Chinese President Hu Jintao's high-profile visit to the US looks set to be followed by ambitious bids from China to supply platforms to meet two major US military aircraft procurement programmes.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is preparing proposals, in partnership with existing partner US aviation services group US Aerospace (USAE), to bid for the US Navy's VXX helicopter programme and the US Air Force T-X project to procure advanced jet trainers (AJT).
Don't get me wrong. I don't consider this a mega-scoop because AVIC, a state-owned Chinese firm, has even a slight chance of winning a contract to build the next helicopter for the president of the United States -- least of all with the AC-313, a Chinese rip-off of the French Navy's 50-year-old Super Frelon.
It's a mega-scoop because it shows the increasingly bizarre audacity of US Aerospace Inc knows no bounds. US Aerospace -- the haplessly hopeless Antonov partner for KC-X, the eight-month-old supplier with no track record, the Chinese-Russian-Ukrainian reseller founded by ex-Hollywood nightclub owners with a publicized fondness for hot-tubbing -- actually thinks it can propose a Chinese-built replacement for the US presidential helicopter. Wow.