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JL-9 / FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle - Trainer Aircraft

The Jiaolian-9 (JL-9), also referred to as Gaoji Jiaolian-9 (GJ-9) / FTC-2000 / CY-1 / LFC-16 Shanying / Mountain Eagle / Plateau Eagle is a is a tandem two-seat, single-engine advanced supersonic training aircraft. The aircraft was designed to be used for training third-generation fighter plane pilots. In addition, the training plane can easily be turned into a fighter plane if necessary.

During the 3rd Zhuhai Airshow GAIC revealed its FTC-2000 advanced supersonic trainer design to replace the JJ-6/7 series. It was developed the Aircraft Design Institute, at the by Guizhou Aviation Industry Group (GAIC) in Anshun, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, a subsidiary of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I). Founded in 1965, the Shuangyang plant is a major training plane manufacturer in China. So far, it had manufactured over 1,100 aircraft of different types for the Chinese armed forces. Guizhou Aviation Industry Group is the manufacturer of the JJ-7 fighter-trainer currently in service with the PLAAF and PLA Naval Aviation Corps.

The development of the advanced trainer Shanying created a record of using the shortest time to develop a new plane in Chinese aviation history, indicating to some that China's capabilities of developing advanced trainer has reached to a new height. But the JL-9 is an upgraded version of the JJ-7 trainer, which was based on the J-7 (the Chinese copy of the Russian MiG-21). The JL-9 resembles many features from the J-7 fighter and JJ-7 fighter-trainer family, including the double-delta wing. But with side air intakes, and a radar dome up front, the JL-9 doesn't look a lot like a MiG-21. Apart from the redesigned solid nose and lateral air inlets, plus a probe on the starboard side of the cockpit for in-flight refuelling training, the basic design of the FTC-2000 is generally based on the JJ-7. This provides an economy and efficient route for the Chinese air forces to upgrade its current training fleet in large number.

The FTC-2000 is a new generation of advanced/lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) which is designed for advanced training and lead-in fighter training for modern fighter and is capable of performing combat mission as well. Benefiting from adopting mature technology, the FTC-2000, which is arguably the most advanced trainer to have been developed in China, is a reliable and affordable trainer to meet the demands of air forces worldwide.

"Mountain Eagle" is a third-generation advanced trainer that can serve aviation academies and training bases and fulfill advanced trainings for aviation academies. It can also serve forces for battle and complete the refitting and tactical training for second-generation fighters. It is suitable for the refitting training and some battle trainings of third-generation fighters.

The plane is powered by a turbo fan engine and is equipped with an advanced airborne electronic system. Shanying's excellent maneuverability, advantageous price, plus its flexibility to cater to customer requirements will make it very competitive internationally. The JL-9/FTC-2000 jet trainer is powered by the 8,160 kg (80 kN) LYAC WS-12 Taishan engine with 8,360 kg (82 kN) thrust. The same engine is also installed in the Chengdu J-7 fighter, and the new, modernised version of the Shenyang J-8 fighter, designated the J-8T, will also receive this new engine, replacing the LMAC WP-14C Kunlun-3.

Revealed, as FTC-2000, in model form at Airshow China, November 2000, and as full-size mockup two years later. Wind tunnel testing completed by late 2000. Three prototypes under construction by September 2003, first of which was then nearing completion. The supersonic jet craft has been in the spotlight of the world's military scene since it had its first test flight. The first flight of the JL-9 took place on 13 December 2003, at which time the aircraft was expected to enter service as early as 2005. The test flight was carried out at the airport of the Shuangyang Aircraft Manufacturing Plant, in the capital of Guizhou Province.

Newly sworn-in Indonesian Air Force chief of staff Vice Marshal Imam Safaat said 17 September 2004 that Indonesia will purchase new trainer/light attack aircraft from Russia and China as part of an effort to revitalize its primary defense system. He said the new jets, consisting the Yak-130 from Russia and the FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle from China, would replace the squadrons of British Hawk Mk-53 jets and American OV-10 Bronco.The Air Force has 20 Hawk Mk-53, and eight turboprop-driven OV-10 Bronco aircraft that are around 30 years old. "We plan to replace them in the next couple of years. We have done feasibility studies for the purchases, and will propose them to the government soon," Imam said after the handover ceremony at Halim Perdanakusumah Air Force Base in East Jakarta. Imam replaced Marshal Subandrio. It would be the first time Indonesia purchases warplanes from China and the second from Russia.

Proposed as lead-in fighter trainer for CAC FC-1 and J-8D/F-8D, and as replacement for JJ-7/FT-7, the JL-9 was a direct rival to the JL-15 in competition for the People's Liberation Army Air Force's (PLAAF) next-generation advanced trainer aircraft program, and was several million dollars cheaper than its competitor, the twin-engine JL-15 trainer. On June 28, 2005, Mountain Eagle" advanced fighter-pilot training aircraft, just returned from the 46th Paris Air Show, was selected by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in the purchasing list of equipment during the nation's Eleventh Five-Year Plan Period (2006-2010). As the new-generation advanced trainer suitable for both military and civil use, "Mountain Eagle" will be the first choice of Chinese air force and navy. The Guizhou company was making preparations to finalize the design of the aircraft and to manufacture 10 aircrafts. It was expected that the components of five planes can be completed at the year-end to ensure five "Mountain Eagle" advanced trainers to be delivered to Chinese air force in 2006 for trial use.

The JL-9 entered production in 2010, five years later than expected in 2003.


  • More smooth transition to fighter and less washout of pilot training;
  • Capable of performing combat missions;
  • Wide flight envelop from low speed to supersonic;
  • Excellent transonic & supersonic performance;
  • Integrated avionic system with HOTAS, HUD/SMFD, Doppler radar, etc;
  • Various air-to-ground weapons, from common bomb to precise guided bomb;
  • Advanced air-to-air short range missile;
  • High reliability, maintainability and supportability; vLow acquisition cost and operating cost.

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