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Mikoyan joins Chengdu on fighter

CHENGDU AIRCRAFT (CAC) has teamed with Mikoyan MAPO to design and produce a new single-engine fighter to replace China's now defunct Super-7 project

The FC-1 is being developed as a private venture funded by CAC, China National Aero-Technology Import and Export (CATIC) and Pakistan. The aircraft is aimed principally at the export market, with the Pakistan air force expected to be the initial user.

CATIC is pushing for support from Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) and is confident of selling the lightweight fighter to China's PLA air force.

The aircraft has been under development since 1991, and is now in the detailed design phase. Two partial forward- and rear- fuselage mock-ups have been completed. A single-seat prototype is scheduled for a first flight in 1997. A two-seat aircraft is also planned.

Production is due to start in 1999 at CAC. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex will initially, produce parts for the FC-1 and is discussing the establishment, of a second production line.

Mikoyan is providing design support and has seconded a team of engineers to CAC. The aircraft resembles an earlier Mikoyan design given the internal designation MiG-33. The design, developed in the early 1980s, was intended as a light dogfight aircraft.

The FC-1 has been designed around the 80kN (18,300lb)-thrust Klimov RD-93 turbofan. The engine is an improved modular development of the RD-33 engine, which was also intended to power the MiG-33.

The FC-1 design, however, differs with adoption of twin side-mounted air intakes. Liyang Machinery of Guizhou, plans to produce the RD-93 under licence in China.

It will feature seven hard-points, including wingtip pylons for PL-7/10 short-range air-to-air missiles. A pulse Doppler multi-role radar has yet to be selected. Pakistan is expected to make a decision on its own avionics suite and weapon system within three to five months.

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