Chinese Flying Leopard fighters in multi-subjects joint training
Recently, a regiment of the aviation force under the South Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) organized its FBC-1 fighter-bombers, also known as "Flying Leopard" to conduct multi-subjects joint training under the background of actual combat, so as to improve the actual-combat capability of its fighters.
Xian JH-7 or Jian Hong-7 is a twin engine, lightweight fighter bomber aircraft designed and manufactured by Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation, China to meet the requirements of People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). Its NATO reporting name is Flounder. It was built to replace the Chinese ageing fleet of Harbin H-5 and Nanchang Q-5 aircraft.
The export version of two seat JH-7 fighter is known as the FBC-1 (Fighter Bomber China-1) Flying Leopard. The maiden flight was completed in December 1988 and the aircraft entered into service in 1992. About 70 JH-7 aircraft are currently operational worldwide. The aircraft can operate day and night in all weather conditions.
JH-7 fighter bomber variants
The JH-7 fighter bomber has four variants namely JH-7A, JH-7B, FBC-1 Flying Leopard and FBC-1A Flying Leopard II.
The JH-7A is an upgraded version of the original JH-7 aircraft. JH-7A is the first aircraft designed with CAD or CAM CATIA V.5 software. This variant is additionally equipped with digital fly by wire controls, ventral fins, a glass cockpit and a single piece windscreen. The number of hard points in the variant is increased to 11.
The JH-7B is an advanced version of JH-7A. It has stealthier features compared to JH-7A.
FBC-1 Flying Leopard is an export version of JH-7. It was unveiled in 1998 and features a helmet mounted sight, a glass cockpit and user defined radars.
FBC-1A Flying Leopard II is an export version of JH-7A and was unveiled to the public in September 2003. This variant features 11 hard points which can carry 9,000kg of external stores.
Orders and deliveries
The JH-7 was delivered to the PLANAF in 1990. Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation supplied 20 JH-7s to the PLANAF in 1992. The PLAN acquired 20 more aircraft between 2002 and 2004 upon completion of the aircraft's final design in 1998.
The proposal to develop a new fighter bomber was submitted to the Ministry of Aeronautics (MoA) by the People's Liberation Army in 1970. Two different variants of single airframe were proposed by Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation to cater to the needs of both PLAAF and PLAN. The air force variant was dropped in 1980 while the naval variant was built to execute anti-ship missile strike missions. The full scale production of original JH-7 began in 1984. The first JH-7 prototype was rolled out in August 1988 and unveiled to the public in September 1988 at Farnborough International Air Show.
The first batch of 12 to 18 JH-7 aircraft was delivered to both PLNAF and PLAAF for evaluation in the 1990's. The PLAAF declined to acquire JH-7 due to its old technology and unreliable Spey turbofan engines. The air force finally agreed to procure aircraft after upgrading the avionics and weapons suite with state-of-the-art technology. The upgraded JH-7 is known as JH-7A and was delivered to PLAAF in 2004.
Source: (english.people.com.cn) News - 20 March 2013
Photo: The photo shows Chinese Air Force (PLAAF) FBC-1 Flying Leopard Fighter Ground Bombers, also known as "Flying Leopard", in the multi-subjects joint training under the background of actual combat. (Photo by China Military Online/ Zhang Qun)