The US Air Force Needs F-35s, Not the F-15EX


Note: This blogger reblogs Defense One’s article “The US Air Force Needs F-35s, Not the F-15EX” below to show how US politics are dominated by powerful vested interests. Due to the powerful influence of the vested interest of Boeing, US military has drawn up a military budget to waste money in buying more expensive but less advanced F-15EX. But another vested interest major weapon manufacturer Lockheed Mart is also powerful. Therefore whether US military will buy outdated F-15EX depends on the fight between the two weapon giants in US Congress. It seems Boeing is financially more powerful to have US Congress to approve the purchase of F-15EXs.

If so, the two weapon giants will make easy money through their production of less advanced warplanes. They will be less interested in the development of next-generation fighter jets.

J-20 chief designer Yang Wei has disclosed that China has begun development of the next generation of fighter jet. It will turn out more advanced fighter jets earlier than the US judging by China’s fast speed in developing its J-20 and US great delay in developing F-35.

The following is the full text of Defense One’s article:

The US Air Force Needs F-35s, Not the F-15EX

ByLarry Stutzriem

Director of Research, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
Read bioE

April 10, 2019

Only about 20 percent of USAF fighters are fifth-generation aircraft. Winning tomorrow’s wars depends on growing that share faster, not slower.

The U.S. Air Force needs more fighter aircraft and it needs them fast. The current fleet is too old and too small to guarantee the air superiority that deters potential adversaries and is essential to win wars. To reverse this dangerous state of affairs, Congress must alter the Pentagon’s proposed 2020 budget by adding F-35As, dropping the plan to buy the F-15EX, and funding the development of a next generation of air-dominance technologies.

The F-15 and F-16 were designed in the closing days of the Vietnam War, and the Air Force and industry did a fantastic job. But today, the average Eagle or Viper is more than three decades old, far past its intended service life, and is literally wearing out from structural fatigue. They are also unable to penetrate modern defenses and get home safe. Adversaries have had 40 years to tune their systems to counter these jets.

The Air Force never intended to find itself facing an air-superiority crisis. It was supposed to buy 750 F-22s in the 2000s, followed by 1,763 F-35As. Both aircraft were designed with stealth attributes to foil modern enemy air defenses, plus sensors, processors, and the ability to collaborate with a wide variety of combat assets. These “fifth-generation” technologies reshaped combat aviation, much as landlines gave way to the smartphones that have reshaped society. Aircraft without these attributes are irrelevant.

However, the Air Force’s fighter plan hit severe turbulence. The F-22 arrived in 2005, years late. The military, immersed in the generally low-tech yet costly Afghanistan and Iraq wars, ended production after just 187 jets, less than half the stated requirement. As for the F-35, delays and a host of program challenges have left the Defense Department more than 1,000 aircraft short.

To fill the gap, the Air Force has flown its F-15s and F-16s decades longer than planned. The oldest of these fighters, the F-15Cs, will not make it to the end of the decade. More than 200 of these aircraft will be retired in the next few years, and those that remain will be of decreasing combat utility. Meanwhile, F-22s and F-35s will be flown exceedingly hard to meet burgeoning operational demand. We are on course to a collapse in a core U.S. military competency.

The obvious solution to this problem is to increase production of the Air Force’s most advanced design currently in production: the F-35. “We find ourselves in a position where we’ve got to buy 72 aircraft a year,” said Gen. Dave Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff. That is attainable. Lockheed Martin’s production line is currently budgeted to build 48 F-35As in 2020. Service and industry officials say it can be accelerated to produce 60 aircraft next year, 78 the following year, and even more after that. This comes as the F-35 program hits its stride, enabling the service to get increasingly capable aircraft for less money.

It is important to note that the 2019 budget slated the Air Force to buy a total of 264 F-35s over five years. The Office of the Secretary of Defense decided to change this plan. Its 2020 budget proposal now before Congress calls for buying just 48 F-35s annually for the next five years, for a total of 240. It also calls for buying eight F-15EXs in 2020 and a total of 80 over five years.

While OSD’s plan would buy 56 more jets over five years, buying fourth-generation aircraft that do not meet the full spectrum of modern combat requirements spends money for a marginal return and puts airmen in the sky at far greater risk. It is true that new Eagles have far better sensors, processors, defenses, and cockpit interfaces than the Air Force’s current jets, but the airframe design is more than 40 years old and cannot be upgraded to current stealth standards.

Nor is there a cost argument to be made for the F-15EX. It costs roughly the same to purchase as an F-35, and will soon cost no less to operate as the newer plane matures in service. More non-stealthy F-15EXs would be required to execute a combat mission against modern defenses than F-35s — and more would be lost. Losing jets and pilots does not save money.

An argument might be made for quickly buying F-15EXs to replace F-15Cs as a short-term stop-gap measure, but this is not the plan. The first two new Eagles would arrive in 2023 for testing, with further aircraft joining operational units in the middle of the 2020s and beyond. Yet these 80 aircraft are a far cry from the 200-plus F-15Cs that will be retired.

Today, only about 20 percent of the Air Force’s fighters are fifth-generation aircraft. Success in tomorrow’s wars depends on growing that share faster than currently planned, not slower. Now is not the time to waste precious defense dollars buying an aircraft that will put both airmen and the nation’s interests at risk. Congress must block the proposed F-15EX procurement, accelerate F-35 production, and spend more money developing the next generation of air-superiority technologies.

Source: Defense One “The US Air Force Needs F-35s, Not the F-15EX”

Note: This is Defense One’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

Advertisements

Why Is the US Losing to China in Arms Race? 3


It’s normal that a business may earn but also lose money, but US weapon producers are exceptions. US government always ensures that they make money. Lockheed incurred excessive costs in developing F-35 due to its incompetence, but US government paid all the costs plus a profit margin to Lockheed.

By 2020, F-35 will cost only $80 million, but Pantegon wants to buy some less advanced F-15EX at 90 million according to Defense One’s report “Pentagon: We’re Buying Boeing F-15s to Keep 2 Fighter Makers in Business”

Pentagon’s arguments are ridiculous:
1. F-15s are still useful. Useful, Even F-4 is useful in attacking Taliban. The question is: Can F-15 do anything that F-35 cannot so that Pentagon has to pay more to buy it? The answer is certainly negative.

2. There is another even more ridiculous argument that the purchase aims in part to keep a second U.S. manufacturer in the tactical-jet business

F-15’s producer Boeing makes lots of profits from production of other kind of aircrafts. It does not need government subsidy to remain active in its tactical-jet development and production. Such subsidy will maintain Boeing and Lockheed’s monopoly to keep potential competitors out of the tactical-jet business.

In China, the state is the boss. All enterprises private or state-owned are making efforts to serve the country. That is why when one company got the contract on development of stealth fighter jet with state funds, its competitor develops another with its own funds. Though both companies are owned by the state, there is competition and the state encourages the competition.

In the US, big moneys are the boss. The state shall subsidize them to maintain their monopoly. It is all right for Lockheed to waste money in developing F-35. The state will cover all the costs and ensure Lockheed’s profit no matter how high the costs. No worry for Boeing. It will also be subsidized by government purchase of less advanced fighter jets at a price higher than more advanced ones.

That is another factor that causes the US to lose to China in arms race.


Why Is the US Losing to China in Arms Race? 2


I had a post on the above question yesterday. In that post I listed the following advantages of China’s over the US:

Prevailing patriotism among Chinese companies and people;
China’s abundant funds;
Chinese scientists’ patriotism, talents and culture of hard work; and
Chinese culture of highly respecting and cherishing intellectual talents.

I have not listed US disadvantages as I am not an American so that I do not know the US so well as I do China though I have paid quite much attention to news, information and knowledge about the US.

Defense One’s report “Lockheed Martin is Waging War on Boeing’s F-15EX” on March 15 proves my impression about US disadvantages.

The competition between US weapon producers Lockheed Martin and Boeing is a vicious competition for profit while that between China’s aircraft producers Chengdu and Shenyang Aerospace Corporations is benign out of their patriotism and obligations for the State and people.

That was why when Chengdu won the contract on J-20 stealth fighter jet, Shenyang began design, production and test of its own stealth fighter jet FC-31 with its own resources as it believes that it is able to provide an alternative for China and Chinese people. It may lose money but it does not care.

The two producers, though are competitors, have helped each other in developing each other’s stealth fighter.

Obviously, their benign competition enables China to make stealth fighters better than America’s.

In the US, however, Lockheed and Boeing fight each other fiercely for aircraft contracts as each of them wants to make as much profit as possible. When they encounter difficulties in developing weapons for their country, the shifted their financial burden to the country to ensure that their weapon production is always profitable. That is why their weapons are so expensive.

Chinese weapon producers, however, do their best to reduce the costs of their weapon production for the state out of their patriotism. That is why China can win arms race with much smaller military budgets.

America’s even greater disadvantage is that the choice of weapon is not determined by military professionals but by laymen in US Congress.

Moreover, the powerful laymen in US Congress make decision in favor of vested interests.

The report says, “Jn February, five Republican senators — all with ties to Lockheed F-35 manufacturing work or F-35 bases — sent a letter to President Trump in opposition of the F-15EX.” The powerful senators want US military to buy Lockheed’s F-35 due to their ties with Lockheed.

Vested interest even controls US DoD. The purchase of Boeing’s F-15EX is decided by US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan who has been Boeing’s employee employee for 30 years.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.


Chinese Aviation Firm Seeking Investment in US Aircraft Makers


U.S. intelligence concerned by AVIC efforts to buy minority stake in aerospace giants

A Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd. (Comac) C919 aircraft stands under assembly / Getty Images

BY: Bill Gertz
July 10, 2018 5:00 am

A Chinese state-run aircraft and missile manufacturer linked to military programs and past espionage is attempting to purchase interests in major U.S. aircraft manufacturers.

According to Trump administration officials, the Aviation Industry Corp of China, known as AVIC, is seeking to gain access to advanced technology through attempts to buy minority stakes in major aircraft companies.

The attempts were detected by U.S. intelligence agencies several months ago and reported internally within the U.S. government.

One unit that has been tracking the activity is a special Air Force group known as the Office of Competitive Economic Analysis.

Spy agencies are concerned about the buy-in effort since AVIC already has made inroads into the U.S. aircraft supply chain by buying aviation support companies and those involved in commercial aviation.

“AVIC is a bad actor that is one of several state-owned enterprises that is working to mop up western technology,” said an administration official familiar with the AVIC activities.

No details of the Chinese efforts to buy into American aircraft companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin could be learned.

However, information on AVIC covert operations targeting American industry may have come from a source in the state-run conglomerate. The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily reported in May 2016 that Guo Enming, deputy director of AVIC’s Science and Technology Commission had dropped out of sight and was suspected of spying.

AVIC espionage was revealed in the case of Dongfan “Greg” Chung, an aerospace engineer for Boeing who was convicted of economic espionage in 2009 for supplying aviation and space secrets to China.

Chung worked with another Chinese spy, Chi Mak, who worked with a Gu Weihao, who is described in court papers as a senior official of AVIC that is under the direct leadership of the PRC State Council.”

The court papers describe AVIC as a consortium of aircraft manufacturers, including companies known as Chengdu, Harbin, Xian, and Nan Chang, that make up a total of 111 enterprises, 36 research institutes, and six universities and colleges with a total staff of 560,000 people.

Chung supplied information to China on the B-1 bomber, the Space Shuttle, and U.S. rocket launchers and was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison and Mak was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

AVIC builds fighter aircraft, helicopters, and drones for the Chinese military and also is involved in automobile manufacturing and other ventures.

The company was founded 1993 when the Ministry of Aerospace Industry was corporatized into AVIC and later split into AVIC I and AVIC II before being recombined in 2008.

Its military fighters include the FC-20, FC-1, and F-8 jets.

The company also makes military transport aircraft, commercial aircraft, air-to-air missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship cruise missiles.

Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said he was not aware of the AVIC attempts to buy a minority stake in the company but would look into the matter. He did not respond to a follow up email.

A spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin declined to comment.

Spokesmen for Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics did not return emails seeking comment.

Administration officials said AVIC already has made inroads into the U.S. aviation sector by purchasing companies that are suppliers to U.S. corporations.

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) warned in a report on Chinese technology acquisition that China is now posing risks to U.S. national security.

“China’s transformation to be the manufacturer for the world means more supply chains are owned by China which creates risks to U.S. military technology and operations,” the report said.

“For example, the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) is a Chinese-state owned aerospace and defense company which has now procured key components of the U.S. military aircraft supply chain.”

AVIC has been a target of tougher White House policies toward China’s unfair trade practices and covert technology acquisition efforts.

A U.S. Trade Representative office report published in March on Chinese technology theft included an extensive section on AVIC.

The state-run company is playing a major role in the China’s technology acquisition program by buying aviation-related companies, the USTR report said.

“Chinese firms have acquired at least 11 U.S. aviation companies, established three joint ventures, and signed five cooperation agreements since 2005,” the report said.

“The central state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) leads this investment effort, and, since 2010, has spent more than $3 billion acquiring U.S. and European aviation companies to address key gaps in general aviation technologies.”

AVIC in addition to building commercial aircraft is the sole domestic supplier of military aircraft to the PLA, the report said.

“AVIC’s acquisitions have facilitated the transfer of engine, avionics, and production processes to China, resulting in so-called ‘breakthroughs’ in domestic piston engine technology, solutions to production bottlenecks, and the development o advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) manufacturing (for both Chinese military use and for export to foreign countries),” the report said.

AVIC also has purchased companies that provided China with a full-scale general aviation aircraft engine business.

General aviation companies bought by China include Epic Aircraft in 2010, including all the company’s intellectual property and technology; Teledyne Technologies that developed full authority digital engine control technology; and Cirrus Aircraft, a large manufacturers of piston-engine powered aircraft.

AVIC also bought Southern Avionics & Communications Inc. a leader in avionics; United Turbine and UT Aeroparts that provides turbine aircraft engine services; Align Aerospace involved in supply chain services for the aerospace industry; and Danbury Aerospace that specializes in engine design and certification.

The USTR report quoted AVIC President Tan Ruisong as saying the company is engaged in “coordinated development” of both civilian and military products.

AVIC in 2010 created a $3 billion private equity fund to buy dual-use technology companies and to invest in research and development for Chinese aviation.

Chinese government support for AVIC purchases in the United States has included funding from the People’s Bank of China, the state bank, and the China Ex-Im Bank.

The tech transfers have allowed China’s defense industry to achieve a breakthrough in indigenous production of turbine and piston aircraft engines.

“Key breakthroughs were achieved in gasoline modified heavy oil technology, electric fuel injection technology, and turbocharging,” the report said.

The defense firm Jane’s IHS Markit, in a report on China’s advanced weaponry noted that AVIC also has purchased non-U.S. aircraft companies, including Germany’s Thielert Aircraft Engines, which makes diesel aircraft engines; and Britain’s AIM Altitude which makes both civilian and military aircraft components, including radar panels, missile containers, radomes, and sensor probes.

The Chinese also invested $30 million in Britain’s Gilo Industries, a company the produces rotary engines for unmanned vehicles.

The Jane’s report said China is seeking to invest in U.S. aircraft companies that are seeking access to the Chinese commercial aircraft market. Recent mergers and acquisitions by AVIC have included deals with Henniges, Align, Southern Avionics, Mooney, Enstrom, Glasair, Cirrus, Nexteer, Teledyne, Superior, and Brantly, the report said.

Joint ventures in the aviation sector have included deals between AVIC and GE, Cesna, and Brantly.

Greg Levesque, an expert on AVIC with the consulting firm Pointe Bello, said AVIC activities “greatly enhance China’s aviation manufacturing and technical capabilities which contribute to advances in PLA programs.” Sectors that benefit include advanced aircraft materials and engine technology.

“AVIC has through mergers and acquisitions filled critical gaps in its domestic general aviation industry over the last decade,” Levesque said.

“We’ve seen evidence of AVIC partnering with U.S. corporates to bid on U.S. government aircraft programs,” he added, noting a failed deal to build the VXX Marine One helicopter.

Rick Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the AVIC effort to buy into American firms is dangerous.

“If the Chinese become significant minority stakeholders in U.S. defense-aerospace or U.S. defense contractors, their strategy may be to have Chinese officers appointed to the leadership of these companies, constituting a very crude but obvious espionage threat,” Fisher said.

“If such Chinese, or loyal-to-China officers have access to company data bases, or even ‘keys’ to the headquarters building, that poses a significant espionage threat.”

The U.S. government should prohibit any stake by a Chinese state run company in any U.S. defense or aerospace firm, Fisher said.

China affairs experts Gordon Chang agrees.

“Beijing, with its attempts to buy American aircraft companies, looks absolutely determined to make CFIUS the most important agency in the Federal government,” Chang said of the Treasury Department-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
“There ought to be a law: No acquisitions of U.S. assets by Chinese state-owned entities unless Congress approves,” he said. “The last thing we should do is permit a militant Chinese state to buy assets, especially assets with military applications.”

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Chinese Aviation Firm Seeking Investment in U.S. Aircraft Makers”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Boeing signs deal to sell 300 planes worth $37 billion to China


Alwyn Scott November 9, 2017 / 6:40 PM / Updated 13 hours ago

(Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) said it signed an agreement on Thursday to sell 300 planes to China Aviation Supplies Holding Company worth $37 billion at list prices, one of several deals announced during a state visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to Beijing.

General Electric Co (GE.N) said it had signed jet engine deals worth $2.5 billion and a $1 billion agreement for power plant equipment and services.

State-run China Aviation Supplies, which leases planes to Chinese airlines, said the Boeing agreement covered 260 B-737s and 40 B-777s and B-787s. The breakdown between firm orders and non-binding commitments was not immediately available.

Analysts said, however, that some of the orders may be among more than 300 from undisclosed buyers posted this year, and it was not clear how much of the China deal was new business.

The new agreement also may overlap substantially with a similar, 300-plane agreement Boeing signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2015 visit to the United States..

That deal, valued at $38 billion at the time, included orders and commitments for 190 B-737s and 50 Boeing wide-body planes, as well as leases for an additional 60 B-737s.

A spokesman for the planemaker declined to comment on what proportion of the new China agreement represented new or existing orders, but it was believed that some of the orders were already in Boeing’s backlog. Boeing typically lets plane buyers determine what details to reveal about orders.

Boeing shares were down 1.4 percent at $260.30.

STRONG DEMAND

Boeing says one out of every four jetliners now rolling off its assembly lines is being delivered to Chinese customers, suggesting Chinese demand is strong, despite vagueness about how many actual Chinese orders it has won.

Plane makers also acknowledge a multi-step wooing process with customers such as China. The government first determines how many airplanes its airlines will need, allowing detailed contract discussions to take place. After talks conclude, the government must give final approval to the contracts before the orders become firm.

Some customers ask Boeing to not identify them as buyers even on firm orders, and China is typically among those, according to industry experts. Boeing had 323 orders by unidentified customers as of Nov. 7, of which 282 were for its 737 narrow body family.

Separately on Thursday, Boeing said it had received orders for 42 B-737 MAX jets and 10 B-787-9 Dreamliners from CDB Aviation, a unit of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co (1606.HK). The order was worth $7.4 billion at list prices.

Boeing and European rival Airbus (AIR.PA) have been jostling for market share in China, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, with both opening assembly plants in the country.

China’s owned aircraft fleet is currently equally split between Boeing and Airbus, but going by order book trends, Boeing seems to have gained a big lead in terms of the number of aircraft orders from China, said Corrine Png, chief executive of transport research firm Crucial Perspective.

China Aviation Supplies has also played a prominent role in deals announced during previous government exchanges.

In July, it agreed to buy 140 aircraft from Airbus in a deal worth $23 billion at list prices during a visit by Xi to Germany. It also was among three Chinese companies involved in the 2015 Boeing order.

Boeing’s latest signing in China follows an order for 39 wide-body jets from Singapore Airlines last month.

Earlier on Thursday, General Electric said it had signed deals worth $3.5 billion in China.

They included a $1.4 billion agreement for GEnx engines for 10 B-787-9 Dreamliners, signed with Juneyao Airlines Co Ltd (603885.SS) and ICBC Leasing, the leasing arm of state bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (601398.SS).

It also included an order valued at $1.1 billion for 80 LEAP engines made by CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran SA (SAF.PA) of France.

GE’s power division also signed a partnership agreement with China Datang Group to provide gas- and steam-powered turbines and components, plus services and digital technology for power projects in China. It valued that deal at $1 billion.

A GE spokesperson said its engine orders were new, and deferred to Boeing on how much of aircraft order was new.

Reporting by Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Ben Blanchard and Stella Qiu in BEIJING, Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in SINGAPORE and Alwyn Scott in NEW YORK; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bernadette Baum

Source: Reuters “Boeing signs deal to sell 300 planes worth $37 billion to China”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


US and China forge deal for mutual recognition of aircraft safety approvals


SCMP says in its report “US and China forge deal for mutual recognition of aircraft safety approvals” today that it was announced on October 27 that the US and China concluded US-China Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement. It says, “Under the agreement, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration of the US) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China will recognise the other’s regulatory systems for aircraft and parts.’

The agreement facilitates Boeing’s export of airliners to China but “may also help speed international approvals for the first Chinese aircraft designed to compete against single-aisle planes made by Boeing and Airbus SE”, SCMP said.

Source: SCMP “US and China forge deal for mutual recognition of aircraft safety approvals” (summary by Chan Kai Yee, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2117384/us-and-china-forge-deal-mutual-recognition-aircraft)


Beyond air show, newcomers challenge Airbus-Boeing duopoly


Visitors walk past the aircrafts on the static display. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

By Matthias Blamont and Victoria Bryan | PARIS Thu Jun 22, 2017 | 2:08pm EDT

This year’s Paris Air Show was dominated by the annual order battle between Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N), but industry executives said the duopoly will be forced to share the stage at future shows as newcomers from Russia, China and Japan muscle into the passenger plane market.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (7011.T) brought its MRJ regional jet to Europe for the first time during the air show. China and Russia carried out maiden flights of new narrow-body aircraft last month in their bids to enter the $100 billion-plus annual aerospace market.

The two countries have also set up a joint venture to build wide-body jets to challenge incumbents.

Consultants Alix Partners estimates that of the current order backlog of around 13,000 planes, about 7-8 percent are for planes from new entrants, among them Russia, China and Japan.

Delegates at the show said mounting a proper challenge will take Russia and China at least a decade. The newcomers face headwinds including proving their technology, and gaining customer confidence by deploying and maintaining a quality aircraft maintenance and support network.

“Overall, there are big steps not only on the product side but on the support and services side for the airlines to feel confident that they can go in and order those aircraft,” Pascal Fabre, managing director at Alix Partners in Paris, said.

However, China and Russia are large enough markets that orders from their home countries alone could propel the respective airliner ventures.

Among COMAC’s first customers for its C919 was China Eastern, which has ordered up to 20 planes from the Chinese manufacturer, while Aeroflot is due to take the Russian MS21.

COMAC said this week total orders for the C919 stood at 600 from 24 customers.

Giorgio Callegari, strategy and alliances director at Russian carrier Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), said people he met at the air show showed great interest in the MS21 and the Russian-China wide-body cooperation. Aeroflot is set to lease 50 MS21 planes from state defense conglomerate Rostec.

“If maybe in the past, Russian airplanes were discarded as a non-factor, they are now taken much more seriously and people can see that they are potentially a serious competitor,” he told Reuters.

The chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, said he would not have a problem buying jets from Chinese or Russian manufacturers, provided they met operational and performance requirements.

BATTLE FOR THIRD SPOT

Some executives at the airshow said the marketplace would eventually settle on three major manufacturers and placed their bets on China’s COMAC to win that third spot.

“Twenty years from now, I think there’ll be the big three manufacturers of Airbus, Boeing and China,” said Airbus sales chief John Leahy.

However, Leahy said it would be hard for countries to make billions of dollars of investments over decades to get the product line and support network up to scratch.

Cedric Goubet, vice president of commercial engines at Safran (SAF.PA), said he too is betting on the Chinese.

“My feeling is that it will be the Chinese. They have the resources, the skills, the national ambitions and a huge domestic market,” he said, while adding that it was also crucial to get export orders.

Dang Thiehong, deputy head of marketing at China’s COMAC, told Reuters the aircraft market was big enough to share. “We hope to provide our services and products to the market no matter in which part of the world,” he said.

China is crucial to the growth prospects of all the major airliner manufacturers.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing and sales at Boeing’s commercial aircraft division, cautioned against the dangers of underestimating new rivals, “Never sell your competition short.”

Japan’s Mitsubishi has set its sights on the regional jet market instead of going head to head with the larger planes sold by Airbus and Boeing or rising Chinese and Russian rivals.

Yugo Fukuhara, vice president sales and marketing at Mitsubishi, told Reuters, “Our vision of this business is to become one of two major regional plane makers. We don’t compete with China and Russia.”

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher, Andrea Shalal, Giulia Segreti, Cyril Altmeyer, Mike Stone; Editing by Adrian Croft)

Source: Reuters “Beyond air show, newcomers challenge Airbus-Boeing duopoly”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.