Is­rael-China link

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

De­fense intelligence of­fi­cials said last week that China’s new J-10 jet fighter was built with the help of Is­rael, un­der the U.S.-spon­sored Lavi jet fighter pro­gram can­celed back in 1987.

“China’s J-10 pro­gram was as­sisted by en­gi­neers who worked on the Is­raeli Lavi pro­gram,” one de­fense of­fi­cial told Inside the Ring. “The J-10 and Lavi share many of the same de­sign el­e­ments.”

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cials, Rus­sia also has helped with the J-10 pro­gram, help­ing Bei­jing to de­velop a new J-10 en­gine to re­place the cur­rent one — a Chi­nese copy of the CFM-56 jet en­gine de­vel­oped jointly by Gen­eral Electr ic and the French com­pany Snecma.

The J-10 was un­der de­vel­op­ment in se­cret for years but its de­ploy­ment was only ac­knowl­edged by Bei­jing in Jan­uar y 2007. It is con­sid­ered a fourth­gen­er­a­tion fighter-bomber com­pa­ra­ble to the U.S. F-16.

The de­fense of­fi­cials’ com­ments fol­lowed a re­por t in Jane’s Defence Weekly stat­ing that the J-10 is a close copy of the Lavi jet, and that Chi­nese de­vel­op­ers had ac­cess to a Lavi pro­to­type in Chengdu, where the J-10 was de­signed and built. Doc­u­ments in He­brew on the Is­rael Air­craft In­dus­tries jet also were ob­served by Rus­sian en­gi­neers, the mag­a­zine stated.

The Lavi was de­vel­oped with $1.8 bil­lion in U.S. aid to Is­rael. De­fense Sec­re­tary Don­ald H. Rums­feld in 2005 sharply re­stricted U.S. mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy shar­ing with Is­rael over con­cerns about Is­raeli-Chi­nese mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion.

The Is­raeli-Chi­nese J-10 co­op­er­a­tion in­volved “decades”long ex­changes be­tween Rus­sian, Is­raeli and Chi­nese air­craft de­vel­op­ers, the mag­a­zine stated, quot­ing Rus­sians in­volved in the pro­gram. The co­op­er­a­tion in­cluded ex­ten­sive de­sign and per­for­mance mod­el­ing, wind-tun­nel test­ing and ad­vanced aero­dy­namic de­sign in­put.

Richard Fisher, a spe­cial­ist on China’s mil­i­tary with the In­ter na­tional As­sess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter, said the J-10Lavi co­op­er­a­tion “con­firms the need for con­tin­ued Amer­i­can vig­i­lance to pre­vent mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy sales to China from Is­rael or any other ally.”

“This is now a tragedy for the peo­ple of Is­rael and the United States, given the high chances that China will sell the J-10 to Iran,” he said, adding that Is­rael should fully dis­close the ex­tent of mil­i­tar y co­op­er­a­tion with China, “a coun­try that aids the en­e­mies of Is­rael, and threat­ens Amer­ica and many of its al­lies.”

An Is­raeli Em­bassy spokesman said he is check­ing the re­por t. A Chi­nese Em­bassy spokesman could not be reached.

Chi­nese and Is­raeli of­fi­cials in the past have de­nied any links be­tween the J-10 and the Lavi.

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