Tue, May 02, 2006
"Fierce Dragon" Seen As F-16, MiG-29 Competitor
Chinese officials reported the first successful test flight
Friday of that country's new Xiaolong/FC-4 "Fierce Dragon"
The aircraft was flown by a test pilot for 16 minutes. Chinese
media sources report no problems were encountered during the
The FC-4 represents the third generation of FC fighter jets, and
is reportedly the first of the series to carry guided missiles. The
aircraft is the culmination of a development program that began in
1999, according to Xinhua, and was built by China Aviation Industry
Corporation I(CAIC-I), the Chengdu Aircraft Group Corp. and China
Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation.
Previous FC-1 (shown above) and FC-3 aircraft -- like the FC-4,
based on the since-cancelled Russian MiG-33 -- were also assembled
primarily in Pakistan, whereas the FC-4 is billed as an
The FC-4 will also use a Chinese-built engine, whereas earlier
variants use a Russian RD-93 powerplant.
The single-seat, single-engine FC-4 is said to be comparable to
the F-16 and the MiG-29, offering range of 3,500 km (2,100 miles)
and a top speed of Mach 1.6.
Once the aircraft passes flight test parameters, the Chinese air
force will reportedly take delivery of as many as 200 FC-4s, with
Pakistan slated to receive as many as 150 earlier FC-3 models.
China is also considering offering the FC-4 for sale on the
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