Russian engine manufacturer Salut revealed that its backlog for the AL31F series now exceeds 400, thanks largely to orders from China. At the Engines 2000 exhibition in Moscow last month, Salut confirmed that more negotiations with China took place recently, but it declined to provide details. Salut also revealed progress on increased-thrust versions of the AL31F.
Since the late 1980s China has aggressively pursued a policy of modernizing its defense industries, with the aim of rivaling those of the West and Russia. Now the results of that policy are reaching the front line, allowing China’s forces to transition from a Cold War inventory that was dominated by huge quantities of unsophisticated equipment to a leaner force equipped with systems that are smarter and more competitive with those fielded by the West.
China has signed a fifth contract with Russia’s Rosoboronexport for the supply of Saturn AL-31FN military turbofan engines from the MMPP Salyut factory to power the Chengdu J-10 multi-role fighter, according to reports from Moscow.
More imagery has been released through the Chinese media showing the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark, a “Flanker” derivative intended for service aboard China's first aircraft carrier. The new material includes video of the fighter taking off.
As startling as the absence of current airliners from the Boeing stable was the gaping void created by the lack of any of Russia’s fearsome fighters in the flying display. Many observers felt that the show was the poorer for the lack of the thrust-vectoring wonders of Mikoyan and Sukhoi.
China’s march to overhaul its front-line fighter fleet is making good progress, thanks to two major indigenous production programs involving the Chengdu J-10 and Shenyang J-11 models. The Chengdu product is an all-Chinese design that is now entering service in numbers. The J-11 is a license-built Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, which in its latest production version incorporates important Chinese components.
Newfound buying power courtesy of Russian government loans has given Indonesia’s military reason to anticipate a significant upgrade in fighting capability.
For the better part of the last 20 years an increasing number of defense policy makers and military analysts assumed that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was gradually replacing the Soviet Union (and later Russia) as the single largest potential adversary that the U.S. and other Western aligned nations would have to face in the 21st century.
Celebrating its first export order–to Algeria–the Yak-130 is displayed here at Farnborough International as a multirole advanced trainer that can also be employed to destroy ground and some aerial targets when frontline fighter bombers and strike aircraft are not available.
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