Source: Gladius Defense & Security
China has struggled to export fighter aircraft in significant numbers since the end of the 1990s, with exception to the JF-17 sales to Pakistan. At this years Paris Airshow China pitched its stealth FC-31 which just became available on the market. There was no public interest from potential export customers with most of them looking to the west and Russia. The reasons include the success of the Russian Su-30 and Su-35 and the popularity of US and European designs. The air arms that typically buy from Russia and China are usually banned from purchasing western hardware due to embargoes or attempting to diversify their fleet.
The primary fighters on the market for the past decade include the F-10 Vanguard and FC-1. Both single-engine multirole fighters, they utilize western inspired designs and feature indigenous systems coupled with powerful Russian built engines. The F-10 which has not seen a single contract utilizes the Saturn AL-31IN turbofan and the PL-8 air-to-air missiles based on the highly effective Python 5. Other systems include Hanguang IRST and Type 1473 radar similar to that used on the J-11. J-10s boast maneuverability and ground attack capabilities but lack the long range of its counterparts. China has pitched the F-10 to Iran and Argentina.
The JF-17 which has seen more success offers a larger payload and a robust anti-ship capability compared to the F-10. JF-17s are often pitched with C-802 anti-ship missiles. These were the main focus of Chinese Pavilions. So far Myanmar has signed for 16 JF-17s while Pakistan ordered 100+. Despite its mild success, the orders don’t rival those of the JF-17s western counterparts such as the F-16 and JAS-39 Gripen.
Despite the lack of fighter sales China’s Y-12 transport aircraft continues to secure orders. The last major Chinese fighter export was the F-7 with over 2400 built when production ceased in 2013.
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