China is entering the jet fighter trainer business and set to start building a completely new generation of trainers called the JL-19 Mountain Eagle. The jet is also know as the FTC-2000, which is interesting, as the FTC is the agency which is crippling our US Corporations competitiveness over seas now. The JL-19 or FTC 2000 aircraft is a tandem two-seat, single engine jet fighter aircraft developed by Guizhou Aviation Industry. This is the same manufacturer of the JJ-7 fighter trainer now being used in the Chinese Air Force.
There are already plans to have no less than 10 aircraft to be delivered by the end of the year, Chinese Year. The first flight of this new aircraft was made in December of 2003 and mass production is expected to start by the end of 2005. China needs this aircraft to train it's pilots to fly the Su-27s and Su-30 Russian Fighters that they have ordered. The little trainer has excellent performance and can go over 1.5 Mach or one and a half times the speed of sound. These same aircraft are expected to flood the developing nations with fighter planes. In fact there is already talk of Mexico and other middle-eastern nations buying them too. The Guihou Group stated in an interview with sinodaily.com:
"Since it is both a fighter and trainer, some small countries, lacking a large fleet of fighter planes, could use the Mountain Eagle to train their fighter pilots in peace time, arming it for use as a fighter in war time."
The JL-19 Mountain Eagle or the FTC-2000 it's NATO number will use the Chinese built WP-13 jet engine. This would be one terrific little fighter plane to own for personal use and fly around as a sport plane too. And if you have the money, they would sell you one too. Think about it.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs