US OFFICIALS have confirmed that Israel is helping China to develop an advanced combat aircraft using technology from the cancelled Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Lavi fighter. The link, denied by China and Israel was revealed exclusively, by Flight International (2-8 November 1994).

The Los Angeles Times quotes unnamed US Government officials as confirming Israel's role in helping to develop the Chinese fighter, which is unfolding at Chengdu. Prototype flight-testing is scheduled to begin within a year and the aircraft, comparable to the US Lockheed F-16, is expected to enter service within a decade.

The Chinese foreign ministry says that there is no co-operation with Israel on fighter development. The Lavi was developed with US funding.

Source: Flight International