The most anticipated novelties of the Chinese airshow in Zhuhai

From December 28 to October 3, will be held in Zhuhai, near Macao on the south coast of China, the China Air Show, which has become over the years one of the major exhibitions on the planet devoted to this subject. Traditionally focused primarily on the presentation of Chinese equipment in the aeronautical field and, to a large extent, in Defense, the 2021 edition could be a landmark, with many new programs announced, as well as exclusive presentations of aircraft and models. . While the show has not yet started, many set-ups created significant interest from the international aviation and defense community, whether in the field of drones, missiles, and fighter jets.

In the field of combat aircraft, precisely, several exclusive presentations have already been announced, in particular that of the J-16D electronic warfare aircraft, the specifics of which we have already discussed, and of the 5th generation fighter J-20A, first evolution of the J-20 equipped, among other evolutions, of the new turbojet WS-10 a unit thrust of 132 KN in place of the Russian Saturn AL-31 turbojet engine which has so far been fitted to the aircraft. These devices, both already operational, demonstrate technological gains made by the Chinese aviation industry, now close to full strategic autonomy in this area. Still, the stars of the show are unlikely to be these two devices, nor even the disappointing model of the FC-31 while everyone was waiting for the J-35 onboard naval version of the aircraft, still in development, and probably kept in secrecy until its entry into service concurrently with the Type-003 aircraft carrier being manufactured in Shanghai.

the Model of a 5th generation single-engine fighter under tarpaulins on the central stand at Zhuhai 2021

Indeed, two other fighter planes, in the form of models, will inexorably attract visitors to the show. The first, about which we know almost nothing and which still remains covered on its stand, would be a 5th generation light single-engine fighter, perhaps the famous new 5th generation fighter developed by Shenyang. Of course, we immediately think of the Russian Checkmate program, presented with great fanfare at MAKS-2021 at the end of August this year in Moscow. Obviously, Beijing has taken, like Moscow, the measure of the commercial and political potential that a combat aircraft of this type could represent in its international catalog, wanting to be affordable and efficient, to replace the multitude of mig-21, Su- 22, Su-25, F-16 and other Mirage still in service with many air forces around the world. Having no other information except “single engine” and “5th generation” (4th in the Chinese nomenclature), we will have to wait until September 28 to find out more.


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