JH-7 [Jianhong Fighter-Bomber] [FB-7] / FBC-1
The JH-7 Fighter-Bomber, Chinese nickname Feibao, has a foreign trade model of FBC-1, and the NATO codename of Flounder. Designed in the 1980s, it was the first twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic, all-weather sniper bomber [the Chinese term that is the counterpart of the Western fighter-bomber] designed and developed in China. It was designed and developed by China Aviation Industry Xi'an Aircraft Industry (Group) Co., Ltd. (code: 172 Factory) in cooperation with Aviation 603 Research Institute. It is mainly used for deep attack and ground and ground target attacks. It can be used for supersonic flight.
The NATO codename of Flounder is a fish that live on the bottom of the ocean. When a flounder is first born, it looks like a normal fish with one eye on each side of its head. As it grows up, one eye gradually moves over its head to the other side. That way when the flounder is lying on the bottom, it can see with both eyes. The bottom side of the flounder is white while the topside is dark. This is a special adaptation called counter shading. It makes it harder for predators (animals that eat other animals) to see the flounder when it is swimming. Flounder can also change color to match the background. This is called camouflage. Flounder have tiny sacks of pigments (colors) in their skin. These sacks are called chromatophores. Making the sacks smaller and larger allows the flounder to change color. To flounder is to wobble around like a fish out of water, to move awkwardly or to be in an awkward or difficult situation.
The development of the plane began as early as 1974 after a battle against Vietnam in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The incident prompted Beijing to decide to develop a supersonic all-weather aircraft that could be used by both the navy and air force. Development was slow, however, since a suitable engine for the aircraft could not be found and other countries were unwilling to sell advanced engines to the country.
The JH-7 began research and development in 1973, and the first test flight was successful in 1988. At the 1998 China International Aerospace Exhibition (Zhuhai Air Show), the aircraft made its debut publicly. The aircraft was then mainly equipped with Chinese naval aviation. Based on the JH-7, the JH-7A has slightly improved the aerodynamic shape. With new materials and equipped with new radar and avionics systems, the combat effectiveness has been greatly improved. The JH-7A is deployed with naval aviation and air force aviation.
The JH-7 “Flying Leopard” was developed during the most intensive development of military-technical cooperation with the West. In appearance, layout and armament base version of the aircraft is similar to the Anglo-French SEPECAT Jaguar. The first test model of the plane flew in December 1988. . On the approach, with gear down, the JH-7A has an unmistakable resemblance to an Anglo-French two-seat SEPECAT Jaguar strike fighter, the resemblance not being so strong from other angles. The Jaguar was obviously seen as a model of the sort of aircraft the Chinese wanted to build, though it would be absurd to call the Flying Leopard a "copy" of the Jaguar in any significant way. It could be thought of as a "Jaguar on steroids", the JH-7A having an empty weight about twice that of the Jaguar.
Xian Aircraft Industry Company [XAIC], based in Shaanxi Province, produced the JH-7 Jianhong-7 [Jian=fighter hong=bomber] Flying Panther supersonic fighter-bombers for the Chinese Navy at the modest rate of two aircraft per month. Due to its unreliable engines, the JH-7 was rejected by the PLAAF in favor of Su-27SK. It was first revealed publicly September 1988 as model at Farnborough International air show, with the first of two prototypes having been rolled out during previous month. The first flight came in late 1988 or early 1989.
Service entry was originally scheduled for 1992-93, but introduction in significant numbers seems to have been delayed. Having nonetheless entered the Chinese Navy's air arm inventory in the early 1990s, according to some reports as few as a dozen [and probably no more than two dozen] pre-production JH-7s are in service with PLA Naval Aviation, with additional JH-7 production awaiting the availability of a suitable Chinese engine.
This twin-engine, two-seat, swept-back high mounted wing supersonic fighter-bomber has a configuration similar to the British "Tornado" attack plane. The plane is designed to have the same role and configuration class as the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer'. It has high mounted wings with compound sweepback, dog tooth leading edges and marked anhedral; twin turbofans, with lateral air intakes; all swept tail surface, comprising large main fin, single small ventral fin and low set all moving tailplane; small overwing fence at approximately two third span. Quarterchord sweep angles approximately 45 degrees on wings and fins, 55 degrees on tailplane. Armament including twin-barrel 23mm gun in nose; two stores pylons under each wing, plus rail for close-range air-to-air missile at each wingtip. Typical underwing load for maritime attack includes two C-801 sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and two drop tanks.
The JH-7 is mainly used for anti-ship and long-range strikes against the ground. However, what is unexpected is that with the rapid increase in the training intensity of the Chinese navy and air force in the new century, in actual low-altitude, ultra-low-altitude raid drill, the wear on this machine increased.