Future versions of the China-Pakistan jointly developed FC-1 Xiaolong (also known as JF-17 Thunder) will possess advanced data link and electronic warfare capabilities, and be equipped with new-type guided weapons.
In addition, the development and production of the two-seat trainer is now going on according to the plan, and the first flight is scheduled at the end of this year, Chinamil reported quoting China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) as saying at a meeting held on September 15 during the 9th Africa Aerospace and Defense (AAD) 2016 Exhibition.
According to CATIC, the FC-1 fighter has a low and middle altitude manevering combat capability at high subsonic speed and supersonic operation ability. It also possess longer flight range, combat radius and flight time. The aircraft has a short-distance take-off and landing and higher weapon-loading characteristics.
The aircraft currently is equipped with a large thrust and low oil consumption turbofan engine, an advanced digital fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system, and highly comprehensive aviation electronic and weaponry systems. It possesses the multiple advanced functions including precise navigation, battlefield situation sensing, target detection and identification, combat and attack, and electronic warfare.
It has a total of seven hardpoints with a total external load-carrying capacity of 4,600 kilograms, which can carry such advanced weapons as over-the-horizon air-to-air missiles, infrared short-range dogfight missiles and multiple kinds of advanced precision-guided air-to-ground weapons.
Although the Xiaolong fighters have been delivered to the Pakistani Air Force in batches, the improvement and upgrading work for the fighter has never stopped, the company said.