Arms & The Men
With India acquiring five S-400 Triumf missile defence systems from Russia, neighbouring China has made the debut flight of FTC-2000G – a new multirole combat aircraft developed for export by the State-owned defence giant Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) – in Anshun.
The state-run China Daily recently reported that the FTC-2000G flew for about 16 minutes amid thick clouds in the presence of more than 1,000 spectators, including AVIC executives, provincial leaders, foreign ambassadors and military attaches from various countries. The Daily quoted a senior Chinese official as saying that Beijing planned to export the low-cost fighter aircraft to other countries.
Although the aircraft has been built in China at a much lower cost, Beijing imported different parts from Russia mainly to manufacture its engines. The official admitted that China still doesn’t have the technology to manufacture the engine. Equipped with modern radar and fire-control systems, the twin-seat plane is capable of staying airborne for three hours in a single operation and can carry nearly three tonnes of missiles, rockets or bombs. The Chinese authorities claimed that the modified version of a new type of advanced training jet has a maximum speed of 1.2 Mach or 1,470km per hour, a maximum takeoff weight of 11 metric tonnes, a maximum flight range of 2,400km and an operational flight ceiling of 15km.
Speaking at a press conference, Chief Designer of the FTC-2000G at Guizhou Aviation Industry Hu Jianxing said: “The aircraft can fulfil a wide range of tasks, ranging from flight training and close-in air support to long-distance penetration airstrikes and air escorts.” Hu further said that the aircraft, which features high operational economy, could carry out tasks in all weather conditions and even at night! The fighter jet is very much capable to hit the target on the ground from the sky.
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Meanwhile, defence experts have opined that the new aircraft’s successful debut would help China reduce dependence on the old J7 and MiG-21 models and that would be a big boost for the Chinese defence sector.
The FTC-2000G could directly compete with South Korea’s FA-50 and Italy’s M346, although experts believe that FTC 2000G will be way ahead in the export market because of its low cost.
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