Tags: U.S. | Plane | Now | Part | Chinese | Air | Force

U.S. Plane Now Part of Chinese Air Force

Tuesday, 20 September 2005 12:00 AM

The Chinese army has converted a U.S.-made airliner into an advanced military command aircraft. The conversion is a direct violation of U.S.-Sino trade agreements and U.S. export laws. Officials at the U.S. State and Commerce departments refused to comment on the illegal Chinese modification.

Photographs of the converted jet surfaced earlier this year and were the subject of an article by investigative reporter Bill Gertz. Now new, close-up photos of the converted jetliner have appeared. The aircraft, identified as a Boeing 737, tail number B-4052, was sold to China United Airlines (CUA) in 1990 by Indonesia. Xian Aircraft Corporation modified the jet airliner into a flying command post for the Chinese army.

One prominent feature of the new airborne command post is a satellite antenna fairing on top of the forward fuselage. Two more data link and communication fairings are located underneath the mid-section of the fuselage.

The aircraft now serves the Chinese army and is intended to fly PLA commanders during war. The 737 is intended to allow a PLA crew of generals and staff to fly close to a battlefield, issuing commands to their army, navy and air force from the airborne headquarters.

China United Airlines currently operates a fleet of ten Boeing 737-300 airliners as troop and VIP transports. According to Aviation Week and Space Technology, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) obtained the U.S. jet transports in 2000 through a purchase approved by the Clinton administration.

Images obtained from official Chinese TV outlets show the civilian airliners being manned and operated by military crews. U.S. defense intelligence officials confirmed that the Chinese air force is currently operating the ten Boeing China United airliners as military troop transports.

According to a 1994 U.S. military report, the Clinton administration was aware that China United Airlines was owned by the PLAAF. Documentation obtained using the Freedom of Information Act shows that China United Airlines is actually one of several businesses wholly owned and operated by the PLAAF.

"China United Airlines (CUA) is a commercial entity of the PLA Air Force," states a 1994 report on the Chinese military issued by Lt. Col. Dennis Blasko, former U.S. defense attaché to Beijing.

"The major enterprise subordinate to the PLA Air Force is the China Lantian (Blue Sky) Industrial Corp," noted Blasko.

"Also affiliated to Lantian is the Tian Ma (Sky Horse) Brand of vehicles and vehicle repair parts and facilities."

China United Airlines does more for the Chinese air force than shuttle VIPs and operate a new airborne HQ. According to its own Web site, the PLAAF-owned China United Airlines also operates a small fleet of Russian-made Ilyushin IL-76 jet transports.

The IL-76 four-engine jet is the current front-line PLAAF military transport, and the Chinese civil version is frequently armed with a cannon located in a rear turret.

Officially all of the Russian-made IL-76 transports belong to China United Airlines (CUA). The IL-76 aircraft are registered with the four-digit numbering system used by civilian aircraft. The Russian transport aircraft are also painted in the civil China United Airlines scheme.

In fact, the IL-76 jet transports are actually operated by the PLAAF 13th Air Division based at Wuhan, Hubei Province, and the PLAAF 34th Air Division based at Nanyuan AFB, Beijing.

The Chinese official TV outlet frequently broadcasts images of the China United Airlines IL-76 transports dropping paratroopers, tanks and artillery directly onto the battlefield during Chinese military exercises.

China United Airlines also operates a sophisticated spy aircraft for the PLAAF, again using the CUA peacetime paint scheme as flying camouflage. China United Airlines aircraft B-4138, a Russian-made TU-154M three-engine airliner, flies under an international civilian number as a passenger plane.

However, defense analysts confirmed that B-4138 is actually a Chinese air force spy plane equipped with a sophisticated radar and communications equipment. The heavily modified TU-154M airliner is equipped with an array of communications antenna on the rear and a huge radar dome on the bottom of the aircraft.

Charles Smith will appear live at the United Republicans of California convention on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005 in Arcadia. For UROC information call 626-796-7787.

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The Chinese army has converted a U.S.-made airliner into an advanced military command aircraft. The conversion is a direct violation of U.S.-Sino trade agreements and U.S. export laws. Officials at the U.S. State and Commerce departments refused to comment on the illegal...
U.S.,Plane,Now,Part,Chinese,Air,Force
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2005-00-20
Tuesday, 20 September 2005 12:00 AM
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