Depth: The United States squeezes the Chinese Xiaolong market aircraft for free delivery only for modification fees

The United States squeezes the Chinese Xiaolong market aircraft for free delivery only for modification fees

 In an exclusive interview published in the US “Air Force” magazine published in September, at this year’s Farnborough Air Show in the UK, an American reporter interviewed Kolitha Gunathilake, chief of staff of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. This general has served as the commander-in-chief of the Sri Lanka Air Force for a long time. It can be said that he has mastered all the development of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Therefore, it is most suitable for him to explain a previously concerned question “whether Sri Lanka is ready to purchase Chinese Xiaolong fighter jets”.

In the first half of 2016, there have been many media reports,

 Sri Lanka has signed a contract of intent with China to order 4 to 8 JF-17 “Fierce Dragon” fighter jets. However, then the Sri Lankan officials came out to clarify that they had purchased it. What happened? The American reporter first raised this question, and the admiral himself clarified: “I just experienced it on the ground simulator of the JF-17 ‘Fierce Dragon’ fighter, and did not make a final decision.” At that time, the Admiral himself was leading the delegation to conduct a global inspection. At that time, he also inspected the MiG-29 fighter jets of Eastern European countries, as well as Israel’s “Junior Division” fighter jets, and of course, China’s JF-17 “Fierce Dragon” fighter jets. . This inspection was interpreted by the outside world as saying that Sri Laka purchased the “Fierce Dragon” fighter jet, which is a misunderstanding of the intention behind it. “We will only make a clear purchasing decision in 2017, which can only be achieved but not guaranteed,” the Admiral himself explained Sri Lanka’s future purchasing intentions.

 Everyone knows that the main combat equipment of the Sri Lankan Air Force is the Chinese J-7 fighter jet. Similarly, the K-8 trainer used in the country is also made in China, and the Sri Lankan K-8 not only serves as a teaching task but also serves as the ground attack aircraft. Task. From this point of view, there is no problem that the main force of the Sri Lankan Air Force is Chinese weapons. And in terms of the army, Sri Lanka has purchased WMZ-551 armored vehicles, 56 series submachine guns, and “40 fire” shoulder-fired rockets. Western media once said that “Sri Lanka won the final victory with Chinese weapons”. Although it is exaggerated, it also shows that Chinese weapons are the main force in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the outside world believes that it is a sure thing that the JF-17 “Fierce Dragon” fighter can enter Sri Lanka. Even in 2015, it was rumored that Sri Lanka would buy 18 to 24 “Fierce Dragons” to completely replace the existing fighter force.

 However, after the clarification of Admiral Kolitha Gunathilake himself, we will pay more attention to what Sri Lanka will choose next? After all, in the international market now, Sri Lanka has too many weapons to choose from, such as the high-end Swedish “Gripen” fighter, the mid-range MiG-29 improved version, and the low-end can also consider the “Junior Division” sealed by Israel. fighter. But the admiral himself told the truth, which also surprised the Americans: “For the next generation of fighter jets, Sri Lanka only needs 8!”

 8 fighter jets is just the number of a squadron, which is equivalent to the itch of a country’s air force. This has to say that after years of chaos in Sri Lanka, the national defense budget is not optimistic, and the amount of cash that can be used to upgrade and modernize is not much. Purchasing 8 next-generation fighter jets is undoubtedly a very helpless choice. Sri Lanka’s GDP in 2015 was only 74.941 billion US dollars. According to the calculation of 2% of the defense budget (non-wartime), it was less than 1.5 billion US dollars to support the three armed forces. Naturally, there was no sufficient budget to purchase new aircraft.

 However, the Americans also proposed a more tempting solution. In the exclusive interview, the American reporter asked: If the United States provides second-hand F-16 fighter jets as gifts, and then Sri Lanka buys engines and weapons and ammunition for upgrades, will it be considered? Reply from the Admiral himself: If this is indeed possible, it is a very good option! This option is too lethal, and the slogan “Free delivery of fighters, only modification fees” is very loud!

Personally, I think,

 This is the purpose of the American interview, throwing out a plan that Sri Lanka almost cannot refuse. Referring to the gift of 30 F-16C/D fighter jets exported and sealed by the United States to Indonesia in 2011, Indonesia invested 400 million US dollars to purchase engine and avionics upgrades. Moreover, the total lifespan of these F-16C/D fighters has only passed the average, so it is very attractive to Sri Lanka.

 If the United States continues to export with this plan, it may cause a relatively large impact. Although the basic model of the “Fierce Dragon” fighter has an export bare metal price of only 8 million US dollars, after adapting to avionics, radar, fire control computer, plus weapons and ammunition, the average price is estimated according to the Japanese “Diplomatist” magazine. About 15 million US dollars, if you refer to the Indonesian order, 30 Xiaolong will cost more than 400 million US dollars. And when 30 “seemingly new” F-16s are compared to the previously unknown JF-17 “Fierce Dragon”, what will customers choose? Therefore, from the current point of view, the United States has not adopted such a large-scale export method. If the United States once “opens the gates and releases water” and exports a large number of F-16 fighter jets that have been sealed, it may bring greater harm to the “Fierce Dragon”. Shock, and judging from the progress of F-35 delivery, after 5 to 10 years, it will almost be the large-scale change of F-16. In the face of such a situation, the “Xiaolong” of China-Pakistan United has to continue to work hard. 

By Cary Grant

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