posted on Jun, 1 2004 @ 01:57 AM
The FC-1 (also known as Super-7) is the single-seat, single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation
(CAC) for export market. Derived from the airframe of the MiG-21/F-7 Fishbed with some radical changes, the aircraft provides an affordable choice for
many developing countries who are eager to replace their obsolete MiG-21/J-7 fleets. The FC-1/Super-7 can be specially tailored to meet the
customer's specific operational and budgetary requirements—from low-cost options fitted with Chinese indigenous avionics to higher-performance
options incorporated with Western developed weapons and avionics. The aircraft is unlikely to enter the service with the Chinese air forces.
In 1986 China signed a US$550 million agreement with Grumman to modernise its J-7 fighter under the "Super-7" upgrade. Western companies from the US
and Britain were competing to provide the engine and avionics. However, the project was cancelled in early 1990, in the wake of the cooling of
political relations with the West, as well as in response to a 40% increase in the cost of the project. Later the project was resumed under the help
of Russian Mikoyan Aero-Science Production Group (MASPG), and aircraft was re-branded as FC-1 (Fighter China-1).
The FC-1/Super-7 fighter aircraft is purely a commercial venture worth US$150 million in total. China Aviation Import and Export Corporation (CATIC)
and Pakistan are two primary investors each contributing 50% of the development costs. The CAC acts as the main contractor. Mikoyan Aero-Science
Production Group (MASPG) is involved in some design work and also provides its RD-93 turbofan engine to power the aircraft.
The FC-1/Super-7 mainly targets for the international market as a successor to the second-generation fighters such as MiG-21/F-7 Fishbed and F-5
Tiger. It is estimated that there are currently over 1,000 MiG-21s operational with air forces of at least 33 countries. The first customer is the
Pakistani Air Force (PAF), who plans to use the FC-1/Super-7 as a counter to the MiG-29 fighter in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF). The
variant in service with the PAF is designated as JF-17 (Joint Fighter-17) and will replace the 120 F-7P fighters currently in service. Iran also
showed interests in buying this aircraft.
The first FC-1 rolled out from the assembly line on 31 May 2003, and its 15-minute maiden flight took place on 24 August 2003. So far three prototypes
have been built, with the second for static tests. If everything goes according to the plan, the batch production may begin in 2006~2007.
Initially it was anticipated that the FC-1/Super-7 would be a high-performance, low-cost fighter aircraft to replace outdated F-5s and MiG-21s in many
third-world air forces. But with the participation of MASPG, the Russians are using the FC-1/Super-7 as a continuation of the MiG-33 (R33) programme
developed in the 1980s. Like the MiG-33, the FC-1/Super-7 uses the RD-93 turbofans, though the FC-1/Super-7 features air inlets on the lateral sides
of the fuselage rather than the ventral inlets of the MiG-33. With Russian technical assistance the redesigned FC-1/Super-7 has improved climb out
performance and steering capabilities along with a stronger fuselage.
However, the most apparent modifications to the MiG-33 design is the repositioning of the ventral fins from the engine compartment to the added tail
edgings, providing aerial manoeuvrability that is claimed to match that of the U.S. F-16. These improvements in performance have affected the
programme's costs, and if the final production order is fewer than 300 aircraft the unit price will rise from the original $10 million to $15
Seven stores stations, one under the fuselage and six under the wing, up to 3,800 kg.
The SD-10 medium-range air-to-air missile developed by China Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI, also known as 607 Institute) will
be carried on the FC-1/Super-7 as its primary BVR weapon. The aircraft could also carry a range of short-range AAMs including U.S. AIM-9P and Chinese
PL-6 and PL-9.
Air strike weapons include laser-guided bombs (LGBs) and various unguided ammunitions.
A number of venders have been competing for supplying avionics to the FC-1/Super-7 fighter. The options for fire-control radar include Israeli
Elta-2032, Italian FIAR Grifo S-7, and Russian Phazotron Kopyo. The JF-17 in service with the PAF will be fitted with the Italian Grifo S-7
fire-control radar, which has 25 working modes and a non-break-down time of 200 hours. The radar is capable of look-down, shoot-down, as well as for
ground strike, but lacks multi-targets tracing and attacking capability.
To achieve better aerodynamic performance, the FC-1/Super-7 is also equipped with a digital dual fly-by-wire (FBW).
One Russian-made RD-93 turbofans, rated 49.4 kN dry or 81.4 kN with afterburning.
Wingspan: 9.00 m
Length: 14 m
Height: 5.10 m
Weight: Empty 6,321 kg; Normal take-off: 9,100 kg; Max take-off 12,700 kg; Max weapon payload 3,800 kg
Maximum Weapon Load: 3,600 kg
Maximum Speed: Mach 1.6
Range: Ferry range 3,000 km; Operational Radius 1,352 km
Service Ceiling: 16,500 m
Maximum Climb Rate: N/A
+G Limit: 8.5