Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pakistan, China to co-produce fighter jets

To the dismay of the U.S. Bush administration, Pakistan and China have agreed to co-produce a new JF-17 fighter aircraft China's Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute is the architect of the JF-17 while its prototypes, first flown last year by Pakistani test pilots, were made by the Chengdu Aircraft Company based in Sichuan province, the Financial Times said Tuesday. The two countries are planning to produce at least 400 of the fighters, with half made on assembly lines in each country. At least one U.S. defense analyst said the Bush administration had little to worry about from a defense standpoint. "If you put it (JF-17) head to head against an F-16, it would probably last about five seconds," said Richard Aboulafia, aviation analyst at the Teal Group. However, the decision comes only two months after the United States offered to sell F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan, reversing sanctions applied almost 15 years ago over Islamabad's nuclear weapons program. There is also concern in Washington the aircraft could enhance China's ability to intimidate Taiwan, home to a strong and stubborn independence movement.


At May 11, 2005 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Musharraf is using his head. Put Pakistanis to work, fewer problems with unemployed fundamentalists. Buying F-16s from the USA with money borrowed from the USA is a shell game. So far, not too many ME pilots want to go head to head with their US counterparts; they don't have the right stuff, so Richard Aboulafia is correct. Increasing China's capability to intimidate Taiwan, and actually doing it is not the same thing.


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