appearance in its latest configuration. The smaller Z-19 from Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing was shown in public for the first time.