Chinese plan to fly light fighter prototype in 2000

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Geoff Thomas

Pride of place on the CATIC stand (B212) is taken by a nose and forward fuselage section of the Chengdu FC-1, described as a 'new generation single-seater multi-role light fighter'.

This is a project whose origins go back many years, pre-Tiananmen Square, when Grumman was heavily involved in what was then known as the Chengdu Super-7 programme. The design partner then became MAPO MiG, and it's believed that the Russian bureau is still involved with the project.

It had been thought that the Super-7 designation had been dropped, but as it appears in large letters on the upper surface of the FC-1's nose this is presumably not the case.

CATIC's FC-1 spokesman Niu Xintang explained at the show yesterday that the only part of the aircraft which exists so far is the section displayed on the stand.

He also hopes the Pakistanis will maintain their financial involvement in the project and that they will eventually order the aircraft for the Pakistan air force although this is far from certain.

The Chinese claim that the aircraft will have advanced aerodynamics, up-to-date avionics and an integrated weapons system. Power will be provided by a Chinese-made version of Russia's Klimov RD-33 which will be known as the RD-93. It will also be fitted with a Martin-Baker Mk16 ejection seat.

A top speed of Mach 1.6 is claimed for the FC-1 at 54,000ft (16,500m) while the planned maximum take-off weight is 12,700kg.