China is still waiting for the Pakistan air force (PAF) to select a multimode radar for the Chengdu F-7MG so it can finalise an order for up to 60 of the improved fighters. Longer term plans to field the new Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) FC-1/Super 7 remain in limbo as the result of an even more protracted avionics and weapons suite selection.

Pakistan recently signalled its intent to proceed with the Chinese fighter order, which was first mooted two years ago. The order size has varied between 40 and 100 aircraft depending on the number of ageing fighters Pakistan intends to replace.

The aircraft were originally to replace the PAF's two remaining squadrons of elderly Shenyang F-6s (Chinese built MiG-19s). The need for modern aircraft has been further compounded by the increasing requirement to replace the PAF's Nanchang A-5 Fantans and F-7Ps as well as the USA's refusal to deliver the 71 Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs ordered in the early 1990s.

Delivery of the F-7MGhas been held back by Pakistan's procrastination over its radar choice. BAE Systems has been promoting the Super Skyranger, a pulse-Doppler version of the F-7P's Skyranger 226 ranging-only radar.

Fiar of Italy has proposed a development of its Grifo 7 radar with a wider, ±20í azimuth scan capability. The Grifo 7 is being retrofitted to 100 F-7Ps and is produced under license by the at Kamra.

The planned Super 7 continues to suffer delays due to an apparent Western reluctance to supply an integrated avionics and sensor suite. China has proposed a "locally integrated" suite as an alternative. First flight has slipped by two years to 2003.

Source: Flight International