Chinese name: Jianjiji Hongzhaji-7 (Fighter-Bomber aircraft 7)
Westernised designation: FBC-1 (formerly B-7)
Export name: Flying Leopard
TYPE: Attack fighter
PROGRAMME: Revealed publicly September 1988 as model at Farnborough International Air Show; first of four or five prototypes said to have been rolled out during previous month; first flight 14 December 1988 and first supersonic flight 17 November 1989; service entry originally scheduled for 1992-93, but delayed; first seen openly in TV broadcast of October 1995 naval exercise.
First public appearance (by third prototype '083', wearing Flight Test Establishment colours) was made in November 1998 flypast at Airshow China in Zhuhai. This coincided with announcement of new export designation and name, and statement that aircraft was "being redesigned" for export market.
CURRENT VERSIONS: JH-7: Domestic version.
Following description applies to JH-7 except where indicated.
JH-7A: Various China-, Russia- and US-based sources have reported that No. 603 Institute still undertaking improvements that include No. 613 Institute FLIR/laser targeting pod and No. 607 Institute Blue Sky low-altitude navigation pod; modified LETRI JL-10A Shen Ying radar; digital (and possibly quadruple) fly-by-wire controls; a health monitoring system; INS/GPS; new databus; two additional hardpoints each side; one-piece wraparound windscreen; greater use of composites; and integration of additional Russian weapons such as Kh-31P (AS-7 'Krypton') standoff missiles and KAB-500 laser-guided bombs.
Development completed in 2001 and first flight expected in 2002, though not reported by mid-2003. Possibility of 20 to 30 being produced for service entry in 2004.
FBC-1 Flying Leopard: Designation (from 1998) of proposed export version; would have customer-defined radar, avionics and armament. No orders yet announced.
CUSTOMERS: Earlier (1997) Chinese reports, of up to 24 in service with PLA Naval Air Force in operational evaluation role in mid-1997, were apparently exaggerated (stated at 1998 Airshow China that only seven prototype/ preproduction aircraft then completed). Latest best estimate (early 2001) was of 20 aircraft, including prototypes, of which 18 confirmed by known serial numbers; this is compatible with known number (50) of Spey engines initially purchased, but confirmation reported that a further 80 to 90 Speys were being delivered in mid-2001; these possibly for JH-7A. First identified JH-7 unit is PLA Naval Air Force 16th Bomber Regiment, 6th Naval Air Division, at Dachang, Shanghai.
DESIGN FEATURES: In same role and configuration class as Russian Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer'. High-mounted wings with compound sweepback, dog-tooth leading-edges and 7° anhedral; twin turbofans, with lateral air intakes; all-swept tail surfaces, comprising large main fin, single small ventral fin and low-set all-moving tailplane with anti-flutter weights at tips; small overwing fence at approximately two-thirds span. Wings have 47° 30' sweepback on leading-edges. Quarter-chord sweep angles approximately 45° on fin, 55° on tailplane.
STRUCTURE: Conventional all-metal, except for dielectric panels. Plans to fit SF18 radar-absorbent material revealed in early 1999.
LANDING GEAR: Retractable tricycle type, with twin wheels on each unit. Trailing-link main units retract inward, nose unit rearward.
POWER PLANT: All aircraft so far built are powered by two licence-built (Xian WS9) or UK-supplied Rolls-Royce Spey Mk 202 turbofans: each 91.2 kN; 20,515 lb st with afterburning). Centreline and outboard underwing stations plumbed for auxiliary fuel tanks.
Original intention to power production JH-7 with LM (Liming) WS6 turbofans of 71.1 kN (15,990 lb st) dry rating (122.1 kN; 27,445 lb st with afterburning) abandoned, as was licensed production of Russian alternative such as Saturn/Lyulka AL-31F or SNECMA M53-P2.
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two in tandem (rear seat elevated). HTY-4 ejection seats, operable at speeds from zero to 540 kt (1,000 km/h; 621 mph) and altitudes from S/L to 20,000 m (65,600 ft). Individual canopies, hinged at rear and opening upward. One-piece wraparound windscreen on JH-7A.
AVIONICS (FBC-1): Comms: Short wave and ultra short wave transceivers of Italian origin.
Radar: LETRI JL-10A Shen Ying J-band pulse Doppler fire-control radar (search range 43 n miles; 80 km; 50 miles and tracking range 22 n miles; 40 km; 25 miles in look-up mode or 29 n miles; 54 km; 34 miles and 17 n miles; 32 km; 20 miles, respectively, in look down mode). Scans ±60° in azimuth and can track four targets simultaneously.
Flight: Automatic flight control system; GPS/INS navigation.
Instrumentation: Includes No. 603 Institute HUD and two other MFDs.
Mission: AFCS linked to fire-control system; No 613 Institute helmet-mounted sight.
Self-defence: Chaff/flare dispenser at base of vertical tail; omnidirectional RWR; active and passive ECM.
ARMAMENT: Twin-barrel 23 mm gun, with 200 rounds in starboard side of lower fuselage, just forward of mainwheel bay. JH-7 has fuselage centreline stores station, plus two under each wing and rail for PL-5B, PL-7 or similar close-range air-to-air missile at each wingtip; JH-7A has additional mid-point station under each wing, plus one on lower side of each engine intake trunk. Typical underwing load for maritime attack, two C-801K or C-802K sea-skimming anti-ship missiles (inboard) and two drop tanks (outboard); C-803 (YJ-83) test-launched in 2002. Other potential weapons may include C-701 TV-guided anti-ship missiles and 500 kg LGBs.
|Wing span||12.705 m (41 ft 81/4 in)|
|Wing aspect ratio||3.1|
|Length overall: excl probe||21.025 m (68 ft 113/4 in)|
|incl probe||22.325 m (73 ft 3 in)|
|Fuselage length (excl probe)||19.105 m (62 ft 81/4 in)|
|Height overall||6.575 m (21 ft 63/4 in)|
|Tailplane span||7.39 m (24 ft 3 in)|
|Wheel track||3.06 m (10 ft 01/2 in)|
|Wheelbase||7.805 m (25 ft 71/4 in)|
|Wings, gross||52.30 m2 (563.0 sq ft)|
|WEIGHTS AND LOADINGS:|
|Max fuel weight||10,050 kg (22,156 lb)|
|Max external stores load||6,500 kg (14,330 lb)|
|Max T-O weight||28,475 kg (62,776 lb)|
|Max landing weight||21,130 kg (46,583 lb)|
|Max wing loading||544.5 kg/m2 (111,51 lb/sq ft)|
|Max power loading (WS9 engines)||156 kg/kN (1,53 lb/lb st)|
|Max level speed at 11,000 m (36,080 ft) (clean)||M1.7 (975 kt; 808 km/h; 1,122 mph)|
|Max operating speed||653 kt (1,210 km/h; 751 mph) IAS|
|Cruising speed||M0.80-0.85 (459-487 kt; 850-903 km/h; 528-561 mph)|
|Service ceiling (clean)||15,600 m (51,180 ft)|
|T-O run||920 m (3,020 ft)|
|Landing run||1,050 m (3,445 ft)|
|Combat radius||891 n miles (1,650 km; 1,025 miles)|
|Ferry range||1,970 n miles (3,650 km; 2,268 miles)|