The latest rumor (October 2016) claimed that PLAAF has finally decided to open the bid for its next generation primary trainer. Both Hongdu and Guizhou are thought to be the main contenders.

JJ-7A/FT-7P/PG Mongol

A PAF FT-7P advanced trainer was taking off. FT-7P is the export version of JJ-7A (similar to Mig-21US but with a smaller vertical tailfin and twin ventral stabilizing fins). Developed by Guizhou Aviation Aircraft Corporation (GAAC) in 1990, it was modified specifically for PAF (HUD, air data computer, Martin Baker MK 10L ejection seats, BM/KJ 8602 RWR, twin belly 23mm cannons and five hard points) in order to provide pilot training for the single seat F-7P light fighters which were produced by CAC. Compared to JJ-7A, FT-7P has the fuselage stretched by 610mm to create space for additional fuel tank and an internal gun. The maximum take-off weight has been increased to 9,550kg and internal fuel capacity to 2,800l. The domestic JJ-7A (K/JJL7A) was developed in mid-90s but lacking the RWR antennas. Over a hundred were produced and the last batch of JJ-7A was delivered to PLAAF in March 2017. Recent images indicated that some have been installed with a 23mm gun pod underneath its belly. However the aircraft has been suffering poor handling at a low speed. Besides PAF, Iranian AF also acquired a number of FT-7Ps in the 90s to support its F-7N fighter fleet. With the delivery of the new F-7PGs to PAF, a trainer version dubbed FT-7PG featuring improved avionics was upgraded from the existing FT-7P fleet to save time and cut cost. Its prototype first flew in March 2002. 9 FT-7PGs were delivered to PAF. A similar version dubbed FT-7BG was developed for Bangladesh AF to support its F-7BG fleet. A total of 4 were delivered in 2006. Recent images (March 2013) indicated another batch of 4 FT-7BGI were just delivered to support its new F-7BGI fleet. Nigerian AF also ordered 3 FT-7NIs in 2005 to support their F-7NIs. All were delivered by April 2010. Furthermore, 2 FT-7NGs were delivered to Namibian AF in October 2006 to support their F-7NMs. JJ-7A series are expected to be replaced by the new JL-9 (see below).

List of JJ-7A Overseas Customers
PakistanFT-7P/PG?/9Some upgraded with a new dorsal UHF/VHF antenna.
IranFT-7PV16?The last batch were upgraded with RWRs.
BangladeshFT-7BG/BGI4/4FT-7BGI is fitted with a VLOC antenna.
NigeriaFT-7NI3One crashed in May 2011.

- Last Updated 4/14/17

JL-8/K-8/K-8W Karakorum
Two Venezuelan K-8W intermediate jet trainers were flying in close formation. The aircraft was developed jointly by Hongdu Aviation Industrial Group (Hongdu) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in the late 80s with Pakistan providing 25% of the funding. It has max TO weight of 4,468kg, max level speed 800km/h, max climb rate 30m/s, max range 2,140km and ceiling 13,600m. 6 K-8s were delivered to Pakistan in 1994. 6 more were delivered in 2003. Meanwhile the domestic JL-8 (also known as JL-11) which first flew in 1996 is currently in production. They are in service at the PLAAF and PLAN flight academies (S/N 1x3x, 1x4x, 1x5x2x1x, 2x2x, 2x3x, 3x2x, 3x3x, 3x4x, 4x5x4x7x, 4x8x, 82x0x, 83x0x), replacing the obsolete JJ-5s. However due to the US embargo on Allied Signal TFE731-2A turbofan, JL-8/K-8 have been powered by Ukrainian AI-25TLK turbofans, or by a locally designed WS-11 (an AI-25TLK clone, 16.87kN thrust, onboard the domestic JL-11). The export version is generally better equipped with western components such as Martin Baker MK10L ejection seat, a glass cockpit with HUD and MFDs and is able to carry PL-5E/PL-7 AAMs and a belly 23mm gun pod for air defence role. Besides Pakistan, Myanmar purchased 12, and Sri Lanka purchased 6. Several African countries also have bought K-8s, including Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The real breakthrough came when Egypt signed a $345m deal to locally produce 80 K-8Es to replace her L-29 intermediate trainer. This has become a big boost to Hongdu's export effort in the competitive international market. The first two Egyptian K-8Es rolled out of the assembly line in late June 2001, carrying a 23mm gunpod under the fuselage and powered by an Allied Signal engine. The assembly of all 80 K-8Es was accomplished by the end of 2005. A total of 304 K-8s were sold by 2014 and they account for 70% of the global market share. Currently the improved K-8W with better electronics is still in production for various Asian, African and South American countries. Meanwhile 400 JL-8s were ordered by PLAAF and PLAN. The newly established PLAAF Red Falcon Demonstration Team also flies JL-8s. It was reported in June 2017 that an improved version called K-8G is being developed.

List of K-8 Overseas Customers
27 K-8Ps with glass cockpit were delivered by October 2010. Another 12 were delivered in September 2011.
60 K-8Ws more were ordered in late 2009. The delivery of first 12 started in mid-2010.
Sri Lanka
3 lost in 2002 during guerrilla attack, 3 delivered in July 2005
8 K-8Ps were delivered in March 2012.

locally assembled K-8Es, 40 were ordered in mid-2005
1 crashed in September 2008, another crashed in April 2015
2 K-8Ps delivered in March 2007, 2 more in March 2008
First 6 K-8Ss delivered in 2007, 5 in November 2014.
18 K-8Ws were delivered by September 2010. One crashed in July 2010. Another in November 2012. 9 inducted in April 2016.
6 K-8VBs were ordered in January 2010, delivered in April 2011.
At least one was damaged during an aborted take-off on October 23, 2012.
9 K-8Ws were ordered in late 2013. 5 delivered by April 2014.
- Last Updated 6/22/17

JL-9/JJ-9 Mountain Eagle

Developed by GAAC since 2001, the JL-9/JJ-9 (K/JJL9) advanced lead-in fighter trainer has evolved from the earlier JJ-7/FT-7 design (initially known as JJ-7B) from the same company. However several new features were added including a solid nose which could house an X-band PD fire-control radar (range 30km), side air intakes, double delta wings (but with no leading edge flaps), integrated avionics (HUD + MFDs, RKL-206A RWR, ECM, 1553B databus, INS/GPS, JD-3A TACAN, WL-11 radio compass, air data computer). A fixed IFR probe could be installed for IFR simulation. New stepped tandem cockpits and a one-piece windshield give both instructor and student better forward/downward views when compared with the old JJ-7/FT-7. However the same WP-13F(C) (max trust 4,400kg, 6,450kg with afterburner) is retained in order to cut cost. Its control system is mechanical rather than FBW, again in order to save cost. This suggests JL-9 could only offer a limited improvement in performance (such as all-weather capability and a better low altitude/low speed performance) compared to its predecessor. Once it enters the service with PLAAF/PLAN, it is expected to replace JJ-7 for the training of J-7/8 pilots. However it could turn out to be obsolete for training J-10/11 pilots. Its export designation is FTC-2000 (Fighter Trainer China) which suggests the aircraft also aims at the countries who already operate FT-7s. JL-9 might face some competition from Hongdu's L-15 (see below) which is technologically more advanced thus more expensive. Its main advantage lies with the relatively faster pace of the development and a low price tag. The first prototype of JL-9 (JL90001/421) first flew on December 13, 2003, with the second prototype undergoing static test. The 03 prototype (422) first flew on April 3, 2004. Both prototypes were evaluated at CFTE between 2004-2005 and a few design problems were discovered. The first flight of an improved JL-9 took place on August 23, 2006, featuring a new stability control augmentation system (CAS) to achieve better performance, an improved cockpit environment control system and a new VLOC navigational system. Some specifications: normal TO weight 7,910kg, max TO weight 9,800kg, max weapon load 2,000kg, max speed 1.5M, max level speed 1,100km/hr, max load 8g, ceiling 16,000m, max climb rate 260m/s, ferry range 2,500km. JL-9 was adopted by PLAAF in May 2007 and a batch of 5 (00 batch? S/N 78x2x) were delivered to PLAAF Flight Test & Training Base for evaluation by the end of 2008. The aircraft passed the technology certification in October 2009 and design certification in December 2011. More JL-9s are in service with PLAN (dubbed JL-9H? S/N 81x7x). Additional JL-9s started to enter the service with PLAN (S/N 83x5x) as well as PLAAF (S/N 78x2x, 4x8x, 1x3x) in 2014. Currently the production of JL-9 continues with new EL formation light strips installed on both forward fuselage and vertical tailfin for night training missions. Recent news (September 2016) suggested that GAAC is planning to develop the next generation advanced trainer which might compete with JL-10 LIFT. Another piece of news from 2016 Zhuhai Airshow indicated that a contract to export 6 FTC-2000s was signed with Sudan Air Force in early 2016. The first aircraft rolled off the assembly line on June 5, 2015. The first flight is expected in mid-2017. Meanwhile Nigerian Air Force also expressed interest.
- Last Updated 6/5/17

JL-9G/FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle

A rarely seen PLAN JL-9G was photographed during a training mission. This dedicated trainer was developed for training Navy pilots to take off and land on the aircraft carrier deck (land-based simulation). In order to adapt to the carrier operation environment, JL-9G features some extensive modifications. They include strengthened landing gears and enlarged wings. Leading edge slaps and leading edge root extensions were installed in order to reduce the take-off and landing speed at higher AOA. Consequently the twin ventral stabilizing fins were removed. It also features a taller tailfin offering more stability during the high AOA take-off and landing. New DSIs were installed as well which reduce the weight. JL-9G made its maiden flight in 2009 at GAAC. Two prototypes (S/N 423 & 424) were tested at CFTE. The first one (#423) had a tail arresting hook installed. However the hook turned out to be causing too much stress to the fuselage and therefore was unsuitable for arrested landing. Therefore JL-9G can only simulate taking-off from the ski-jump and landing without arresting under the guidance of LSO and OLS. It is expected to support the carrier based J-15 fighter as a stop-gap measure until the dedicated J-15S trainer enters the service. However it was reported in November 2016 that GAAC is currently working on a carrier-based version which would feature a redesigned rear fuselage with a WS-13E turbofan engine and an arresting hook installed. It was first reported in November 2013 that JL-9G was entering the service with PLAN (S/N 83x0x) without the tail arresting hook. Currently around a dozen were produced. An export version dubbed FTC-2000G low-cost multi-purpose training/attack aircraft was first unveiled at the 2012 Zhuhai Airshow. This version features an additional pair of pylons underneath the fuselage as well as wingtip pylons for AAMs. It was reported that the development of FTC-2000G officially started in December 2013 based on the request from an unspecified foreign customer. The latest rumor (April 2017) suggested that JL-9G could be upgraded with a new WS-13 turbofan engine.
- Last Updated 4/11/17


 JL-10/L-15 Falcon

One of the first batch JL-10 advanced jet trainers in service with PLAAF Flight Test & Training Base is shown here. Developed by Hongdu and with the technical assistance from Yakovlev OKB, JL-10 (export name L-15) is expected to support the new generation of Chinese fighters such as J-10 and J-11. Two variants are being developed initially. One is advanced jet trainer (AJT), powered by two Ukraine AI-222-25 turbofan engines. The other is lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT), powered by two AI-222-25F with afterburner which give L-15 a supersonic capability. Advanced features such as glass cockpit, HOTAS control and 3-axis quadruplex digital FBW are expected to be standard. In addition, large leading edge root extensions (LERX) similar to those on Yak-130 as well as a large vertical tailfin are expected to give the aircraft a high AOA (>30°), which will be useful in simulating certain high-AOA maneuvers of J-10 and J-11. The aircraft will also feature 4 underwing plus 2 wingtip pylons for a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. A small fire-control radar can be fitted based on the requirement of the customer. Therefore L-15 can also be converted into a light ground attack role if needed. Some specifications of L-15: normal TO weight 6,500kg, max TO weight 9,500kg, max speed 0.95/1.4 Mach, max climb rate 150m/s, g-load +8/-3, ceiling 13,000m, loitering time 2 hr, max range 2,600km, structural life 10,000 hr. The revealing of L-15 in its early design stage could demonstrat Hongdu's intention to compete with Guizhou's JL-9 (see above). The first prototype of L-15 (AJT version) rolled out of the assembly line on September 29, 2005. The first flight was expected by the end of 2005 but was postponed to early 2006 due to the problems of AI-222-25 engine. The 01 prototype first flew on March 13, 2006, powered by two DV-2 turbofans without afterburner. The 03 AJT prototype first flew on May 10, 2008, powered by two AI-222-25 turbofans without the afterburner. The 05 AJT prototype first flew on June 8, 2009. However the development of the LIFT version suffered from the slow progress of afterburner-equipped AI-222K-25F. The 06 LIFT prototype finally took off on October 26, 2010. It features a stretched nose housing a small PESA radar developed by the 607 Institute (range ~75km), an improved glass cockpit with three MFDs, and two AI-222K-25F turbofans capable of supersonic flight. Both 03 and 05 prototypes have been undergoing tests at CFTE (S/N 432 & 433). In November 2012 it was first rumored that a prototype of a domestic AJT version called JL-10 was being built. The 10001 prototype took off from Hongdu airfield on July 1, 2013. JL-10/L-15 could be powered eventually by the domestic Minshan turbofan engine (WS-17? max thrust 4,700kg with A/B) developed by the Guizhou Aero Engine Research Institute. The engine was rumored to have been tested onboard a L-15 prototype. In early 2013 one prototype (01?) was converted into a UCAV technology demonstrator with the aft cockpit loaded with remote control and monitoring equipment. An EO turret (?) containing FLIR/Laser range finder/Laser designator was also installed underneath the forward fuselage for delivering LGBs. This technology is expected to have been applied to the Sharp Sword UCAV project currently undergoing at Hongdu. Both 001/#434 and 002/#435 prototypes were flying various tests at CTFE. It was rumored in September 2013 that JL-10 might be adopted by PLAN as a carrier-based trainer but this has not been confirmed. Several foreign countries have expressed serious interest in acquiring L-15. It was reported that 6 L-15Z upgraded AFT version (Attack/Fighter/Trainer) were ordered by Zambia in 2012. The 001 aircraft flew in late 2015 and passed technical certification on December 26, 2015. The first batch of  3 was delivered in early-2016. The second batch of 3 was delivered in November 2016. These L-15Zs could carry PL-5II AAMs, LS-6 GPS/INS bombs, a belly 23mm gun pod and be used as a light attack aircraft. As a result a small fire-control (PESA? max range 60nm/111km) radar may have been installed. It was reported in June 2014 that Venezuela expressed the intention to acquire 24 L-15s. Uruguay also showed some interest in August 2016. It was reported that a L-15  powered an indigenous turbofan engine without A/B (AI-222-25 copy) flew for the first time in May 2016. A report from 2016 Zhuhai Airshow indicated that a light attack variant (L-15B) is under development. It is expected to have a LIFT configuration featuring a PESA radar and twin AI-222-25F engines with A/B. A rectangular shaped fairing similar to that of FC-1 has been attached to the tip of the vertical tailfin which accommodates the ECM equipment. The aircraft also has 5 blade IFF antennas installed in front of the windshield similar to the AN/APX-113(V) AIFF onboard American F-16A Block 15 MLU. The first prototype was unveiled in April 2017. With the external load of 3.5t, L-15B could be promoted by Hongdu as the successor to the retired Q-5/A-5 light attack aircraft. The latest image (April 2017) confirmed that the first batch of JL-10 has finally entered the service with PLAAF (S/N 78x3x), wearing a light blue color scheme. It was rumored (March 2017) that a naval variant (JL-10H?) has entered the service with PLAN as well.
- Last Updated 5/1/17