Chengdu Aircraft is increasing marketing efforts with the long-awaited FC-1 fighter amid continued questions over the programme's long-term viability.

Chengdu has been focusing its attention on China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The company has released images of anFC-1 full-scale mock-up to Chinese aviation magazines, although the mock-up carries "Super 7" logos, the name that was previously used for the programme.

A mock-up is also expected to appear at the Paris air show later this month.

The FC-1 is now primarily a Chinese-Pakistan venture, although the programme has received significant Russian design input and is powered by the Klimov RD-93, a derivative of the RSKMiG-29Fulcrum's RD-33 engine, which is also used in the Chengdu J-10.

Despite repeated statements by Pakistan that China is committed to the programme, it is not clear whether the PLAAF will buy the FC-1.

India has hinted that Russia, its strategic partner, is not allowing China to sell the RD-93 to Pakistan. There have also been repeated delays in selecting a western avionics supplier, at least for the Pakistan air force's aircraft.

Meanwhile, Chinese sources say the FC-1 will be equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, which could include a new Chinese medium-range missile.

This could be the equally long-awaited active guided missile formerly known as the AMR-1, first revealed at the 1996 Zhuhai air show.

The FC-1 must overcome the PLAAF's desire to invest its scarce budget in the Chengdu J-10 multirole fighter, the multirole Shenyang J-8IIC, and the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30MKK.

Chengdu is also insulating itself against an end to the FC-1programme by investing company funding in the J-7MF, a further update of the J-7 with a chin intake and other improvements.

Source: Flight International