BEIJING – Chinese media explained why choosing China to adopt the Russian Su-27 fighter instead of the American F-16 was a wise decision decades ago.
While Sino-US relations were enjoying good times, more than 20 years ago, China decided to arm itself with Russian Su-27 fighters.
As explained by the Chinese portal Sina Military, at the time the Chinese had in mind to acquire the American F-16 fighter. However, China had not yet become the economic powerhouse that it is today, lacking the resources to buy the aircraft.
Meanwhile, the Chinese had the J-8III fighter as their best piece of their arsenal.
“Sad to say. He couldn’t even destroy a target on the other side of the strait,” said the author of the article in the Chinese media.
As such, the Chinese opted for the Russian Su-27 fighter. While many thought the American competitor outperformed the Russian model, the author of the article believes that China has made the right choice.
“If we had bought the F-16 at that time, we would be unhappy today. Probably the main aircraft of our Air Force would be the same J-7 and J-8,” said the journalist.
The reason for this would be the incompatibility between the Chinese and American aircraft industries. Even if China acquired the F-16s, it would not soon be able to understand the principles of its production and could not replicate the aircraft.
In addition, the US maintains dominance in maintenance services for its aircraft sold to other countries. This would make China dependent on the supply of parts from the USA.
Also the application of reverse engineering would be impracticable. Thus, if Beijing had purchased the American aircraft, China would have difficulty enjoying its fighters once relations with the US worsened.
In contrast to the American aircraft, the Su-27 is also characterized by its considerably simple production, which has helped the development of the Chinese aviation industry.
At its base, many Chinese fighters were created and others modernized. Among them are the J-11B, J-15 and J-16.