Chinese Jets Today At Bygone Price

mardi 23 novembre 2010 Nov 22, 2010

ZHUHAI, CHINA– Airshow China is hosting the first international demonstration of the Chengdu JF-17/FC-1, flown here by a team from the Pakistan air force. Officials from China’s Aviation Industries of China (Avic) and China Aero-Technology Import Export Corporation (Catic) tell Aviation Week that despite the low price of the aircraft, it is not a low-tech piece of equipment, but rather a “21st century product.”

Catic Vice President Zeng Wen told Show News “one of the most impressive features of the JF-17 is its diverterless air inlets – negating the need for the intakes to be designed with a boundary layer diverter. This is an achievement in aerodynamics that only the most advanced aircraft designs in the world are configured with – and those others are very high-priced designs like the F-22 or F-35. Another element is that the avionics package of the JF-17 is very advanced – it is equivalent to most of the top-level aircraft in the world. There is also a full glass cockpit.”

What makes the JF-17 a lower-priced platform given its performance is that it is not an aircraft that was designed from scratch, says Catic. Instead, its onboard systems are a scaled-downed adaptation of the configuration from the other famous Chengdu fighter, the J-10. “This transfer of technology — transposing the aircraft systems from the J-10 to the JF-17 — is what makes the JF-17 so cost-effective,” Catic says.

Catic cannot confirm which nations are interested in either a JF-17 or J-10 purchase — although there has been significant interest in both platforms by different countries. A shortlist of prospective buyers for the JF-17 includes Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria and others. What Catic will say is that “almost any of these countries which have in inventory MiG-21s, J-7s, A-5s, older Mirages — even countries with F-5s — would see the JF-17 as an attractive replacement option.”

Sales of the J-10 are a more sensitive subject, despite several statements by the Pakistan air force that it is interested in the aircraft. “Any country that wants a strong air force would consider a J-10 purchase,” Catic says.
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