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The JDAM-style bomb that was displayed in a large diagram on the Kotel stand at CIDEX showed the use of their components in what appears to be the Fei Teng (FT)-1 bomb developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

China’s military now has several types of precision-guided munitions that have been made public in recent years and that weapons specialists say use Kotel-produced components.

The Luoyang Optical-Electronic Technology Development Center produces the Leishi (LS)-6 extended-range glide bomb and the (Leiting) LT-2 laser-guided bomb. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology produces two JDAM-type bombs known as the FT-1 and FT-3.

Not surprisingly, CIDEX is one of only two expositions that take place in China with official support from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) General Armaments Department.

 Foreign participants — sellers and buyers — are aware of the PLA sponsorship. On the buying side, foreign delegations came from Russia and Ukraine looking at purchasing Chinese electronics and other components and systems for their own weapons applications.

African states were shopping for air defense and precision weapons technology, and a delegation from cash-poor North Korea was observed at the show looking to purchase sensor technology likely for use in controlling its increasingly porous borders.

The problem with North Korea, said one Chinese industry representative, “is that they are always looking for us to give them products for free — as military aid.”

“This is not very attractive for us when we are instead in the business of trying to find real buyers who will pay real money for our products,” the Chinese company official said.

In pursuit of those goals, Chinese high-technology defense firms are moving beyond traditional markets of developing states in Africa and other buyer nations like Pakistan and Burma.

Instead, they are bidding on major lucrative deals for air-defense networks for South American nations, where they have been going head-to-head in competition with U.S. and European defense firms. A decade ago, China’s technology level would not have allowed them to compete with Western suppliers.

For companies trying to sell defense goods to China, one of the more prominent participants at CIDEX was a Norwegian guidance system and navigation technology firm called Sensonor. Its MEMS components far exceed the capabilities of similar Chinese-produced components. One small unit produced by the company weighs 55 grams — about 2 ounces — and replaces earlier-generation fiber-optic and laser-based guidance components that weigh many times more.

“In many areas, Chinese [military] equipment is either equal to in capability or superior to that designed in Russia in the present day,” said a Moscow-based defense analyst. “It is only a matter of time before they pass up Russia completely and achieve parity with U.S. and European weapon systems.”

Like many international exhibitions, CIDEX is held once every two years. But the difference between this venue and most other defense expos around the world is that with each show, Chinese industry shows far more growth than most observers expected in 24 months.

What Chinese industry achieved so far in 2010 likely would take most other states with comparably advanced high-technology enterprises until 2012 or later.