Has China doubled the production of heavy fighters in 2020?

As the standoff between Beijing and Washington grows daily, a publication linked to Chinese aircraft manufacturer AVIC presents the most surprising information, according to which the group would predict the construction in 2020 of no less than 60 J-16 heavy bomber fighters, 20 J-15 multi-purpose on-board fighters and 30 J-20 heavy stealth fighters, or 110 aircraft, all twin-engine aircraft with a long range and a high load carrying capacity. In addition, work on the FC-31 medium stealth fighter designed to equip aircraft carriers of the Chinese Navy would continue. Today, it is impossible to separate the true from the false in this announcement, but several parameters must be taken into account to assess its veracity, but also its scope.

Among the criteria that cast doubt on these figures, the most important is the total number of 110 aircraft that would be built this year. Indeed, the Chinese production of modern combat aircraft has never so far exceeded 80 aircraft, which would lead to an increase in load of nearly 40% in a single year, also marked by the Covid19 virus pandemic. . Because, in this case, it is not only a question of increasing the capacities of the assembly lines, the final phase of the construction of a combat aircraft, but of the entire supply chain, i.e. a large number of companies which should have simultaneously increased their own production capacities without compromising the quality of the elements produced. It is not impossible, of course, but it would still represent an extremely important and violent effort, especially within such tight deadlines.

Absent from AVIC communication, the J10 is nevertheless a powerful device which the APL badly needs to replace the J7 and A5 still in service.

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