vivek_ahuja wrote:Chola: I just wanted to add my two cents to the work you do in keeping tabs on the Chinese military enhancements. Keep up the good work. It has made this thread the one-stop shop for the latest tid-bits of information coming out of China for those of us who lack the time to scour the net forums and tweets.
The Chinese are making leaps and bounds, but there is a long way to go. They will get there, however, given enough time (and money, which they seem to throw into the fires using shovels!). Some of their aircraft programs are just fascinating to watch from the outside. They are not going to be fighting a war anytime. So their military projects are honestly irrelevant in the long run. Their civilian aerospace projects (especially the wide-body airliners), however, have the potential of shifting the CG of that market.
Thank you for the kind words, Vivekji. As a veteran of the old LCA/J-10 flamewars two decades ago, it was painful to look at their stuff initially. I only had the courage to start in earnest a few years ago. But like Pavlov's dog, the hint and reward cycle of chini mil watching is highly addictive and fun once you are drawn into the community (which is large, active and international.) I would encourage more desis to watch. They are after all a neighbor and rival.
I think it is best to see their aircraft (and ship) projects, both mil and civilian, as industry development and jobs creation endeavors. They start and finish many projects, far more than even the established gora powers because they simply haven't done those things before (trainers, fighters, AWACS, MPA, airliner, etc.) that the established powers had done years ago. And they will cheat, lie and steal to catch up.
And they are mercantile so that at every level they have a cheap copy ready to sell. Just having products to sell is critical to any industry. I don't care if its chapatis or flying saucers you need to have products.
How many non-watchers would know this? They've quietly sold this cheap little trainer around the world.
The K-8 is just one product out of many offered in the entire range of aircraft classes from turboprop utility to transports to even stealth fighters (Y-12, L-15, FC-2000, MA-600, Y-8, FC-1, FC-31.) Selling anything creates a positive feedback loop for the industry.
They are THE model non-gora ac industry that we can draw lessons from, IMHO. The traditional gora makers are so advanced and so experienced that their model is much harder to emulate. Basically they had over 120 years of experience that can't be emulated. The chinese one is far more compressed.
In fact, Cheen is the only non-gora seller of note in the mil aviation world. That is why watching is so interesting. Even the Japanese had never sold much in terms of aircraft and certainly not in such a wide range (though the Koreans and Turks and ourselves have made a push in one or two categories recently.)
I like their constant tinkering with their platforms. Every aircraft type has many variants.
The Y-8 family of AWACS and search aircraft:
I am sure that not every one of the variants is a center-led project. This really bodes well for their industry, I think. Something that we are finally seeing with the LCA proliferating into Mk1, Mk1A, NLCA and MWF.
Yes, their civilian projects of the ARJ-21, C919 and CR929 are potentially market moving and definitely worth watching. But there are also their turboprops which had been sold for years now on the overseas civilian market -- the Y-12 and Y-7 variants (MA-600/700.) Again, it is getting a product into every niche.
And that is just aircraft. Ships are possibly even more fun to follow.
I hope this doesn't get viewed as simply dhoti-shivering but as a challenge to our own industries to get better. At the very least, they've shown us that the goras can be caught up to (as long as you employ every method available.)