China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has received a solid boost to its comprehensive combat capabilities amid a deteriorating security environment, experts said on Wednesday, after China’s aviation industry ended 2023 with a warplane production that exceeded expectations.
Focused on empowering the military with high-end equipment and development, subsidiaries of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), including Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Co Ltd. (CAC), Xi ‘an Aircraft Industry Group Company Ltd (XAC) and Shenyang Aircraft Company Limited (SAC), had exceeded targets in their annual production and batch delivery missions, according to an AVIC press release posted on their WeChat account at the end of 2023.
CAC delivered its last aircraft of 2023 on December 27, marking the full completion of its scientific research and production mission for the year, said the press release, which was accompanied by a photo showing the takeoff of a J-20 stealth fighter. , one of the main products of the Chengdu-based aeronautical manufacturer.
The final test flight of 2023 for XAC was completed on December 20, according to the press release. The Xi’an-based company is known for building Y-20 strategic transport aircraft and H-6 series bombers.
SAC concluded its annual batch production and test flight missions on Nov. 25, breaking a new record, according to the release, which shows a photo of operators working on a carrier-based J-15 fighter. The company, based in Shenyang, is also known for manufacturing the FC-31 stealth fighter.
Aircraft manufacturers are motivated to accelerate the modernization of aviation equipment development and make greater contributions to realizing the PLA centenary goal in 2027, according to the press release.
Other AVIC subsidiaries, including those responsible for special mission aircraft, helicopters, amphibious aircraft, missiles and civil aircraft, also completed their annual scientific research and production missions, the statement said.
China’s growing warplane production capacity comes at a time when the PLA Air Force, Navy and Army aviation forces are increasing their weapons and equipment needs as well as their level of training, according to analysts.
Fu Qianshao, an expert on Chinese military aviation, told the Global Times that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is accelerating the pace of replacing old J-7 fighters with new aircraft.
The increase in production capacity probably has to thank new technologies, such as the implementation of pulse assembly lines that are not only faster but also ensure better quality, Qianshao said.
The Chinese aviation industry has reached a new level that allows the Chinese military to have more advanced tools to deal with possible national defense emergencies.
Aircraft such as the J-20, Y-20 and J-15 are considered advanced even compared to their high-end international counterparts, so Chinese weapons and aviation equipment not only have quantity but also quality, he said. Another Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times.
China needs a strong military to safeguard national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and development interests, as the United States is rallying its allies to form a military encirclement to contain China, the expert said.
Air defense is one of the main aspects of national defense, so having sufficient and powerful weapons and aviation equipment is very important, especially in the current deteriorating geopolitical security environment, the expert noted.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and television commentator, told the Global Times that uncertainty is expected to increase in the world in 2024, but he is confident that the Chinese military can firmly safeguard national security, even taking on heavier tasks.
According to experts, more domestically developed warplanes are expected to appear in 2024.