China has unveiled ambitious plans to start building a sophisticated,
newly-designed, long-range surveillance aircraft for the international market.
The move has cause some surprise amongst analysts as China has virtually no
previous experience or expertise in manufacturing long-range surveillance aircraft.
“They seem to have fast-tracked this project somewhat,” says Robert Flynn
of Jane’s Defence Weekly.
There is speculation that the new plane – provisionally named ‘The Soaring
Spirit of the Glorious People of China in the Face of Total American Humiliation-1′
is a copy of the EP-3E Aries spy plane that made an emergency landing on the
island of Hainan two weeks ago, although Chinese officials deny this.
“Our plane does have all the features of the American plane,” said Deng
Ching-Wa, Chinese Minister for Trade, “but it also has the added bonus of a
cargo bay that holds twice as much as the American model and a full sized
galley where hot food can be prepared. It is also half the price.”
The United States has a total of 12 EP-3E spy planes in service. China expects
to produce about about 300 of its planes a year.
“This marks a great step forward in China’s economic development,” Deng told
reporters. “See you all in Farnborough!”