Chinese arms producers have been racing to keep up with their production schedule after resuming work following an extended Spring Festival holiday due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with a key amphibious assault ship maker scrambling to outfit an “important” ship and aviation companies running test flights for newly built warplanes.
Shaanxi Aircraft Industry (Group) Corporation Ltd under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) was the first to send a new aircraft into the sky after resuming work on February 10, a little more than a week later than the original plan, cannews.com, an aviation news website run by AVIC, reported on Monday.
With the support of the Chinese Air Force, the company successfully conducted a test flight for a newly built KJ-500 early warning aircraft, according to the report.
Hongdu Aviation Industry Group, another subsidiary of AVIC, conducted a test flight for a new L-15 advanced training and light combat jet on Monday, according to a statement the company released on its WeChat public account on Monday.
Other AVIC subsidiaries, including fighter jet makers Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Co Ltd and Shenyang Aircraft Company Limited, have also resumed operation, cannews.com said.
Shipyards, including the Dalian Shipyard and Jiangnan Shipyard, which are known for their construction of aircraft carriers and destroyers, also resumed work on February 10 with extra attention being paid to epidemic control measures, according to statements the companies released recently.
Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co Ltd, which is making the Type 075 amphibious assault ship, has also resumed operation, as it used reserve manpower to replace workers who could not make it back to work in time due to the epidemic, in a bid to keep to the original schedule for an important ship that is undergoing outfitting work, the company said in a Friday statement.
An industry insider, who only spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on Monday that some state-owned enterprises have devised a six-day working scheme to make up for delays in the progress of key projects.
Military experts told the Global Times previously that while the virus may have an impact on China’s weapons and equipment programs, it will be short-term, as the outbreak is expected to only last for a few months at worst.
Prioritizing the health and safety of people is absolutely the right course to avoid fatalities and to mitigate any long-term impact, experts said.