CATIC Shows Off Flight Simulator
By Wendell Minnick
Beijing-based China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp. (CATIC) displayed the JF-17/FC-1 flight simulator in Singapore this week. The simulator is the creation of the Chengdu Aircraft Design & Research Institute (CADI) and is only the third time CADI has displayed the simulator at an international air show, said a CATIC official.
The Pakistan JF-17 Thunder is a variant of the Chinese FC-1 Fierce Dragon (Xiaolong) and the simulator is expected to be exported to Pakistan in large quantities, but CATIC officials claimed only three simulator sales to Pakistan.
Chinese officials were tightlipped about the simulator, but according to a CADI brochure, the simulator "duplicates the JF-17/FC-1 cockpit and all relevant equipment. With the sophisticated simulation software which simulates the aircraft and avionics features, it supplies an efficient environment for the pilot training." The simulator provides basic fighter training, emergency procedure training and combat mission training.
Both the FC-1 and the JF-17 were jointly designed and developed by CADI and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Karma in the 1990s. The delta-winged, single-engine fighter tops out at Mach 1.7 and is seen by many defense analysts as a cheaper, more rugged competitor to the F-16.
"JF-17/FC-1 is a highly effective and low cost aircraft, and could satisfy modern operational requirements," said the CADI brochure.
The RD-93 has a basic thrust of 11,090 pounds, and with afterburner 18,260 pounds. It is a variant of the RD-33, which powers the MiG-29 fighter. However, Russia refuses to sell the engine directly to Pakistan due largely to pressure from India, which has been a loyal customer of Russian equipment for over 40 years, and China has not been able to secure an export license from Russia for the engine.
For Pakistan, the JF-17 has been a nightmare.
"The JF-17 is still unstable," said Andrei Chang, China military specialist with Asia-based Kanwa Information Center. "If India accepts the Russian MiG-35 they have the political influence to keep Russia from selling the RD-93 engine to China for use on the JF-17. Russia has only sold 15 RD-93s to China in the past five years, and rumors are Russia is hesitant."
China and Pakistan are reportedly working jointly to develop the Karakoram-8 advanced jet trainer to be in both countries with final assembly in China. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Pakistan's Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, and CADI began the program in 1999.
Founded in 1970, both CATIC and CADI has been successful in producing top-line fighters and helicopters, including the J-7, JF-17 and the J-10. The CATIC booth is displaying static models and brochures of the K-8 trainer for advanced and basic fighter training, the FTC-2000 advanced lead-in fighter trainer, the Y-12E light turboprop aircraft, the police-version of the Z9-H410A Multi-Purpose Civil Helicopter and the JF-17.