China’s Guizhou Aircraft Industries Corporation (GAIC) unveiled the first FTC-2000 fighter trainer aircraft for Sudan on June 5. The FTC-2000 is the export designation for the company’s JL-9 jet trainer, also known as the Shanying (“Mountain Eagle”).
The JL-9 made its first flight in December 2013. It is a heavily modified aircraft based on the JJ-7 (MiG-21) jet trainer, with a solid nose housing a pulse doppler radar, and a glass cockpit with hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls. The “Mountain Eagle” can be converted for light attack roles with five hard points for a 2,000-kg (900-pound) load.
GAIC has also developed a heavier, multirole variant, designated FTC-2000G. External difference includes a larger leading edge root extension (LERX). This version can carry up to 3000 kg (1,360 pounds) of armaments, and according to AVIC’s literature, has an endurance of three hours and a range of 2500 km (1,550 miles).
It was confirmed in November 2016 that Sudan had ordered six FTC-2000. The North African country also flies the Chinese-made Chengdu J-7 fighter and the Hongdu JL-8 light trainer.
China’s J-15 naval pilots have also been training on the JL-9 carrier-training version, known as the JL-9G, which has a tailhook fitted for arrested landings.