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Cambodia believed to be first customer of Chinese-made FTC-2000G multirole aircraft.

| 2020

Cambodia might be the first buyer of the FTC-2000G multi-role aircraft manufactured by the Chinese company Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corp (GAIC), however the name of the buying country remains undisclosed, Jose Rodriguez T. Senase reports. Deliveries are expected between 2021 and 2023.

Cambodia believed to be first customer of Chinese made FTC 2000G multi role aircraft Guizhou JL-9, also known as the FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle (Shanying) (Picture source: GAIC)

This week, Global Times – echoed by the Cambodian newspaper Khmer Times – reported that the aircraft, which is manufactured by the Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corp (GAIC), is selling the aircraft to a yet undisclosed Southeast Asian country. The report did not divulge the cost or the number of units sold. It only mentioned that the deal was signed in January of this year and that deliveries will start in early 2021 and be completed after two years.

Cambodia and Myanmar are evoked as the possible buyer, as they both are closely aligned with China, militarily and politically. As a clue, Myanmar already operates several types of Chinese aircraft, including the Nanchang Q-5 ground attack planes and Shenyang J-7 interceptors. But recent Myanmar Air Force (MAF) acquisitions and orders discount the possibility that Myanmar is the buyer.

Cambodia, for its part, has a fleet of Harbin Z-9 helicopters and just bought $40 million of Chinese military equipment, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. So, Cambodia looks more probable as the buyer of the FTC-2000G multi-role aircraft for its Royal Cambodian Air Force.

The Guizhou JL-9, also known as the FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle (Shanying), is a two-seat supersonic fighter-trainer developed by the Guizhou Aviation Industry Import/Export Company (GAIEC) for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF).

The FTC-2000 started as a GAIEC private venture to develop an inexpensive trainer for fourth-generation aircraft. The trainer was revealed at the 2001 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition. The aircraft are reported to be produced at a GAIC assembly line in Anshun, Guizhou. The FTC-2000, as the JL-9, competed with the Hongdu JL-10 to meet the advanced trainer requirements of the PLAAF and PLANAF. The JL-10 is more technologically advanced, but also more expensive, than the JL-9. In 2013, both had entered production.

A carrier-landing trainer variant was revealed by Chinese state media in 2011. Designated the JL-9G, it has strengthened undercarriage, enlarged wing and diverterless supersonic inlets, but has proved to be unsuitable for arrested landings and is limited to land-based operations.

On 5 September 2018, the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that GAIC had begun mass production of the FTC-2000G variant. On 28 September it was reported that the first mass-produced FTC-2000G performed its maiden flight.

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