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China Is Developing Naval STOVL Fighter Aircraft

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China’s aviation industry is working on the development of aircraft with short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities needed for an important role in the Chinese navy’s future operations, military experts said.

“Research and development on components of STOVL aircraft, such as the engine, have started,” Wang Ya’nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told China Daily.

“The aircraft’s principles are not new. They have been known for more than 40 years, so our aircraft designers should be able to develop the plane on their own,” Wang said.

In late March, the Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country’s leading aircraft maker, announced on its website that two of its subsidiaries – AVIC Chengdu Engine Group and China Aviation Engine Establishment – have signed a cooperation agreement on the development of the STOVL aircraft’s engine. The statement said the STOVL aircraft project aims to strengthen the People’s Liberation Army navy’s amphibious combat capability and address the absence of such a weapon in the PLA’s arsenal.

Compared with conventional fixed-wing aircraft, a STOVL plane can be readied for action in a shorter period of time and occupies less space in a hangar bay or on the deck of a ship. These features have made it a popular choice for naval powers since late 1960s, when Britain’s subsonic Hawker Siddley Harrier became the first STOVL aircraft to be put in service.

Almost all STOVL aircraft in active service are based on the Harrier design, and they form the backbone of the naval forces of India and Spain.

This move is not the first time China has aimed to build a STOVL aircraft. In the late 1960s, the PLA asked the aircraft institutes to develop a fixed-wing plane capable of vertical takeoff and landing. The project was later abandoned due to technical difficulties.

The PLA also tried to buy the Hawker …read more

Read more here:: Defense Talk (Naval)

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