Zhuhai Airshow

Advanced fighter jet set for public debut in Zhuhai

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am

China's home-built Xiaolong advanced fighter jet will make its public debut at an international air show in Zhuhai in early November.

The multi-role fighter-bomber is among the most advanced of the 'third-generation' of mainland- designed and manufactured jets and is a co-operative project between China Aviation Industry Corp I and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

China has long been imitating aircraft produced by the former Soviet Union, with only a few models the result of indigenous design. In the past, the military has sponsored the development of aircraft for the country's armed forces, but the Xiaolong has no state investment.

The Xiaolong's appearance at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai from October 31 to November 5 will be its first since a test model was developed in 2002. But it is still not known whether the jet will fly to Zhuhai from its research base in Chengdu or be transported there. And, according to the exhibition's organisers, higher authorities have yet to decide whether the aircraft will be part of an air show.

An L15 Falcon advanced trainer aircraft developed by another mainland company, the China Aviation Industry Corp II, is also likely to debut at the show, but a trial flight is out of the question, according to Shi Jianzhong, the corporation's deputy general manager.

'We still have some problems with a trial flight and insurance ... our state leaders have attached great importance to security so we cannot fly so soon at an international expo after its first trial flight.'

The company said the dual-seat, dual-engine aircraft featured advanced aerodynamics, a highly integrated avionics system and the most advanced electronic 'fly-by-wire' flight-control system in China.

The aircraft is designed for use in basic training or as companion trainer in tactical manoeuvres. 'Its capacity is competitive internationally, and it is completely domestically made,' Mr Shi said.

About 50 aircraft from 30 countries and regions will be on display in Zhuhai. The exhibition will also feature the Shenzhou VI spacecraft's re-entry capsule.

Organisers are in talks with Chinese military aerobatics and parachuting squads, the Russian Air Force 'Knights' aerobatic team and the British Yakovlevs aerobatic team about appearing.