The National Air Force of Angola (FANA) has reportedly received an unknown number of Hongdu K-8 (Karakorum-8) trainer/light attack aircraft from China.
“The National Air Force of Angola (FANA) has now taken delivery of six Hongdu K-8W Karakorums. Another six are set to be delivered this year,” Alan Warnes, an aviation journalist, tweeted on May 23.
The acquisition was revealed after a K-9 jet with Angolan markings was spotted in an image being shared in China’s Weibo in March 2019. The aircraft had a cover over its cockpit and the leading edge of its tail had been removed, indicating it was either still under construction or getting ready to be shipped, Strategic Intelligence wrote last year.
In the same month, Scramble Magazine reported that Angola ordered 4 K-8s under a $52 million deal with China’s AVIC firm, with an option to buy four more.
The K-8 has a top speed of 800kmph. It is powered by Ukrainian AI-25TLK turbofan or a Chinese WS-11 (an AI-25TLK clone) engines developing 1680kg of thrust. Some export models are said to be powered by TFE731-2A turbofan developing 1600kg of thrust.
Maximum takeoff weight of the jet is 4470 kg and maximum range 2200 km. Export versions of the K-8 features Martin Baker ejection seats, a glass cockpit with head up display, multi-function displays and ability to carry PL-5E/PL-7 air-to-air missiles and a 23 mm gun pod.