Chinese name: Jianjiji-7 (Fighter aircraft 7)
Westernised designation: F-7
TYPE: Multirole fighter
PROGRAMME: Soviet licence to manufacture MiG-21F-13 and its R-11F-300 engine granted 1961, when some pattern aircraft and CKD kits delivered, but technical documentation not completed; assembly of first J-7 using Chinese-made components began early 1964; original plan, for Chengdu and Guizhou to become main airframe/ engine production centres, backed up by Shenyang until these were fully productive, delayed by cultural revolution.
First flight of Shenyang-built J-7, 17 January 1966, but only a few completed. Chengdu production of J-7 I began June 1967 (first flight 16 June 1969 but not accepted in large numbers); development of J-7 II began 1975, followed by first flight 30 December 1978 and production approval September 1979; development of F-7M and J-7 III started 1981; J-7 III first flight 26 April 1984; F-7M (first flight 31 August 1983) revealed publicly October 1984, production go-ahead December 1984, named Airguard early 1986; first F-7P deliveries to Pakistan 1988; first F-7MPs to Pakistan mid-1989; F-7MG public debut November 1996; J-7FS revealed September 1998 and F-7MF November 2000.
CURRENT VERSIONS (domestic): J-7B: Modified and improved J-7 I, original designation J-7 II; WP7B turbojet of increased thrust (43.2 kN; 9,700 lb st dry, 59.8 kN; 13,450 lb st with afterburning); 720 litre (190 US gallon; 158 Imp gallon) centreline drop tank for increased range; brake-chute relocated at base of rudder to improve landing performance and shorten run; rear-hinged canopy, jettisoned before ejection seat deploys; new Chengdu Type II seat operable at zero height and speeds down to 135 kt (250 km/h; 155 mph); and new Lanzhou compass system. Small batch production (typically, 14 in 1989), notwithstanding advent of J-7 III and J-7E. Still the major PLAAF variant.
J-7C (originally J-7 III): Chinese equivalent of MiG-21MF, with blown flaps and all-weather, day/night capability. Main improvements are change to WP13 engine with greater power; additional fuel in deeper dorsal spine; JL-7 (J-band) interception radar, with correspondingly larger nose intake and centrebody radome; sideways-opening (to starboard) canopy, with centrally located rearview mirror; improved HTY-4 low-speed/zero height ejection seat; more advanced fire-control system; twin-barrel 23 mm gun under fuselage (with HK-03D optical gunsight); broader-chord vertical tail surfaces, incorporating antennas for LJ-2 omnidirectional RWR in hemispherical fairing each side at base of rudder; increased weapon/stores capability (four underwing stations), similar to that of F-7M; and new or additional avionics. Joint development by Chengdu and Guizhou (GAIC); entered PLA Air Force and Navy service from 1992, but reportedly limited use only.
J-7D (originally J-7 IV): Further (early 1990s) attempt to improve upon J-7 III; 71.6 kN (16,093 lb st) WP13F1 engine, JL-7A interception radar, RWR antennas atop vertical fin; HUD, Tacan and ADC; weapons upgrade to include PL-8 AAMs. Believed to equip two night fighter regiments.
J-7E: Upgraded version of J-7B with modified, double-delta wing, retaining existing leading-edge sweep angle of 57° inboard but reduced sweep of only 42° outboard; span increased by 1.17 m (3 ft 10 in) and area by 1.88 m2 (20.2 sq ft), giving 8.17 per cent more wing area; four underwing stations instead of two, outer pair each plumbed for 480 litre (127 US gallon: 106 Imp gallon) drop tank; new WP7F version of WP7 engine, rated at 44.1 kN (9,921 lb st) dry and 63.7 kN (14,330 lb st) with afterburning; armament generally as listed for F-7M, but capability extended to include PL-8 (Python 3) air-to-air missiles; g limits of 8 (up to M0.8) and 6.5 (above M0.8); avionics include HUD and ADC. Believed to have made first flight in April 1990 and entered service 1993. In production.
J-7EB: Version of J-7E equipping PLA Air Force 'August 1st' aerobatic team (nine in 1998 display season); fitted with smoke canisters for display purposes.
J-7FS: Technology demonstrator, modified from standard J-7 II, with new chin-mounted intake and central splitter plate under reconfigured ogival nosecone; more powerful (73.4 to 78.3 kN; 16,502 to 17,604 lb thrust class with afterburning) Liyang (LMC) WP13F II turbojet. Began 22 month flight test programme on 8 June 1998. Enlarged nose avionics bay able to accept 60 cm (23.6 in) diameter multimode pulse Doppler radar believed to be under development in China. Development work formed basis for new F-7MF export variant. Planned future changes were to include wing modifications based on J-7E/F-7MG double-delta configuration.
J-7G: Recently reported as further upgrade of J-7E and expected to make maiden flight in mid-2002, though not reported by mid-2003.
JJ-7: Tandem two-seat operational trainer, based on J-7 II and MiG-21US; developed at Guizhou.
CURRENT VERSIONS (export): F-7A: Export counterpart of J-7 I/J-7A, supplied to Albania and Tanzania
F-7B: Export version of J-7 II/J-7B, with R550 Magic missile capability; supplied to Egypt and Iraq in 1982-83 and also to Sudan. Some supplied to Air Force of Zimbabwe (known locally as F-7 II) appear to be of this version.
F-7BS: Hybrid version supplied to Sri Lanka 1991: has F-7B fuselage/tail and Chinese avionics (no HUD), combined with four-pylon wings of F-7M. Equips No. 5 Squadron of SLAF. Zimbabwe also has some four-pylon aircraft with its No. 5 Squadron; these known locally as the F-7 IIN.
F-7M Airguard: First upgraded export version, developed from J-7B; new avionics imported from May 1979 included Marconi HUDWAC (head-up display and weapon aiming computer); new ranging radar, air data computer, radar altimeter and IFF; more secure com radio; improved electrical power generation system for the new avionics; two additional underwing stores points; improved WP7B(BM) engine; birdproof windscreen; strengthened landing gear; ability to carry PL-7 air-to-air missiles; nose probe relocated from beneath intake to top lip of intake, offset to starboard. Exported to Iran and Myanmar.
Description applies to F- 7M version, except where indicated
F-7MB: Variant of F-7M; mentioned in 1996 F-7MG brochure. Customer believed to be Bangladesh (16); one planned to be equipped with reconnaissance pod.
F-7MF: Latest known variant; debut at Airshow China, November 2000; further development of J-7FS and F-7MG for export market. Larger 'solid' nose: shorter, rectangular intake located farther back under nose; small, shoulder-mounted canards just forward of wingroot leading-edge; WP13F engine; 1553B databus; avionics to include 43 n mile (80 km; 50 mile) range pulse Doppler radar (possibly IAI Elta EL/M-2032), single HUD and dual HDDs; 3,000 kg (6,614 lb) external stores load.
Wind tunnel testing completed; first flight then targeted for late 2001/early 2002, but most recently forecast for second half of 2003. Performance expectations include M1.8 top speed, 16,000 m (52,500 ft) ceiling, 650 m (2,135 ft) T-O run and 1,403 n mile (2,600 km; 1,615 mile) ferry range. Possibly testbed for some features of J-10.
F-7MG: Improved version of F-7M (G suffix indicates gai: modified), combining double-delta wings of J-7E with Grifo MG radar, other upgraded avionics uprated (WP13F) engine and leading/trailing-edge manoeuvring flaps. Said to have 45 per cent better manoeuvrability than F-7M. Public debut (aircraft 0142 and 0144) at China Air Show, Zhuhai, November 1996. Pakistan (see F-7PG) only customer so far, but Bangladesh said to have requirement for up to 12 and Zimbabwe interested in enough for two squadrons.
F-7MP: Further modified variant of F-7P, improved cockpit layout and navigation system incorporating Rockwell Collins AN/ARN-147 VOR/ILS receiver, AN/ARN-I49 ADF and Pro Line II digital DME-42. Avionics (contract for up to 100 sets) delivered to China from early 1989. FIAR (now Galileo) Grifo MG fire-control radar (range of more than 30 n miles; 55 km; 34 miles) for F-7P and MP ordered 1993, to replace Skyranger; flight trials began May 1996 and completed in 1997.
F-7N: Variant of F-7M; mentioned in 1996 F-7MG brochure, but no details given. Possibly an alternative designation for Zimbabwe F-7 IIN (see F-7BS).
F-7P Airguard: Variant of F-7M (briefly called Skybolt), embodying 24 modifications to meet specific requirements of Pakistan Air Force, including ability to carry four air-to-air missiles (Sidewinders) instead of two and fitment of Martin-Baker Mk 10L ejection seat. Delivered 1988-91.
F-7PG: Pakistan Air Force designation of F-7MG; 57 (plus six FT-7PGs) ordered in late 2000. Deliveries to Nos. 17 and 23 Squadrons at Samungli, replacing Shenyang F-6s, completed by second quarter 2002; third squadron expected to be No. 2 at Mas.r.o.or. Grifo 7PG radars (still awaiting firm contract at end 2002) would be produced by KARF factory of PAC. Possibility of follow-on order for up to 25 more (including FT-7PG trainers).
FT-7: Export designation of JJ-7 two-seat trainer.
CUSTOMERS: Several thousand built for Chinese air forces; Air Divisions currently equipped with J-7 variants comprise Nos. 1,2,3,4,9,12,14,15,18,21,24,26,29,33,35,42 and 44, plus naval 4th, each with two or three Regiments totalling up to 100 aircraft; Nos. 7,17,31 and 32 believed disbanded.
More than 400 exported to Albania (12 F-7A), Bangladesh (16 F-7MB), Egypt (approximately 90 F-7B?), Iran (18 or more F-7M), Iraq (approximately 90 F-7B?), Myanmar (24 F-7M), Pakistan (20 F-7P and 100 F-7MP, all designated F-7P by PAF; followed by 57 F-7PG), Sri Lanka (four F-7BS), Sudan (22 F-7B); Tanzania (16 F-7A) and Zimbabwe (approximately 12 F-7B/F-7IIN variants). Pakistan Air Force F-7P squadrons are No. 2 at Mas.r.o.or, Nos. 18 and 20 at Rafiqui and No. 25 at Mianwali; No. 17 first with F-7PG (27 March 2002), followed by No. 23, both at Quetta.
DESIGN FEATURES: Typical mid-1950s design of fighter, incorporating diminutive delta wing (double-delta on J-7E/EB and F-7MG/PG), with clipped tips to mid-mounted wings, plus all-moving horizontal tail; circular-section fuselage with dorsal spine; nose intake with conical centrebody; swept tail, with large vertical surfaces and ventral fin.
Wing anhedral 2° from roots; incidence 0°; thickness/ chord ratio approximately 5 per cent at root, 4.2 per cent at tip; quarter-chord sweepback 49° 6' 36" (reduced on J-7E/EB and F-7MG/PG outer panels); no wing leading-edge camber.
FLYING CONTROLS: Manual operation, with autostabilisation in pitch and roll; hydraulically boosted inset ailerons; plain trailing-edge flaps, actuated hydraulically; forward-hinged door-type airbrake each side of underfuselage below wing leading-edge; third, forward-hinged airbrake under fuselage forward of ventral fin; airbrakes actuated hydraulically; hydraulically boosted rudder and all-moving, trimmable tailplane. Leading/trailing-edge manoeuvring flaps on J-7E/EB and F-7MG/PG.
STRUCTURE: All-metal; wings have two primary spars and auxiliary spar; semi-monocoque fuselage, with spine housing control pushrods, avionics, single-point refuelling cap and fuel tank; blister fairings on fuselage above and below each wing to accommodate retracted mainwheels.
LANDING GEAR: Inward-retracting mainwheels, with 600x200 tyres (pressure 11.50 bar; 167 lb/sqin) and LS-16 disc brakes; forward-retracting nosewheel, with 500x180 tyre (pressure 7.00 bar; 102 lb/sq in) and LS-15 double-acting brake. Nosewheel steerable ±47°. Minimum ground turning radius 7.04 m (23 ft 1 1/4 in). Tail braking parachute at base of vertical tail.
POWER PLANT: F-7M: One LMC (Liyang) WP7B(BM) turbojet (43.2 kN; 9,700 lb st dry, 59.8 kN; 13,448 lb st with afterburning).
J-7C: LMC WP13 turbojet (40.2 kN; 9,039 lb st dry, 64.7 kN; 14,550 lb st with afterburning).
J-7E/EB: See Current Versions.
J-7FS: See Current Versions.
F-7MF/MG/PG: WP13F (44.1 kN; 9,9211b st dry, 64.7 kN; 14,550 lb st with afterburning).
Total F-7M internal fuel capacity 2.385 litres (630 US gallons; 525 Imp gallons), contained in six flexible tanks in fuselage and two integral tanks in each wing. Provision for carrying a 500 or 800 litre (132 or 211 US gallon; 110 or 176 Imp gallon) centreline drop tank, and/or a 500 litre drop tank on each outboard underwing pylon. Maximum internal/external fuel capacity 4,185 litres (1,105 US gallons; 921 Imp gallons).
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only, on CAC zero-height/low-speed ejection seat operable between 70 and 459 kt (130 and 850 km/h; 81 and 528 mph) IAS. Martin-Baker Mk 10L seat in F-7P/MP/PG. One-piece canopy, hinged at rear to open upward. J-7C canopy opens sideways to starboard.
SYSTEMS: Improved electrical system in F-7M, using three static inverters, to cater for additional avionics. Jianghuai YX-3 oxygen system.
AVIONICS: Comms: BAE Systems AD 3400 UHF/VHF multifunction com, Chinese Type 602 IFF transponder; Type 605A ('Odd Rods' type) IFF in J-7C.
Radar: BAE Systems Type 226 Skyranger ranging radar in F-7M; Chinese JL-7 fire-control radar in J-7C; Galileo (formerly FIAR) Grifo MG in F-7P/MP/MG/PG (look-down, shoot-down and track-while-scan capability).
Flight: Navigation function of BAE Systems HUDWAC includes approach mode. WL-7 radio compass, XS-6A marker beacon receiver, Type 0101 HR A/2 radar altimeter and BAE Systems air data computer in F-7M. Beijing Aeronautical Instruments Factory KJ-11 twin-channel autopilot and FJ-1 flight data recorder in J-7C. F-7MG/PG suite includes VOR/DME/INS and Tacan.
Instrumentation: BAE Systems Type 956 HUDWAC (head-up display and weapon aiming computer) in F-7M provides pilot with displays for instrument flying, with air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon aiming symbols integrated with flight-instrument symbology. It can store 32 weapon parameter functions, allowing for both current and future weapon variants. In air-to-air combat its four modes (missiles, conventional gunnery, snapshoot gunnery, dogfight) and standby aiming reticle allow for all eventualities. VCR and infra-red cockpit lighting in F-7MG/PG, for which licence-built Russian helmet sight, slaved to PL-9 AAM, is also in production.
Self-defence: Skyranger ECCM in F-7M. Chinese LJ-2 RWR and GT-4 ECM jammer in J-7C.
ARMAMENT (F-7M): Two 30 mm Type 30-1 belt-fed cannon, with 60 rds/gun, in fairings under front fuselage just forward of wingroot leading-edges. Two hardpoints under each wing, of which outer ones are wet for carriage of drop tanks. Centreline pylon used for drop tank only. Each inboard pylon capable of carrying a PL-2, 2A, -5B, -7 or -8 (Python 3) missile (and PL-9 on F-7MG/PG) or, at customer's option, an R550 Magic; one 18-tube pod of Type 57-2 (57 mm) air-to-air and air-to-ground rockets; one Type 90-1 (90 mm) seven-tube pod of air-to-ground rockets; or a 50, 150, 250 or 500 kg bomb. Each outboard pylon can carry one of above rocket pods, a 50 or 150 kg bomb, or a 500 litre drop tank.
ARMAMENT (J-7C): One 23 mm Type 23-3 twin-barrel gun in ventral pack. Five external stores stations can carry two to four PL-2 or PL-5B air-launched missiles; two or four Qingan HF-16B 12-round launchers for Type 57-2 or seven-round pods of Type 90-1 rockets; or two 500 kg, four 250 kg or ten 100 kg bombs, in various combinations with 500 litre (one centreline and/or one under each wing) or 800 litre (underfuselage station only) drop tanks.