China to supply the President's Helicopter?

China wants to get into the business of suppling the US with military arms.

Yes. Really.

Honestly, that just shows to me how capitalist much of China has become. But I really dont think that they are going to pull this one off.


Essentially, the Chinese state aircraft manufacturer AVIC has been getting a lot better at building pretty good designs, cheaply. The two main contracts they are looking at going after right now are the Marine One - the fleet of 19 helicopters which ferries El Presidente and others around. One would not think that 19 helicopters would be that big a contract... but the last one, cancelled a year ago, was originally for $13 billion, and with $3 billion spent, Lockheed was projecting each helicopter would cost more than $1 billion. About the same price as a B-1, which is way freaking cooler.


The other contract is to replace the ageing but much loved T-38 jet trainers, on which our Air Force pilots have been cutting their supersonic teeth since the 1960's. This is a big deal, as it eventually will be for about 1,000 aircraft, after us and our allies are included.

The thing is, it is never going to happen. First, they have chosen U.S. Aerospace as their US bid partner. The company is headed by veteran aerospace executive Jim Worsham and is best known for an making an unsuccessful bid last year to enter cargo planes made by Antonov, a state-run Ukrainian company, in a competition to supply the U.S. Air Force with a new aerial tanker. The company, whose shares had traded over the counter, filed Jan. 28 with the Securities and Exchange Commission to deregister its stock. It their last quarter they lost $11.5 million on revenue of $660,144. In other words, the company is a complete failure.

Second, who the hell are they kidding?

Even if they are just selling the airframe and all the avionics and military systems come from the US, the chance that the US will fly its President around in Chinese helicopters or train its pilots to fly in Chinese aircraft is 0%. "Value" does not even play a role here. Image and prestige play a big part in any military, and a proud military is a strong military. There is no damn way that the US will buy military aircraft from its #1 competitor. Hell, there has been a huge fight over buying tankers from the Europeans, and even though they had the better aircraft, that contract eventually had to be split with Boeing.

Will China gain traction in some international markets? Sure. Just not this one. At least until we lose the war with them, then we can change policies.

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