A US MILITARY-intelligence assessment claims that China has acquired US technology used on the Israeli Lavi fighter for its own Chengdu F-10 next-generation combat-aircraft programme.

Israel and China deny that US technology supplied for Israel's cancelled Lavi fighter was used to develop China's F-10.

The US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) says: "US technology has been acquired through Israel in the form of the Lavi fighter and possibly SAM [surface-to-air missile] technology."

Word of the military-technology transfer was contained in a recently released 36-page report entitled Worldwide Challenges to Naval Strike Warfare. The report concludes that China's indigenous fighters are "very simple" and lack "great combat effectiveness", but that China's aviation industry "...is gaining the required technologies to build first-rate aircraft".

The ONI says that the 48 Sukhoi Su-27SK interceptors purchased recently purchased from Russia will allow China "...to bridge the gap until the indigenously built point-defence F-10 enters service after 2000".

The report says that China has given the development of aircraft carriers "top priority." It says that China has indicated that two 48,000t ships with a complement of up to 40 fixed-wing aircraft will be built by 2005. "A number of fighters, including the new F-10, are being considered for at-sea basing," the report continues.

The ONI suggests that the F-10 may challenge the McDonnell Douglas F-18E/F in speed and agility. "The F-10 represents a dramatic step forward for Chinese military aviation. The aircraft has particularly good agility," the report states.

Source: Flight International