Pakistan/China likely to get first customer.
Argentina and China signed deal for 20 FC-1 fighter aircraft in order to
increase aerial capabilities of the Argentina. The move, which further
raised tensions in the South Atlantic last night, follows a three-day
visit by President Kristina de Kirchner to Beijing last week, in which
Argentina secured 15 economic agreements and significant financial
investment to bolster its failing economy.
It comes after a decision by Buenos Aires to abandon talks with Vladimir Putin to secure 12 Sukhoi Su-24 ‘Fencer” bombers.
Last night sources told the Sunday Express that the deal with Russia,
revealed by the Sunday Express in September, had stalled after a series
of delays and concerns over post-sale maintenance.
However, that failure will see Argentina now take delivery of 20 of the Chinese-made fighter jets.
In a “working group” formed by the two countries, Beijing agreed to
supply around 20 FC-1 fighter jets produced by the Chengdu Aircraft
The CAC FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon), or PAC JF-17 Thunder, is a
light-weight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed
jointly by the Pakistan Air Force, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex
(PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) of China.
Its designation “JF-17 Thunder” by Pakistan is short for “Joint
Fighter-17”, while the designation “FC-1 Xiaolong” by China means
“Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon”.
The FC-1 can be armed with up to 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of air-to-air and
air-to-ground weaponry, as well as other equipment, mounted externally
on the aircraft’s seven hardpoints. The under-fuselage and inboard
under-wing hardpoints are plumbed, enabling them to carry droptanks of
various sizes for extra fuel. The single-seat, single-engine, fighter
has a top speed of Mach 1.8 at altitude of 55,000 ft and combat range of
840 miles, allowing it to comfortably fly to Port Stanley and back from
the Tierra del Fuego air base in southern Argentina.