China's HAIG rolled out its L-15B LIFT in a ceremony held at the company's Nanchang headquarters on 1 May. Source: CCTV screen grab

Defense analysts note that China hasn’t developed lethal ground-attack warplanes comparable to the US A-10 Warthog and Russia’s Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot. But that may be changing.

A Popular Science blog reports that China unveiled a new ground attack plane late last month. The L-15B can carry roughly three tons of weapons under its fuselage and wings. For ground attack, it can carry HJ-10 anti-tank missiles, and the LS series of 250-500kg laser- and satellite guided bombs.

The L-10 packs less punch than its US or Russian counterparts. For example, it doesn’t carry a tank-busting minigun like the A-10.

However, the new Chinese plane is a start. It may also signal a change in Chinese military doctrine to include more offensive, rather than defensive weaponry.