Handbags, smartphones, movies, beverages and, now, even military technology — China’s copycat culture has taken itself to new heights if its weapons systems are any indication.
China’s growing military assertiveness has now been strengthened by weapons cloned from other countries’ technologies. For instance, U.S. aircraft Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Northrop Grumman X-47B both have Chinese “clones” that look similar to them.
Most of these Chinese copycat weapons were said to have been acquired through cyberhacking and spying campaigns; others, like Russia’s designs, were gotten through reverse-engineering.
Currenty, China is exporting cheaper knockoff weapons to the international market, threatening Russia’s own trade. However, observers are saying that Chinese clone weapons are more style over performance. And, despite the inexpensiveness of the copies, most clients remain reluctant to purchase China’s weapons.
However, with China’s increasingly sophisticated cyber espionage campaigns, U.S. military officials are worried that China’s clone weapons might soon possess — or even exceed — the capabilities and quality of their original counterparts.