The design of the J-7 was based on the MiG-21 fighter from the Soviet Union, which served in the Soviet Air Force in 1959.

With the world’s third largest military potential, the Chinese air force has not yet decommissioned the J-7 fighter jet, a license-built version of the MiG-21. The Chengdu J-7 is too outdated by today’s standards, and is considered an obsession with pilots. Most recently, a Chinese Air Force J-7 crashed during training in Xiangyang, Hubei Province, killing one resident and injuring two, according to the state broadcaster.

The design of the J-7 was based on the MiG-21 fighter from the Soviet Union, which served in the Soviet Air Force in 1959. The original J-7s were much inferior to the original Soviet models. The Chinese invested heavily in this design and made it a formidable fighter.

Production of the J-7 continued until 2013. Although the design was gradually replaced by more advanced platforms such as the domestic J-10A and J-11B from the early 2010s, the J-7 is still appreciated for its low operating cost and ease of maintenance.

Chengdu J-7
Chengdu J-7

The J-7G represents the most advanced variant of the J-7 fighter line. It has a much higher rate of composite material usage compared to the first generations. It features an all-glass cockpit, new double delta wings, three multifunctional HUD screens and hands on throttle-and-stick control (HOTAS.)

The equipment of a modern fighter has also been added such as: enhanced flight vision system, reduced radar cross-section and improved fuel tank, and additional features of fourth generation fighters.

While the J-10 is in service as a light single-engine fighter, the J-7G can be classified as an “ultralight” fighter, which the PLAAF does not use in combat missions. A significant number of J-7s have been retired in recent years, to switch to J-10 or even more advanced and heavier fighters like the J-16, which three times as large.

The latest incident highlights China’s continued use of the 1960-era J-7 fighter jets. China manufactures all spare components and maintains a controlled industrial ecosystem around the plane, supporting its modernization. According to some estimates, over 2,400 models of the aircraft were produced.

With a presence in more than 17 countries, including four Indian neighbors: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The Chengdu J-7 is China’s most exported aircraft. China is thought to have converted thousands of obsolete second-generation fighters, including J-7s, into unmanned aerial vehicles.

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