China has deployed third-generation supersonic trainer aircraft JL-9 Mountain Eagle to its military flight schools to reduce pilots' training duration as well as to train them.
People's Liberation Army Air Force Aviation University deployed an undisclosed number of JL-9 Mountain Eagle two-seater trainer jets this month. The trainer aircraft have a maximum speed of 1,837 kilometres per hour, a maximum range of 2,400 km and maximum take-off weight of 9.8 metric tons.
Being developed and manufactured by Guizhou Aviation Industry Group, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China, the JL-9 can train pilots for both second-and third-generation fighter aircraft, Liu Yuequan, a senior instructor at the university said. It can also perform some combat operations, Liu added.
The JJ-7 was developed based on the five-decade-old J-7 fighter jet, which is suitable for training second-generation aircraft pilots.
"However, a large proportion of our new pilots will operate third-generation J-10s, J-11s and JH-7s as soon as they join combat units. An advanced trainer aircraft was needed badly to connect flight students with our top fighter jets," Fu Qianshao, an aviation equipment expert with the PLA Air Force, told China Daily Wednesday.
“The JL-9 is much better than the JJ-7 in terms of control, manoeuvrability and takeoff and landing capabilities.” said Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine.
Two of the most difficult tasks that flight students have to deal with on the antiquated JJ-7 are take offs and landings. "These take a lot of time to learn and practice but ultimately prove to be useless because the third-generation aircraft they will fly have different take-off and landing procedures," Wang said.