08 May 2017

Avic launches two-seater combat version of FC-1B

Beijing-based aircraft manufacturer Avic has confirmed that its two-seater version of the Avic Chengdu FC-1B export fighter will be sold as a combat aircraft as well as a training vehicle.

Heavy redesign of the tail has been necessary to create the two-seater, as the Chinese state manufacturer planned no such version when the FC-1 was launched in 1999 as a joint project with Pakistan.

The FC-1 is called JF-17 Thunder by the Pakistan Air Force, which Avic says has taken delivery of more than 80 units. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex is the joint manufacturer. Pakistan’s JF-17 aircraft are thought to have accumulated over 30,000 flight hours.

The FC-1 is powered by the Klimov RD-93 of 18,300lb thrust, though the comparable WS-13 from the Guizhou works of Aero Engine Corporation of China has reportedly been tested in the airframe.

Avic says it developed the two-seat version in response to demand from Pakistan and the international market for a trainer. According to the firm, beyond training, the FC-1 “can exploit the ability of a two-person crew to handle complex combat conditions”.

The maiden flight of the FC-1B export fighter was conducted with air-to-air missiles on the wing tips. Design changes go beyond the necessarily major fuselage revision to accommodate a second seat and place it high enough for an instructor to see forward.

Since the canopy is higher than in the single-seat version, the dorsal spine behind it is much deeper and voluminous. With more area forward, the fin had to be enlarged and swept back to maintain aerodynamic balance. The airframe of the FC-1 has also een strengthened and more composite material worked into the structure.


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