Mainland arms merchants are looking to China's new supersonic fighter-bomber, unveiled this week at the Zhuhai air show, to provide a powerful new addition to their arsenal of hardware. The FBC-1, or Flying Leopard, is advertised as China's first fighter-bomber entirely designed and manufactured domestically. No other government had yet expressed interest in buying the aircraft, said Zhu Chuanxu, China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation's deputy director for marketing and development. But he anticipates that to change now that the bomber has been officially unveiled. It was developed as a naval bomber by the Xian Aircraft Design and Research Institute and made by the Xian Aircraft Industry Group. The plane can attack ships and land targets. Chan Yikin, the plane's chief designer, said the aircraft had been under development since the start of the decade. Research was completed in 1994. The plane is 22 metres long, with a 13-metre wingspan. Its maximum take-off weight is 28 tonnes and it can fly at more than 1,210km/h and has a flight radius of 1,650km. A Western military analyst said there were only seven Flying Leopards operational at the moment, including the prototype. The most likely market for the plane would be in Asia and Africa, said Mr Zhu. In the 20 years since the corporation was formed, it has exported more than 700 aircraft and 1,200 engines, and 20 aviation production lines, almost exclusively to developing countries. The corporation remained a small player in the global munitions market, said Mr Zhu. Its role was limited by the flight worthiness of its aircraft and China's domestic technology. For that reason China was adding advanced Western avionics to existing planes. The corporation reported exports of US$689 million (HK$5.33 billion) last year. Leading the way has been the Y12 light transport aircraft, made by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation and powered by Pratt and Whitney engines. About 100 had been sold overseas, said Mr Zhu.