#DXB09: China’s L-15 armed trainer makes Dubai debut


China‘slatest aerospace export candidate – the L-15 Falcon advanced jet trainer — willbe on full display at the Dubai Air Show, a rare glimpse of the supersonic aircraftoutside its home country.

The L-15, a product of Hongdu Aviation and a look-alike ofthe Yakovlev Yak-130, is making the rounds of major air shows seeking its firstexport order. Its appearance in Dubai followsthe two-seat jet’s debut at the MAKS air show in Moscow three months ago.

Since entering flight test in 2006, the L-15 has been linkedto sales discussions in China,Russia and Venezuela. The Middle East could prove fertile ground for potentialsales. Jordan,in particular, is looking for a new lead-in trainer as it receives upgradedF-16s. Recent F-16 fighter sales in Oman,and requirements for new fighters in Iraq,Kuwait and Qatar also could attract interest in China‘s L-15.

The L-15 that joins the flying display in Dubai is likely one of the first threeprototypes powered by ZMKB Progress DV-2 engine. Hongdu has selected Ukraine‘sIvchenko-Progress AI-222-25F engine for production versions.

As Hongdu travels to the Middle East seeking export orders,the status of the L-15 inside Chinaremains uncertain.

The L-15 is competing with the Guizhou Aircraft IndustryCorporation JL-9 to win a contract to supply and advanced lead-in jet trainerfor the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

Perhaps seeking to mitigate the risk of a contract loss, Hongduhas started publicly discussing new variants of the L-15, including one-seat,armed and naval versions.


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