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China Close To Testing New Prototype Of Combat Jet Co-Developed With Pakistan

The FC-1 Xiaolong combat jet, also known as the JF-17.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Apr 09, 2006
China is close to testing a new prototype of the FC-1 Xiaolong combat jet jointly developed with Pakistan, about a year behind the initial schedule, state media said Sunday. The fourth prototype of the Xiaolong aircraft, a multi-role fighter-bomber with a range of 1,200 kilometers (750 miles), will take to the air "in the near future," the Beijing News reported.

The aircraft, also known as the JF-17, is a cooperative project between the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group in the southwest province of Sichuan and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

While earlier prototypes have focused on operational flight capabilities, the fourth prototype is expected especially to test the weapons fit.

The plane is capable of carrying multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, according to the paper.

Earlier reports had said the fourth prototype would have its maiden flight in April 2005. No explanation was provided in Sunday's report for the apparent delay.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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