Fighter jet takes off to new heights
By Xiao Zhao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-29 07:00
The country's aviation industry soared to new heights on Friday, when it
successfully tested an upgraded version of a new generation fighter in Southwest
China's Sichuan Province.
fighter jet ready to take a test flight on Friday in Chengdu, Sichuan
Xiaolong/FC-4 ("Fierce Dragon) plane flew for 16 minutes over the provincial
capital of Chengdu, where its developer, the Chengdu Aircraft Group Corp under
the China Aviation Industry Corp I (AVIC I), is based.
The success of the flight demonstrated improvement in the innovative
capacities of China's aviation industry. It brought its development of new
generation fighters to the world's advanced levels, according to a company
The test flight set the stage for mass production of the multiple-purpose
light aircraft, according to company sources.
The model's earliest version FC-1 made its maiden flight in 2003. An improved
version FC-3 took off for a seven-minute flight the following year.
Compared with previous designs, the latest model has been dramatically
improved in overall quality and combat capacity, the AVIC I sources said. It is
suitable for the 21st-century combat environment, they said.
The plane is equipped with the country's most advanced electronics and
weapons systems and the cost-effective fighter can satisfy domestic and
international market demands, the company added.
In the 1980s China said it would develop a new generation of fighter
aircraft. Its development programme officially kicked off in 1999, led by AVIC