Developing countries that do not have close military attachments with Western countries will be potential buyers of China's FC-20 fighter jet, an expert said in an interview with People's Daily Online.
According to the report on Britain IHS Jane's Defense Weekly, Pakistan had shown willingness to buy FC-20 fighters, but this bill did not take effect. It is reported that Iran is also in favor of this type of fighter vehicle.
Du Wenlong, a military expert, stated that the export of FC-20 fighters is constrained by various conditions. First of all, member countries of NATO will not only pass on the fighter jet but will also go against it since China's fighter jet export takes market shares from U.S. F-16 fighters. Secondly, extremely wealthy countries will prefer more expensive and comprehensive fighters to the FC-20. However, it is undeniable that countries that do not have access to American fighters or look down on Russian ones will be potential buyers of China's FC-20.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has confirmed that it is actively seeking international sales for the Chengdu FC-20 multirole fighter aircraft, the export version of the Chengdu J-10, according to the report on Jane’s Defense Weekly.
According to the report, an AVIC official said the corporation only received official approval to export the FC-20 "in the past few years." He confirmed that the aircraft is being targeted for sale to customers in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America, but did not disclose details.
Speaking about the differences between the FC-20 and its prototype, J-10, Du stated that the two versions mainly differ from each other not in appearance and basic performance but in functions. The J-10 fighter is a combat aircraft designed for the People's Liberation Army Air Force, while the export version of the fighter can adjust its configuration and performance to the demands of potential clients.
As for the advantages of the FC-20, Du stated that the aircraft is cheaper than its American and Russian counterparts. China is good at cost control when it comes to weapons manufacturing. Furthermore, China's export of weaponry will not be hampered at all by political pretexts. The U.S. regards arms export and military cooperation as important diplomatic indicators for friends and enemies; China, on the other hand, conducts military and technological cooperation with other countries as equals. What’s more, if China sells an aircraft to another country, that country will provide technological or personnel support for application and maintenance.
Du also said that China's export of fighters still falls behind that of the U.S., Russia and other European countries, especially when it comes to main force fighters. The American F-16 and Russian Mikoyan MiG-29 are superior to China's FC-20 in terms of market shares. At present, the export of advanced Chinese weaponry is struggling to expand its market share in the face of established patterns.