AOI is producing 80 of the low-priced jets under a five-year-old contract with China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation.

The deal underscores China's use of sales of inexpensive, low-technology military hardware to shore up ties with developing nations.

A prototype of the licensed aircraft was tested in 2001 and more than 40 have already been incorporated into the Egyptian Air Force's training brigade.
 
AOI was presented on Monday with a Certificate of Recognition for Phase II of K-8E production, Xinhua said, recognising the Egyptian company's production technology capability and management and quality control.

Chinese officials say the deal marked the first time China has transferred aircraft production technology abroad, although it has also worked with Pakistan in development of the K-8 and other aircraft.

Pakistan in April broke ground on a factory to produce the joint Pakistan-China developed JF-17 Thunder fighter jet.

China has scored some success with exports of trainer and basic attack planes such as the subsonic K-8, with Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Zambia also buying the plane.