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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Made in China? A History of Reverse Engineering Part II

Due to the success of the first post, I decided to do a sequel with some clarifications between reverse engineering and imitation.

Outright Reverse Engineering 

In the following examples, designs originally built by both the U.S and Soviet Union were reverse engineered by China. For the purposes of this article, reverse engineering is defined as:

The reproduction of another manufacturer's product following detailed examination of its construction or composition. - Merriam Webster

Soviet Su-33

Chinese J-15

(For more information see: China's First Carrier Flight post)

American MK 48 Torpedo


Soviet BMP-1

Chinese Type 86

Soviet Mig 21

Chengdu Jian-7


The following Chinese designs have a remarkable degree of similarity both visually and operationally to their American counterparts. With the possible exception of the J-31, no reverse engineering occurred on the part of China in the literal sense.

American MQ-9 Reaper UAV (2007) put into service

Chinese Wing Loong (2012) First appearance

MQ-4 Global Hawk

Chengdu Xianglong

Lockheed Martin F-35 (X-35 first test flight 2000)

Shenyang J-31 (first test flight 2012)

Image Credits 

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