The FTC-2000G, a new multirole combat aircraft developed for export by the State-owned defense giant Aviation Industry Corp of China, made its debut flight in Anshun, Guizhou province, on Friday morning.
An FTC-2000G, painted yellow, took off at 10:48 a.m. at Anshun Huangguoshu Airport and flew for about 16 minutes amid thick clouds. More than 1,000 people, including AVIC executives and provincial leaders as well as ambassadors and military attaches from several nations, took part in the ceremony marking the debut flight.
The FTC-2000G, designed and built by Guizhou Aviation Industry Group, an AVIC subsidiary, is a fixed-wing, multirole combat plane tasked mainly with airstrikes against ground targets. It can also be used as a fighter jet or trainer aircraft, according to AVIC.
Information from AVIC shows that the twin-seat plane is a modified version of a new type of advanced training jet that has been deployed by the Chinese Air Force and Navy. It has a maximum speed of 1.2 Mach, or 1,470 kilometers per hour, a maximum takeoff weight of 11 metric tons, a maximum flight range of 2,400 km and an operational flight ceiling of 15 km.
Equipped with modern radar and fire-control systems, it is capable of staying airborne for three hours in a single operation and can carry as much as 3 tons of missiles, rockets or bombs, according to the company.
As a light-duty attack aircraft or fighter jet, the FTC-2000G is able to replace old models extensively fielded by developing countries, such as China's J-7 and the former Soviet Union's MiG-21. In the role of trainer aircraft, it can replace China's FT-7 or the British BAE Systems Hawk, and can work with AVIC's K-8 intermediate jet trainer to form an advanced training system for military pilots, according to AVIC.
Hu Jianxing, chief designer of the FTC-2000G at Guizhou Aviation Industry, said the aircraft features high operational economy and can carry out tasks in all weather conditions and at night. With the proper equipment, the plane will also be able to perform reconnaissance or electronic-warfare operations, he added.
"The aircraft can fulfill a wide range of tasks, ranging from flight training and close-in air support to long-distance penetration airstrikes and air escorts," he said after Friday's debut flight.
Wu Peixin, an aviation industry analyst in Beijing, said introduction of the FTC-2000G will enable users to deploy a good multifunctional military plane at an affordable cost. The aircraft fits the requirements and combat conditions of many developing countries and is economical in operation and maintenance, he said.