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Pilot trainer jet sales to take off
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-02 21:37

Mountain Eagle, China's most advanced fighter-pilot trainer, is set to fly Chinese and foreign skies in 2006, its manufacturer Guizhou Aviation Industry Group announced Tuesday.

The Shanying jet trainer. [Xinhua]

Known in Chinese as "Shanying," the trainer made its maiden flight at the end of last year and has gone into a complicated testing procedure to ready it for mass production next year, said Zhang Shangdao, vice-president of the aviation company based in Southwest China's Guizhou Province.

"As a generic advanced trainer, Shanying is designed to train pilots to fly third-generation fighters, which have been increasingly used by air forces throughout the world," Zhang said during the Fifth Air Show China. The event started on Sunday and runs until next week in coastal Zhuhai.

To be more specific, the plane can be used to train pilots before they take to the skies in both second and third-generation fighters, like the Chinese-made F-7 and F-8 or the F-16 and Su-27, said the Shanying's chief designer Sun Huizhong.

In addition, Shanying can be used for aerial refueling training. It has fair aerial combat abilities and the potential to be modified as a military aircraft for reconnaissance and electronic jamming operations, Sun said.

Powered by a turbo fan jet engine, the plane uses systems and airborne equipment that have matured in China's aviation sector, he said.

Furthermore, operational costs of the trainer are by far lower than those of a third-generation fighter, Guizhou group officials said.

Many countries are upgrading their fighter aircraft, and the ratio between fighter planes and trainers usually stand at 4:1 or 6:1, according to Chinese aviation experts.

Shanying, which serves multiple functions, is well able to cater to customer demands in developing countries, Sun said.

Founded in 1964, the Guizhou Aviation Industry Group under the China Aviation Industry Corp I is a developer of aircraft, engines and airborne equipment for national defence and civilian purposes.

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