Sudan has ordered Six FTC-2000 jet trainers, which are the export version of China's JL-9 aircraft, from Guizhou Aircraft Industries Corporation (GAIC).
The deal was disclosed by Guizhou Aircraft Industries Corporation (GAIC) director Wang Wenfei, during an interview with China Aviation News on 3 November.
Though Sudan is the only known export customer for the FTC-2000, “other African countries, including Nigeria, were also considering acquiring the type," Wafei was quoted as saying by DefenceWeb Friday.
Aviation Industries Corporation of China (AVIC) officials had told IHS Jane’s during 2015 Paris Airshow that an African country had ordered the FTC 2000.
FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle (Shanying) is capable of delivering both basic and advanced pilot training and also has a secondary combat capability. Its cockpit layout and low intakes are designed to improve visibility for the pilots. The aircraft is fitted with a pulse Doppler radar, INS/GPS, weapons computer etc. Top speed of the FTC-2000 is Mach 1.5.
The FTC-2000 is heavily based on the Guizhou JJ-7/FT-7, the Chinese-developed trainer version of the Shenyang-built MiG-21. The JJ-7 has subsequently been retired from Chinese service, while the JL-9 was first introduced to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in 2011.
The JL-9/FTC-2000 is capable of training pilots for aircraft like the J-7, Shenyang J-8, Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17, and Sukhoi Su-27. The trainer aicraft is powered by a Guizhou Liyang WP-13 turbojet equipped with an afterburner. The aircraft has five hard points, of which three can carry fuel tanks, and a 23 mm cannon.
Sudan already operates the F-7, making the acquisition of the FTC-2000 a sensible one in terms of logistics and spares. Sudan’s air force has a dozen F-7s and a dozen K-8 jet trainers in service.