Continuous participation in International Army Games highlights China’s deepening strategic ties with Russia, says GlobalData

China will be debuting J-10B fighter, J-16 fighter and Y-20 large transport aircraft at the International Army Games 2021 in Russia. Other participating models include the H-6K bomber and Y-8 tactical transport aircraft, making 11 aircraft in total attending the event with all models independently produced in China. China’s continuous participation in the International Army Games since 2014 highlights its deepening strategic partnership with Russia, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The J-16 fighters have operated in a combat role in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) since 2017, whilst the Y-20 heavy transport aircraft has been involved in medical personnel and supply transport missions to COVID-19 hotspots in China.

Vera Lin, Aerospace, Defense and Security Associate at GlobalData, comments: “By sending a PLAAF fleet that includes these three aircraft to the International Army Games, China is showcasing the capabilities and combat readiness of domestically produced aircraft, as seen by how the Y-20 transport aircraft is currently replacing the PLAAF’s Russia-produced IL-76 aircraft. Based on the Y-20 performance in the competition, the aircraft may attract the attention of foreign buyers in a market that has been previously dominated by American made C-17 and Russian IL-76.”

China is also sending 17 teams representing the Army, Air Force and Navy services, with the strategic and the joint logistics support forces as new additions to the venues in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Iran. A notable participating platform is the Guangyuan corvette commissioned in 2017, also domestically produced and specializes in anti-submarine warfare in service with the Chinese Navy (PLAN).

Ms. Lin concludes: “The recent China-Russia ZAPAD/INTERACTION 2021 joint exercise in August demonstrated the PLA’s capacity for military cooperation with its regional partner. The games provide China a fantastic opportunity to showcase its latest equipment to its target market.”

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