FTC-2000G technologically mature and reliable: experts
The China-developed FTC-2000G, a made-for-export multipurpose aircraft, recently hit the production line in the city of Anshun in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, according to its developer, who said the aircraft will conduct its maiden flight by the end of September.
On Wednesday, the first FTC-2000G finished production and was pulled out from the plant to appear at a ceremony held by its developer, Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation under the State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The FTC-2000G, an improved version of FTC-2000, was developed to meet the demand of the international market. The company has full independent intellectual property rights of the aircraft, according to the AVIC official website.
It is expected to conduct its maiden flight by the end of September, and its also going to join the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province in November.
The multi-functional military aircraft is fit for attacking, fighting and training. It could also be used for reconnaissance missions or even fully converted into a reconnaissance plane. The model can have up to seven hardpoints and a maximum suspension weight of 3,000 kilograms.
The FTC-2000G is actually a supremely improved version of the J-7, a previous generation of Chinese fighter jet which ceased production in 2013. So it is not as advanced as modern Chinese fighter jets serving in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, such as the J-20, J-11 and J-10, but its technology is very mature and reliable, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.
However, this kind of aircraft is still much needed in the global defense market, said Song, "The FTC-2000 is a trainer aircraft, which is used for training the third-generation fighter jet pilots. Based on requirements from clients, AVIC has refitted and improved the FTC-2000 into the FTC-2000G, so that it can also conduct missions including air combat and ground attack.
"Many Southeast Asian and African countries' air forces have many Mig-21, Mirage 2000 and F-5 aircraft, which are really outmoded beyond their service lives in the military. Since these countries have limited defense budgets and they can't even afford fighter jets like the F-16 or Mig-29, they desperately need new and cheaper fighter jets to meet the demand of their air defense," said Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst.
The FTC-2000G has many competitors, including South Korea's FA-50 and Italy's M346, but is cheaper. Previous buyers of China-built aircraft will be its potential clients, Wei said.