Source: | Monday April 16, 2001

Downed Chinese F-8 Carried Israeli Missile


TEL AVIV - China has deployed Israeli air-to-air missiles on its F-8 fighter-jet, one of which was downed during a crash with a U.S spy plane on April 1.

The Israeli Haaretz daily reported that the Chinese F-8 fighter-jet contains the Python-3 air-to-air missile. The misile was developed and produced by the state-owned Rafael, Israel Armament Development Authority.

The Python-3 missile can be seen in a video taken in January that was played during a weekend news conference by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after the release of the captured American crew. The crew of the EP-3 plane was released last week.

The newspaper said Israel's defense officials are concerned that the appearance of the Python-3 on the Chinese F-8 could lead to renewed U.S. demands to end all defense cooperation between Jerusalem and Beijing. In July, the Republican-dominated Congress and the Clinton administration pressured Israel to halt the sale of the Phalcon airborne early-warning system to China.

Since the suspension of the sale, Israeli-Chinese military cooperation has been shelved. Over the last few months, officials from both countries are discussing a revival of such relations.

The Python-3 was sold to China with U.S. consent, Israeli defense sources said. Israel has since developed and marketed the Python-4.