China's advanced F-7MF to be sold cheaper than JF-17

Chengdu, the Chinese fighter manufacturer, is developing the F-7MF.

Revealed for the first time at the Zhuhai air show earlier this month (Flight International, 14-20 November), the F-7MF is the latest in a long line of Chinese developments of the Mikoyan MiG-21C Fishbed airframe.

Chengdu says the F-7MFwas conceived two years ago as an attempt to develop a high technology fighter for export.

The manufacturer says the first prototype will fly next year, which, if true, would constitute remarkable speed by Chinese standards.

F-7MF development is supported by the J-7FS testbed. The J-7FS emerged in 1998 and was used to test the chin air intake and engine (Flight International, 22-28 July 1998). The F-7MF has, however, a shorter inlet.

The J-7MF's powerplant will be a variant of the 14,600lb (65kN) thrust Liyang WP13F. The double delta wing developed for the J-7E/F-7MG is also used on the F-7MF but two small canards have been added to the forward fuselage.

The cockpit will include a head-up display and two head down displays, while the aircraft will be equipped with an 80km (45nm) range multimode pulse-doppler radar, and seven pylons with a 3t load. Chengdu predicts a 2,600kmrange, Mach 1.8 maximum speed, 52,500ft (16,000m) ceiling and a 650m take-off run.

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