The US attempted to export F-14s to China but was unsuccessful.

When the Sino-American relationship was still in its honeymoon period, the US tried to sell China the F-14 Tomcat, its most modern fighter jet. However, the deal was a failure.

The F-14 Tomcat is regarded as the famous fighter of the US Navy because it served as the primary fighter during the Cold War’s most severe phase, making it one of the earliest 4th generation fighters ever manufactured. The F-14 made its initial flight in 1970 and joined the US Navy in 1974. The F-14 is thought to have more advanced capabilities than Soviet aircraft from the same era. Up until the introduction of the Su-27, there was no longer a difference between American and Soviet fighters.

The F-14 was one of the most adaptable fighters in the US Navy’s arsenal at the time, capable of acting as an interceptor for fleet defense, a sea superiority fighter, and a tactical aerial reconnaissance vehicle. The F-14 adopted the classic late 1960s sweeping wing design (folded, spread), with two vertical tailplanes; Its shape resembles an arrow shot and is rife with science fantasy. To give the pilot better visibility, the nose was significantly lowered during design.

In comparison to the Soviet Union and Western nations, the Chinese Air Force was seen as having a backward air force in the 1970s and 1980s. The reason for this is that China did not have access to current aviation technology because, prior to that time, it promoted “self-reliant defense.” At that time, the majority of Chinese fighters were 1950s-era Soviet aircraft clones, such as the J-6 (a MiG-19 replica), J-7, and J-8 (copy of MiG-19). J-8 and MiG-21 (improved MiG-21, when adding an engine and making it bigger and longer). J-6 lacks radar, J-7 had it but it was weak and undersized,

The US was “pleased” with China at the time and provided it with a wide range of contemporary weapons to aid Beijing in implementing its “four modern” agenda. At that time, the Chinese Army nearly completely controlled the F-14 story. The Chinese Air Force sent a mission to the West in the 1980s to conduct inspections in order to outfit a modern fighter aircraft. Among other fighter jets, the American F-14, F-16, and French Mirage 2000 were also taken into consideration.

In order to establish confidence with Beijing and find a market for the F-14, the US attempted to export it to China at a time when the relationship between China and the US was in its “honeymoon stage.” Previously, Iran was the only country that purchased this kind of fighter.

However, China had only recently begun to reform and open up, and the economic climate did not permit the purchase of such a pricey and sophisticated fighter. Second, the US government has very severe rules around technology; they only permit the purchase of finished goods and do not permit the transfer of technology. As a result, the F-14 export to China did not materialize.

However, experts claim that the issue was not one of “money,” as China’s desire to modernize its air force at the time was urgent; rather, China’s military aviation infrastructure at the time was constructed in accordance with Soviet standards, which precluded China from acquiring the F-14.

If China outfits American fighters, it would have to overhaul every aspect of military aviation, including radar guidance, airfields, and fuel supplies. China would have trouble affording such an investment.

What matters more is the Americans’ “pragmatism” in not wanting a “Chinese replica of the F-14” and in merely selling planes rather than passing on technology like they did with Japan. This demonstrated its accuracy.

Americans later saw a number of Su-27s in “Chinese variant” form with the designation J-11.

The US has pledged to protect Taiwan, a territory that China claims. If China uses force to unite Taiwan, Taiwan will of course receive the F-14 secrets from the US, which will allow China to use its most advanced fighters as “hostages” or for “shows.”

Importantly, relations between the Soviet Union and China improved after Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. China later purchased numerous defense technologies, including the Su-27 fighter, from the Soviet Union at that time in top-secret form.

According to Beijing’s assessments, when a deal to purchase Su-27s from the Soviet Union was reached, China soon acquired the technology needed to produce contemporary fighters. China already had contemporary fighters when the defense partnership with the West reached a “frozen” period.

which was fully capable of handling the US F-14 or F-15.

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