June 17, 2013
Credit: Peng Chen
First delivered in 2007, the Chengdu FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon) is a Chinese multirole fighter designed solely for export. The first and so far only customer is Pakistan – which calls it the JF-17 Thunder and is manufacturing it under license – although several other countries have expressed interest.
China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp. is showing, at the Paris air show a two-seat version of the FC-1, presumed to be for pilot conversion training.
China and Pakistan are accustomed to employing dissimilar types of trainers for frontline aircraft: Witness FT-6s for the A-5 “Fantan” attacker. In recent years, however, the logic for a more representative trainer has become stronger.
Pakistani JF-17s have appeared statically at Farnborough and flown at the Dubai air show, but Le Bourget visitors will have to be satisfied with a model of the new version. There is no evidence that a tandem-seat FC-1 has flown.