Chinese experts warn that foreign-developed aircraft design software dominates the world's market, leaving China's aircraft industry vulnerable to foreign manipulation, Science and Technology Daily reported Wednesday.
Yao Weixing, a Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics professor, and the chief designer of a four-seat light aircraft, the NH40 made the remarks during an interview with Science and Technology Daily.
According to Yao, the world's aircraft industry entered the digital era in the 1980s, and current aircraft designs have become highly dependent on software.
The development process of aircraft design software started almost simultaneously in China and foreign countries, but the market has been completely controlled by foreign products, Yao said.
Domestic design firms have to invest millions of dollars to purchase foreign software, mainly those from the U.S. and Europe, to design a single airplane, making the country's aviation industry most vulnerable to foreign controls, Yao warned.
The maiden flight of the country's J-10 fighter jet was reportedly delayed because of a 5-millimeter design error on its main landing gear, which was manufactured by foreign firms. China had to reorder the gear because it lacks its own software, causing a delay of eight to nine months before the fighter jet's first flight.
Foreign software has a better system for upgrades, and is more user-friendly compared to Chinese-developed software, Yao said.
Yao called for the country to create more favorable policies to encourage the development and use of the domestically-created aviation software.
Colleges and universities should also improve their assessment mechanism, allowing researchers to spend more time developing new processes without being worried they will receive a bad assessment.