September 13, 2018 / 7:23 AM / a year ago

China to parade aviation prowess at November expo, but C919 jet a no-show

China's domestically developed C919 passenger jet is seen during its second test flight near Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China September 28, 2017. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. - RC1B7076A9C0

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will show off its growing military aviation strength at its biggest airshow in November, with fighter jet flypasts and its largest display of weaponry ever, an air force spokesman said on Thursday.

President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping modernization of the armed forces in a bid to project power far from China’s shores and the 2016 airshow saw the first public unveiling of the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter.

“The air force will further showcase its brand-new image at home and broad of ‘real battle, transitioning and strategic air force’” Shen Jinke told a news conference ahead of the biannual event, set for Nov. 6 to 11 in the southern city of Zhuhai.

Also going on display are China’s self-developed fighter training FTC-2000 aircraft, which it now exports, as well as a historically-high number of weapons, more than half making their first appearance at the show, he added.

The show is also an opportunity for China to show off its growing civil aviation capabilities as it strives to become an aircraft maker that can eventually rival Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus (AIR.PA).

However, state planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) said its C919 single-aisle jet, which took its first flight in May last year, will not appear at the show. The company’s booth will display a model instead, as in prior years.

“We cannot send C919 as two of our planes are undergoing flight tests elsewhere,” Yang Yang, its deputy general manager of sales and marketing, told Reuters.

The third C919 jet will be completed by the end of this year, he added.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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