Chinese L-15 advanced jet trainer showcased at Dubai Airshow 2021

China displayed its L-15 advanced jet trainer at the Dubai Airshow in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on November 14 along with other Chinese arms products, the first time that the Chinese military aviation sector has systematically exhibited its products in a large comprehensive international airshow outside the country since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Chinese L 15 advanced jet trainer showcased at Dubai Airshow 2021 01 An L-15, a Chinese supersonic training aircraft, rehearses on November 13, 2021 a demonstration flight ahead of the 2021 Dubai Airshow (Picture source: VCG)

The L-15 and the series of weapons it can carry were the main objects of the outdoor static exhibition area, according to a press release that Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the maker of the aircraft, sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

The show will fully demonstrate the L-15's ability to perform both air defense and ground attack missions as an attack aircraft.

In its much-anticipated flight performance, the L-15 made an appearance again and completed a number of operations such as vertical maneuvering, horizontal maneuvering, horizontal rolls, reversed flights, large angle and small speed passes, and vertical jumps.

The L-15 is China's best model in terms of advanced trainers, Wang Yanan, a senior expert on aerospace science and technology, told the Global Times on Sunday. "After the Airshow China in Zhuhai in October, China brought it to Dubai, reflecting the importance it attaches to the Middle East arms trade market."

Middle Eastern countries are more demanding about the arms trade, and the trainers they bought in the past were generally produced in the US, UK or Italy, Wang said. "Now, the L-15 is at the same level of the products of these developed countries, and offers more advantages in terms of price."

The Middle East has always been a hot spot in the arms trade because of the countries' willingness to procure high-level equipment. In the past, China did not have many exportable products that fit the region's situation, Wang noted. "But there has been a big change in recent years. For example, China's drones have gained popularity."

Wang pointed out that the L-15 is a good fit for the Middle East because it can be used as a trainer and can also perform diverse combat missions.

"The L-15's appearance at the Dubai Airshow is expected to attract potential long-term customers for China," Wang said.

Apart from the L-15, the arms products China presented at the Dubai Airshow covered major categories such as helicopters, transport aircraft and airborne weapons.

According to the organizer, the Airshow attracted more than 1,200 exhibitors from more than 20 countries and regions, and displayed more than 160 aircraft, a record high.